The times we’re living now are most likely to be written in the books, for many reasons, both good and bad. If we look out there, in the world, there are a lot of negative vibes that try to meddle with our spirits and, truth be told, they sometimes succeed in doing that. There’s a lot of fear, doubt, mistrust, aggression, anger and not-enoughness that crawl into our minds so viciously, that this whole range of emotions becomes the easier way to live life for some people.
However, there’s a dose of resilience that lies inside each of us that doesn’t simply let us perish. Maybe it’s a survival instinct, a sense of hope or a flickering wish for happiness that brings us face to face with our ability to act upon our plans, dreams and desires. It’s what motivates us to keep waking up, day after day, it’s all the things that make our purpose.
So, when one of my dear friends suggested “courage” as a theme for this month’s music collection, it was clear enough in my mind that that was a pretty good choice, especially for times like these.
Where do you get your courage from?
I often ask myself that. Being on this constant inner journey helps me get in check with myself more often than not. When I decided I was going to choose “Courage” as the theme for the 6th LAUREL Monthly Soundlust, I started looking inside my heart and, like a web, it all spread around my life.
Suddenly, here I was, connecting in my mind the people that are close to me and seeing them through this lens of resilience and strength, in many aspects of their lives living beyond fear. I find great inspiration in them for the things that they’ve accomplished, for the way they dealt with negativity, struggles, inner demons and whatnot. Some of the things that they’ve done out of courage are often taken for granted, like a normalcy that “you’re just supposed to do”.
For instance, taking a chance on yourself and acting towards reaching your dreams and your goals isn’t always a walk in the park. Not too different is leading a creative life, putting your craft out there, needing a certain kind of self-trust and willingness to be vulnerable and open to criticism.
For some people, it takes a world of courage to love whole-heartedly, beyond the fear of heartbreak and suffering. Just like nothing prepares you for loss and grief, when it takes strength and self-compassion to rise again and continue living.
Nobody truly knows the taste of courage until it takes a leap of faith and a galaxy of nervousness mixed with fear, excitement, sometimes even a touch of “madness” to cross that bridge from where you are to where you actually want to be.
And that, so beautifully, translates into so many things, for each one of us.
The Courage music collection | Highlights
Part of the reason why I created the Monthly Soundlust in the first place was the acknowledgement of music’s effect on our life, as a motivator, a source of inspiration or simply as an expression of our struggles and emotions. We listen to certain songs or pay more attention to certain lyrics, depending on the things that we’re going through at that moment or on the questions we have that need answers.
Some of those situations we find ourselves in ask us to listen and trust our instinct, that little voice inside ourselves that works like a guiding light when we’re “reaching for something in the distance / so close you can almost taste it”, as Natasha Bedingfield would say in “Unwritten”.
This song was one of the iconic tunes of the 2000s and it honestly doesn’t seem to get old. Anyone who has ever hummed and karaoked this chorus around the house can relate to that feeling of hopefulness it inspires, especially after a good double-listen (it always gets replayed in my household).
“Feel the rain on your skin
No one else can feel it for you
Only you can let it in
No one else, no one else
Can speak the words on your lips
Drench yourself in words unspoken
Live your life with arms wide open
Today is where your book begins
The rest is still unwritten.”
Another high-on-energy tune included in this playlist is “Rise up”, by Imagine Dragons. This one’s for those who are striving to break barriers and walk the unbeaten path (“the more I stray the less I fear”), move towards a greater purpose and achieve more (“I would always open up the door / Always looking up at higher floors / Wanna see it all give me more / I was always up for making changes”).
Of course, the pace of the song list is not all blood pumping and, as some of you might already know about me, I like to balance it with a slower, softer rhythm. It comes with that sweet embrace you need sometimes to find trust within yourself when faced with hardship or doubt, a reminder that “You are not your thoughts / They are just a story / Let them pass you by / Detach yourself from worry / Try to close your eyes / And tap into your glory / Treasures untold lay within your soul” (Breathe, by Emeli Sande).
For this edition of the Monthly Soundlust, I wanted to bring back into the spotlight one of my favorite tunes, which was included in the first LAUREL playlist, Rebirth. “Be still”, by The Killers, was the song that laid me down on the floor of my living room, singing it out loud in tears of happiness, the night I finished setting up the launch of LAUREL. This song gave me the greatest sense of courage I had felt in a very long time till then. I was literally seeing my creative spirit break through. You can read the whole story of Rebirth here and the rest of the Monthly Soundlust stories here.
Beyond these highlights, in Courage you’ll find a variety of musical stories that touch different interpretations of “courage” (including some Disney vibes, for our inner child), from embracing our true colors and honoring our wilder spirit and our dreams, to opening up to love and the unknown, pursuing something or someone that makes our heart whole.
I hope you find your own sense of strength and beauty in these tunes and, without further ado, I invite you to listen to Courage, the 6th LAUREL Monthly Soundlust.
P.S.: This one’s for my loved ones, my brave loved people.