Here, in Africa, our birthdate is not counted from the day when we were born, nor from the day we were conceived but from the date did our mothers think of us. In our tribe, when a woman decides that she’ll have a child, she goes off and sits under a tree, by herself, meditating, until she hears the song of the child that wants to come. After she’s heard the song of this child, she comes back to the man who’s to be the child’s father and teaches it to him. When making love physically to conceive the child, they devote some of that time to singing the song of the child as a way to invite it.
After conceiving, the pregnant mother teaches that child’s song to the midwives and old women of the village, so that when the child is born, the old women and the people around her sing the song to welcome it to the community. And then, as the child grows up, the other members of the village are taught the song. Should the child hurt itself; say by falling, someone picks it up and sings its song to it. Or maybe the child does something wonderful, or goes through puberty rites, then as a way of honoring this person, the people of the village sing his or her song.
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.
We recognize 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.
And it goes this way through their life. In marriage, the songs are sung, together. And finally, when this child is lying in bed, ready to die, all the villagers know his or her song, and they sing—for the last time—the song to that person.
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 awkward at the moment, but so have all the great singers. Just keep singing and you’ll find your way home.
Peace & Love