Ultimate Fun In The Sun! My 10 Favorite Summer Songs For 2018.

Time for more fun & sun!

Hey, hey Sentinels around the world! It’s Luis here sharing more content with you regarding all things to do with action water sports, surf lifestyle and ocean awareness.

This week, I want to take it a bit slower, going for a lighter tone on my post. If you have been following my blog, you probably know that the last few weeks I have been writing about serious environmental issues, ocean conservation heroes, and intrepid cave rescues. Relevant and important topics, sure, but hey…

It’s the middle of summer!

What say we all get back to our favorite beach and continue having a great time? But wait, we need to take some awesome tunes with our beach kit, right?

Man, music is SO important to make memorable moments even better.

Why is that? What does music do to us? How does it manage impact our lives in so many positive ways, even after years go by, and still, we are moved, excited, happy? (or sad…but none of that here, please!).

Let’s take a closer look at this incredible and essential part of our lives. In my personal experience, I could not do without music, period. Especially during summer vacations. And I am happy to share with you my 10 favorite all-time summer tunes I never do without. Let’s get started!

But first…why is music so important to us?

It comes down to three factors: “self-actualization”, to “fulfill emotional needs”, and to “fulfill social needs”. Let me explain. When I mention self-actualization, I am referring to “the realization or fulfillment of one’s talents and potentialities, especially considered as a drive or need present in everyone”. It can also be understood as:

“The full realization of one’s creative, intellectual, or social potential”.

Music spurs our creativity in so many ways. It releases us from the challenges we face in daily life. It connects with the imaginative part of our brain. Music encourages us to dream and ponder and reflect. It makes you feel good, as mentioned before, by releasing endorphins, the feel-good hormones of our body. When you add to this to sunny days surrounded by friends and/or family in idyllic settings, it can be incredibly powerful, embedding and anchoring unforgettable moments that remain with us whenever we listen to this or that song.

What does music do to your state of mind?

“To fulfill emotional needs”…it’s a chemical thing. It goes back to the release of endorphins, as mentioned above. But what exactly are endorphins? What do they do to us and what are they really for? Take a look at this informal, but very helpful video. Endorphins are SO important and this is why:

So basically, Endorphins (and their close relatives, Enkephalins) are responsible for triggering that euphoric, feel-good emotion whenever we listen to an awesome tune, have sex (yay!) or do something that is pleasurable (like eating chocolate!). And this can affect our state of mind in so many positive ways. That’s why exercise can be so addicting when done regularly. “Runner’s high” is a good example of that.

“Stoke” is another good example and one more close to home.

“Fulfill social needs”…music integrates us, makes us come together, from love songs fro the love-struck couples to colossal music social events like Lola Palooza and beyond (think Pink Floyd or Bruce Springsteen concerts). Music gives us a feeling of belonging to an idea or concept expressed by these artists that we ourselves sometimes cannot express very well.

We rotate around “our tribe”, whether that be classic, metal, jazz, reggae, pop, rap, or an eclectic mix of all these. I personally find it an awesome moment in history where you can find so much musical wealth out there, and, most of all, it is so easily accessible, it blows my mind.

Where can you find the best music downloads?

So now that chemistry and sociology 101 are over, let’s get into the fun stuff. Where to get the best music downloads? As you may imagine, the answer, in this case, is: it depends. Have a look at this informative video from Android Police and you decide:

In the end, there are really two real choices here, although, honestly, I’m not much of a techie and gadgets person, so my personal favorite remains Apple Music.

Should you get a portable sound device?

Of course, listening to music can be a very personal thing. But come on, it’s summer, you are with friends and family. It’s beautiful out and the water is just perfect. You have got to share this moment with everyone! So, although mobiles are great for every day listening (commutes, workouts, standing in lines, etc.), portable sound devices are also an essential part of your summer kit. Whatever device you decide to get, I suggest you keep two main features in mind:

  • Sound quality
  • Portability

There are many portable speakers out there but it really is a matter of personal choice. For me, shelling out a bit more money for these two features is well worth it.

And the BOSE SoundLink Mini Bluetooth speaker has been, hands down, one of the best investments I have ever made. It’s not only the brand, which I’ve been a fan of for several years now. It’s also that Bose hits the features mentioned above right on the nail. If I sound excited about this product, it’s because I am.

