Changing Nothing

Phyl CampbellStarred Page By Phyl Campbell, 11th Feb 2014 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL
Posted in Wikinut>Writing>Poetry

Inspired by Garth Brooks' The Change, Billy Joel's Keeping the Faith, and Jewel's Hands, this piece is nonetheless an oldie but goodie from the original thoughts of my past.
Sometimes changing nothing means changing direction when the path or people you were following go a different way. Sometimes it means the opposite.

The audio

Here is the audio I recorded in 2010 on I was going for a Rock-A-Billy sound, not because I like Rock-A-Billy, but because that was where I followed the verses. It was tough to sing all and fit so many lyrics into such sparse phrasing, so feel free to skip the humble efforts unless you just like to hear noise.

Also it should be noted that every song I compose is a work in progress. Chances are that I will create new and (IMHO) better words than what I may have originally recorded. It all just depends on my audience and what I'm feeling when I compose. No, you're not crazy or hearing the lyrics "wrong" -- and the verdict's still out on whether I'm crazy.

Verse One

I need better direction from the Book of right and wrong
So many lines and shades of gray -- and rhymes -- and stupid songs
And I'm looking for a reason
A something bigger than me to believe in
And that's just sad...

You'd think 20+ years would teach me something here
So many lessons learned, but life still seems so muddy-clear
And I'm Googling directions
From a map that's drawn by demons
Sweet angels save me please
Should I get on my knees?
What I need's a hand up...

(I just have to interject that this image was absolutely perfect. People often tell others to pray in lieu of doing for themselves. There is nothing wrong with prayer. But sometimes instead of praying for help, I think someone should help the dang guy not get run over by the car. He should roll out of the way -- not kneel there and pray for a miracle. I figure that will offend some people. So be it.)


Trying to change the world
Trying to change its hold on me
Sometimes it's squeezing me so tight
I feel like I can't breathe

And I'm calling out for answers
Asking everyone their reasons
Contemplating everything
Changing nothing.

Verse Two

I hear an old man singing just the other day
About life and love he'd lost outside of Santa Fe
He said "when someone dies,
"You see the light leave their eyes
"But you're not dead yet
It's a message I won't forget.
When I'm 90 I'll be

(repeat chorus)

Verse Three

So many dreams in life
So many lofty goals
Not one of them worth a dime
To save my worthless soul

And amid all of life's dangers
I'll surround myself with strangers
And I'll make them friends
So that when my life ends
I'll be dying -- trying

(repeat chorus)

Influence: Garth Brooks

For those of you not familiar with the songs I mentioned above (first, WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN? -- I'd embed Youtube videos or something, but those are three artists I would not dare to impinge on, so) follow the links I added to check them out. I do not have bad taste in music, even if I'm not the best creator of new material.

Garth Brooks bio
about The Change
"The Change" audio/video

Influence: Billy Joel

Billy Joel bio
about Keeping the Faith
"Keeping the Faith" audio/video

Billy Joel also wrote and sang "We Didn't Start the Fire," and I've been told my song has more in common with that one than the one I credit. It's also a good song -- and it's lyrics are equally (or even more) tongue-twisting and brain stretching. But though it may be one of thousands of influences that I wasn't aware of, I think of WDSTF more as a laundry list of history than a story-telling ballad. And most of what I write are ballads, else I won't remember the verses.

Influence: Jewel

Jewel bio
about Hands
"Hands" audio/video

All three songs are about, in slightly different ways, being OK with not being able to change the world. Being OK being just yourself. And I just love Jewel's voice.

Explanation and Background

These songs really spoke to me, because I have a hard time with NOT saving the world and trying to fix everything. I get really frustrated when the minions won't just do what I tell them, because if they would, lives all around would be better.

I know I'm not alone. A lot of people feel this way, and many more people are talking about this than ever before -- or perhaps I am more in tune with it than I was growing up. And I keep trying to make my world smaller, and fix just this little part -- just this little part!! that's all -- and the smaller my world gets the more helpless I feel sometimes to make and be the change I wish to see in the world.

When I wrote this song in 2009/2010, I was discovering how my religion was going to differ from my mother's. I was trying to define how it was different maybe even from Christianity, mostly due to unabide-able patriarchal overtones and an absence of love for everyone (read: puritanical intolerance for homosexual Christians, which to me defies Christianity on its face). I know every church isn't like that, but I'd stepped into enough lions' dens to know I was safer raising my family in the jungle. I knew I was not going to follow the church of Billy Graham, David Koresh, or Fred Phelps. I found more comfort in the words of the Dalai Lama, the Upanishads, and the Way than the I did in the Pope. But Buddhism (and most eastern philosophy) still doesn't allow for women to be in the kinds of roles that I could not deny a calling toward -- which prompted me to consider a spiritual, nonreligious, or secular affiliation instead.

Explanation and Background, cont.

