One Flight Down – Norah Jones and Your Beliefs

I love the soulful voice and melodies of Norah Jones. Sometimes I wish I could play the piano like that so bad it hurts.

Yesterday was the first time I’d heard her recording of “One Flight Down.” At a glance, you look at the words and say, “Well what in the world is that about? Is it just about a song playing in the apartment downstairs?” As I pondered it more, I realized just how incredibly profound it is.

First here’s the song with the lyrics for Norah Jones’, “One Flight Down:”

One Flight Down by Norah Jones Video

One flight down
There’s a song on low
And your mind just picked up on the sound
Now you know you’re wrong
Because it drifts like smoke
And it’s been there playing all along
Now you know
Now you know

The reeds and brass have been weaving
Leading into a single note

In this place
Where your arms unfold
Here at last you see your ancient face
Now you know
Now you know

The cadence rolls in broken
Plays it over and then goes

One flight down
There’s a song on low
And it’s been there playing all along
Now you know
Now you know

Have you ever had an “aha moment” when you realized that your perception of things was completely off base? When you realized you were building your life and making choices on a faulty belief? Perhaps you discovered that there was an underlying statement in your subconscious mind (one flight down) that was affecting you, controlling your actions, “weaving, leading into a single note.” Something like, “It’s hard to make money.” Or “I have to be perfect for God to love me,” or “Everybody’s in debt . . . debt is part of life.”

In this “aha moment” “your arms unfold” and “here at last you see your ancient face” … the old incorrect belief that was there all along. Like a cadence rolling in broken, your mind played it over again, pushing it “one flight down” into your subconscious mind. From there it controlled your thoughts, words, actions and results.

But now you hear the melody… “you know that you were wrong” and with that realization, nothing will ever be the same again.

I don’t know what Norah Jones would say this song is about. But another interpretation could be your life message that is playing like a song in the background . . . put into your subconscious mind from birth that is leading you, guiding you along toward a “single note”… a single message that you were born to convey.  Your “ancient face” could be that eternal part of you that has always existed and in that aha moment, you see who you truly are.

Just because you hadn’t heard the melody playing before, doesn’t mean it wasn’t there. All the while guiding you forward, affecting your life choices and outcomes. Maybe it rolls along broken because of all the gunk we’ve let life put in the way. Then, in that moment you hear the melody and everything changes. 🙂  Ooooh, I think I like this interpretation the best. 🙂

I’d be curious to hear what you think!


  1. Wow! Sounds like something’s been brewing and the teapot is starting to sing! You’ve nailed the essence of limitless living in those few short paragraphs. It’s just all “the gunk” we’ve come to accept and believe, but we don’t know that we’ve done it… it’s just gone unnoticed and unchallenged. I see more and more of it each day in my own life, and the more of it that falls off, the more freeing life becomes. I think that’s what being limitless is all about… not superpowers or heady achievements, but truly just the freedom from so many constrictive and punitive thoughts and beliefs — the freedom to live, love and be loved and to enjoy life itself without pre-conditions and judgments.

    Keep lighting the world!

  2. I’m with you, Marnie, on your interpretation of these lyrics. What grabs me is the line: “where your arms unfold.”
    I find myself unfolding my arms more and more as I mature as a coach and entrepreneur. I’ve come to believe, with compassion and humor, that so much of what I believe is so, is just a convenient illusion I employ to keep my world small and comfortable. These days, I try to remember to keep my arms and hands open and stop grasping for proof.

  3. Excellent point, Rhonda! I love what you had to say about remembering to keep our arms and hands open and stop grasping for proof! Thanks for reading and commenting!

    And Phil, we’ve talked a lot about this stuff. You’re right on the nose with it tying into living a limitless life. Looking forward to tossing some more ideas around with you!

  4. Marnie;

    You’ve hit the idea nail on the head with “Just because you hadn’t heard the melody playing before, doesn’t mean it wasn’t there. All the while guiding you forward, affecting your life choices and outcomes. Maybe it rolls along broken because of all the gunk we’ve let life put in the way. Then, in that moment you hear the melody and everything changes.”

    That is so true in my life. What amazes me is that I keep uncovering different melodies that are playing in my subconscious and it isn’t until I’m ready that I’m aware of them.

  5. Thanks for sharing these reflections, Marnie.
    I resonate with your interpretation of this.
    I have been working more with EFT to help uncover and remove limiting beliefs in my clients–and myself; clearing the “gunk” as you say.

