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What did it sound like again...?

Updated: Aug 19, 2023

Almost 15 years ago, I lost someone who was very dear to me. He lived in the States and during the time we knew each other I paid many visits to a country which at first seemed very vast and a little bit scary, but now has a warm place in my heart. I looked forward to every new trip, but when I got on the plane to attend the funeral, it was with very mixed feelings.

During the ceremony, several people chose to say a few words, and one of them was his best friend for many years. Among other things, she shared a quote which has stayed with me ever since. The quote is: "A friend is someone who knows the song in your heart and can sing it back to you when you've forgotten the words."

I know what it can feel like to forget the words to your own song, to be out of touch with who you are. For me, it’s as if my attention and my thoughts are constantly focused on other things and other people without me being present and grounded in my own body. It's not that I cannot feel my body, but I forget to listen to what it's trying to tell me and instead look for answers and guidance outside of myself. I start to doubt myself and worry about what others think. One of the wisest people in my life once said that when this happens, it's like leaving our own life path and instead following someone else's.

But I also know the blessing of having my own song sung back to me - when something is expressed that makes me remember who I am and what my innermost truth is. I get in touch with the part of me that knows I’m more than my thoughts, labels and judgments, the part that knows what it feels like to truly be alive, present and grounded. I stand firmly on my feet.

Sometimes it's a friend who knows my song and sings it. He or she sees beyond fears, flaws and shortcomings and addresses the true and the good in me. I’m allowed to come as I am without him or her necessarily believing in or agreeing with the slightly skewed self-image I express at that moment. This is truly a gift and never something I take for granted in my life.

But sometimes it’s something completely different that makes me hear the song that’s in my heart. It could be something I read that just feels so right. Maybe it’s a piece of music or a movie that resonates with me. Perhaps it's in meditation, when dancing or having a conversation. And sometimes it is someone I don't know at all who says or does something that simply touches me deeply.

Can we do this for one another? Absolutely. But it is possible to sing a song back to a person we don't know? I think it is. But the thing is, we often don’t know when it happens. It could be a smile, a kind word, a compliment, something we share, a hand on someone's shoulder... or something entirely different. We may not be the friend who knows the song in the other person's heart, but if we set our intention to kindness, I still think there is a good chance that we might sing a word or two from their lyrics.

Warmly... and in song,


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