Darkness and joy. Anger and love. Anxiety and peace . And now, Alanis Morissette takes us on a tour of both polarities of perspective on her latest album, Havoc and Bright Lights. I think we’re all familiar with the Havoc part, evident by the commercial success of Jagged Little Pill, an album notoriously known for its raw-sounding anguish and reputable tone of lyric.
On the other hand, back in the nineties, Bright Lights and Alanis Morissette were not two words you would typically see in the same sentence. Yet, with the birth of a newborn baby boy and loving husband, Alanis has grown artistically, as well as an individual. With the blessings of family and career success, Alanis has transformed into a beacon of hope for her audiences. Forever embedding in our minds, that in the pursuit of happiness there will always be bumps along our path toward divinity.
Read More For An Exculsive Interview on Spiritual Growth and Healing With Alanis…
E. Nusgart: Hi, Alanis. How are you?
A. Morissette: Good, how are you doing?
E. Nusgart: How has this album helped further your spiritual growth?
A. Morissette: I think it’s more how my spiritual growth has helped this album, in a way, I would flip that around, because as I evolve and become more and more aware that there’s so many different words that can be used. I call it the “one permanent,” the one thing not subject to duality in all these complex terms that do their best to attempt to touch on what spirit actually is, and naming the un-nameable.
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.
So that experience of that kind of fame, that quality of fame, really kick started a spiritual, it didn’t really kick start it, but it kicked it for the second time into a whole other category of devotion and steadfastness. I don’t want to freak people out when I write songs. I don’t want to turn it into a record that is almost too much to bear, so I temper some of the content so that it’s not overwhelming. I don’t even want to overwhelm myself when I’m singing sometimes. But the live shows are very spiritual for me. It’s like sweating my prayers, to coin a Gabriel Roth term, I just feeling like I’m up there praying the whole time.
E. Nusgart: A lot of your pop music endeavors and songs on your latest album deal with personal growth and recovery. What would be your words of encouragement for anyone who’s struggling with similar issues now?
A. Morissette: I know that the 12 steps, if I were to reduce them to the common denominator, their big focus is reconnecting with the divine. So many of us have had some spiritual abuse, sexual abuse, psychological abuse, there are so many different versions of neglect and abuse that can show up, and spiritual abuse is a big one around addictions.
And then I’ve created and come up with a lot of theories around the attachment stage of development, these stages of development, and part of why I’m so active in the attachment parenting conversation is that if we can render the main four stages of development to be super common, common knowledge amongst all of us, I think that we can circumvent a lot of the addictions that we go to later on because we were under touched or under held or we were smothered or we weren’t merited, or whatever it is. We go to these beautiful drugs and we’re neutral, these drugs are just neutral, they just do their job, but they’re affording us something. We’re going to them because they give us something that we’re hungry for. And if those hunger pangs were met early on consistently, I think there would be perhaps less of a tendency for us to dive into these addictions, because these addictions are things that we dive into to feel a certain way that is our birthright. So that would be one thing I would say.
E. Nusgart: Do you think that you found more serenity and peace within your home life?
A. Morissette: I think because I reached a place where I was more responsible and more connected within my own self it made it so that I was ready to take on family life. But let me think about that question…yes.
E. Nusgart: Assuming that you’ve grown spiritually and such, is your definition of success different now as opposed to ten years prior?
A. Morissette: Yes. And I remember what I was just going to say a second ago. Neale Donald Walsch talks a lot about switching things around, he talks a lot about being the source for someone else of that which you want, so I notice that as a mom when I’m offering things to my son that perhaps I didn’t receive as a child there’s something really powerful and very healing about it, whether it’s presence, whether it’s attention, whether it’s being held, whatever it is there is something very powerful about being in this sacred parent position and offering, in this case offering my son that which I didn’t receive, so that’s a big deal.
And then do you mind repeating the last thing you just asked, because it was inspiring, the last question you said.
E. Nusgart: For success –
A. Morissette: Oh yes, the definition of success.
E. Nusgart: Yes, is it different from how you viewed it ten years prior?
A. Morissette: Yes. I think there’s the ego’s definition of success, which is fun and sexy and seductive, and that’s all what it is. I don’t even actually view that negatively. I think it’s just the ego having its way. And then there’s the definition of success in the super ego, which is my living my purpose and my being of service. And then there’s what John Lennon alluded to when he said “Life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans.” And then the third part of my answer there is then I just look up and I notice what’s actually happening and then that becomes me being aligned. Because for a long time I just thought if I’m out of alignment, if I’m off track somehow everything’s wrong. But now I just noticed that wherever I am is the track and this is what’s happening, and if there’s anything I’m looking at these days it’s to define what enough is, because I think what can happen when fame or wealth is achieved there’s this tendency to chase it even more. So if you make a million you want to make ten million. If you make ten million, you want to make a hundred million. Then you want to be a billionaire. So it begs the question on a spiritual level what is enough, what is enough. So defining what enough is has become a way of defining what success means now for me too.