Blog #5: What You Won’t Do For Love

Soul Song #5

Listen to the song here:

I guess you wonder where I’ve been  … Finally, here is Soul Song #5 – What You Won’t Do For Love, which I originally planned to post on February 14th but, in life’s perfect timing – for the timing of all things is precise, it chose instead the season of new life, new beginnings, and awakenings; this includes new and expansive spiritual growth for everyone who is open to it. As we emerge from the dark winter months and hopefully from the suffocating weight of the pandemic’s negative effects on our compassion, we’ll have the opportunity to experience new understandings and goals as we move into wakefulness and remembering who we truly are.  I came back to let you know, got a thing for you and I can’t let go.

WHAT YOU WON’T DO FOR LOVE – Bobby Caldwell / recording artist Alfons Kettner & Bobby Caldwell – songwriters


Conversations about this song are often focused on how smooth a love song it is, and on how surprised some new and many longtime listeners are to discover that the singer, Bobby Caldwell, is a white guy. (Read the Background section at the end of this post to learn more about the song writers and about how that racial confusion was intentionally created.) My primary focus for Soul Song #5 – What You Won’t Do For Love, as always, is to reveal the hidden spiritual messages within the lyrics.

Shortly after understanding that this would be my next blog song, I was watching Midsomer Murders; the actor-investigators used the statement “What people won’t do for love!” and slight variations several times during the hour. It turned out the program’s entire season was based on that theme. Spirit loves to send me confirmations that I’m on the right track.

In this episode, various characters attempted to demonstrate their love (for a spouse, a desired companion, or a parent) by cutting off all connection with a sibling, stealing a large amount of money, blatantly lying, and even murdering several people. “What people won’t do for love.” implies that people will go to extreme lengths for love, to either acquire or hold on to the love they desire. One character, regarding the desire to keep her childhood sweetheart in her life, commented “There is nothing I wouldn’t do.”.

Soul Song #5’s title line seems to refer to the extreme extents people will go to for love, even if that ‘love’ is a lie or an illusion. People sacrifice and compromise for the appearance of love. They post bogus, loving-relationship pics on social media while living in a nightmare. They risk life and safety in the name of earning love or as a reaction to the thought of losing love.

All we need to do is watch the news, read a newspaper, or pull up social media to observe examples of the lengths people will go to for love. They are searching everywhere for that love that they believe will make them feel complete. People will go anywhere and do anything to have this love; a love they secretly believe is unattainable or that they may not be worthy of in life. Yet they search, fearful that they may never find the deep connection and promised completeness in their life.

As I was writing the song title in my journal, I saw and heard it differently in my mind. My thoughts were, “Perhaps it isn’t speaking of all the outrageous things people are willing to do for love, but rather it is pointing out what people are not willing to (literally won’t) do for love.”  I wondered whether the lyrics were signifying that there are indeed paths to connect to real love, but people refuse – won’t – walk them? So, I turned to Spirit for help on how to approach and how to dig deeper into the lyrics of this song.

Spirit’s Message:

It seems you had an “aha moment”, as you were writing the song title and you heard it differently.  There are myriad things that people are willing to do to attract, have, and keep love (their self-appointed source of love) in their life. But make a list and look at the things people refuse to do to honor themselves, in the name of having what they deem as love. Begin to interpret (look at the different ways to interpret the title line); Start there and see where it will take you. There will be no shortage of understandings to share, as you fear.

Allow yourself to be in this space of understanding and remain open to life’s synchronicities bringing you more understandings. Know that you are receiving input from all around you and stay open to hearing and recognizing it. Remain open to the messages and remembrances.

Be with it, Beloved; be in it and you will discover what you could not see/hear before. Hear it as if you are speaking, then hear it again as if someone is speaking to you. You will discover the message in the song.  We are here if you need a consultation. Indeed!

When I sat with the song and listened carefully, using Spirit’s suggestions, I started a list and began to look at the things that I refuse to do to honor and love myself, in and out of relationships (whether they be with family, friends, or romantic partners); there are steps/actions I am reluctant or refuse to take even though I know it would open me up to more love within myself and in my life.

