“When you find your heart is ripping at the seams,
And you struggle at the core of everything you’ve believed
Questions unanswered and peace so hard to find
Grasping at pieces of the dreams you left behind
When you’re not sure if you’ll ever find your home
You’re not alone” lyric by Teri Undreiner ” You’re Not Alone”
There is this tension in life where we are in-between where we’ve been, where are, and where we are going. It can be so confusing at times because in that space there is such a flurry of emotions and thoughts. You begin to realize that maybe you aren’t who you thought you were when you come up against others thoughts of who you are supposed to be. The conflict comes when you begin to honor who you are and what your true heart desires rather than what someone else desires for you. This is the complexity that begins to expose itself and begs for the question to be answered, ” Where do I begin and you , end?” This is especially important when the connections we have have different sights than what we are set on. Our eyes are both on a prize, but what if our prizes are different? Is one right and one wrong? And how do we honor another’s sight when theirs are different from ours? What do we do about the connections?
I love the story I heard about how Native Americans greet one another. Rather than asking, ” How are you?” They ask ” How are the connections?” This is because they understand that how one’s connections are, so goes their whole life. That is so profound to me!
This is why it’s important in life to belong to a tribe. When we lose our context of who we are and what our passions and purposes are, we need others to remind us. I’ve heard of an African Tribe that when a mother is pregnant, all the women go out into an obscure place for days to find out what this child’s song will be in life. When they receive that song, they begin to sing it over the mother and the mother continues to sing it over the child throughout it’s gestation. Then when the child is born, the tribe sings the child’s song over them and this continues throughout his or hers life.
As the child grows into independence, sometimes they go astray from the tribes values. This is normal as one becomes independent and develops their own thinking patters, but often there can be this stage of becoming a bit of a wild thing out on their own. They open their heart to other tribal ways. This can be an unhealthy thing or a healthy thing. The discernment comes when one looks at their heart. The question becomes, ” Do my values resonate with the values of my tribe?” The question might also come up,” Is the song they sang over me the song I was to continue in or do I want to edit and expand on it?” We might decide to keep it as it is, but if it no longer speaks to the whole person we are becoming, then for sure a good editing may need to take place.
In my training with Yoga For Veterans and First Responders, our Practice teaches us about the conflict between living in the fight and flight mode or living in the space of calm and stable. When we aren’t connected to our true heart and song, we live in the fight and flight space because we can’t express who we really are, and so we live in the shadows of our true self hoping one day to hear the words, ” Ollie, Ollie, in come free!” But if another voice doesn’t call us out of the shadows , the responsibility lies with us to come clean with who we are. It’s a decision that isn’t for the timid or as in the Velveteen Rabbit, ” Not for those who have to be carefully kept.” This “wild thing” that we begin to resemble will take new forms as we begin to mature and become more flexible with our lives and our hearts.
The tribe understands these wild thing moments in a “child-becoming-an-adult phase” and if they fear the child will begin to wander so far away that they lose their heart and forget their song completely, rather than punish the child, the tribe seeks the child out and puts them into the center of the tribe and they all begin to sing the child’s song back to them. They realize that the child isn’t bad, they have just forgotten who they are when they lost their context and their most important connections. This is why it’s so important to live life with those who really GET us because then they won’t superimpose their own song on us. They recognize that we have a value all our own and they treasure that value. So, if the child got lost in the in-between stage of being a child under others supervision and a vital part of the tribe, becoming their own adult in the context of others and their tribe is often tricky business. So, when the tribe can really see who the child-becoming adult is, this calling the child back to center becomes a beautiful way to restore the child’s heart and their remembrance of their song.
Once the child-adult has the ears to hear, the tribe begins to sing the song that shows them the way back to their heart. They begin stirring stuff up within the child-adults heart that begins to remind them where they originated and what was in their true heart before the in-between, and how it can be expanded.
Once the dust of the stirring up begins to settle, the clarity begins. When one begins to remember their true hearts song, they begin to see with new eyes what they had forgotten while in-between. This is not only a coming back to what one once knew but it becomes a new way of seeing what is known. Thus, a new transformation begins. A new identity begins to emerge and though it is somewhat daunting, if given the space, one becomes who they are becoming. Each stage is important for the calling. I love the question, ” What would you do if you knew you could not fail?”
