[Modified from an essay by an unknown author]
When a woman in a certain African tribe knows she is pregnant, she goes into the wilderness with 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. Later, when the child’s formal education begins, the village gathers and chants the 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 just as they did at the birth and sing the song as the soul departs.
There’s one other occasion when it is customary for the villagers to gather and sing a person’s soulsong. If the person commits a crime or a disturbing social act, the individual is called to the center of the village and the people in the community form a circle around and sing the song.
The tribe recognises that the best correction for problematic behavior is often not punishment or rejection; it is love and the remembrance of identity. When you recognise 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.
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