I also hear, within the lyrics, that a conversation is taking place. I tried to imagine who was speaking, when, and to whom. Was it between the physical/ego self, the Soul, the Higher Self, Spirit, or perhaps God/Source?

Understanding The Soul and The Higher Self

If you have a strong understanding of the Soul and the Higher Self/Spirit realm you may want to skip this section. However, reading this will help in understanding the lyrics.

My understanding of the Soul, when I started this post, is that it is the essence within the body that survives the death of the body. The Soul has an enormous role in deciding upon and designing what we will experience in each lifetime. It is the Soul’s desire to undergo a certain set of experiences – so it devises a plan where it can experience, through a physical body, the life plan the Soul wishes to carry out. In conjunction with all the wonderful experiences that the Soul sets up for us, we also always have free-will; so, we go about choosing and adding many other events to the life plan as we live our lives, in addition to what the Soul’s desire has planned.

The Higher Self is the larger part of each of us, the nonphysical energy that did not come into the physical body, remains directly connected to God/Source energy, but also is connected to the human self through the Soul thread (or golden cord). This nonphysical energy, of the Higher Self, is always with us and focused directly on us. It always projects life force energy and well-being to us, for us. It holds the vibrational tone that is the core/essence of who we are – in our authentic self. The Higher Self is our direct connection to Source, to home, to where we originated. It always remembers who we truly are and knows all the best ways for us to show up in the world.  

At this point, I asked Spirit to provide even further explanation and understanding of the Higher Self.

Spirit’s Message (explaining the Higher Self):

Beloved daughter, the message/explanation you desire regarding the Higher Self is that it is a nonphysical component of your beingness. It maintains its knowing, awareness, remembrance, and direct connection to God/Source, always. So, even when the physical manifestation of you forgets who you are, the Higher Self always comes from a place of higher vision, love, and connection to the truth of who you are. It is each person’s choice whether and when to open to this inner knowing and awareness; when you make the choice to intentionally connect/merge with your authentic self, life transforms for the better – meaning more love, more joy, more peace.

The Higher Self is the best/highest vibrational frequency of oneself that is always connected to Universal Consciousness and God/Source. It has always existed and always will. It desires to fully connect and integrate with the human self. Through the Soul’s frequency (song) and vibrational energy (harmonics), experiences and lessons are attracted to us which the Soul needs for its development and evolution. Often this transformation is taking place without our human form’s awareness. Over many lifetimes this relationship between the Soul and its human personality becomes closer and forces us beyond who we’ve been and toward living up to who we are becoming; it is a returning to our authentic self, which is LOVE. The more we open to this inner knowing and awareness, the more we will – understand, love, connect, and become clearer (and brighter) within ourselves. We begin to, literally, let our little light shine – for we are meant to shine.

Next, synchronicity placed in my path the following beautiful imagery from Gary Zukav where the labels of Soul and Higher Self are interchangeable and are compared to a Mothership (which inspired the cover image for this post):

That part of you that existed before you were born and will always exist even after your physical body dies. It is the highest most noble part of yourself that you can reach for. … Every fleet of ships that sails has a Mothership; one ship that knows where all of them are going and sets the direction for all those ships to sail. … Now imagine the Mothership, …is out in the open sea and there are several small boats out on the water as well. The Mothership is your Soul, and you are one of the little boats. The Mothership knows why you are in the water; you may not know all the time. The Mothership knows where you are going and why you encounter storms. Your job, while you have the awesome privilege of being a little boat, is to learn how to sail in the same direction as your Mothership.

The essence of who you are is always following the Mothership (your inner compass for meaning and purpose) and your essence always aligns itself with the direction that the Mothership wants you to sail. If you sail in the same direction as your Mothership your life is filled with meaning, purpose, and love. You are excited about being alive. You are excited about the people you are with and what you are doing. You can go against the Mothership and sail in the opposite direction, but you are sure to find rough waters”.

Interpreting the Lyrics

These are all beautiful understandings of the Soul and the Higher Self, but as I began trying to interpret the song using these understandings, I still couldn’t connect with some of the lyrics nor identify which lines were spoken by the physical self and which by the Soul or Higher Self.  I returned, once again, to Spirit for clarity. This response brought it home for me.

