40 | july 2015: a playlist to celebrate freedom

do you have a place that you consider your own little paradise? or do you have more than one place? it could be that you have been there, or that you dream of going there.

it is a place that gives you sense of freedom. a feeling of bliss and perfect happiness. technically, it may not even be a physical place, but a state of being. a feeling of complete contentment.

i have a few places that seem like heaven on earth to me. they are places that i feel connected to myself, both present + past. they are places that have risen from traditions that i have experienced in my life, because they are places that i usually return to again and again. they are little sanctuaries.

of course, there are a few little paradise places that i have only visited once. but, their memories are burned into my soul. 

what all of these places have in common is that they are sacred, holy, important, spiritual places in my life. places like the mountains of north carolina or the beaches of the crystal coast in north carolina. places like the greek island of mykonos and the mystical ruins of the goddess isis outside of corinth, greece.

i even have a new paradise, one that i found thanks to my love. it is in the swedish archipelago in the southern part of sweden, on the east coast. this most likely is my love’s most important place on earth. and, because of being married to her, i have spent about 5 summers here with her. soaking up nature. getting back to the simple things in life. and over time, it has become a paradise to me too.

luckily, we are headed out there next week for a little vacation.

as i thought about july’s playlist, i just could’t let go of the word freedom. it just keep popping up everywhere and has stayed close to my heart throughout the past few weeks. 

so, i decided that i would use the word freedom as my muse for july’s playlist. there’s no better time to think about feeling free than the summer or holiday/vacation season. and july is prime time for that in the northern hemisphere as we break free from our homes + our routines to enjoy  being outside, finding time to take it easy, and slowing down a bit to renew our souls.


of course, as an american, it is easy to think about freedom in july, since we celebrate independence day on the 4th of july. and that sense of freedom is important, but i’ve been thinking much deeper that that as well.

so, with this playlist, i’ve chosen music that is upbeat and playful, highlighting the free-spirited feelings of summer + vacations. but, i’ve also included some music that makes social commentaries on what it means for all people to be free. while we enjoy our freedoms, there are others who do not have the same opportunities. and, as we have heard asked before, are any of us free when some of us are not free?

finally, i chose some music that reminds us that true freedom is not found in a government or in a few days off from work. real, true freedom is found within. it is actually felt with we are willing to let go, to go with the flow, to trust + surrender that all will be well. that doesn’t mean that we don’t act to create freedom, but the deepest sense of freedom is not something that can be taken away – no matter where we are or what is happening around us.

are we being held captive by the conditioned habits of our own mind? why, of course we are. so, it’s high time that we rebel against that which holds us captive, that which does not allow us to be free to be who we are. we are on a quest for liberation… this is our spiritual calling.

it’s time to break free. to reach a deeper deep. a higher high. to leave behind our old ways of living and let a new way of living usher its way in, letting ourselves be set free. for what? we most likely do not know. but, we can shift. we can live life. we can embrace freedom of our soul – and, when we have done that, and when we have helped others embrace their souls and worked to make life a little more just + equal for everyone, then… then we will be free.


i went back into history to pull out my title for the july playlist. the word elysium come from latin + greek. it is used in greek mythology and it means “a state or perfect place of bliss”.

in other words, a place of true freedom.

so, for july, we are focusing on our physical places of bliss and our spiritual states of feeling bliss + peace. the places where we feel free. like everything is finally as it should be. where we feel at one with the world. where we remember that we are called to fight for each others’ freedom, even as we seek our own.

as you listen to this month’s playlist, i wish you lots of moments of celebration, joy, bliss, inspiration and freedom. below is a list of the songs + artists. you can click on the photo above (or –> here) to  get to the playlist on spotify. be sure to follow the playlist too! enjoy!

onwards + upwards! oo

The Wanderer – Shawn James
Down to the River – Brown Bird
Forever Young – Fast Version – Bob Dylan
I Will Rise – Cattle & Cane
Left for America – Ciaran Lavery
I Feel Free – Cream
On Trees And Birds And Fire – I Am Oak
Waiting For The Sun – Simon Erics
Old Ties and Companions – Mandolin Orange
A Change Is Gonna Come – Sam Cooke
Juli – Björn Olsson
Shut Up and Dance – Walk the Moon
Don’t Let It Get You Down – Johnnyswim
All I Need Is You – John Newman
Elysium – Bear’s Den
Just One Day – Mighty Oaks
Release – Elephant Revival
Fireflies – Hearts & Colors
Walking In the Sun – PANG!
Wide World – Blessed Feathers
My Silver Lining – First Aid Kit
See the Light – Matrimony
Gold In The Summertime – Matt Nathanson
House By The Sea – Moddi
A Change is Gonna Come – Ben Sollee
Violently Wild – Horse Feathers
Redemption Song – Bob Marley & The Wailers
I Followed Fires – Matthew And The Atlas
Woodland – The Paper Kites
Victory – Trampled By Turtles
On My Way – The Melodic
Break the Cycle – The Vespers
My Oh My – Punch Brothers
Born to Run – Bruce Springsteen
Uptown Funk – Mark Ronson, Bruno Mars
Glory (From the Motion Picture Selma) – Common, John Legend
Freedom – Richie Havens
We Shall Overcome – Pete Seeger
Om Nashi Me – Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros
Free Bird – Lynyrd Skynyrd

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