ROX Radio


Wednesday, April 17, 2024


The other day I heard a song that cracked me open. It reached right into my heart and touched me where I live. I felt as though the song spoke directly to me, answering my innermost thoughts, hopes, fears, and sorrows. I thought, Yes. I have been waiting for this song to be written. It is a song I would write, but didn’t. Kalandra did, and I am glad for it. You’ve heard me mention them before. I love their music. The song is called “The State of the World”. I heard this song, and my spirit took flight. 


And then I curled back in. Because my next thought was how corny my reaction was. I felt embarrassed that a song could touch me this much. I thought “Look at me, acting like a high school girl, getting all fan girlie over a song”.  I didn’t want anyone to know. 


And then after that, I thought, “How cynical, that I would feel ashamed for being moved by a song. Of course we are moved by songs! That is the whole purpose of music!” Why on Earth would I feel embarrassed to feel this way? As if to allow one’s heart to open is to play the fool. 


Perhaps it is the innocence of the song itself that sparked my cynicism. I didn’t want to be perceived as a Pollyanna. Kalandra’s lyricist/vocalist, Katrine Stenbekk, likely not yet 30, is grappling with many things one comes to accept about the world as they grow older. She laments war, and humanity’s cruelty toward one another. She sings she “must believe that in every human there is kindness still”. She ends the song with the words,“Was there ever a time when it all made sense, or am I reminiscing about lost innocence?” Cynical me thought, yes, honey. It’s that. Welcome to the world. 


Better just to shut down and feel nothing, because all there is to feel is pain. This is “just the way things are”. 


In cynicism, we come to feel that having any hope at all makes us chumps. We must remain closed in order to protect ourselves from the inevitable cruelty of life. We know better, we smugly tell ourselves. 


To Hell with That. 


To succumb to cynicism is not only to give up the fight, but to give up the glory and majesty of being alive. That is when we lose, and not a moment before. 


Cynicism lets us off the hook. “There is nothing to be done” the cynic says, and so they do nothing. They do not engage in difficult conversations. They do not seek out solution-oriented thinkers. They do not engage in ideas or open their hearts to love. 


Of course, we all feel cynical at times. How could we not? We can’t help but question our faith in humanity when genocide happens before our very eyes. In the wake of such horror, it can feel almost obscene to enjoy our lives. 


And yet, we mustn’t get stuck here. Because then we shut down, and the flow of life stops. If you have the luxury of reading this, you are most likely not at this moment in active crisis mode. And thus you are able to be present to the miracle of your existence. The very fact that we are able to enjoy the moments we have, is all the more reason to celebrate the miracle of our lives. In this state of openness and wonder, we have the opportunity to carry a torch for a more harmonious life, a kinder world. 


We cannot feel our way into a better world if we are not open. To be part of any kind of solution, we must stay present to the flow of vitality. The flow of ideas. The flow of creativity. We must allow our grief and disillusionment to move through us, for in movement, a way forward is revealed. It takes great courage to stand in the face of the world’s sorrow, and still believe in the world’s potential. It is not easy, and we will stumble many times. I know I do. But it is so worth it. 


This is why hope in the face of our current circumstances will always be Punk AF to me.


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