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Good to Me

by Shannon Curtis

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1.
Everything’s on the edge Of falling into a black hole Falling out of my control I think I’ve reached the end Of holding it all together Of pulling at worn out puppet tethers Halted mid-spiral By a small voice who’s been there Come, and take it if you want it Ain’t nobody holding hostage The peace of mind that belongs to you Here, it’s all yours for the taking Let go and make space Open hands, let peace come to you But haven’t you looked outside? The fascists are ascending Disaster is impending So how can I sleep at night? The world is a burning boulder It’s crazy to take it on my shoulders I’m useless for change If my spirit is broken Come, and take it if you want it Ain’t nobody holding hostage The peace of mind that belongs to you Here, it’s all yours for the taking Let go and make space Open hands, let peace come to you Clutching has cut off my bloodstream I’m dying for nothing Control is seductive I’m letting go Come, and take it if you want it Ain’t nobody holding hostage The peace of mind that belongs to you Here, it’s all yours for the taking Let go and make space Open hands, let peace come to you
2.
Can I be real with you for just a minute It’s my sense our near future could be diminished If there’s something I could do, I already did it We’re at the limit It’s like a sandstorm coming A gradual consumption And baby, there’s no outrunning this cloud Already can’t see much, the sun’s rubbed out All systems have succumbed, shut down For the sandstorm The danger was imprecise when it was distant We bought a little time with our persistence The dust is now in my eyes; it is explicit How it’ll get us It’s like a sandstorm coming A gradual destruction And baby, there’s no outrunning this cloud We’ve already lost touch, the sun’s rubbed out All systems have succumbed, shut down For the sandstorm And baby, there’s no outrunning this cloud And I can’t see how this will fall out Take cover with me, quick get down For the sandstorm
3.
My fear is looking for who to blame A lit match ignites an angry flame And when reduced to a smoldering It wants a hot flash of rage like kerosene What’s the harm If the fire keeps me warm? The catch is The kindling is my spirit In the end I never burned anything down Only myself From the inside out In the end I didn’t keep safe from the fallout It ate me away From the inside out The inside out The inside out I hold it close like an enemy A fool’s cover against uncertainty Wrapped in a shadow that only grows It is a cheap comfort, this devil that I know I wear despair Like a buffer from what’s out there The catch is It’s smothering my spirit In the end I never burned anything down Only myself From the inside out The inside out In the end I didn’t keep safe from the fallout It ate me away From the inside out The inside out The inside out Oh oh oh I’ve got to let go The tighter I hold The more it’s out of control Oh oh oh I’ve got to got to let go The tighter I hold The more it’s out of control In the end I never burned anything down Only myself From the inside out In the end I didn’t keep safe from the fallout It ate me away From the inside out The inside out In the end I never burned anything down Only myself From the inside out The inside out The inside out
4.
I went to a war That I knew I couldn’t win I know ‘cause I’ve gone before And it always Comes to the same end I march out alone It’s not bravery, it’s panic A contest for control Where I have none Perpetually vanquished Pick your battles Little soldier Cause when it’s futile Your heart gets colder It gets colder I don’t wanna fight no more I can’t take another losing score I’ve taken up arms in the wrong war And I don’t want this fight anymore I’m deployed with the truth And I come back a cynic Tell me whose position improves While I keep confirming There’s no way to win this? Pick your battles Little soldier Some are not meant For only your shoulders That’s just torture I don’t wanna fight no more I can’t take another losing score I’ve taken up arms in the wrong war And I don’t want this fight I don’t wanna fight no more I can’t take another losing score I’ve taken up arms in the wrong war And I don’t want this fight anymore Pick your battles Little soldier Cause when it’s futile Your heart gets colder Pick your battles Little soldier Some are not meant For only your shoulders That’s just torture I went to a war That I knew I couldn’t win I know ‘cause I’ve gone before And it always comes to the same end
5.
I’ve been pushing This mountain Like I can move it Unbound by the limits of physics Suffering is born from The difference Between what just is And how I wish things would be Well it might be raining I’d rather it be dry But it’s crazy-making To try and fight the sky I think it could save me To be with what is Just be with what is this time All of the badness I can’t get off my mind That shouldn’t have happened You can’t go back in time It eases the anguish To be with what is Just be with what is this time It doesn’t mean giving A thumbs-up To everything that’s fucked up I’m just freeing myself from judgment Cause I have missed so much of Life’s gifts Not being present to what is And that’s one thing I can fix So it might be raining I’d rather it be dry But it’s crazy-making To try and fight the sky I think it could save me To be with what is Just be with what is this time All of the badness That torments my mind It shouldn’t have happened You can’t unravel time It eases the anguish To be with what is Just be with what is this time The mountain Is a mountain So I’ll be I’ll be a river I’ll be the river I’ll be with what is Well it might be raining I’d rather it be dry But it’s crazy-making To try and fight the sky I think it could save me To be with what is Even all of the badness I can’t get off my mind That shouldn’t have happened You can’t go back in time It eases the anguish To be with what is Just be with what is Just be with what is this time