Spirit’s Message (for greater clarity about the conversation taking place in the song’s lyrics)

Beloved, you worry so about the accuracy of your interpretation – do you believe/think you are alone in these writings?  So, allow yourself to feel into the song, into the lyrics. You have done this so easily with other songs. The question is: Why are you choosing to stumble over this one? There is a conversation – yes, between different aspects of the self – call it ego, soul or Higher Self / Inner being – it is not of major importance. It is a conversation, a coming to an understanding – a realization, an “aha”; it is not an argument. It is a coming together in one accord, like different notes coming together on the same chord in harmony.

Return to your own sense of harmony with the receiving of these interpretations. All is well and there are many more to follow.

Finally, I understood. The conversation is not between aspects, of the self, disputing or opposing each other; it is about the experiences and journey of an evolving Soul as the different aspects come into harmony. This song, in addition to being a love song – an invitation from Source for the Soul to awaken, is a witnessing or eavesdropping on the different voices of the Soul’s growth and evolution – from the egoic mind (or ego consciousness) to the pure soul consciousness.

The Spirit/Higher Self (Force of Energy)/ Holy Spirit is untouched by negativity; it is still one with God and is connected to the vast and collective knowledge of all lives and lifetimes. It knows your worth and always loves you unconditionally. The Soul is that part of the Higher Self that comes into the body and has a natural yearning for God and is always drawn in the direction of love and toward a return to total union with God. After we die the Soul returns to the Higher Self and adds to the collective knowledge and evolution of Infinite Intelligence / Spirit.

What You Won’t Do For Love is a song of love and remembrance; a call to awaken to the love of the authentic/real self.  It doesn’t matter what you call it (Soul, Higher Self, inner being/self, Christ-Consciousness, Holy Spirit, Beloved, Spirit, etc.) for they are representative of different stages along a continuum of awakening.

The Soul goes through a metamorphosis like that of a butterfly, not changing the physical body but the consciousness, self-awareness, and the way we relate to others – into new beginnings, new life, rebirth, awakening. And so, we emerge new beings of love excited to live together peacefully with others, not in competition. Rather than fighting and arguing, we focus on creating the delightful harmony of different notes played at the same time. It is important to understand that we are divine beings wearing disguises. The more we open to aligning with our true essence, the more our lives come into harmony. We will move from being dominated by the ego, body, mind, and emotions and return to our authentic selves – to LOVE. In returning to our authentic selves, we will discover that our purpose is to allow God’s/Source’s love to flow through us continuously thus replacing the fear of the ego mind with the love of the Spirit mind.

Each of us has a specific ‘life plan schedule”, to awaken — when we are ready. We are being guided to our highest possible Soul and to coming back into alignment with our best/highest self. The point is for us to wake up and remember our authentic self; it is a remembering and returning to a place we never left, to a self that is already enlightened, always observing, and always accessible. We will return to higher levels of consciousness and in this evolution build within ourselves a bridge back to the heart of God/Source. 

According to Spirit, each person has a Soul Song. In a sense, it is an angelic melody that our soul attunes to; – it is beautiful, and it calls to our Soul which remembers our home, our plan, and our connection to all there is.

[How do people find their Soul’s Song?]

“They have it! They just need to realize that.

Then they need to learn/remember how to sing it.”

– August Wilson

I am sharing below my interpretation of the lyrics from What You Won’t Do For Love. The song is a beautiful example of sophisticated soul and feel-good music, with a very distinctive horn arrangement. The version I listen to plays for 4:47 minutes (a 12 second intro, 2:33 minutes of vocals, followed by 2:02 minutes of an instrumental outro). The instrumental portion includes an ethereal/synthesizer tone which gives it a slight otherworldly sound.

I have not labeled who I believe is speaking in this conversation, because as Spirit shared – “it is of no importance”.  Instead, I’ll borrow a line from an old and popular song by De La Soul and say, “It’s just me, myself, and I” having a conversation; not in an argument, but rather each aspect sharing from its current perspective along the journey and “coming together in one accordlike different notes coming together on the same chord in harmony” to awaken to the authentic self.


