When a woman of a certain African group knows she is pregnant, she goes to the rainforest with other women, and together they pray and meditate until they hear “The song of the child.” When a child is born, the group gets together and they sing the child’s song to him or her. When the child begins his education, the village gathers and chants the child’s song.
When the child passes through the initiation to adulthood, people get together again and sing. At the time of marriage, the person hears his or her song again. Finally, when the soul is about to pass from this world, group gathers and, just as they did at his birth, sing the person’s song to accompany them in the “journey” to the next life.
In this African culture 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, all the members make a circle around him and sing his song. They recognizes that the correction for antisocial behavior is not through punishment, but through love and the recognition and remembrance of his true identity.
When you remember your song, you have no desire to do anything that would hurt another. 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 the mistakes you have made or the dark images you hold about yourself. They remember your beauty when you feel ugly; your wholeness when you feel broken; your innocence when you feel guilty; and your purpose when you are confused.
When you feel good, you are living your song, and when you feel awful, you aren’t. In the end, we shall all recognize our song, and we shall sing and live… it well. As long as you remember to sing your song, you’ll find your way home.