6.
This day will be etched into my history A hinge on which everything will change There’s my life Before this moment And my life Moving forward That’s defined Only by my will to be brave Watch as I leap over To the other side With failure on the line But I won’t fail myself this time I’m not fearless No one is who makes this flight It’s all sweat and butterflies When showing up for your life It’s only myself now that could stop me Just me and the snakes inside my head Don’t look down The drop is endless All around Critics, relentless Drown it out And choose your life before you’re dead Watch as I leap over To the other side With failure on the line But I won’t fail myself this time I’m not fearless No one is who makes this flight It’s all sweat and butterflies When showing up for your life There is no love without exposure There is no daring that is safe But I’m not turning back, I’m not turning over The power I have to change What I can change Watch as I leap over To the other side With failure on the line I’m not fearless No one is who makes this flight It’s all sweat and butterflies When showing up for your life
7.
Hold still Don’t say anything Listen for the ringing Tuned for your ears Don’t run Be with all you’re feeling This is the revealing Of your power within Don’t be afraid of what you’ll find When all is quiet inside your mind The ships arriving on that silent sea Carry the message of what you need Keep listening On the shore of the silent sea It’s you who knows what to do Truth is lighting up the avenue You can trust it (You can trust you) Don’t be afraid of what you’ll find When all is quiet inside your mind The ships arriving on that silent sea Carry the message of what you need Keep listening On the shore of the silent sea Listening On the shore of the silent sea Listening On the shore of the silent sea Hold still Don’t say anything Listen for the ringing Tuned for your ears
8.
I Am 03:05 video
That’s right I’m standing tall Balanced feet on the ground Open palms by my side Shoulders back, head high Breath is easy, deep Eyes wide to receive All of what is — I’m ready Heart strong, beat steady I know who I am I know who I want to be I know I am worthy Of love, of belonging And I know that nothing That happens to me or around me Can diminish my worth My wholeness my humanity Because I am (Standing, breathing, owning, loving) I am (Balance, healing. know belonging) I am (Standing, breathing, owning, loving) I am (Balance, healing. know belonging) I have choices I choose actions that align With my values, my needs Which I learned from listening To the song of my own spirit Finally my ears could hear it When I released what was not mine And I owned up to my own life I know who I am I know what is good for me There is nobody but me Who can take responsibility I’m not looking for the path of least resistance I do the work for the goodness That affirms my own existence Because I am (Standing, breathing, owning, loving) I am (Balance, healing, know belonging) I am (Standing, breathing, owning, loving) I am (Balance, healing, know belonging) And yeah I see you now You’re all connected to your own power And it’s drawing me in Like water attracts water There’s no higher or lower Or competing over resources ‘Cause we know how to love ourselves We are a flood And holy shit Isn’t that a total shift? In this microcosmic scene You and I, we are dismantling The ranked system status quo That oppresses and harms We’ll make a whole new world Because you know who you are And I know who I am I know who I am I know who I am I am (Standing, breathing, owning, loving) I am (Balance, healing, know belonging) I am (Standing, breathing, owning, loving) I am (Balance, healing, know belonging) I am
9.
Serenity 03:52 video
Even though I’ve a new script This play’s not ending with A happily ever after scene Already another curtain Rising on a tragedy Even before the last is grieved How many times have you heard me say Get me off, I want off this train Thought I could make a great escape To serenity But now I know that I’ve got to stay Inside the struggle, it’s the only way To move forward The serenity is within me Maybe in death the chaos Fades into endless light If our myths can be believed But I’m too in love with living Through the beauty and the fight Here in the mess I’ll make my peace How many times have you heard me say Get me off, I want off this train I thought I‘d make a grand escape To serenity But now I know that I want to stay Inside the struggle, it’s the only way To move forward The serenity is within me I’ve got to stay I want to stay On this train I’m on my way How many times have you heard me say Get me off, I want off this train I thought I‘d make a great escape To serenity But now I know that I’ve got to stay Inside the struggle, it’s the only way To move forward The serenity is within me
10.
There isn’t any savior on the way The sky’s about to shatter any day Here under the cracks, my heart is still I’ll be okay Even if a miracle arises And present tribulations fade to silence I’d still daily dip into this well To tend my mind The hard times will come and go The darkness may even grow My heart made this solemn oath That I’ll be good to me I know you’d move mountains for my comfort But finding peace is a quest for one My feet know these trails in the dark I’ve already begun The hard times will come and go This charge is nobody’s but my own My heart made a solemn oath That I’ll be good I’ll be good I’ll be good to me (Hard times go) (My heart made this solemn oath) I’ll be good (I’ll be good) I’ll be good I’ll be good to me

