I’ve been joining the meditation and service at the Calgary Center for Spiritual Living (CCSL) on Sunday mornings  thoroughly enjoy the music, the inspirational message, connecting with others as well as connecting with spirit.

Recently I attended a service where the message was about “Singing OUR song” – as we all have a song; a gift, a purpose, a light to shine.

Pat shared about an African custom:  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 sing, chant, and meditate until they hear the song of the child. They believe that every soul has its own vibration that expresses its unique identity and purpose. When the women become attuned 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 the child. Later, when the child’s formal education begins, the village gathers and chants the child’s song. When the child passes through the initiation to adulthood, the people again come together and sing. At the time of marriage, the newlyweds hear their songs sung once again.

Finally, when a soul is about to pass from existence, family and friends gather around the deathbed and, just as they did at the child’s birth, they sing child’s song as a part of “being with” the departing one at the very end of the child’s life.

In this African tribe, there is one other occasion when it is customary for the villagers to gather and sing a person’s soul song to the child. If at any time during the child’s life, the person commits a crime or a disturbingly aberrant social act, the individual is called to the center of the village and the people in the community form a circle around child. Then they sing the child’s song.

The tribe recognizes that the best correction for problematic behavior is often not punishment or rejection; it is love and the remembrance of identity. When you recognize your own song being sung by your own community, whatever overwhelming hungers or frightening threats to your self that may have motivated selfish, angry, destructive, or chaotic action are diminished; your sense of identity is reaffirmed and your self regains its cohesiveness; you remember who you are and why you do not wish to cause hurt to your family, friends, and other members of your own tribe.

A friend is someone who knows your song and sings it to you when you have forgotten it. Those who love you are not fooled by your aberrant transgressions, mistakes you have made, or dark images you hold about yourself. They help you remember your beauty when you feel ugly, your wholeness when you are broken, your innocence when you feel guilty (your retrievable innocence when you are guilty), and your purpose when you are confused.

When you feel good — vitally alive, whole, solid — what you do matches your song; when you feel awful, it doesn’t.  Said another way if we are feeling good we would be in alignment and when we are feel bad we are not in alignment with the message and guidance of our song.

You probably have not have grown up in such an African tribe that sings your song to you at crucial life transitions.  You may have had to forge your sense of self and learned to walk through the world without such affirming recognition.  Yet at times, even the strongest self requires recognition and validation to remain strong and cohesive. One of the reasons for this tradition is to have a community that can help you remember when you are in tune with yourself and when you are not.

In the end, it is true that you need to recognize your own song and sing it as only you can. You may feel a little “warbly” at times, but so do we all.  Remember that no human is an island:  at times, everyone needs help to remember our song and to sing it well. Just keep singing until we catch the tune and can sing along.

I was deeply moved by this message, consider what our families, communities and society would look like if we knew and sang our song to each other.  As I listen for and sing my song – my purpose, my path becomes crystal clear and I take actions consistent with my commitment of serving others in the world.   In remembering who I am, as I sing my song and shine my light I create the space for others to do the same.

Shine YOUR Light Loved Ones,