Come get your inspiration from...Sleeping At Last

  Sleeping At Last  album cover,  Storyboards  (It's only fitting to place this album among the beautiful outdoors.)

Sleeping At Last album cover, Storyboards (It's only fitting to place this album among the beautiful outdoors.)

“Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything.”

-Plato

Plato’s quote comes alive in the music created by the band: Sleeping At Last. I have loved Sleeping At Last for so many years; the truth found in their hopeful lyrics strung beautifully through energizing melodies has left me clinging onto every word in every song. As a result, I need to share this priceless gem with you.

Sleeping At Last was birthed twelve years ago by singer/songwriter Ryan O’Neal and his fellow band members. They have four full-length albums - one of which is called Yearbook  containing 36 songs that cover a journey through a year in which they released three songs per month for a whole year.

As stated by a music critic on their website: “Sleeping At Last has long been a beacon shining brightly on behalf of independent artists. In the ever-changing climate of the music industry, the quest for a successful independent career seems evermore difficult to attain. O’Neal pursues this challenge relentlessly through his commitment to musical integrity in his songwriting, and in this way nurtures a unique and personal relationship with his listeners. He has remained true to the things that brought him to music in the first place: his love of melody and the power of words. His music and lyrics emerge from a place that is honest and raw, asking every question that occurs and promising no fast, sure answers, but somehow always offering hope as the consistent, overarching theme. “

I have found much inspiration and hope bursting from all of their songs. These songs contain honest ballads of their quest for beauty, truth, hope, and love through trials of pain and emptiness. What results is a layered, magical tapestry of words and sounds that take us to heavenly realms.

I would like to share with you some of the lyrics that deeply seep into my soul and resound loudly into all that is good in this world. There is much wisdom found in every verse that can only be shared through the lens of experience and the ability to see the world as it is meant to be.  

Now, let’s dive into some of the songs from their Storyboards album. I challenge you to read these life-giving lyrics and allow them to soak into your heart.

(Note: All the lyrics shown below are not the songs in their entirety; these are parts of the songs that I have chosen to highlight here. The full version of the lyrics, as well as their music can be found at: www.sleepingatlast.com )

Porcelain

“…everything I love
was made of porcelain,
ready to break.

but the bright, staggering light,
it anxiously waits inside.
like nesting dolls, the secret hides.
and like every birth,
it was a necessary pain…

I know, I know…
it’s all worth the wait, worth the weight.”

Naive

“religion is a breeding ground
where the devil’s work is deeply found,
with teeth as sharp as cathedral spires,
slowly sinking in….

…but in the end such tired words will rest.
the truth will reroute the narrow things they’ve said.
the marionette strings will lower and untie
and out of the ashes, love will be realized.

God knows I’ve been naïve

and a bit nearsighted to say the least.
it’s broken glass at children’s feet
that gets swept aside unexpectedly.”

Side by Side 

{This song truly makes the world come alive with each allegory, line by line} 

“…side by side,
every movement was memorized,
choreographed before
the schools of fish were born.
their patterns and plans align,
all in a glorious effort to survive.

there is no language for what we’ve seen,
only the sweetness that bends us to our knees,
and all of these fumbling words
to explain what it means,
but our hearts were buried deep in the sand.

The sea unlocks
like the lid of a music box
it shivers with foreign sound,
as long as the gears stay wound,
the whales will sing their song
all in a glorious effort to strong.  

There’s no need to be afraid,
overwhelming love cascades
the melody will rise and swell
as it finds its way inside the shell.

The mouth is a mirror,
we must watch what we say.

there is no language for what we’ve seen…” 

Slow and Steady

“…we’ve learned to brace for the worst
and to read the last pages first,
surrender feels safe.

maybe the soul is the soil that holds the fallen seed,
or the light pouring down in between the rain clouds,
daring life to reach...

…maybe the soul is a suitcase that holds the backup plan -
a collection of keys and the patience we need
to start again.

maybe it’s the thresholds that swallow us whole
as we learn to let go,
in spite of the dirt on our clothes.”

Clockwork

“…we’ll lift up the ground to see
the system of roots beneath.
gears turn, endlessly,
to bring the world back to life
like clockwork, when it dies.

the cadence of beating hearts,
the click of its moving parts
grows louder and louder
from this restless earth…

future gardens wait patiently below
and somehow we smell them blossom
through the snow.

still unsatisfied,
we chase what we’re denied.
as generations wait,
we can’t resist the taste of possibility.
gears turn, endlessly,
to bring us back to life again.
like clockwork, we begin.”

Unmade

{Plainly displays the importance of watching what we say and the weight of our words…}

“…in our trembling fear,
we put words inside God’s mouth.
we cover our tracks
and get so proud of ourselves,
we get so proud of ourselves,
we get so proud of ourselves
when we get away.

I believe that we’ve got it wrong, got it wrong.
we’ll realize when it’s said and done, said and done,
that in our words we’ve lost so much more
than we’ve ever won.”

Timelapse  

{This song speaks the creatures into life, makes one notice what they see.}

 “…when the northern lights were born,
the color poured into our eyes,
like tipping a glass with the ocean inside.

into the darkness,
we will send our symphonies -
a shorthand of existence,
a slowly turning key,
the voyager will leave us
with this modest memory of home.

when the sunlight wakes the earth
from its deep sleep,
all creatures bloom.
and through lifted lashes, all is new.

as a newborn recognizes
its mother’s voice from inside the womb,
may we remember the warmth of our youth.

the overture was written,
like the calm before a storm.
with hummingbird precision,
we must follow every chord…

….as the wrist of an artist
pulls the foreground into the frame,
we must learn to focus, all the same.”

Birdcage Religion

“so slowly i’m losing
who i’ve sworn to be.
a promise in pencil
that years have made so hard to read.
i’ve spent my life building walls
brick by brick and bruise by bruise…
a birdcage religion that whispered me to sleep.

but time is spinning silk
that coils ruthlessly;
with the devil’s patience,
it binds my hands so quietly
that soon it becomes a part of me.

so soften these edges and straighten out my tie.
and help me remember
the hope that i have compromised.

please be a broken record for me.”

Green Screens

“if only worry could make it change,
suddenly our world would take new shape;
on miles and miles of green screens
love hangs on invisible strings.

so roll up your sleeves,
this could take some time.
everything waits on assembly lines – but not here.
in the emergence of plan,
we’ll be surrounded by hands…”

All This to Say

“All this to say,
our future is a blank page
that we chose to pour ourselves into
when God pressed play.

and we’ll drag our pens
into these parallel lines
to record and to articulate
everything we find.

as decades unlace,
we’ll pause and carefully trace;
our shadows are puddles of ink
that our memory saves.

layer by layer, the framework was formed
on an epic of paper:
we breathe to explore.
fast-forward motion
will gracefully show
the flickering story
that all of our sketches unfold…”

Stephanie Zeller is the Community Director for The Authenticity Project, you can contact Stephanie at TheAuthenticityProject@gmail.com