The Rising

Tonight’s second post is one of my favorite songs from The Boss, Bruce Springsteen. I remember him saying he wrote “The Rising” as an anthem to latch onto after the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center. He wanted it to be an inspiration, a juxtaposition between what life was like before, during, and what it should feel like after such a horrible event.

“The Rising” is classic Springsteen. It’s simple instrumentation, it’s hard-driving rock rhythm and it’s inspirational lyrics. A commentary on pain and how there is always a way to rise up from it. To be better for it. And to love harder because of it.

I’ve often said, living wide is in the lessons you’re given and what you make of them. I often take to heart Springsteen’s reminder to see the opportunity through the hardship. Quite simply, it makes you better.

Life Left to Go

Sorry I had to skip a day. In my defense, I was really rolling on writing and didn’t want to stop the progression. So tonight I shall post twice. Woohoo, double the music, double the fun!

Tonight’s song has a bit of a somber vibe, but the lyrics are so incredible and haunting, I just had to include this song. SafetySuit is one of those bands you stumble across. Or at least I stumbled across them. I view “Life Left to Go” off of their debut album of the same name a friend’s desperate advice to someone they know is in a dark place.

They don’t want their friend to do something rash out of feelings of desperation and anguish. I personally have been on both sides of the coin where I had to be pulled back from the brink, or I had to return the favor for someone I love. The lyrics beg the person to understand there is more life left to go, more than what the current moment holds for them.

I have to remind myself that there is more out there pretty much every day. As I live wide more and more, I find that when times get tough, I still have a propensity to default to small thinking. This song helps give me perspective, and truth be told, we all need a little of that now and then.

Gotta Be More

He is one of my favorite artists of all time, yet not many people know who is, which is a shame. If you dig modern blues, or funk-infused southern rock, and you don’t know Marc Broussard, where have you been?

To show how much I love Mr. Broussard, I have been to nine of his shows since 2004. Every time he plays anywhere remotely close to me, I simply have to go see him. “Gotta Be More” is from his first EP “Momentary Setback.” Most people know him for “Home,” which is also a great song, but “Gotta Be More” speaks more to the living wide philosophy.

I first discovered Marc when I was walking around a book/music store randomly in 2004. I was in a job that took up most of my life—I’m not kidding, I was working 26 weekends a year—I was worn out, tired and needed a distraction. So on one of my rare, free Saturday nights, I took myself to a movie and walked around this book/music store after. Marc’s first full-length album “Carencro” was playing over the sound system, and I just had to know who he was.

I bought the album that night, and any and all music he has produced has been on constant rotation in my house and car ever since.

I hope y’all are enjoying the Living Wide Soundtrack for Successful Failure thus far. Remember, if you have a song suggestion, I’m open. Make sure to leave the name and why you love it in the comments section below or on Facebook at any time.

People Like Us

For Day 5 of Living Wide’s Soundtrack for Successful Failure, I think a good punch the air song is appropriate. I know not everyone is a pop rock fan, but even if you’re not, you have to admit, Kelly Clarkson does have some talent. At least I hope you’ll admit it, because you’ll be seeing her a few times this month.

The song “People Like Us,” from Clarkson’s recently released greatest hits album, is one of those great “get revved-up songs,” which are important to have in your playlist for days when you’re dragging, feeling sorry for yourself, or trapped in the spiral of a pity party. Just like she says, we all want to throw it away sometimes.

I regularly consider myself a misfit. Truthfully, I’ve never fully fit into any one aspect of my life. I believe one way spiritually, but lean another way politically. I work in a conservative environment, yet I have tattoos and a constant yearning to dye my hair an outrageous shade.

I’ve always had a rebellious streak, a voice in my head that said, “Yes, I agree with you, but… I also think we should level your idea and start fresh.”

“People Like Us” is one of those great reminders that no one is alone. Everyone has a community. Everyone has a mirror who thinks the same way they do, who has shared experiences and can relate. It’s just a matter of being brave enough to find that misfit group of toys where you fit. In all honesty, I’m still looking for mine, but at least I’m still looking.

Shake It Out

Author’s Note:  For the sake of honesty, this blog post is helping me momentarily avoid my grad school homework… just so you know. Quite simply, it is the end of the semester, I’m over it, yet I have to press on. [Sigh….] Okay, pity party over. Carry on.

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When I first heard Florence + The Machine’s “Shake it Out,” I was knocked completely sideways… in a good way. Without boring you, I was going through a weird time. I had some things in my life I knew I needed to sever and purge, but I just couldn’t do it. I couldn’t let go, and I didn’t know why or how.

I promise, if you’re living through a moment like that, nothing will punch you in the gut faster than the lyrics from this song. Lines like, “Regrets collect like old friends, here to relive your darkest moments,” or, “And it’s hard to dance with the devil on your back, so shake him off.” They make you face not only the enemy outside of you, but the enemy within yourself as well when you’re trying to live a wide life.

Darkness wants to keep you small. It wants to keep you limited. It wants to show you the boundaries and make you fear pushing past them. And what’s even scarier, it wants to prevent you from pushing past those feelings to things that are unknown, uncertain, strange, alluring and terrifying all at the same time. You want to pursue them, but you’re also courted by the comfort of your past… the safeness of the known versus the unknown.

The thing I try to remember is, if I ever feel burdened or heavy, if a situation ever makes me feel like the weight of the world is on my shoulders, then I am in the wrong place. The only person who should ever feel that is not of this plane. I shouldn’t feel that way. That’s not my job. I should feel more unencumbered, untethered. I should feel free, and I should feel free to feel free.

So here’s a question, what song releases you to feel like you are completely free?