I am an UN-apologetic-ly outspoken American female in all regards. The God who created me, loves me, and encourages me -- even in the face of a lot of people telling me to sit down and shut up -- well, I think God knows best. So I'm not going to change. I don't think that makes me defeated or arrogant, though sometimes I can feel both. At the end of the day, I do try "contemplating everything" -- what a mouthful! -- and the end result is usually "changing nothing." I hope I do inspire others, but I can't make someone else do something -- even if I fervently believe it's the right thing. Each has his or her own crimes and accomplishments to answer for. And if I ever manage to check that last thing off my endless "to do" list, I think that's the time that I'll be called home. I'm not ready today. Maybe someday.

I wish you peace, love, and understanding. But mostly, I wish you PEACE.

Many People Making Change

I've written about many people who are making significant changes in life:

Leymah Gbowee
Lensey Namioka
Eritreans and Eritreans, Cont.
Local Women
Rev Joan (though this is fiction)

I write about change, and you can, too. Leave a comment or write an article of your own. Start here.


Bible, Change, Changing Nothing, Changing Thoughts, Changing World, Changing You, Dreams, Faith, Goals, People, Poem, Religion, Songs, Soul

Meet the author

author avatar Phyl Campbell
I am "Author, Mother, Dreamer." I am also teacher, friend, Dr. Pepper addict, night-owl. Visit my website -- -- or the "Phyl Campbell Author Page" on Facebook.

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author avatar MarilynDavisatTIERS
11th Feb 2014 (#)

Good morning, Phyl; what a brave women you are. Putting beliefs, ideas, and dreams out there, in multiple formats, takes courage. Writing, or singing, about difficult subjects is a risk, yet you take those on. Therefore, you do make a difference, you do state that the Emperor is nude while others simply watch the parade. In my experience, the first to say it finds that others have thought it. So, we make the changes we can and believe in. We do not change what we think is fundamentally right, why would we. Good job. ~Marilyn

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author avatar Delicia Powers
11th Feb 2014 (#)

Phyl...I love your poem! ..I have gone through this life gathering bits and pieces of wisdom but in the end it is the whisper of my own soul that speak to me ...growing up, I remember after a school lesson one day, I rushed home to ask my folks "are we Democrats or Republicans?" My mother said.. "Dad and I would never tell you need to make up your own mind..."that was an attitude that serves me well... In your "oh so honest" Phyl style...:0)... there is room for us all here on your pages...thank you Phyl I like that...:0)

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author avatar Delicia Powers
11th Feb 2014 (#)

Forgot to say Phyl I enjoyed hearing your voice ...but then your words have always sung off the page....thanks Phyl-:0)

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author avatar Phyl Campbell
11th Feb 2014 (#)

Thank you so much, ladies!

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author avatar Fern Mc Costigan
11th Feb 2014 (#)

Excellent poem and very inspired in every word your wrote Phyl!

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author avatar cnwriter..carolina
12th Feb 2014 (#)

You really know how to inspire us here Phyl...wonderful...

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author avatar Phyl Campbell
12th Feb 2014 (#)

Thanks, ladies! Your kind words mean so much!

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author avatar Connie McKinney
12th Feb 2014 (#)

Very inspiring and uplifting, Phyl. Well done.

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author avatar Phyl Campbell
12th Feb 2014 (#)

Thanks, Connie!

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author avatar Nadine May
13th Feb 2014 (#)

Phil you are a singer a song writer and a poet! I loved your page. I see why it got a star. Well done

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author avatar Phyl Campbell
14th Feb 2014 (#)

Thanks Nadine!

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author avatar Kingwell
14th Feb 2014 (#)

I so agree with you my friend. I feel that we are all one and you are right in saying God loves you - and all of us. Blessings.

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author avatar Phyl Campbell
14th Feb 2014 (#)

Best to you, Kingwell!

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author avatar Sivaramakrishnan A
16th Feb 2014 (#)

Comprehensive post in every way Phyl and to say thought provoking is an understatement. We have to change for the better and keep an open mind as we keep learning all the time. Creation is not static. Regarding helping ourselves and prayers, I remember a Chinese fable. A boat was sinking. One looked at the sky and prayed and got drowned. The other looked below at some planks and deftly made his way to safety. God helps those who help themselves. siva

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author avatar Phyl Campbell
17th Feb 2014 (#)

Thanks, Siva!!

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author avatar Retired
18th Feb 2014 (#)

Interesting post

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author avatar Phyl Campbell
18th Feb 2014 (#)

Thanks Deden

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author avatar Retired
19th Feb 2014 (#)

Very encouraging post, Phyl. You are clearly a lady who sticks to her guns no matter what the odds. I have a great deal of respect for people with strength of character. It is they who can reverse the negative values in the world. And they may have little choice but to take on that challenge.

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author avatar Phyl Campbell
19th Feb 2014 (#)

Mike that sounds ominous! But I get what you are saying. Thanks for your comment and kind words.

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author avatar L. R. Laverde-Hansen
15th Mar 2014 (#)

Very beautiful, touching and powerful. I see the growing radiance of your soul catching up to the obvious beauty on the outside.

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author avatar Phyl Campbell
16th Mar 2014 (#)

Wow, LR. I don't know about all that. But thank you.

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