Heart Songs

heart The sense of being pulled to do something is a curious feeling. What one feels called to explore may sound completely impractical and nonsensical. The road to understanding one’s soul’s calling isn’t usually a smooth path, and as a friend once reminded me, our souls actually like problems. We need them to grow.

This yearning comes from somewhere deep within; a seed-thought of creativity consisting of equal parts patience and urgency. This longing wakes us up in the middle of the night and doesn’t let us go back to sleep. It nurtures us, scares us, and moves us to pursue it with a momentum all its own.

In college, I visited a Lakota Sioux Reservation where a medicine man told me to be careful with whom I shared my spirituality. I didn’t ask him to elaborate, and for the past seventeen years I have wondered what exactly he meant.

But what I have come to understand is that we should indeed carefully choose who gets to hear the stories we hold closest to our hearts. In the past, there have been moments when I bared my soul, professing a deeply sacred and profound truth, hoping for a certain response, only to feel disappointment and doubt upon hearing the reaction I received. Now I try to share my deep-seated longings and dreams only with whom I feel safe.

As Brene Brown writes in Daring Greatly, “Our stories are not meant for everyone. Hearing them is a privilege, and we should always ask ourselves this before we share: Who has earned the right to hear my story?”

Honoring our callings reminds me of the children’s movie Happy Feet about the penguin, Mumbles, who struggles to find his “heart song.”  All the other penguins simply open their little beaks and out comes a beautiful and unique melody. But not Mumbles, because his song lives in his feet. Mumbles isn’t a singer after all, he is a dancer. Eventually, Mumbles answers his heart song and finds friends with whom he can share it. This is when his life changes positively forever. As Joseph Campbell wrote, “Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors for you where there were only walls.”