Connect More & Remember You’re ALIVE

On Saturday, I went to an Ivy Queen and La India concert. For those of you who have no clue who they are, they are reggaeton and salsa artists, one of which, La India, I grew up listening to. I even remember singing one of her songs, Me Canse De Ser la Otra (please excuse the majorly cheesy 90’s video), at a high school talent show decked out in a little purple dress and way too much makeup for a 17 year-old. I probably should have known I had a little bit of diva in me at that very moment.

But anyway, I’ve been wanting to make it a point to go to more concerts and live music events, since I felt I couldn’t afford it for a long time, and what makes you feel more alive than music, right? So the night started off slow. There were about 10 different opening acts, and my friend and I were beginning to get a little restless for the main performers to come out. But when they finally did, it was so worth it. When Ivy Queen came onto the stage, she was high-spirited and talked a lot about love, humanity and equality. Two of my favorite things she said were (I might not have the quotes exactly right here):

“Hay veces que una blanquita se enamora de un negrito, y le quieren hacer la vida cuadritos.”

Translation: “There’s times when a white girl falls in love with a black boy, and they want to tear her life into shreds.”

“Love doesn’t have a race. Love doesn’t have a color. Love doesn’t have a gender. Porque somos todos seres humanos (because we are all human beings).”

And at that moment, I felt connected. I felt connected to her words, her identity and her Spanglish. 🙂 I felt alive and suddenly very aware of what it’s really all about. Our lives get so busy, so full of to-do lists, appointments, and hurdles that sometimes we forget to just live, to be present in the moment, to connect with ourselves and others. We forget to remember that whether all of us admit to the corn (corny-ness) or not, we’re all searching for the very same thing. We are all searching for love, for acceptance, for understanding, and for our place and purpose in the world.

So I stood there, singing and dancing my little heart out, and really being very conscious at that moment that I am alive, I know and love who I am, life is good, and I am privileged to be here (thinking of my friend’s all too young cousin who recently passed away in a car accident). It’s important to not let these moments pass you by. Breathe in their air, and take in their life. Moments don’t have to be out of this world to be meaningful. You just have to be awake and aware enough to enjoy them.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is just my little slice of corn for the day. What makes you feel alive? What makes you feel connected?

Sonia, Word Share Junkie

20 Pick-me-up, Power Songs

Since I started this blog last month, I’ve been thinking a lot about the power and influence of music. I’m sure you can see this by my medley-riddled post Success is my only mofo option, failure’s not (can I say mofo?). As a writer and a lover of words, I am easily consumed by lyrics and constantly find myself quoting songs, or frantically searching for a specific tune when I’m in a particular mood. One of my favorite things about music is its ability to pump you up, give you a little pick-me-up, reassure you, and comfort you – all within just a few minutes.

There are a number of songs that I never get tired of listening to, and that always make me feel suddenly powerful, perhaps even just a little bit taller (it’s not too hard at 5’3). So, I decided to put together a list of 20 of my favorite, what I like to call pick-me-up, power songs. These are songs that just have a way of bringing me back to my center, and remind me of what really matters.

Now bear with me. I have a very eclectic taste in music. Although you might not exactly be into country music or Spanish pop, give me a chance here. Take a listen to the songs, pay close attention to the lyrics, and see if you can’t find a little boost in them. I have also highlighted my favorite lyrics for each song, and translated these where the song is in Spanish. This way you might still be able to extract a little lyrical joy even if you don’t speak the language.

Don’t pay attention to the cheesy videos, commercial set-backs, and other painful consequences of linking to videos. Plus, don’t worry about whether the song is about love, life, or dancing – the lyrics can be applied to anything and given any meaning you want. At least that’s how I do it.

Enjoy, and let me know if I’ve helped you find a new favorite pick-me up, power song, or if there is one I should definitely add to my list. Get ready for some corn (corny) action. Remember, it’s one of the 14 roads to HAPPY. And, if you happened to like the list, here it is for your listening pleasure on Spotify (except for #5 which is not cooperating! ).

Sonia, Word Share Junkie

1. Beyoncé – I Was Here                                                                          

Favorite Lyrics:                                                                                                I want to say I lived each day until I die, and know that I meant something in somebody’s life.                                                                                                                              The hearts I have touched will be the proof that I leave that I made a difference, and this world will see I was here.

2. Celia Cruz – Yo Viviré (I Will Survive)                                    

Favorite Lyrics:                                                                                            En esta vida lo que estoy haciendo.                                                                      Sobreviviendo.                                                                                                                            Estoy sobreviviendo, estoy sobreviviendo.                                                      Sobreviviendo.                                                                                                                               Para que la gente me siga oyendo.                                                                                  Rompiendo barreras, voy sobreviviendo.                                                               Cruzando fronteras, voy sobreviviendo.                                                                               Yo viviré y sobreviviré.

Translation:                                                                                                    In this life what I’m doing.                                                                                                             Surviving.                                                                                                                                           I’m surviving, I’m surviving.                                                                                                   Surviving.                                                                                                                                                   So that the people can continue to hear me.                                                                    Breaking barriers, I go surviving.                                                                                       Crossing frontiers, I go surviving.                                                                                                I will live, and I will survive.