In fact, as I am writing to you right now, I have my little speaker sitting unassumingly on my desk and the sound quality coming out never ceases to amaze me. If you want to check it out, here’s a review I wrote about his little wonder speaker.

So should you get a portable speaker for this summer? Definitely! It will make a huge difference in your vacation experience. Trust me on this!

So who is your go-to performer out there for this summer?

Man, this is a hard one to answer. I will confess that I am no longer on top of today’s current music trends. I guess I gravitate towards rock, big time. Not to say that there are some pretty awesome indie and rap bands out there, but again, it’s old school for me.

There, I said it!

So I try to watch out for new bands on Itunes, Spotify, Youtube and even the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. I know, I know, borderline lame, right? Also, Later…with Jools Holland keeps me pretty much up to date with the European scene.

Lately, these are the bands that have made me stop and listen:

  • Florence and The Machine
  • Steep Canyon Rangers
  • Jaden Smith
  • Billie Ellish
  • Chris Lane
  • Card B (really!)
  • Five Seconds of Summer
  • Rex Orange County
  • Sting & Shaggy
  • Arctic Monkey
  • Foster The People
  • Christine and The Queens

There are so many more! It’s one of the highlights of the evening, and a perfect way to end my day.

My summer playlist!

And finally, we come to the nitty-gritty. Without further ado, here’s my top ten 2018 summer playlist

 1. Better Together (Jack Johnson).

This is such a soulful and mellow song. It’s one of my all-time favorite love songs. Great to play it with a beautiful sunset and a warm summer breeze!

2. Out In The Open (Steep Canyon Rangers).

I have been listening to country lately and found some pretty awesome bands. Steep Canyon Rangers sort of remind me of Eagles with their vocal range. This song is perfect for any summer road trip. Play it loud!

3. Three Little Birds (Bob Marley).

‘Nuff said!

4. Love Will Find a Way (Eagles).

Notice a pattern developing here? Yeah, mellow love rock is big for me. This song, though, is so special. Eagles bassist Randy Eisner’s voice is so incredibly heartfelt and true, it never fails to amaze me. That and the band’s impeccable vocal harmony makes this song an instant summer classic. Add to that a side order of Tequila Sunrise and Desperado and see where the evening takes you!

5. Free Bird (Lynyrd Skinnard).

The live version at Oakland Coliseum Stadium in 1977 – c’mon…you know you want to hear it all!!  (and yeah, Sweet Home Alabama also rocks!).

6. Bad to the Bone (George Thorogood).

If there is one song that conveys “badass” to me it is this song. I first saw the “Bad to the Bone” video on MTV back in the 80s. It immediately blew my mind away. Hey, anyone who can beat Bo Diddley in Pool is a total badass!

7. Thunderstruck (AC/DC).

So many jewels and so little time! Highway to Hell, Back in Black, Shoot to Thrill…all of them awesome. But  Thunderstruck is my other ultimate road song. Especially when I’m feeling a bit sleepy!

8. Funky Kingston (Toots and The Maytals).

Happy, uplifting and unabashed. I just heard this reggae band a few days ago and I just had to add them to my official feel-good summer playlist. Whenever you want to get in a happy groove almost instantly, just play a few of their Jamaican, sun-drenched tunes!

9. No Tears Left To Cry (Ariana Grande).

Yep! Pop’s cool too! Especially coming from such an incredible talent as Ariana Grande. She is also hilarious…a natural comedian and performer. And did I mention she has an unbelievable vocal range? Grande can sing pop, country, gothic rock and many other music styles with such ease and grace it’s scary.

10. Girls Like You (Maroon 5 ft. Cardi B).

I confess I wasn’t much of a fan of Maroon 5 (the whole high pitched voice thing just didn’t rub on me the right way), but this song is an extremely catchy song and, hey, Cardi B features in it…pretty cool collaboration.

11. Don’t Make Me Wait (Sting & Shaggy)

Holy crap!! Talk about an unlikely collaboration working beautifully! The entire CD is amazing and so “beachy”. It’s perfect for blissfully swaying along with palm trees as the sun is setting…soft, warm ocean breezes gently blowing by…so cool! And also check this Shaggy classic, also with Sting…so fun!!

