Music uplifts and gives us energy to keep going, so when I'm feeling down I turn on my "Inspiration Playlist" on Spotify to snap myself out of it. My playlist currently has 228 songs and I add to it whenever I hear a new happy song. I’m not picky about artist or genre, if the song inspires, I add it. I didn't want to list all 200+, so I decided to pick 50 and include the most inspirational (or my favorite) lyric from each song. I think everyone should have such a playlist and you can use these songs to start one of your own.
50 Inspirational Songs to Boost Your Mood:
1. Nothing More (feat. Lily Costner) - The Alternate Routes "And tell me what it is that you see, A world that’s full of endless possibilities, And heros don't look like they used to, They look like you do."
2. Best Day of My Life - American Authors "Everything is looking up, Everybody up now, This is going to be the best day of my life."
3. Welcome to Wherever You Are - Bon Jovi "When everybody's in and you're left out, And you feel you're drowning in the shadow of a doubt, Everyone's a miracle in their own way, Listen to yourself, not what other people say."
4. Who I Was Born to Be - Susan Boyle "And though I may not, Know the answers, I can finally say I'm free, And if the questions, Led me here, then, I am who, I was born to be."
5. Only a Mountain - Jason Castro "This is only a mountain, You don't have to find your way around it, Tell it to move, it'll move, Tell it to fall, it'll fall."
6. I Was Here - Kristin Chenoweth "I wanna do something that matters, Say something different, Something that sets the whole world on it's ear."
7. People Like Us - Kelly Clarkson "You've just gotta turn it up loud when the flames get higher."
8. I Got a Name - Jim Croce "I've got a song, I've got a song, And I I carry it with me and I sing it loud, If it gets me nowhere, I'll go there proud."
9. The Best of What's Around - Dave Matthews Band "Whatever tears at us, Whatever holds us down, And if nothing can be done, We'll make the best of what's around."
10. Rise Up - Andra Day "And I'll rise up, I'll rise like the day, I'll rise up, I'll rise unafraid, I'll rise up, And I'll do it a thousand times again."
11. Life for Rent - Dido "I always thought that I would love to live by the sea, To travel the world alone and live more simply."
12. I Like It - Dixie Chicks “Living the lows, Makes the highs that much higher, And the sun will shine through, The smoke and fire of love.”
13. Bright - Echosmith "I think the universe is on my side, Heaven and Earth have finally aligned, Days are good and that's the way it should be."
14. O-o-h Child - The Five Stairsteps "Some day, yeah, We'll walk in the rays of a beautiful sun, Some day, When the world is much brighter."
15. Don’t Stop - Fleetwood Mac "If you wake up and don't want to smile, If it takes just a little while, Open your eyes and look at the day, You'll see things in a different way."
16. Shake It Out - Florence and the Machine "And it's hard to dance with the devil on your back, So shake him off."
17. Touch the Sky - Julie Fowlis (from Brave) “I will hear their every story, Take hold of my own dream, Be as strong as the seas are stormy, and proud as an eagle’s scream.”
18. Good to Be Alive (Hallelujah) - Andy Grammer "Sometimes you gotta get scars to get what you deserve, I kept moving on and now I'm moving up, damn, I'm feeling blessed with all this love.
19. Beauty in the World - Macy Gray “Shake your booty boys and girls for the beauty in the world, Pick your diamond pick your pearl there is beauty in the world.”
20. On Top of The World - Imagine Dragons "I've been waiting to smile, Been holding it in for a while, Take you with me if I can, Been dreaming of this since a child."
21. Get Back Up Again - Anna Kendrick (from Trolls) “What if it’s all a big mistake? What if it’s more than I can take? No, I can’t think that way, ‘Cause I know that I’m really-really-really gonna be okay.”
22. Girl on Fire - Alicia Keys “Oh, she got both feet on the ground, And she's burning it down, Oh, she got her head in the clouds, And she's not backing down.”
23. Beautiful - Carole King "You've got to get up every morning, With a smile on your face, And show the world all the love in your heart."
24. The Edge of Glory - Lady Gaga "Put on your shades 'cause I'll be dancing in the flames."
25. Fly - Avril Lavigne “A little help is all it ever takes, Somebody has to tell you it's worth fighting, A single step becomes a leap of faith, That's when you realize you started flying."
26. Wings - Little Mix "No matter what you say it won't hurt me, Don't matter if I fall from the sky, These wings are made to fly."
27. Three Little Birds - Bob Marley "Don't worry 'bout a thing, 'Cause every little thing gonna be alright."
28. Wonder - Natalie Merchant “Doctors have come from distant cities, just to see me, Stand over my bed, disbelieving what they're seeing, They say I must be one of the wonders, Of God's own creation, And as far as they see, they can offer, No explanation.”
29. Thank You - Alanis Morrissette “The moment I let go of it was, The moment I got more than I could handle, The moment I jumped off of it was, The moment I touched down.”
30. Follow Your Arrow - Kacey Musgraves “Say what you feel, Love who you love, 'Cause you just get, So many trips 'round the sun, Yeah, you only, Only live once.”
31. Daylight the Dog - OAR “Hoping for daylight to follow me, If you’re lost in the dark get to where you can see, There is somewhere we're supposed to be, And you know, In a matter of time you set yourself free.”
32. Be Okay - Oh Honey “I'm wide awake, so what's the point of dreaming when your life is great? Celebrate the feeling, celebrate the feeling.”
33. Good Life - One Republic "When you're happy like a fool, Let it take you over, When everything is out, You gotta take it in."
34. Wildflowers - Tom Petty “You belong among the wildflowers, You belong in a boat out at sea, Sail away, kill off the hours, You belong somewhere you feel free.”
35. Instead - Madeleine Peyroux "Instead of feelin' low, Get high on everything that you love."
36. Fight Song - Rachel Platten “This is my fight song, Take back my life song, Prove I'm alright song, My power's turned on, Starting right now I'll be strong, I'll play my fight song, And I don't really care if nobody else believes, 'Cause I've still got a lot of fight left in me.”
37. Don’t Stop Me Now - Queen “I'm a shooting star leaping through the sky, Like a tiger defying the laws of gravity, I'm a racing car passing by like Lady Godiva, I'm gonna go go go, There's no stopping me.”
38. If You Want to Sing Out, Sing Out - Cat Stevens “Well, if you want to sing out, sing out, And if you want to be free, be free, 'Cause there's a million things to be, You know that there are.”
39. She’s a Rainbow - The Rolling Stones “She's like a rainbow, Coming, colors in the air, Oh, everywhere, She comes in colors.”
40. Almost There - Anika Noni Rose (from The Princess and the Frog) “There’s been trials and tribulations, You know I’ve had my share, But I’ve climbed a mountain, I’ve crossed a river, And I’m almost there.”
41. On Our Way - The Royal Concept “We are young, we are one, Let us shine for what it's worth.”
42. Follow the Sun - Xavier Rudd “Breathe, breathe in the air, Set your intentions, Dream with care, Tomorrow is a new day for everyone, Brand new moon, brand new sun.”
43. Try Everything - Shakira (from Zootopia) - I won't give up, no I won't give in, Till I reach the end, And then I'll start again, No I won't leave, I wanna try everything, I wanna try even though I could fail.”
44. Feeling Good - Nina Simone “Been flying high, You know how I feel, Sewn in the sky, You know how I feel, Breeze drifting on by, You know how I feel, It's a new a dawn, And a new day, And a new life for me, And I'm feeling good.”
45. Do It - Spice Girls "Come on and do it, It's time to free what's in your soul, You gotta get it right, this time, Come on freak and lose control."
46. Up the Ladder to the Roof - The Supremes "Come with me, And we shall run across the sky, And illuminate the night, Oh I will try and guide you, To better times and brighter days."
47. Today is Your Day - Shania Twain "Brush yourself up, no regrets, This is as good as it gets, Don't expect more or less, Just go out and give it your best."
48. So Small - Carrie Underwood "Sometimes that mountain you've been climbing is just a grain of sand, And what you've been out there searching for forever, Is in your hands."
49. Happy - Pharrell Williams (from Despicable Me 2) "Your love is too high, to bring me down, Can't nuthin', bring me down."
50. Overjoyed - Stevie Wonder "And though you don't believe, That they do, They do come true, For did my dreams, Come true when I looked at you."
What songs inspire you? Please share in the comments. I'm always looking to add to my list.
"Music is such a great healing balm and a great way to forget your troubles." - Ricky Skaggs
Last week I went to a yoga class with a plank sequence that went on twenty minutes. While the rest of the class did low plank, high plank, side plank, and one-legged plank, I was in child’s pose. There were at least two people in the class over seventy-five who seemed to have no problem with the planks. At first I was embarrassed being folded up in a little ball while the others we’re sweating through their gym clothes, but then I remembered—my challenge was just in getting there.
When I walk into a yoga studio there is no indication from my outward appearance I’ll be the one in child’s pose half the class. I’m average weight and usually one of the youngest. The reason I struggle is because, in addition to Lyme, I have an autoimmune condition called SAPHO Syndrome. It’s a type of reactive arthritis that attacks my muscles, joints, and bones. Over time, this extremely rare illness caused fusion in my lumbar spine and sacral joints. I also have fusion in my clavicle, limiting the range of motion in my shoulder. I’m lucky if I can just touch a block in forward fold. SAPHO also causes chronic pain. In spite of my physical limitations, I will never stop going to yoga. For me, the positives far outweigh the negatives.
I fell in love with yoga, when I bought a DVD called Yoga Conditioning for Weight Loss to get in shape for my wedding 10 years ago, but it was only after I became ill that I truly understood the benefits of regular practice. When I’m in yoga class, I am at peace. My sympathetic nervous system, or “fight or flight” reflex shuts down and puts me in the healing state of “rest and digest.” It’s the only type of exercise I feel comfortable doing with my condition, because I don’t have to worry that it will put a strain on my already taxed immune system.
Yoga also helps me maintain the range of motion I still have, and hopefully will help me gain some back. Due to my unstable spine, my hamstrings overcompensate and become extremely tight. With regular practice I’m able to inch the tiniest bit closer to touching my toes. In addition to adding flexibility, the stretches ease and prevent pain.
Like many people with Lyme and related autoimmune disorders I also have chronic fatigue, which means most days I don’t have the energy to go to yoga and after I finish class, I’m exhausted. I usually only make it to one or two classes a week. It takes a lot of motivation to get myself to go, but when I’m done I feel so accomplished--exhausted--but accomplished. I used to worry that the teacher or other students would think I was lazy or not trying, but through yoga I’ve learned to listen to myself. Now, I don’t worry about what other people think, and simply do what my body tells me it needs.
For other people with limitations who have been considering yoga, I encourage you to try it. There are chair, gentle, restorative, and slow flow classes at most gyms and studios. These classes are designed for beginners or those of us who need to take it easy. You can slowly work your way up to the next level. For those of you who are intimidated by a group class, private sessions may be an option. There are also certified yoga therapists, who meet individually with clients and use yoga poses and breathing techniques to treat emotional and physical ailments.
It’s also important to note that using pose modifications and props help you get the most out of your practice. Don’t be ashamed to use a block or a strap—even the most experienced yogis use them to deepen poses. When I reach my limit, I simply go into child’s pose and rest. Make sure you communicate your physical restrictions with the instructor before class.
