I once was told of a beautiful story about a tribe in Africa.

In this African tribe when a woman becomes pregnant, she prays and meditates with the midwives and old women of the village until they hear the song of the child. After learning the song, they return to their tribe and teach it to everyone else. Upon birth, the community sings the song to the baby. Throughout all of life’s changes — from childhood to adulthood to death, friends and family gather together to sing the person’s unique song.

In the child’s lifetime if they fall and hurt their knee, someone picks them up and sings their song to them. If they commit a crime or display negative behavior, the person is called to the center of the village. The tribal members then form a circle around them and sing their song to them, recognizing that it is love and remembrance of their true identity that heals.

As a child I used to wonder, “Where do I fit in? Do I even have a song?”

When I entered the working world of 8-5, my dilemma escalated. I definitely did not fit in. Yet there I was, sitting behind a desk answering phones with dyslexic ears, struggling to make sense of my life.

Then I discovered my creativity. Along with it, my song began to emerge and with it a resurgence of energy and excitement. Over the years with the nurturing of my artistic side, my song has become stronger, giving me courage to accept and express myself openly and honestly. It has led me to connect with members of my own tribe — fabulous, creative, sensitive and caring friends. Do you know your song?

In order to discover the expectant child’s song, the African women become quiet through prayer and meditation. They begin to quietly listen and intuitively trust what they hear. They listen for the child’s true identity lying in repose at the level of the soul. They listen for the still small voice that will guide and bless the expectant child through his or hers life’s journey.

What is your song? Is it still buried deep in the recesses of your heart? Or is it occasionally expressed in moments of uninhibited joy? Does it sing to you through your art? Does your art sing it to the world?

Can you imagine living your entire life and never hearing your song? Some do. For them, life is colorless and sometimes full of suffering or depression. Can you imagine what happens to them when they begin to hear their song? Hope is born. And with the courage to begin expressing their individual song, life becomes meaningful.

Listen for your song and begin to sing it. Do not stifle it out of fear of where it will take you. Your song will give you all you need to live a beautiful and purposeful life. It will allow you to breathe. It will allow you to soar. It is your freedom.

Art does and always has contributed to the healing of the world. It awakens and opens the hearts of others in order for them to begin to hear their unique song.

With every stroke of your brush, every performance, every artistic creation you mold, courageously express your song. Whether it’s a soft refrain or sung loudly, give it wings to rise above the ordinary — above the chaos into the harmony of the spheres.

Don’t worry if it feels too solo, bends the rules or challenges the status quo.

Not long ago I said to my 92-year-old mother, “I wonder if I’ll ever fit in.” She replied with wisdom, “Are you supposed to?”

Susan Ann Darley is a creativity coach, arts writer and author. Through coaching and writing, she specializes in motivating people to use their talents and market their creative projects. She offers a free 30-minute coaching session. For more information, click here, e-mail her at susan@susananndarley.com or call 805.845.3036.