I happen to be fortunate to reside in the Bay Area (for those who may be unfamiliar, The Bay includes the cities of San Francisco and Oakland, California).
There was a time in the first few years of being here that I didn’t realize how lucky I was to live in this area. Having become acclimated to the weather and all that the Bay has to offer, I now know I made a great decision moving here almost 13 years ago.
There is one activity I rarely miss partaking in every Saturday – walking (and sometimes running) around Oakland’s Lake Merritt. Located not too far from downtown Oakland, “The Lake,” as I (and many others) like to call it, is a three-plus mile trek where I am able to think through the happenings of the past week, and focus on what is to come the next.
Generally, at the end of my walk, I cool down by stretching. Lately, I’ve been sitting and attempting to mediate for a few minutes before I go on about my day.
As I listened to tunes on my iPod Shuffle during my walk this past Saturday (where it was raining. Not even wet weather can keep me from my routine!), I immediately recognized the opening notes of the song Breathe by The Floacist.
I’ve listened to this song countless times, but for some reason (maybe it was the rain, or perhaps I was open in a way I hadn’t been before), I was actually hearing the words for the first time.
While “listen” and “hear” are often used interchangeable, I feel there is a big difference between the two.
This song became a heavy rotation for me this week because its message is clear and concise – whatever situations you may be faced with, sometimes there comes a moment when you have to just let go and breathe.
The song’s beginning — “If you’re feeling low / it’s best to expose any thoughts of doubt / you’ve got to air it out” — provides a pretty good indication of where the song is headed.
The first verse makes it obvious that everyday we all have the ability to decide how we are going to face each moment in our lives:
“Awake / you greet another day / with the choices that you make / decide what you will leave / decide what you will take / decisions are the key to release what you don’t need / if you’re gonna let it be / then ya have to let it be / be mindful not to keep / the residue of anything that had you feeling weak / like what you said, versus what you think / sometimes your own assumptions / are the ways that make you sink / feeling down / it can be an addiction / getting up / can be filled with hesitations / it takes determination / don’t fall for the distractions / these attractions are the tugging on your soul / asking you to stay when you know you have to go / know the things you know / cause your path is just your own / lessons will be lessened if you listen to their fear / hear your truth / keep it near / and then you just breathe”
The chorus, while simple, says so much:
“Breathe / you’ve got to let it to / let it go / so you can grow / you’ve got to let it go / let it go / just breathe”
If you listen and hear the chorus enough, it almost sounds like a chant. “You’ve got to let it go, let it go, so you can grow.” Say that multiple times out loud (or in your head) and eventually, you will start to not only believe it, but put it into practice.
I think my favorite line of the song is, “Can you remember / before anyone taught you / to fill as if life / it was never gonna treat you / better than the lesser / but that was in the prequel / what about now? / you took it in, so let it out.”
The last verse provides one final dose of inspiration:
“You can do anything you want to do / anything that your heart truly chooses / it may be a lonely journey / but it’s yours / it’s your purpose / you may have to leave some things behind / and you may have to change your mind / and you can’t bring everybody with you / but they’ll be better off for having known you / so just breathe”
Whether you are having a rough day or just need a pick-me-up, Breathe is a song that can definitely help put things into perspective.