Herein lies the most important piece. When one begins to be who they really are, and when they really listen to the prophetic notion of their own heart song, the tribe may not understand, but if they are wise, they will allow the transformation to happen without shame or guilt.
Mark Nepo says, ” For years I was seduced into thinking about life as if it were the same thing as entering it.” That is so beautiful because it’s pointing to the fact that being told life is ONE thing and really experiencing life for oneself is another. One is just hearsay while the other is authentically engaged with. And the thing with the fear of failing is that every new venture teaches us something we didn’t know before, so it really isn’t a failing in the truest sense.
We come to understand that rather than living someone elses passions and purposes, that we DO fail at, we are destined to follow our own. We can’t live another persons dreams or ideals and neither can they live ours. Within the context of knowing our tribe, our heart, and our song, but still making the choice to live from our own transformed heart, we stabilize and begin to dwell alongside of each other in the light. This is because those who are of our tribe and we, theirs, understand and embrace the mystery of life, and in that embrace, we respect one anothers posture in the World. We are grateful that we hear the heart-beat of their songs. And in the hearing we encourage them along the way so that they DON’T fail because we are WITH them.
As we open our hearts to the vulnerable within us and to the mystery that might surround that, truths that were created in our hearts begin to come to life once again. Though the song is the same; the voice, the tempo, the key, and the range has expanded. Life has energized our capacity to love and to see with new eyes and understand there will be new terrain and new sights that call to that deeper place within us: ” LET ME LIVE”. If we will heed that voice, all things become beautiful in His time. We walk towards life, away from what no longer serves our true heart, and we step into the journey at hand. When we step into the path before us, we might feel alone at first, but soon others begin to join us in our steps and new tribes are formed. It doesn’t at all diminish the tribe we once belonged to, it only enhances every connection our lives touch, and expands the human tribes influence in the World. It’s the way of love, and love is the language that the whole world understands. There is no longer the “thems and the us’s”, there only is the “we”. This is the beauty of the humanity that we connect to: that we walk towards love, and when we walk towards love, we connect on a completely different level. We no longer feel invisible, unlovely, unknown, and unwanted. We live being loved and we love living.
When at first we might feel alone along the path…
Others join us as they begin to hear their song…
New roads are created before us.
Once we have remembered our song…
We begin to sing in color again.
We begin to sit taller in our saddle.
And all of this has taught us that when we lose our way, our context, our song, our tribe,
Our transformed heart will help us find our way home…
What was once thought so permanent; the labels, even the identities that we wore, begin to lose their defined lines and begin to fade a bit as we begin to open our heart to what’s beckoning us forward. We no longer are frozen by the question of failing. Rather, we don’t consider failing at all. We just consider that we have to move forward and take what comes with an open heart.
” I am not who I thought I was, and I don’t know who I will be, but I am confident that I am becoming who I am.” (me)
This beautiful and savage path has been the epitome of scary because I had to shed so much of my old skin, but in that shedding, the raw and the real kissed each other and became one. When we say YES to when Love asks us to follow where it will take us , it will also along the way ask us, “How are the connections?”
It’s in that question in the sacred in-between that we will make a decision for what is really love to us, and we won’t want to settle for anything less.
May I leave you with one of my favorite song writers songs:
There’s a wideness in God’s mercy….I cannot find in my own
And He keeps His fire burning….To melt this heart of stone
Keeps me aching with a yearning…Keeps me glad to have been caught
In the reckless raging fury….That they call the love of God
Now, I’ve seen no band of angels….But I’ve heard the soldiers’ songs
Love hangs over them like a banner….Love within them leads them on
To the battle on the journey….And it’s never gonna stop
Ever widening their mercies…..And the fury of His love
Oh, the love of God and oh….The love of God, the love of God
Joy and sorrow are this ocean…And in their every ebb and flow
Now, the Lord a door has opened….That all hell could never close
Here I’m tested and made worthy….Tossed about but lifted up
In the reckless raging fury…..That they call the love of God
You can listen to this beautiful battle cry here: