Singer/songwriter Alanis Morissette has evolved since her 1995 debut Jagged Little Pill, and a lot has happened to her since then. In addition to being a new mother, she also hosts her own webisodes on “Well Being and Spirituality” at www.Alanis.com, and speaks openly about being a reformed Catholic, finding lots to love about Buddhism, and shares her philosophies on everything from the importance of ritual to letting go of ego.
“I think that a big turning point for my spiritual growth was after Jagged Little Pill, when I had reached and grabbed the brass ring and swallowed it, frankly, there was no other direction for me to go in that egoic sense, because I had broken all kinds of records, I won all the awards that I was “supposed” to win, or supposed to strive for in the American dream, so then there was no other direction for me to go but within and to ask even deeper inquiry fueled existential spiritual questions.” – Alanis Morissette
Her spirituality and openness has always come through in her work, and comes through clearly in “You Owe Me Nothing in Return” from the Under Rug Swept Album, 2008. Pure rock and roll poetry, the lyrics expound on unconditional love – and begs the question:
Do you love yourself or someone else selflessly enough to say this?
“I’ll give you countless amounts of outright acceptance, and give you encouragement to choose the path that you want, if you need it. You can speak of anger and doubts, your fears and freak outs, and even share your so-called shame-filled accounts of times in your life, and I won’t judge it; and there are no strings attached to it…
You owe me nothing for giving the love that I give. You owe me nothing for caring the way that I have. I give you thanks for receiving it, it’s my privilege, and you owe me nothing in return.
You can ask for space for yourself, and only yourself, and I’ll grant it. You can ask for freedom as well, or time to travel, and you’ll have it. You can ask to live by yourself or even love someone else and I’ll support it. You can ask for anything you want, anything at all, and I’ll understand it; and there are no strings attached to it.
I bet you’re wondering when the next payback shoe will eventually drop. I bet you’re wondering when my conditional police will force you to cough up. I bet you wonder how far you have now danced your way back into debt. This is the only kind of love, as I understand it, that there really is.
You can express your deepest of truths (even if it means I’ll lose you), and I’ll hear it. You can fall into the abyss on your way to your bliss, or say that you have to skip town to chase your passion, and I’ll hear it. You can even hit rock bottom, have a mid-life crisis, and I’ll hold it; and there are no strings attached to it.
You owe me nothing for giving the love that I give. You owe me nothing for caring the way that I have. I give you thanks for receiving it, it’s my privilege, and you owe me nothing in return.”
Wow, right? Finally, a modern female rocker girls can aspire to.
Editors update: I saw Alanis at a (hardcore) weekend seminar at UCLA (Drs Dan Siegel and Jack Kornfield talking about the brain and love…) and I was surprised to see her there, with 700 mindfulness PhDs, practitioners and therapists. She smiled warmly and said “I love this stuff, I’m friends with Dan.” Pretty cool!
Alanis Morissette performed this song live at the Agape International Spiritual Center in Culver City:
Can you say this to yourself? To your husband/wife/partner/mother/father?