One of my favorite Facebook pages is by Eileen Ní Shuilleabháin, who lives in Galoway, Ireland. Always a joy and a pleasure to read her posts. I’m sharing one today because I found it moving and uplifting. Hoping you will agree with me.
There is a tribe in Africa called the Himba tribe, where the birth date of a child is counted not from when they were born, nor from when they are conceived but from the day that the child was a thought in its mother’s mind. And when a woman decides that she will have a child, she goes off and sits under a tree, by herself, and she listens until she can hear the song of the child that wants to come. And after she’s heard the song of this child, she comes back to the man who will be the child’s father, and teaches it to him. And then, when they make love to physically conceive the child, some of that time they sing the song of the child, as a way to invite it.
And then, when the mother is pregnant, the mother teaches that child’s song to the midwives and the old women of the village, so that when the child is born, the old women and the people around her sing the child’s song to welcome it. And then, as the child grows up, the other villagers are taught the child’s song. If the child falls, or hurts its knee, someone picks it up and sings its song to it. Or perhaps the child does something wonderful, or goes through the rites of puberty, then as a way of honoring this person, the people of the village sing his or her song.
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.
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 warbly at the moment, but so have all the great singers. Just keep singing and you’ll find your way home.
Thank you Eileen!
24 thoughts on “What Is Your Song of Life?”
I think this is wonderful. What a way to date someone’s beginnings and carry on through their life.
We are in complete agreement, Al!
Reblogged this on Truth Troubles: Why people hate the truths' of the real world.
Hello and thank you kindly for your reblog.
What a beautiful and moving tradition!
Hello, Betty. Yes it is. I would wish it so for all of us.
I thought up my daughter, now age twenty-one, and she sings.
Hi, Joanna. Of course she does. How could she not, with the wonderful love you gifted her with.
It’s beautiful. Thank you for this. It celebrates individuality and purpose. May we remember our individual songs amidst the noise and music of life. It’s a good reminder to start from within.
Thank you. I am so happy to pass along the beauty and truth of this story. Yes, I agree, Mariam.
This is such a beautiful story.
Yes, my profound hope is that we (humans) can all find our way to this perfect loving place (mentality).
Thanks, Ute, it is isn’t it!
may your song
be sung 🙂
Thank you so kindly.😊
Reblogged this on Ben Naga and commented:
Such a beautiful story. Thank you so much for sharing it. 🙂
Thank you, Judy. My pleasure to share.😊 Have a great week ahead.
What a wonderful post! How beautiful it would be if we had this same tradition within our culture.
Wouldn’t it be great, LuAnn? Emma who’s 14 yrs. now read it and said, I want to go there to live. So many of her friends are dealing with negative social pressure issues. I think we need to make some serious societal changes for the well being of all our futures.
I am right there with you Penny.
Hi, Seyi. It is wonderful, I agree with you. 🙂