"Just past the circumstance
The first light, a second chance
No child could ever dance the way you do, oh
Tear down the prison walls
Don't start the curtain call
Your chains will never fall until you do'
Cause if you never leave home, never let go
You'll never make it to the great unknown till you
Keep your eyes open, my love
So show me your fire, show me your heart
You know I'll never let you fall apart if you
Keep your eyes open, my love"
—NEEDTOBREATHEKeep Your Eyes Open
I love this song. My heart still starts pumping and a tear wells up in my eye whenever I hear Keep Your Eyes Open. It has been listed in my top ten of all time for the last 10 years.
Nothing captures the passion and vulnerability for what I want out of life quite like this song. It names the darkness we all know at some level— the crushing weight of it, the shame of it, and the aloneness of it. It speaks to our inner child with strength, security, and conviction, “No child could dance like you do.”
Hits me every time.
Like a big brother, this song holds the face of your innocence in melodic hands and tells you we are going to get through this. It’s a song that tells you the truth. My love, you can “tear down those prison walls… Your chains will never fall until you do.”
The song is both a promise and a plea.
It captures something else that is difficult to express in words, art, or life: the paradox of human need and vitality. The line “I need you to show me your heart,” reveals vulnerability and need but also strength and generosity. Because it’s not a possessive need. It’s not to grab it or manipulate you because it’s completely your heart to hold. But I need to see you, to know you’re caring for the deepest parts of yourself, to know the real you as your true and best self. You being you helps me be the best version of myself too.
These lyrics beautifully articulates what we can offer others, what we need from them, and describes our mutual interdependence, separated from a dysfunctional codependence. If I am independently committed to facing my darkness, and you are independently committed to facing yours and we both promise to be transparent with one another as best we can, we’ll always be interdependently encouraged to get up and live another day in the heat of the light.
Most of all, this song speaks to me about the call to keep chasing after the inner vitality of spiritual maturity. Show up to your own life. Be present to it right now. It’s both the tenderness and strength of holistic masculinity. It’s music that reminds us of the strength we have and dares us to say to those around us, “I will use my strength—everything I’ve got— to be unequivocally for you.”
Above is an acoustic version of The Reckoning (on the same album) with equally powerful expression of holistic masculine identity, “Why run away a boy when you can walk away a man?”