When a woman in the African Himba tribe knows she is pregnant, she goes out into the wilderness with a few friends and together they pray and meditate until they hear the song of the child. They recognize that every soul has its own song, a vibration that expresses its unique flavor and purpose. As 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 the child enters education, the village gathers and sings the child’s song. When the child passes through their initiation to adulthood, the people again 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, some people smile and others weep. There is something inside each of us that knows we have a song, and we wish those we love would recognize it and support us to sing it. In some of my seminars I ask people to tell 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 all kinds of significant insights start to click. How we all long to be acknowledged for who we are!
There is one other occasion upon which the Himba villagers sing to the child. If at any time during the person’s life he or she 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 the person. Then they sing the person’s song to them. This tribe recognizes that the correction for antisocial behavior is not punishment; it is love and the remembrance of who we truly are. When we remember who we are and recognize our own song, we would have no desire or need to do anything that would hurt another.
A friend is someone who knows your song and sings it to you when you have forgotten. Those who love you are not fooled by mistakes you make or dark images you hold about yourself and even defend. They remember your beauty when you feel ugly; your wholeness when you are broken; your innocence when you feel guilty; and your purpose when you are confused.
Your soul song expresses through your talents, passions, and visions. When you are in touch with your joy and act on it, your heart feels full and your life is rewarding. When you are disconnected from your passion, you feel empty, your life is frustrating, and you wonder what you are doing here.
When you are distracted by the fears and troubles of the world, your song still lives inside you. As you move through difficulties, detours, or setbacks, your spirit guides you from within, urging you to carry on and emerge shining. In the face of a great challenge, your inner knowing comes forth in unprecedented power. All of your life lessons help you get back in touch with the music of your soul.
Others may try to influence you to sing their song rather than yours. If you do, you will become resentful and lose your voice. To regain it, get back in touch with your truth and act on it. Never deny your expression for another’s. You can harmonize and support them, but not at the expense of your happiness.
When I coach people who do not know what to do, I ask them, “What does your spirit say about this?” Usually my clients light up when they consider their answer. The best guidance does not come from simply thinking things through. The best guidance comes from deep inner knowing
Authentic self-expression brings healing, release, and relief. Remember your song, and you become magnetic, compelling, and find peace with yourself.
We’re honored to announce that Alan Cohen will be a special guest speaker at Soulapalooza in Hawaii! Learn more about Soulapalooza and sign up to attend the conference. We hope to see you there!