Learning to Sing Our Song

It's difficult to recognize our value.

We're used to shrinking to fit into the world. Things, other people, ideas, activities, nostalgia seem bigger and more important than us. No wonder we have a hard time letting things go that actually don't matter to us. It can be hard to see our importance enough to know to value its worth.

Someone told me today about the idea that we are born into a world that is a mighty tuning fork that makes us conform to its tone. We learn from the start to follow the world's song.

We forget we have our own song.

When I graduated from high school, I had this feeling that I didn't want to go to college, but that I should go to college, because that's what people did. I remember my mom mentioning that I didn't have to go to college, but I didn't want to hear that. So I went.

I started studying political science and law, which is hilarious. I just thought, "that sounds like a good thing to do for a job." In some ways, I felt like I was an actor playing a role that was not representing any part of me. And I remember feeling very sick. I had a lot of allergies, and I felt very unsettled. But then, a lot of the people around me felt the same way, so I figured "that's college."

Then I started going hiking. I'd get away from the campus and the city, and I'd be with the trees, which made me really happy. I got this sense that this person that I'd become was foreign to me. It felt like I had become what was expected of me -- according to that tuning fork from the world -- it was time to grow up and be responsible. But it was like a very itchy wool sweater. It was driving me nuts.

After two years I quit school. I learned how to meditate, found an art school to attend, and I studied something that I truly enjoyed that still supports me today. It turns out this is the song I most like singing. And amazingly, I find that it's not dissonant, but is instead harmonious with the world's song.