"How It Is" as written by and Geddy Lee Weinrib Neil Peart....
Here's a little trap
That sometimes catches everyone
When today's as far as we can see
Faith in bright tomorrows
Giving way to resignation
That's how it is, how it's going to be

It's such a cloudy day
Seems we'll never see the sun
Feel the day has possibilities
Frozen in the moment
The lack of imagination
Between how it is and how it ought to be
Between how it is and how it ought to be

Here's a little trap
That sometimes trips up everyone
When we tire of our own company
Sometimes we're the last to see beyond the day's frustrations
That's how it is how it's going to be

It's such a cloudy day
Seems we'll never see the sun
I feel the day is all uncertainty
Burning in the moment trapped by the desperation
Between how it is and how it ought to be
Between how it is and how it ought to be

Foot upon the stair
Shoulder to the wheel
You can't tell yourself not to care
You can't tell yourself how to feel

That's how it is
That's how it is

Another cloudy day
Seems we'll never see the sun
I feel the day has possibilities
Frozen in the moment
The lack of imagination
Between how it is and how it ought to be
Between how it is and how it ought to be


Lyrics submitted by DT_rulez

"How It Is" as written by Gary Lee Weinrib Alex Zivojinovich

Lyrics © OLE MEDIA MANAGEMENT LP

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How It Is song meanings
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4 Comments

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  • +2
    General CommentThis was most likely penned by Neil Peart during or shortly after his ghost rider period. After losing his daughter to a tragic car accident and his first wife to cancer shortly thereafter, he spent an extended period of time roaming through North America on his motorcycle.

    The story is chronicled in the book "Ghost Rider" where Neil explains his feelings of hopelessness, loss and numbness. Each day consisted of waking up in the morning and setting off on a days journey only to stop and do the same thing again the next day. No sense of time, no real destination - just the need to keep moving.

    The song reflects these feelings of being trapped -- "frozen in the moment" -- and not seeing any way out of the current circumstance -- "the lack of imagination between how it is and how it ought to be". How it ought to be is the the way it was before the tragedy.

    This song along with Ghost Rider and Vapor Trail are very difficult for me to listen to without experiencing some of the painful emotions of their writer. The entire Vapor Trails album was very difficult for me to get into for this reason. After putting it down and returning to it several times over the years I've come to the conclusion that these are in many ways the best songs that Neil has written and if you haven't given them a chance I think you will find that there is lyrical depth here that is not found in his earlier work. The lyrics for "How it is" come from the core - from the heart and soul - not from the mind and intellect as in much of his earlier writings.

    This is also the darkest work that Neil has produced to date. The song leaves little room for hope but does provide a formula for continuing to move on with life. The last stanza sums it up quite well -- foot upon the stair, shoulder to the wheel -- just keep moving, but you can't tell yourself not to care or how to feel - you just have to resign yourself to how it is.

    Pick up the book "Ghost Rider" by Neil Peart if you would like to read the full story. This book helped my wife through her grieving period after losing her father to cancer. Grieving and feelings of depression and hopelessness are a normal part of the healing process. Neil is now remarried and has a baby daughter. My wife is attending grad school and is healthy again. Rush has released Snakes and Arrows, toured a number of times and is working to release their 3rd album following Neil's Ghost Rider period. The real message here is simple -- even though it seems as if there is no hope, keep moving ahead and give time a chance to heal your wounds.
    ksquared64on February 16, 2012   Link
  • +1
    General CommentUsed to have the chorus of this written on a whiteboard at a company I once worked for. It was apt then & possibly still is !! Great song.
    Jeepsteron April 20, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentGreat song, good way to cheer up when you're feeling down... so it´s all in your head and you can go as far as you want, just set the willing spirit...and get to work !!!.
    Eduardo76on September 02, 2009   Link
  • -1
    General CommentNo comments? It's the best Rush song ffs!!
    DT_rulezon December 17, 2005   Link

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