Once in awhile I’ll get an email from a woman on the brink of something she’s not exactly sure of yet. She’s at a crossroads of sorts. “Should I take the leap of faith or keep doing what I’ve been doing and hope the longing for something more will eventually disappear?”Usually, they are asking me for travel advice, but what I’d really like to give them is reassurance. I’d like to give them a big hug and let them cry on my shoulder. I’d like to buy them a drink and listen to their story. I’d like to see their eyes light up with the flame of passion burning inside of them.
And then, I’d tell them this:
The whole world is a symphony. The bee making love to the flower, the fallen petals kissing the ground, the wind brushing against our cheeks. It’s all synchronicity and harmony. The Universe has one song and we are all playing a part. That desire that’s burning a hole into your heart? The one you’re afraid might destroy you if you don’t pay close enough attention? That’s your own unique and special tune that completes the orchestra. The symphony of Life is called Love and it becomes fuller and richer each time someone performs the part written only for them.
Buckner, Missouri 2009
We’re born with this music inside of us, and we’ve always known the melody in our heart. But as we get older and face disappointments and heartache, we start drowning it out with the sounds of others playing their tune. We start thinking that we should sound more like that person, or that one. We become afraid that our sound isn’t as special or worthy of being heard. This is one of my favorite memories of Italy. Watching a clown listen intently as a street musician plays the accordion in Florence, Italy 2011.
Some of us choose to play a part that was never ours to begin with. We think we’ll never learn how to play the strings of a violin so profoundly or beautifully, so we stick to simple chords on the piano, instead. We avoid the 1st chair, because we think we’ll never be good enough. We let the noise of those around us direct our path instead of listening to the melody within.
That discord and anxiety you can’t seem to get rid of? They’re warning signals from your heart, letting you know you’re in disharmony with your unique purpose in life. Instead of playing harder and faster, maybe it’s time to be silent. To sit in stillness until the song that was created for you from birth can make itself heard again. Don’t be afraid, all of life is conspiring for you, on your behalf.*
So, travel. Travel if that is what’s on your heart. Travel to be still, to learn that all of life is built in harmony, intricately and intimately intertwined together as One. Travel until you find someone or something that resonates with your soul, and then stay for awhile. Learn from them. Learn from the place you’ve known all along with a familiarity that only eternity can explain.
If you find yourself lost, spend time contemplating nature. Listen to the beating of the fly’s wings, to the cry of the hawks in the bright blue sky, to the sound of a child’s laughter. These smiles melted my heart and gave me so much daily joy in Ghana!
Teiman, Ghana 2014
Be patient with yourself, and with others.
Slowly but surely, your melody will become louder and louder until your heart beats out the rhythm and your feet begin to dance. When this happens, rejoice because the whole Universe is rejoicing with you. Your voice has been added to the symphony of Love and the whole world will be forever changed.
*This post is inspired by two things: 1) I just finished reading The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho, a life altering book about what it means to live your life’s calling. 2) I watched a Swedish film called As It Is In Heaven, a story about a famous conductor who returns to the small village where he grew up to lead the church choir. His mission in life is to “make music that opens the hearts of people.” The last scene, which I shared above, is the final act of the movie where his dream is finally realized. The whole movie is incredible and worth watching, (even if I gave away the ending)!Google+