  • I guess you wonder where I’ve been.

This aspect speaks of being separate and away from any direct, personal connection to Higher Self and God/Source.

Pertains to waiting for the forgetfulness (amnesia) of the Soul in a physical body to dissipate and begin to recognize there is more and to desire a greater connection in life.

  • I searched to find a love within.

This aspect speaks of seeking to find that love which resides within; the love that, if invited and allowed to, informs one’s daily life through access to the wisdom of the Higher Self/Spirit/Collective Unconscious.

At this point the Soul begins to search for love (the real meaning of life) that cannot be found in worldly pursuits and searches.

  • I came back to let you know, got a thing for you and I can’t let go.

This aspect says I’m here calling out to you, once again, so you will understand that I am a part of you, you are special part of me and God/Source. We are connected. I have a special interest in you, and I will never leave or abandon you. Our connection cannot be broken. You are never alone because I am always with and available to you.

Awaken to the understanding that something within is drawing us/the Soul to seek higher.

  • My friends wonder what is wrong with me.

This aspect speaks of how friends (and family) are noticing and are wondering about the changes; it’s making them uncomfortable. They think it is weird, and are asking “Are you okay?” They are making you wrong for the shift in your life because you don’t align with the conversations/thoughts they are having. You are now really being yourself.

Friends and family don’t understand the changes in me; they think I’m being weird.

  • Well, I’m in a daze from your love, you see.

This aspect speaks of how amazing the unconditional love feels. This is the love connection you’ve been searching to find. You are already loved beyond measure. You are never separate from that love. There is no poverty of love in your life or in the world. Open to it and learn to love yourself in such a way that the overflow can be used in service to the Source of all.

I’m confused/lost in the unconditional love and energy/vibration that comes from the Soul/Higher Self toward me, for me.

  • I came back to let you know, got a thing for you and I can’t let go.

This aspect says I’m here calling out to you, once again, so you will understand that I am a part of you, you are a special part of me and God/Source. Awaken to the understanding that something within is drawing us/the Soul to seek higher.

  • Some people go around the world for love; but they may never find what they dream of.

This aspect speaks of how people are desperately searching everywhere for a love that can make them feel complete. But they may never find it because they are looking for love in all the wrong places. And until they start looking in the right place – within they will never find it. When they stop making other people (or looking to other people to be) the Source of their love, they’ll stop bargaining for a love which is already theirs. People search the world for true love and can’t find what they truly long for.

  • What you won’t do; do for love.

This aspect speaks of the things that people literally won’t do for love. … They won’t love themselves first, they won’t look within, they won’t accept/remember who and whose they are, and that they are Divine and infinite beings who come from love and therefore are love themselves.

All the things you won’t do, DO them now FOR LOVE.

  • You tried everything but you don’t give up.

This aspect acknowledges that due to your sense of inner incompletion, unworthiness, or inability to fully own the magnificence that lives within you, you keep trying to prove yourself enough/worthy. You’ve tried all manner of ways to prove your worthiness through titles, things, money, holding yourself above others – none of it works but you continue to try.

You don’t give up, returning for lifetime after lifetime, to learn the lessons that contribute to the evolution of our souls and the collective energy of the universe. 

The love that you have always dreamed of is a love that exists within you for no reason.   It is a causeless love, an effortless manifestation of pure beingness. It is unconditional. And so, instead of looking to others to fill some perceived void or hole that you have, begin to accept that love is your natural state. Love is who you are. 

  • In my world only you

This aspect is saying – there is nothing I would not do for you. You are loved beyond measure and you are never separate from that love. There is no poverty of love – no lack, no withholding, no conditions on the love that Source has/feels for you. 

In your Higher Self’s world there is only you. Higher Self only has eyes for you. It is energy directed on you.

  • Make me do for love, what I would not do.

There is nothing that I would not do for love/ you. I am, in fact, your genie in a bottle and there is nothing you are not worthy of receiving. You are enough, you are worthy, you are precious to me.

