They're Playing Your Song
By Alan Cohen author of "Living from the Heart."
When a woman in a certain African tribe knows she is pregnant, she goes
out into the wilderness with a few friends and together they pray
meditate until they hear the song of the child. They recognize that every
soul has its own vibration that expresses its unique flavor and purpose.
When the women attune to the song, they sing it out loud. Then they return
to the tribe and teach it to everyone else. When the child is born, the
community gathers and sings the child's song to him or her. Later, when
child enters education, the village gathers and chants the child's
When the child passes through the initiation to adulthood, the people
come together and sing. At the time of marriage, the person hears his or
her song. Finally, when the soul is about to pass from this world, the
family and friends gather at the person's bed, just as they did at their
birth, and they sing the person to the next life.
When I have shared this story in my lectures, a fair amount of people in
the audience come to tears. There is something inside each of us that
we have a song, and we wish those we love would recognize it and support
to sing it. In some of my seminars I ask people to verbalize to a partner
the one phrase they wish their parents had said to them as a child. Then
the partner lovingly whispers it in their ear. This exercise goes very
deep, and many significant insights start to click. How we all long to be
loved, acknowledged, and accepted for who we are!
In the African tribe there is one other occasion upon which the villagers
sing to the child. If at any time during his or her life, the person
commits a crime or aberrant social act, the individual is called to the
center of the village and the people in the community form a circle around
them. Then they sing their song to them. The tribe recognizes that the
correction for antisocial behavior is not punishment; it is love and the
remembrance of identity. When you recognize your own song, you have no
desire or need to do anything that would hurt another. A
someone who knows your song and sings it to you when you have
it. Those who love you are not fooled by mistakes you have made or
images you hold about yourself. They remember your beauty when you
ugly; your wholeness when you are broken; your innocence when you feel
guilty; and your purpose when you are confused. If you do not
song a voice, you will feel lost, alone, and confused. If you
you will come to life.
We attract people on a similar wavelength so we can support each other to
sing aloud. Sometimes we attract people who challenge us by telling
that we cannot or should not sing our song in public. Yet these people
us too, for they stimulate us to find greater courage to sing it.
You may not have grown up in an African tribe that sings your song to you
at crucial life transitions, but life is always reminding you when you are
in tune with yourself and when you are not. When you feel good, what you
are doing matches your song, and when you feel awful, it doesn't. In the
end, we shall all recognize our song and sing it well. You may feel a
little warbly at the moment, but so have all the great singers. Just keep
singing and you'll find your way home.
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