12. Israel “IZ” Kamakawiwoʻole (Somewhere over the Rainbow).

Hawaiian music has always been a favorite of mine. That includes traditional music, including songs from Dennis Pavao, Amy Hanaiali, George Kahumoku, Jr. and Keali’i Reichel, as well as more modern contemporary island artists such as The Brothers Cazimero, Makaha Sons, Hawaiian Style Band and  Israel “IZ” Kamakawiwoʻole.

I have two additional favorites which I am going to include here which I can pretty much listen too, not only during summer, but all year long: “Live a Little” from Hawaiian Style Band and “ Ku’u Home O Kahalu’u”, interpreted by the Brothers Cazimero.

Sorry for going Moana on all of you but I honestly think I have some Polynesian in my blood…I just love island music! If you want to find out a bit more about Hawaiian music, here’s a couple more artists which I can recommend:

In conclusion…

So there you have it. My 10 favorite songs for summer 2018. Some are not so well known, I know, especially the ones from the islands. But, hey, I’ve learned that keeping an open mind can lead to pretty amazing places (musically speaking).

So get out there, give free rein to your musical likes and start making memories over this summer. Because, in the end, memories are the one thing that remain and become truly priceless

What are your ultimate summer songs? Which your memories or moments have been influenced by songs during your summer vacations? I would love to hear your stories, anecdotes or memorable accounts. Or simply share your favorite song or songs in the comment section below.

Thanks for reading and let’s all continue listening and making unforgettable memories this summer. See you in the water!!

5 essential ingredients for spiritual wellness.

Walking through the threshold and searching for answers…

Hey Sentinels…

The passing of someone very close to me has opened a few existential doors that had been naturally shut until recently. Opening these doors and actually going through the threshold has prompted me to reflect more deeply on the importance and foundational impact that spirituality and emotional well being can have in our lives.

Questions like:

  • How do we anchor our souls when the waves of life threaten to undo us?
  • When the dark clouds of depression continue to hover?
  • When the next step in life unsettlingly unclear?

These are difficult questions that the logical side of our brain finds especially challenging. This is where meditation and spirituality become invaluable allies which can offer solace and some semblance of understanding where rational thought cannot.

I believe that where meditation and spirituality are concerned, in particular, the later, there exist 5 essential ingredients that can lead to spiritual wellness. When practiced diligently and without any prejudices, your spiritual well-being and fortitude can be greatly enhanced in and out of the water, in business, in relationships and life in general.

Practice to practice…

My site here at Surfsentinel began as a referential guide for better safety practices for watermen and women alike.

If you have been reading some of my more recent posts, that objective has gone through some substantial changes. The website has acquired a deeper, more meaningful quest for value-first content, with a strong focus on self-development strategies through the practice of action water sports, mostly surfing and other extreme board sports.

This journey has also allowed me to recognize the undeniable power of having a right mindset, and how it can have a  positive impact on our lives.

But having the right mindset, mastering your thoughts and emotions, and effectively putting these strategies into practice is easier said than done. Like all things in life that really matter, making them actionable takes dedication, commitment self-discipline, and practice. Lots of practice…here’s a great example of what I mean: (you can enjoy the whole video from last year’s Quick Silver Pro France semifinals (heat 2) between Gabriel Medina v.s. John John Florence, but the amazing stuff begins at 04:30 and again at 08:50).

Very similar to a recipe, these strategies are the ingredients. And like Gabe and John John demonstrate above, they can also be learned.

However, for the recipe to work, each individual is responsible for how to best apply the recipe’s ingredients.

A consideration on the topics ahead…

Before I go on, I wish to offer my apologies in advance for any sensibilities which I may be hurt during the next topic. My only intention is to offer provocative, thoughtful insights which may help you arrive to your own conclusions

That been said, it is now time to go deeper and find out what these “ingredients” are, and how they can help you improve your personal and professional life.

Wisdom from the past remains relevant today…

Buddha once said:

“Overcome your uncertainties and free yourself from dwelling on sorrow. When you delight in existence, you will awaken, and become a guide to those in need, revealing the path to many”.

 

 

Do me a favor. Read this quote again carefully. As you continue reading this post, reflect on its profound meaning. See how your conclusions complement the list below.

