The Song you were born to Sing.. Life Purpose, Ikigai & our Genius

There is a song that is wanting to be sung. There is masterpiece that is waiting to be painted. There is a life waiting to be lived. There is this song in each of hearts. A yearning which is never quenched. And in some ways we are all learning to listen to that.

When I stepped out of the Corporate world in 1996 to listen to my heart, I experienced a freshness, an aliveness. And this journey is never over. There has been a deepening. A questioning. A ruthlessness with which life asks us to listen to that precious song which we attempt to sing.. but often not deeply enough, not strongly enough.

There is a beautiful song, ‘The Rose’ (Bette Midler) from which I share a few lines..

It’s the heart afraid of breaking
that never learns to dance
It’s the dream afraid of waking that never takes the chance
It’s the one who won’t be taken
who cannot seem to give
and the soul afraid of dying that never learns to live

Do check it out on YouTube:

I am at a juncture at which I am being asked to take a deeper plunge into the life, into living. To let go of the familiar at which I seem to be in some ways adept and ‘successful’ to claim my deepest core.

I had come upon a beautiful book, ‘The Big Leap’ of a very dear author, teacher and friend- Gay Hendricks. Like many books, it was lying on the shelf until it decided it was time for me to read it. Or life felt its time! And yet, I have read only the initial part. Gay talks of something he calls the ‘Upper Limit’. Whenever we experience a beautiful level of joy, there is a thermostat switch which brings us back into a zone of the familiar which is less joyful and even painful. Unconsciously we sabotage ourselves. Simply put, he discovered (in his words):
‘I have a limited tolerance for feeling good. When I hit the Upper Limit, I manufacture thoughts that make me feel bad. The problem is bigger than my internal feelings, though: I seem to have a limited tolerance for my life going well in general… Our species in general has grown accustomed to pain and adversity through millennia of struggle. We knew how to feel bad (more easily!)… we are only recently evolving the ability to let ourselves feel good and have things go well for any significant period of life (without sabotaging ourselves)’ (brackets mine)

More than a decade ago, I had participated in his powerful program in which he shared how, we often live in our Zone of Incompetence or even Zone of Competence. And invited us to move not only our Zone of Excellence but what he calls ‘Genius’ Our competence is often the ‘good’ in us which comes in the way of the great in us (Excellence). And the great in us comes in the way of the miraculous in us (Genius). We have all experienced being in our genius – when a little effort generates huge results. And we lose the sense of time. It is deeply fulfilling. It is the song we were born to sing. Which he shares now in this book, The Big Leap.

My journey in discovering this song has been fun, difficult, fulfilling, silent, a bit like a roller-coaster and more. Many many souls have touched my life and shaped my work. Some books which have given me a peek into this song are: ‘Astrology for the Soul’ – Jan Spiller, ‘The Life you were born to live’ – Dan Millman. And as I was writing this, a dear friend, Akshay Cherian walked in and told me about a book, ‘Find Your Great work’ which is not available but by the same author, ‘Do more great work’ seems good. Will get it from Flipkart!

I am also reminded of ..
It doesn’t interest me what you do for a living.
I want to know what you ache for, and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart’s longing.
It doesn’t interest me how old you are.
I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool for love, for your dream, for the adventure of being alive.
– Oriah Mountain Dreamer, ‘The Invitation’

As I bring this post to a closure, wanted to share that the day after, on Sunday (28/Aug/20110) we are meeting some people young in age/ young at heart to explore this.. What might enable us to sing the song we were born to sing, a little more deeply- and maybe some day completely!

Whether we know or not, each of us is already on this journey. What may help you to deepen this journey is to examine- what are the things that you are doing which you are competent/ not competent at? What are you excellent at? What kind of work seems like a song to you?

It is possible to tune into the design that life has for you. If we let go of this notion of ‘improving’ ourselves.. hold it lightly, we will free ourselves us for something larger. So much energy gets wasted in trying to ‘change’ ourselves. Instead remember, that there is a unique song that you were born to sing that no one else can. Now, discover your strengths (also the title of a book) and the spend a little more time focusing on them. Take at least one ‘10 minute vacation’ (another of my blog posts here!) and break the grip of the robotic pattern. Take a walk.. to the garden in your heart that is waiting for you ever so lovingly and patiently.

6 thoughts on “The Song you were born to Sing.. Life Purpose, Ikigai & our Genius

  1. Yes…the journey to soar has been enabled in deeper ways through the books you have shared – Jan Spiller’s “Astrology for the Soul” and more recently, John Demartini’s “The Breakthrough Experience” – the latter has made a lot of things infinitely clearer. Another book that enables is by Cheryl Richardson, called “Stand up for your life”.
    Thank you. Love &light

  2. Hi Kiran

    Amazing and awesome post. Straight from the middle of the bat (heart ) I should say. In more ways than one I have always been contemplating on similar line for quite a while and I guess I have got my answer through this post.
    Yes, it is imperative to love yourself as you are first, but that should never become a limiting factor and should help us to rise above what we feel we are and truly become what we truly are !
    It is the metamorphosis of a caterpillar to butterfly and the joy lies in not becoming the butterfly but in the process.
    I too love you as you are !

  3. Dear Kiran,

    You know how well I resonate with “Finding Your Song” 🙂 And sharing something here that we are both familiar with:

    Finding Your Song

    When a woman in one African tribe knows she is pregnant, she goes out into the wilderness with a few friends and together they pray and meditate until they hear the song of the child. They recognize that every soul has its own vibration that expresses its unique flavor and purpose.
    When the women attune to the song, they sing it out loud. Then they return to the tribe and teach it to everyone else.
    And when children are born into the village, the community gathers and sings their song, one unique melody for each unique child. Later, when children begin their education, the village gathers and chants each child’s song. They sing again when each child passes into the initiation of adulthood, and at the time of marriage.
    Finally, when the soul is about to pass from this world, the family and friends gather at the bedside, as they did at birth, and they sing the person to the next life.
    In the African tribe there is one other occasion upon which the Villagers sing to the child: If at any time during a person’s life, he or she commits a crime or aberrant social act, that individual is called to stand in the center of a circle formed by all members of the tribe. And once again the villagers chant the child’s song.
    The tribe recognizes that the proper correction for antisocial behavior is not punishment, but love and the remembrance of identity. When you recognize your own song, you have no desire or need to do anything that would hurt another.
    A friend is someone who knows your song and sings it to you when you have forgotten it. Those who love you are not fooled by the mistakes you have made or the dark images you hold about yourself. They remember your beauty when you feel ugly; your wholeness when you are broken; your innocence when you feel guilty; and your purpose when you are confused.
    You may not have grown up in an African tribe that sings your song to you at crucial life transitions, but life is always reminding you when you are in tune with yourself and when you are not. When you feel good, what you are doing matches your song, and when you feel awful, it doesn’t.
    In the end, we shall all recognize our song, and we shall sing it well. You may feel a little wobbly at that moment, but so have all the great singers. Just keep singing and you’ll find your way home.
    I think I can hear your song, all of them, even now…
    ~ Dan Millman, Author of – Way of the Peaceful Warrior

    Sing on!



    1. Hi Sangeeta

      Thanks for the enlightenment. Though I vaguely remember having read this, now only I am reading this with awareness.
      Thanks Once again.
      There is also another song which is the song of all travellers and co travellers and it is the song of love sung from the bottom of the heart by eaxh one !

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