Have you felt it? That uneasiness within that whispers something isn’t right? You think: I have so much to be grateful for, what am I complaining about?
Well, if something has felt off, you're not alone. This pandemic has forced many people to begin taking stock, and some of the biggest questions a lot of people are asking are who am I, what is my purpose, why am I the way I am, or why do I make the choices that I make?
These questions are terrifying to face because they require an authentic response free from all of the stuff we’ve been conditioned to believe is true. Such as, you may ask. Everything. What it means to be “good” according to society, religion, family, genetics, sexual identity -- you name it! If it provides a description or expectation of what you should be, or how to “properly” operate in this world, it’s an attitude or behavior founded on a limiting belief that is probably not true, and that’s preventing your soul from singing and your spirit from soaring.
What do I mean? Here’s an example.
Growing up, I learned that there was a hierarchy of order and control, and my father was at the helm. I lived with a very traditional family and what my father said went. There is nothing inherently wrong with this; however, what I came to understand was that I had no power, that men held the power in relationships, that men had the control, and that peace was maintained by doing what I was told. Because I was young and didn’t understand the world, to make sense of mine, I adopted a behavior that lasted well into my forties: I became passive in life because it kept the peace. Except, it didn’t. (Almost) everything from what we ate for dinner to what movies we watched and how we saved and spent money was decided by my husband, and not because he wanted to -- it drove him crazy that I would not make decisions -- but because I had adopted a behavior that worked when I was six years old and I had never let it go. Instead, whenever a decision had to be made, my six year old self (who was on autopilot, apparently) would leave it for my husband to decide because, unconsciously, I believed that to keep my husband happy and to keep the peace, it was better to let him have control. In the process, I would feel frustrated because, surprise, I felt powerless. Ha! I wanted control over my life, but I wouldn’t make a choice. I wanted to be heard, but I wouldn’t speak up.
The truth is, in adulthood, I was so wrapped up in conforming to the role of being the wife and the mother and the teacher, that I never really took the time to pay attention to the core of me. And, any opportunities to honor my self, I would give away to others because I consistently chose passivity over action. The COVID-19 pandemic amplified my need to answer the question: who am I and why am I like this? Why did I feel like I was settling for less than I was worth? (And, how terrible of me to want more!)
When I started trying to answer these questions, I was forced to dig deep. This is how I came into shadow work and really began unlocking aspects of myself that prevented me from living an authentic, empowered life. Part of this process helped me to uncover those behaviors and attitudes I described above and start taking responsibility for them. The other part forced me to own and honor that which fulfills me, that which makes my soul sing. For me, I love all things mystical and supernatural. I always have. But honoring such woo-woo aspects of myself went against all the traditional structures of my life -- what mother, what wife, what teacher does Tarot? Sees psychics? Goes to an energy healer? I feared judgement and humiliation. I came to a crossroads: live authentically or die with regret.
I had strayed so far away from that which brought me joy because I saw those things as frivolous, as unimportant, as side interests or hobbies, and most certainly nothing to pursue except only occasionally, and most definitely in secret! Believing these were unworthy of my time and energy (as compared to all the other people and responsibilities in my life) was the first step I took in dishonoring my spirit, and dishonoring my self.
Does this mean that to make your soul sing, you need to dig deep and identify your wounded inner child? No, of course not. That was my path -- but even to type these words and say, “Hey, world of strangers: I dig the mystical and the spiritual” is a leap of courage that overcomes every (imaginary) boundary that held me back!
My journey is still very much in progress, but if I could offer you a temporary shortcut to making your soul sing, it would be to honor your passion, that which makes your spirit come alive. Identify it and bring more of it into your life, even if -- especially if-- everyone else thinks its woo woo. This will bring you more joy. But it won't make your soul sing.
To make your soul sing, you must share your passion with others.
Love art? Do more of it -- then, volunteer online to teach it to others, or throw a virtual painting party with your friends, just for the fun of it! Take your children on a virtual tour of the Louvre and recreate a masterpiece together! And if your kid hates art? I guarantee there is a child (or adult!) somewhere that would love to try! Is sports what makes you come alive? Join a team, and then coach one or create one for disadvantaged youth. Love music? Play more of it and then share it. Do a concert in your backyard for the neighbors! Worried people will think you’re crazy? That’s the fear talking, but you need to decide -- you need to choose whose voice you want louder in your life: fear or faith.
We don't have to quit our jobs. We don't have to turn our world upside down. But when we share our gifts with others -- not for likes on Instagram or YouTube -- but as an authentic extension and expression of our truest self and our greatest joy, well, that is how to make a soul sing.
(Your inner child will probably dig it, too.)