It’s quite possible that you may be using some of these “ingredients” already. If that’s the case, celebrate it and share what you have learned with others.  The more they are shared, the more powerful they become, and the better the results.

The 5 ingredients of spiritual wellness…

1. We stop.

Easy enough, right? No, not really.

As recreational or professional watermen and women, we pride ourselves on our independence, breaking away from the mainstream…moving away from conventional notions.

We became committed at understanding and protecting our oceans,  for our own safety as much as for our enjoyment. But most importantly for that of others.

But let’s face it.

Even with our best intentions in mind, the reality is that the vast majority of our tribe also falls victim to the proverbial hamster wheel (and as bad as it may be for us, it’s much worse for your average 9 to 5 company”collaborator”, wouldn’t you agree?).

And so, before we know it, we are all caught in an endless cycle of financial, family and career commitments.

Now, let’s try this again. We stop…oh no! We can’t stop! We must keep going…gotta pay those bills, need to get that promotion, have to save for that college fund, and on and on it goes.

For many of us, stopping and getting off the hamster wheel is nearly impossible.

Or is it?

We are all creatures of habit. We are especially prone to acquiring bad habits and “hamster wheeling” is pretty much at the top of the list.

We need to work hard to earn that paycheck to take care of the bills. And if that runs us to the ground, so be it.

But the truth is…

Granted, your circumstances may be less than adequate and, often times, beyond your control. Natural disasters, terminal illness, the death of a loved one. These are all situations you can’t control.  However, what we can control is how we react towards these situations.

And do you know what happens when you exert control over how you react to adverse circumstances?

You stop the hamster wheel!

You are back in control.

And then…you can get off.

Go ahead, take in the sights! You’ve earned it!

2. We become still.

We are energy.We are present. Aware. We must learn to quiet our minds.

You can still your mind through meditation, quiet reflection, exercise, yoga, or even by taking a serene walk through your favorite park (or beach!).

Throw a stone in a pond. It will make a big splash. The pond will be filled with movement, concentric circles radiating from the source of the impact…chaos, in a micro scale, but chaos nonetheless. Eventually, if you do not throw another stone, the pond will eventually become quiet and still again.

That is what we need to achieve with our mind and spirit (a.k.a. life energy, vibration or whatever you prefer to call it). By learning to become still we open the gateway to spiritual wellness.

3. We pray.

I believe in a higher power.

And I know that discussing this subject will probably touch a nerve or two on more than one of you out there. I promise to tread lightly.

Prayer can be expressed in many ways and it is intimately personal. It is also a foundational ingredient that many of us have decided to ignore. Many of us even feel uncomfortable talking about it. I am Catholic. I believe in God. And I also believe in the power of prayer.

HOWEVER…I do not believe or follow the Catholic church as an institution. Even though there are very good, noble teachings, which have enormous moral and ethical merit, there are also very confusing, outdated ones which no longer apply to our current world. And please don’t get me started on the church’s self-proclaimed practice of “piety” and “humility”. Just have a look at the opulence and excessive luxury of the Vatican and you will understand what I am talking about.

But one thing remains true for many of us who believe on some sort of higher power, and who also believe that there exists someone or something “out there” that looks after us and is responsible for the universal order of things.

And that one truth is the power of prayer.

Like the communication that has existed between men and women since the beginning of their existence, and which has been essential for their millenary evolution, communication with a higher power holds just as fundamentally true.

As mentioned before, prayer can be expressed in many ways: a solemn, austere conversation done in a church or temple, or  an intimate chat with an old friend (God, Source, Yahwe, Universal Consciousness, etc.) while enjoying the last few minutes of a beautiful sunset, who in the end, will always be willing to listen and offer you unconditional help and advice.

You just have to ask…and then listen.

4. We ask for help.

Why is it so difficult to ask for help when we so desperately need it?

Is it perhaps pride? Or maybe inadequacy?

Maybe it is that we are ashamed. We think we are not worthy enough to receive help. We shy away from asking for help because we feel vulnerable from the critique of others.  It could also be that we may think that we are just not capable enough. That we are weak.

Useless…

But consider the above quote from Buda. Take a moment to ponder about the meaning behind each sentence. It is as profound as it is beautiful:

“…When you delight in existence, you will awaken, and become a guide to those in need, revealing the path to many”.