  6. Wow – excellent interpretation of Nora Jones song – which, I didn’t even know about yet. Looking forward to listening to it asap. Great thoughts to think.

    I know I have literally sat up, unfolded my arms, when confronted with an “aha moment”. Sometimes those moments were a little painful Now I can see that it was just a part of the process of healing and – “seeing the ancient face” – or the authentic self.

    At some point there is a time to let go of the lie, or the false information – or any “high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God…” So we learn to bring down those things that are ruining or blocking the blessings and freedom that we can have in being in harmony with what we really know – “ancient self”.

    I sure love this post. Thanks.

  7. Great article, Marnie!

    In Psalm 40:3 – The Psalmist says – He has given me a new song to sing,
    a hymn of praise to our God.
    Many will see what He has done and be amazed.
    They will put their trust in the Lord.

    Thanks for reminding me once again who gives me the melody of His grace
    and the harmony of his goodness and love.

    Keep looking up!



  8. Marnie truly the Holy Spirit has annointed you indeed to send us messages by e-mail that transform everything… I think your message about our beliefs that rule our lives without us acknowledging it is so true for most people and admitting to it and changing it are very difficult because sometimes it means letting go of our past including relationships from the past or present but if we realise that the only one we need to hold onto is Jesus, we are able to get our beliefs to reflect who we really are and then our relationships and life will and must follow – but it takes messages like yours to bring to remembrance things that become dulled in memory yet so effective and stopping us from taking leaps of faith into our future.

  9. Beautiful song. Like in meditation, when the mind seeks those levels of thought that lie below the surface, its a mixture of nostalgia for things that have been, and a longing for the infinite source of all things.

    The so-called “gunk” are all the hidden, subconscious decisions we made about life as a child, or picked up from others along the way. My experience is that true happiness lies deeper, at the source of thought and emotion. Nora’s song seems to capture a little of this whole spectrum.

  10. Before I read this post I can hear the voice of the Lord in my heart telling me to look at what I have in my hands. Then I notice that all I need at this moment is right in front of me like it was so obvious as to what I should do in this life. Not only is God able but he wants to help us in every area of our lives. We just have to be willing to let him use us and what we have.

    Thanks for that song Marnie.

  11. Marnie,
    As a Christian, you know that much of what we have been taught has been laced with fear-based ideas.
    Sometimes, I think that watching little children is a way of remembering who we were, and who and how we were meant to be.
    Being nurtured with love allows the soul the freedom to hear the “song on low.”


  12. Hi Marnie,
    Thanks a lot for that interpretation. It takes events though for one to become aware of certain tunes playing.You have to step back and hear and then know how to deal with them. Comfort can be very comforting instead of God.

  13. Wow!! Thanks so much for that insight. As I first read the words, I honestly didn’t get the point. But as I read it a second time, it hit me. I have had a couple of moments like described. And what a great reminder! Thanks,


  14. Hi Marnie,
    Thanks for your interpretation. I read the lyrics twice and didn’t really know how to understand it but, your interpretation made it easy for me to come up with my own examples of the situation.

  15. Hi Marnie,
    As a Zen practitioner, I would say that that is very Zen-like…. One flight down – there are millions of beliefs from a thousand lifetimes that shape the way we handle life.. Recognizing this though, if we are diligent, we can transcend them all. Thanks for posting this..

  16. I love this song and just now tried to google what she meant by it and came upon your website. I like your interpretation. For me it’s about overthinking and not listening to your heart one flight down. It’s out thinking what we feel and realizing how old it makes you feel running around what was always there. unfolding arms is like finally opening your heart. The notes are your heartbeat, it’s rhythms and pace. It’s just a wonderful song and I think it encourages you to delve into one self about what is really in your heart.

  17. I have just been playing and singing this song and, looking for ideas on the interpretation, I also found this site! I just wanted to add a little and agree a little, too! 🙂

    When we hear what Father in Heaven is trying to tell us inside, our own ideas about who we are and what we’re all about drift like smoke. I truly believe that this song captures the essence of the truth that the song, the truth about who we are and what we each as individuals were born to do, is always playing. The weaving of the melody is beautifully and poetically described and then……. the single note. The thing that was always there, the truth. I think the ancient face could be someone, or those inner truths personified….. It is ancient because it is as eternal as your spirit. Often it is a person – a spouse, a child, a dear one – who helps us connect to the eternal, and reminds us of the truths deep buried within.

    So, while the reeds and brass weave, the cacophony of life continues, but I hope we’ll all be blessed to learn to listen for the single note of truth and light inside.

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