At the end of each class when I bow to the teacher and my classmates and say, “namaste,” in my head I always say my preferred English translation, “the divine in me blesses and honors the divine in you.” We’re all sacred beings, and no one in any yoga class is better than anyone else based on ability or flexibility. What’s important is showing up and listening to your body. Remember, honoring yourself is the honoring the divine.
"Yoga is not about touching your toes, it is what you learn on the way down." - Jigar Gor
When I see people I haven't seen in awhile our conversation has a way of revolving around my illness. I don't do it intentionally. My friends and family are curious about my progress and healing from my illness takes up a lot of time and brain space. My fellow blogger and writer Susan Pogorzelski posted "10 Things About Me Not Related to My Illness" on her Instagram and I thought it was a great idea. I think it's something we should all think about. I did a similar post called 25 Things You Didn’t Know About Me, which was more fun facts, but this will be more about who I am as a person.
10 Things About Me Not Related to My Illness:
1. I recently watched Minimalism: a Documentary About the Important Things and now my husband and I are planning to downsize our living space and get rid of most of our things. I also plan to read the book Minimalism: Live a Meaningful Life by Joshua Fields Millburn, one of the men featured in the documentary, to further my understanding of minimalism.
2. It's been a lifelong dream of mine to go whale watching, and I finally fulfilled that dream when we went on a cruise in Alaska in July/August of 2017. During the cruise we saw whale spouts or tails almost every day. Then, when we were in Juneau we went on a whale watching tour and saw tons of humpback whales and even an orca. We were so lucky to see a double breach (although I only saw the second whale). It was amazing, because whales don't usually breach in Alaska.
I plan to get a humpback whale tattoo for the next Ink to End Lyme event to represent rising up from under the water and strength.
3. Podcasts are my new obsession. I listen while I'm getting ready in the morning, commuting to work, and while doing chores. My favorites include: Lyme Ninja Radio, The School of Greatness, Beautiful Writers Podcast, Pod Save America, 2 Dope Queens, Gleeman & The Geek (Minnesota Twins podcast), The Art History Babes, You Must Remember This, and The Social Work Podcast. Maybe I'll start one of my own one day.
6. I love the water and anything that has to do with water. The ocean, lakes, rivers, waterfalls, and even fountains. We visited Niagara Falls this past summer and it was breathtaking.
4. I grew up in Minneapolis and it's still one of my favorite places. I go back about three times a year and always love driving along the river and seeing how things have changed since the last time I was there. The friendliest and most down to earth people live in Minnesota. I'd move there if it wasn't so cold.
5. Chai tea lattes are my biggest weakness, so I bribe myself with them. If I go to a yoga class, I allow myself one small chai tea latte (with alternative milk of course). At home, I brew a cup of decaf chai tea and then add hemp milk.
6. I love taking our dog, Scooter, on walks around our neighborhood in Chicago. The truth is he actually walks me, because he knows where he wants to go and leads me there. He's stubborn, but incredibly loving. Sometimes I dress him up and he hates it.
7. I don't have any children and I'm not currently planning to have any. I have a niece and nephew whom I adore and are good for a kid fix when I need one.
8. My lucky number is four and my lucky symbol is the four-leaf clover, even though clover is considered a weed in Ireland. The reason is because I was born on June 14th.
9. I'm a true Gemini--full of contradictions and a personality pulled in opposite directions. Gemini's are known communicators and I love to communicate through speaking and writing. We're naturally inquisitive and ambitious, but also easily bored and overly opinionated.
10. My favorite thing to do is travel and my goal is to see the world. The next destinations I want to visit are Hawaii, London, Italy, and Australia.
Please consider doing this exercise. It helped me remember that my illness does not define me. I decide what defines me. I would be happy to create a blog post for you about your ten things. Just reach out through my contact page with your list and a few pictures.
"Identity cannot be formed or fabricated, but emerges from within when one has the courage to let go." - Doug Cooper
I'm Kerry and I was diagnosed with chronic Lyme disease in 2016. This is a positive space for those of us coping with Lyme disease and other invisible illnesses.