about

We created and released the first version of this album in order from March-July, 2022. The album is based on journaling prompts that Shannon created to guide herself through a process of reclaiming serenity and agency in the midst of stressful times. The official album version of this will be released everywhere in fall 2022!

/////

Everything’s on the edge. I feel it, every day.
In my teeth — I catch myself grinding through the days.
On my skin — pins and needles as I wonder how it’s all going to work out.
If it’s all going to work out.

The relentless, interwoven, swirling chaos we’ve made of the world — none of us needs reminding of the details. But for me, the things that can keep me up at night are some of the more slow-moving disasters: the unfurling catastrophe of climate change and the rise of authoritarianism.

Both of which are fueled by ravenous greed, wicked racism, and self-righteous bigotry; and both of which are contributing to the erosion of democracy and the diminishment of humanity.

So much beyond my control, out of my reach,
way too big for any one person to fix,
and still ... I feel it on my shoulders, crawling up my neck.
Where is the relief?
Where can I find some peace?
And what on earth can I do about any of it?

/////

A flashback ...

Many years ago, I wandered into a room full of people working on something called “recovery,” because I’d heard there might be some answers there for me — a map to a place where a spiritual calm could overcome the bubbling mess of all the things in my life I’d been desperately trying to control.

The more I tried to control, the more out of control my life became. To the point where my idle thoughts meandered into the perilous territory of “maybe it would be better to not go on at all.”

This group began each of their gatherings with a recitation that goes like this:

“god, grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change,
courage to change the things I can,
and the wisdom to know the difference.”

I was not interested in god; but I was desperate for serenity and for change.
For peace of mind, and for the power to participate in my own life — instead of being whipped around by my most reflexive reactions to the people and circumstances around me. And so I stayed, and I listened.

I learned that peace was there for the taking.
And I learned that in order to take it in my hands,
I needed to make space for it.
To let go of all of that which I’d been clutching in white-knuckled fear.
To emancipate my hands
from the snarl of reins I thought would give me power over my life,
but which only ever delivered constant tension and pain.
To release my grip, and to reach for the map to my own peace of mind,
with open hands.

I let go of control, and received in its place genuine agency.
I let go of fear, and received peace of mind.

/////

This meditation has become a stalwart guide for me in the years since. It is not something I did once way back when and then never again; it is a daily practice for me. A daily choice. A set of tools for which I am so grateful. This practice is responsible for keeping me alive, for empowering me to live my life to the fullest, and for bringing me every bit of joy and contentment I’ve experienced since those early darker days.

And also:
I sense it’s time for me to dive back into it,
in a fresh way, again, a little deeper.
With intention, courage, and rigor, to retrace the journey on that map.

... Because there is so much wrong in the world in this time, about which I sometimes have so much fear, and over which I have no control, the enormity of which often paralyzes me into inaction.

... But I do not wish to succumb to it.
In fact, I believe I can free myself to live at peace in the midst of it.
And — even more — I want to be a part of changing it for the better.
I believe that practicing peace of mind empowers me to do that.

