Let Go + Breathe

sleeping at last lyric from Joy

I'm a subscriber to Sleeping At Last's Atlas series. That means I get early access to songs. This morning I heard his song "Joy" and was crying by the end of it. Specifically the line, '...so I let go and in this moment, I can breathe. I can breathe.'

Been reflecting a lot lately about areas of my life I want to be better in. Times I've let people down, especially those I love. Times I've made mistakes, lost my temper, said things to intentionally belittle another. I want to be a living example to those in my life that I'm not perfect, I can never be perfect...and imperfect people make mistakes. When I make mistakes I want to apologize + try to be better. Isn't that what we should all strive for?

To apologize + ask for forgiveness requires a sense of letting go. You have to let go of the idea of perfection. You have to let go of your pride. You have to let go of your unrealistic expectations of the life you envision for yourself. 

A few days ago, not long after I shared about how I'm planning on strengthening my marriage I found myself laying in bed + barely breathing. Jenny + I had been arguing again. The lizard brain took over. 

How can you love someone well who doesn't love themselves? How can you be a good husband if you can't even stay out of arguments? How can you be a good dad if you lose your patience so often? The questions kept coming and coming...and with them came more hurtful thoughts. I don't deserve to be happy, my mind said. I don't deserve to travel more, my mind said. I don't deserve the life I so desperately want, my mind said.

I was faced with 2 options. 

  1. Lay in bed with shallow, quick breaths + listen to those thoughts of not enoughness + keep fighting both with myself + with Jenny.

  2. I could stop + breathe deeply + let go of those horrible, untrue thoughts.

Long story short, I chose option 2 + began the process of humbling myself + asking for forgiveness. 

It wasn't until this morning listening to that song it all kind of came full circle for me + made a tiny bit of sense. (Note: I'm a big believer in never thinking I have anything figured out, because once that happens, growth + learning stops.) In the song, Joy, Ryan is quite obviously singing about joy + this is where it came full circle.

As I was laying in bed fighting to take deep breaths, I was most definitely not experiencing any sort of joy. Pure joy is my favorite feeling in the entire world. I believe all the other good feelings fall under joy...wonder, awe, amazement, contentment...all feelings that can be tied back to joy. Once I let go, I could breathe. The full breaths led to calm. The calm led to humility. The humility led me to apologize. The apology led to making up with Jenny, which led to more joy.

It's interesting to me how so much joy is born from struggle. To fully appreciate joy you kind of have to face some sort of hardships, right? To appreciate life, you need to experience sickness + death. To appreciate beauty you need to bear witness to the dark parts of human existence...murder, rape, etc. I have a better understanding of true joyful feelings because of the trials I've faced these last years. 

Just read the full lyrics to this magnificent song...

Joy

it is the calm water 
in the middle of an anxious sea.
where heavy clouds part and the sunrise starts 
a fire in the deepest part of me. 
so i let go and in this moment, I can breathe.

the clumsy start of adolescence,
the glue that mends our broken remnants,
an overwhelming sense of reverence,
it’s a glimpse of light in a mine of gold.

a silver lining spilling over,
the rumor of buried treasure,
the starting line of an adventure,
it’s a glimpse of light in a mine of gold.

it’s an afterglow, it’s an echo
still ringing out in spite of me.
it’s the faint outline of the divine
in the hiding place of my periphery. 
so i let go and in this moment, i can breathe.
i can breathe.

the setting sun through open windows,
the honoring of every shadow,
a gratitude for all that follows,
it’s a glimpse of light in a mine of gold.

the countless stars we’re sleeping under,
it’s the brightest sparks that we remember.
when our eyes are closed, we still see embers,
a glimpse of light in a mine of gold.
it’s a glimpse of light in a mine of gold.

There's so much in these words about struggle, anxiety, heaviness...that all leads to the glimpses of light...the honoring of shadows...the gratitude that follows.

Let go + breathe. It's there you'll find joy. I promise you.

Josh Solar

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