I am an advocate of the global awakening. It is happening in our world. It is taking place right now. And it is as real as the words I am writing to you in this post. As an example, here are some beliefs that are beginning to take root in this awakening:

1. The growing belief that there are indestructible unifying bonds between us, between other species and our world.

2. Contrary to divisive propaganda, these bonds exist so we may experience them.

3. Unification of mankind can heal our world.

4. The belief that we are all products of our world.

5. The belief that life on our planet is in mortal danger.

6. The belief that we still have the capacity to join together and make things better.

So why haven’t we seen more of this awakening?

Well, think of it this way. We have all been in a deep slumber. Sort of the sleep that I’m sure you have seen on some of those science fiction movies like “Alien”, “Avatar” or more recently, “Passengers”. Yes, folks, geek alert just ahead! In these movies, the characters generally wake up from a very long sleep, I mean, really long. Like months, or even years long. When they wake up, it’s never pretty. It’s almost like they are being born again. And then they go through a very slow waking and recovery process.

That’s what I think that is happening to all of us now. We have been sleeping for a very, very long time, and we are finally coming out of that deep slumber.

Some of us are handling the waking process better than others.

Some are simply not handling it well at all.

And then there are others that carry some form of monster inside them that make things very uncomfortable for the rest of us. I think it is a fair analogy, don’t you?

5. We trust.

Have you ever manifested your wishes or desires to the “Man Upstairs”? A.K.A. God, Source, etc.

How’s that working out for you?

Well, believe it or not, there is documented, scientific proof that this skill really does exist and, like everything, to get better at it, you need to learn how to do it properly and then practice it over and over again.

Eventually, you will get better at manifesting your desires.

I have been witness to its undeniable power. I have also been studying this for some time and, in the beginning, I admit that I pretty much sucked at it!

But through seriously learning and immersing myself in the subject (and keeping an open mind), I was finally able to improve my manifesting ability.

I am going to present to you a bit of what I learned and what has worked for me.I am very excited to share this knowledge with you, right here, right now:

When you request something from the universe, make your request simple. Do not concern yourself with the end result.

That’s it. The premise is that just like when you use your GPS in your car, where you input your destination into the computer, the GPS will calculate all the data and variables, taking care of the rest of the details so it may get you there in the fastest, safest way possible.

Trust your GPS. It will take you to wherever you want to go. As long as you follow the directions, IT will take care of the rest for you.

The analogy is totally applicable when requesting and then trusting the Universe, God, Source, etc. to take care of the details for you. You will arrive at your destination (what you asked for) in the safest, fastest, most expedient way universally possible. Just trust IT and stop concerning yourself with the end result.

Does this all work? In my personal experience, I can tell you that, yes, it does work.

But again, just like everything, it requires a commitment to learning and implementing the right techniques and strategies, while keeping an open mind (sometimes this becomes a bit of a stretch for many of us).

Can you really get anything you wish for? The answer is…

But here’s the catch.

You have to take inspired positive action.

When I first started learning about conscious creation, prayer and law of attraction, I had trouble reconciling with  one very misguiding premise: “You can have anything in this world simply by asking!”.And one thing that the authors and teachers who I followed at the time would seldom ever mention was that you have to show up and take positive action!

Things don’t just happen by themselves…

The universe delivers only when you get involved with concrete, inspired and positive action. If you are sitting around waiting for deliverance without taking action, however powerfully you manifest, your wishes and desires will never materialize.

Also, and this is crucial for you to understand, the universe will deliver ONLY when you are ready to receive. Not before.

So be patient.

Work on improving your thoughts, emotions, and mindset. Embrace and learn from your fears. Live life to the fullest.

I assure you the universe will deliver and make good on your request.

 Final thoughts…

Thanks for reading and staying with me this far!

Before I go, I would kindly request that you give consideration to the following questions:

Have you ever asked for something that you wanted with very badly, and, shortly after it was delivered to you?

Did you do this consciously or was it just a moment of desire? Perhaps desperation?

Were your prayers, your requests, answered?

What does wellness mean to you?

Do you have a different recipe for regaining control and finding your center again?

Please share your experiences in the comment box below. I read all comments and reply to them accordingly.

I hope you found this article useful and if you think it may help someone you know, please share it with them.

Thanks again!