3. Fun – Carry On                                                                             

Favorite Lyrics:                                                                                            We are shining stars.                                                                                                                       We are invincible.                                                                                                                           We are who we are.                                                                                                                           On our darkest day when we’re miles away, the sun will come out.                                We will find our way home.                                                                                                            If you’re lost and alone, or you’re sinking like a stone, carry on.                              May your past be the sound of your feet upon the ground.                                       Carry on.

4. Eminem – Lose Yourself                                                                

Favorite Lyrics:                                                                                           Look, if you had one shot, or one opportunity to seize everything you ever wanted in one moment, would you capture it, or just let it slip?

5. Willy Chirino – Pa’lante (Forward)                                              

Favorite Lyrics:                                                                                          Basta con los que siembran el odio.                                                                                     Basta de los que empujan pa’ tras.                                                                                           Hay tanta gente buena en el mundo que bastaría un segundo para borrar todo el mal.

Translation:                                                                                                  Enough with those who sow hatred.                                                                                      Enough of those who push backwards.                                                                               There are so many good people in the world that would it would only take a second to clear all evil.

6. Willy Chirino – Lo Que Esta Pa’ Ti (What is Meant for You)

Favorite Lyrics:                                                                                           Hay veces que una tormenta se cuela en tu corazón.                                                          Se te sube a la cabeza con a fuerza de un ciclón.                                                             Pero hay que seguir pa’lante buscando una solución.                                                Hacer de la pena un baile y alegre cantar un son.

Translation:                                                                                              There are times when a storm sneaks into your heart.                                                      It rises to your head with the force of a cyclone.                                                              But you have to keep moving forward searching for a solution.                            Making a dance out of the pain and happily sing a song.

7. Lady Gaga – Born This Way                                                                 

Favorite Lyrics:                                                                                         Don’t hide yourself in regret.                                                                                                     Just love yourself, and you’re set.                                                                                           I’m on the right track, baby.                                                                                                             I was born this way.

8. Qué Bonita Es Esta Vida – Jorge Celedón                                          

Favorite Lyrics:                                                                                            Ay, qué bonita es esta vida y aunque no sea para siempre, si la vivo con mi gente, es bonita hasta la muerte, con canciones y tequila.

Translation:                                                                                                  Oh, how beautiful this life is, and even if it’s not forever, if I live it with my people, it is nice until death, with songs and tequila.

9. Swedish House Mafia – Don’t You Worry Child                             

Favorite Lyrics:                                                                                               Don’t you worry, don’t you worry child.                                                                                  See heaven’s got a plan for you.                                                                                             Don’t you worry, don’t you worry now.

10. Jo Dee Messina – I’m Alright                                                         

Favorite Lyrics:                                                                                         Been singin’ for my rent and singin’ for my supper.                                                         I’m above the below and below the upper.                                                                               I’m stuck in the middle where money gets tight, but I guess I’m doin’ alright.         I’m all, I’m all, I’m alright.                                                                                                             It’s a beautiful day. Not a cloud in sight, so I guess I’m doin’ alright

11. Seal – Crazy                                                                                       

Favorite Lyrics:                                                                                         Miracles will happen as we trip, but we’re never gonna survive unless we get a little crazy.

12. Sara Evans – A Little Bit Stronger                                           

Favorite Lyrics:                                                                                           Even on my weakest days, I get a little bit stronger.

13. Jay Z – History                                                                                   

Favorite Lyrics:                                                                                           Ain’t in it for the fame. That dies within weeks.                                                             Ain’t in it for the money. Can’t take it when you leave.                                                       I wanna be remembered long after you breathe.                                                           Long after I’m gone, long after I breathe.

14. Rihanna – We Found Love in a Hopeless Place                              

Favorite Lyrics:                                                                                           We found love in a hopeless place. (You already knew that, didn’t you?)

15. Wilson Phillips – Hold On                                                                

Favorite Lyrics:                                                                                          You could sustain, or are you comfortable with the pain?                                             You’ve got no one to blame for your unhappiness.                                                        You got yourself into your own mess.                                                                              Lettin’ your worries pass you by.                                                                                                Don’t you think it’s worth the time to change your mind?

16. Johnny Nash – I Can See Clearly Now                                        

Favorite Lyrics                                                                                                 I can see clearly now. The rain is gone.                                                                                       I can see all obstacles in my way.                                                                                          Gone are the dark clouds that had me blind.                                                                      It’s gonna be a bright (bright), bright (bright) sun-shiny day.

17. Shakira – Waka Waka (Esto es Africa) – This is Africa       

Favorite Lyrics:                                                                                           Hay que empezar de cero para tocar el cielo.

Translation:                                                                                                   You have to start at zero to touch the sky.

18. Darryl Worley – Awful, Beautiful Life                                    

Favorite Lyrics:                                                                                                I love this crazy, tragic, sometimes almost magic, awful, beautiful life.

19. Nicki Minaj – Fly                                                                                      

Favorite Lyrics:                                                                                               I came to win, to fight, to conquer, to thrive. I came to win, to survive, to prosper, to rise.

‘Cause I am not a word. I am not a line. I am not a girl that can ever be defined.

20. Sugarland – Settlin’                                                                    

Favorite Lyrics:                                                                                                I ain’t settling for just getting by.                                                                                                 I’ve had enough so so for the rest of my life.                                                                      Tired of shooting too low, so raise the bar high.                                                              Just enough ain’t enough this time.                                                                                               I ain’t settling for anything less than everything.