It’s worth mentioning:
This is not a peace that lives in denial of the real struggles that I face.
This is not a peace that ignores or diminishes the troubles of others.
This is not a peace that encourages me to check out, or that absolves me of my responsibility to be part of creating a just and compassionate world.

Rather:
It is a peace that allows me to face it, all of it — with courage.
It is a peace that makes me ready to accept my part in the work to change my life and change the world — with genuine agency.
It is a peace that fuels me to persevere when the struggle gets hard.

Also: this is not a peace that will show up out of thin air.
Rather: this peace of mind belongs to me, and although it requires work, I have the power within me to take hold of it.

/////

So I’m unfolding the creases of that map that I once studied to save my life, and I’m about to go on a journey.

Over the next several months,
I’m going on an in-depth exploration of the terrain of

... STRUGGLE
… COPING
… POWERLESSNESS
… and ACCEPTANCE

and how those concepts point me toward the experience of

... COURAGE
… LISTENING
… AGENCY
… and SERENITY.

I’ll be looking at all of this through the lens of my own inner life,
and from the vantage point of convergence that my life makes with this particular, perilous time on planet Earth.

I’ll be asking myself tough questions,
digging deep for honest assessments
of my feelings, needs, and motivations,
sorting through what is in my power to change and what is not,
nurturing the practice of letting go of things I can’t control,
making space for serenity,
and cultivating courage to use my genuine agency
to change the things I can.

The end product of my journey (besides all the benefits to my personal lived experience, no doubt!) will be a set of songs and a series of essays that arise from my meditations and practice around each of the concepts I explore on the map. I’ll be sharing those with you here in real time, over the coming months, as I undertake this journey.

/////

Wanna come along for the ride?

Here's where things could get more interesting: I’d like to invite you to join me on a parallel journey of your own, if you're game for it.

How this will work:
As I move through this process, I’ll periodically send you the set of questions and prompts that I’m working through on each step of my journey. I don’t even know exactly what they will all be yet! I have a general idea, but I intend to allow the process to inform the direction for a lot of this.

Nonetheless … wherever the path leads me, I’ll send you the guideposts I encounter along the way, so that you can take the journey for yourself at the same time.

How to use the prompts:
You can use these prompts to fuel your exploration however you want to. Maybe you’ll journal, or go on walking meditations, or channel your experience into a creative outlet. You can spend 10 minutes, or you can dedicate a longer practice to it — you’re in the driver’s seat for your own experience.

Timeline:
There is not a set timeline for each step of this journey, nor is there a schedule for when I’ll send out the prompts. But if I'm guessing, I'd imagine I’ll be sending something to you every couple of weeks(ish).

Sharing:
If you feel like sharing your discoveries along the way with someone, you can feel free to share them with me or with others; or you can keep it all to yourself. Whatever approach feels right to you, that’s what you should do.

So ... if you'd like to join me:
Please send me an email at skc (at) shannoncurtis.net, and I’ll add you to my list of fellow travelers with whom I’ll be corresponding more closely as the next several months unfold.

If you’d rather just enjoy the songs I make and essays I write over the next several months, that’s great, too — just keep an eye out here for the new releases we’ll have for you every couple of weeks or so.

/////

This kind of journey can be intimidating; but I'm choosing to allow my desire for serenity and agency to be my inspiration as I take this leap.

And, as always, this kind of work is very personal and solitary — it will be for me, and if you decide to make your own journey, it will be for you, too. But: knowing that we have openhearted community with us and around us will make us feel supported and loved through it.

So with that … let’s go get some peace of mind and unleash our power to make big changes.

credits

releases December 2, 2022

written by Shannon Curtis
published by Shannon K (ASCAP)

produced by Jamie Hill
co-produced by Shannon

conceptualized, programmed, arranged, and performed by Shannon additional programming, synthesizers, and sound design by Jamie

mixed and mastered by Jamie
at Department of Energy Management, Tacoma

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all rights reserved

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Shannon Curtis Tacoma, Washington

Shannon Curtis is an artist who works as a songwriter, storyteller, and author. Shannon lives in Tacoma, WA and makes artpop music with her husband, producer / mixer Jamie Hill (deptofenergymgmt.com/work).

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