Seek harmony with your inner being/Higher Self and realize we are co-creating with you.

  • My friends wonder what is wrong with me.

This aspect speaks of how friends (and family) are noticing and are wondering about the changes; it’s making them uncomfortable. They think it is weird, and are asking “Are you okay?” They are making you wrong for the shift in your life because you don’t align with the conversations/thoughts they are having. They’re questioning why you are more peaceful, calm, happy, less focused on money; you’re breaking free of the codependent behavior and survival isn’t driving your decision-making any longer. You are now really being yourself.

  • Well, I’m in a daze from your love, you see.

 I’m confused/lost in the unconditional love and energy/vibration that comes from the Soul/Higher Self toward me, for me.

  • I came back to let you know, got a thing for you and I can’t let go.

 <Repeated lyric>

  • Although I only want the best, it’s true.

This aspect speaks of desiring the best/highest for the physical being’s and Soul’s experience. Even though this is true, you are free to choose.

  • I can’t believe the things I do for you.

Acknowledging the great opportunity provided in experiencing life in a physical body and having free will and the choice to connect or not, to follow the higher guidance or not, and to choose your own path.

  • What you won’t do, do for love

<Repeated lyric>

  • You tried everything, but you won’t give up.

<Repeated lyric>

  • In my world only you

<Repeated lyric>

  • Make me do for love, what I would not do.

There is nothing that I would not do for love; love is you. I am, in fact, your genie in a bottle and there is nothing you are not worthy of receiving. You are enough, you are worthy, you are precious to me.

Seek harmony with your Inner being/Higher Self and realize they are co-creating with you.

  • Make me do for love, what I would not do.
  • Make me do for love, what I would not do.
  • Make me do for love, what I would not do. 

[End of lyrics]

BackgroundSoul music has no color – the sound is what is important.

The assumption of his race was based on Caldwell’s R&B /Soul sound and the fact that the releasing record company, TK Records, was one which had produced primarily Black artists for Black radio.

After playing in the Los Angeles area bar bands for several years Caldwell had worked the circuit as a member of a backup band for Little Richard before eventually going solo and recording a single, but he never had a recording deal/contract. So, he eventually gave up and returned to his parents’ home in Miami. It was there that 27-year-old Caldwell read about KC and the Sunshine Band’s success in Miami at TK Records and decided to check out the Miami-based record studio. Two days after walking into TK Records, he had a record deal. This was during the closing years of the disco craze and TK was looking to transition into something with a groovy, sophisticated, R&B sound.

Caldwell was given free rein in the studio and 10 months later had the final mixes for his debut album.  But there wasn’t a clear hit among the offerings, so Caldwell had to return to the studio, where he collaborated with Alfons Kettner (songwriter, recording artist, producer), to write and record “What You Won’t Do for Love” – an R&B based jazzy-smooth piece.

It was the lead single they were looking for, but Caldwell’s image was still a problem. The photo shoot for the album cover was done on the beach and had his hair down to his shoulders. Black radio support was TK’s strongest base so to hedge their chances for success in that market Caldwell created an image of a mysterious man, in silhouette, seated on a park bench. The ambiguous album cover helped to open the door, but the song struck a chord with the Black community and R&B radio and continued to be embraced even after the listeners discovered Caldwell was a white artist.

“Despite a prolific musical output over the years of his career, Caldwell is still best known for this 1978 hit single. For R&B and modern jazz fans in the United States, he retains the title of: The white guy most often mistaken for an African American vocalist.” – YouTube

Meet Alfons Kettner: If you listen to the radio or go to the movies, chances are you have heard the music of Alfons Kettner. Alfons has been everywhere, from the #1 hit with Bobby Caldwell “What You Won’t Do For Love,” to writing movie soundtracks like Kingpin, Pet Cemetery II, and Steven King’s Graveyard Shift, to playing with some of the world’s greatest performers like Paul McCartney, Lenny Kravitz, Dolly Parton, and so many others. His guitar work has been featured on commercials for Arby’s, Burger King, Coca-Cola, and 7-Up. His distinctive sound is evident.

Sources & Resources:

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