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Modern Day Troubadours

“We may come from different places, yet the journey’s much the same. For all us restless souls who live to chase a dying flame. And we share the same old struggles and rejections along the path. But we hit that road running and dare that road to hit us back” (Sawyer Brown, Desperado Troubadours)

Is the status quo enough to draw us from the comfort of our beds with the rising of the morning sun? Perhaps. But does it provide the spark to, not simply pull us from those covers, but to then “hit that road running and dare that road to hit us back”?

The original troubadours were early visionaries, asking that very question back in the 12th century. They were the creators of Old Occitan, the first Romance language with a literary corpus and significant influencers of lyric poetry. In the midst of arranged marriages, the troubadours wrote of something deeper, fueling the love song fire now comprising an estimated 70% of all music.

If you think our lives are difficult, those in the 12th century would roll their eyes and kindly respond “hold my beer” and describe the realities of true struggle. Yet, amid such lives we know only via documentary reenactments viewed from our comfy couch, the troubadours saw potential for – and the reality of – something more! Their eyes saw color in a world of gray, 3D inside 2D, and their ears tuned into (and then shared) the music often drowned out to others by the pain of daily living.

So what?

So how do we tap into the troubadour’s 3D view today? Despite all the advances, comforts, protective barriers (or perhaps because of all these), we seemingly remain trapped in a two-toned, 2D, white noise world. Like the Pevensie children stepping through the wardrobe into CS Lewis’ magical kingdom of Narnia, seeing is believing. And yet, believing it’s there to be seen might just be the necessary first step in our journey.

There are (at least) two troubadourian perspectives worth considering: The bland and the buried.

The bland? The 12th century provided no color TVs, cross-continental flights, or handheld computers providing 24/7 access to every possible sight and sound. Yet the troubadours saw “it.” I recently heard a speaker suggest “If you’re bored in your marriage, you’re not paying attention.” Powerful statement with application across all walks of life, potentially laying the groundwork for an awakening in our own wellbeing along the way. An “unexciting” salad becomes a rainforest of color and flavor combinations, all with a unique story. A “boring” activity like walking or running turns into a screen-free adventure of previously un-noticed sights and sounds, the body unconsciously adjusting heart rate, perspiration, response to ground reaction forces and more with each step forward. To label it “incredible!” would be an absolute understatement of colossal proportions.

The buried? The troubadours wrote of romantic love during a time of aforementioned arranged marriages and death continuously on the doorstep (average lifespan was early 30’s). Life was beyond difficult – but they recognized – and uncovered – hidden potential, the beauty beneath the surface. How often do we settle, burying such beauty within our busy-ness? Guillaume de Poitiers, known as the 1st troubadour, resisted such settling, asking “is it good a man should reach for that for which he most does long?” The treasure waits to be uncovered – if only we’re willing to do a little digging. Some historians suggest the troubadours were the first to coin the question “can you dig it?” (just kidding, but you never know!).

The bland and the buried. Therein lies our opportunity as modern-day troubadours. Our artists continue, revealing the troubadour secret: “Eyes wide open, dreaming ’til the darkness turns to light… we’ll pass up a sure thing just to gamble on a song.”

  • Eyes wide open, dreaming – the troubadour doesn’t wait for sleep to dream. Instead, we dream with our eyes wide open!
  • ’til the darkness turns to light – no doubt life can feel pretty dark at times. Yet, we continue dreaming until the light comes and the eyes open dreams come to life.
  • We’ll pass up a sure thing just to gamble on a song – what inspires you? Lights up your world? Do we allow those, welcome those, into our world? Or are we so wrapped up in leading lives of certainty and the accompanying quiet desperation (nod to Thoreau) that we never even notice the song at all?

Modern day troubadours – you and me – willing to gamble on that song – to seek out the beauty in the bland and the treasure in the buried. “We ride off in the sunset just to fight another day… cowboys and hippies and gypsies at our core. Free-wheelin’, rock ‘n rollin’, desperado troubadours.” Saddle up and let’s ride!

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