“Is the unadulterated, unfiltered song from my heart worth any value?”
I turn to the small voice and gently ask in return, “Why do you ask?”
“I am afraid of being left alone… of being ignored again.”
Corny koans waft through my brain, like, “Does the bird sing to be heard?” (Well, um, I suppose… if we factor in that most birds sing to attract a mate, procreate and pass on genes, so does that defeat the original koan’s intent? But I digress…) Lofty platitudes have no place with one’s wounded inner child.
I feel the child’s pain. My pain, from so long ago. The anguish of not being seen, heard, acknowledged as alive and having the right to be, however different. The child fears for its life, for its right to live as it is. It cries and cries and cries for solace with no relief and feels abandoned in an immensely huge and dangerous world.
“You are not ‘value’, child. You are… that which you are… intrinsically worthy. Do we place value on sunlight, birdsong or rainfall?”
She looks up at me, bleary eyed. I put my hands gently in her shoulders to turn her fully to face me and crouch down to look her face to face. “You learnt to turn your intrinsic right to be, into a ‘thing’ to be bartered for your survival. You learnt to make it valuable to others so you could guarantee their attention, to guarantee your survival. Worth is not value, my dear. You are worthy. You do not need to be ‘valuable’ to be worth being alive, beautiful and free.”
I can see that she still doesn’t believe me. It’s too hard for her to disengage the concept of value from worth, too hard for her to tell the difference.
I sit down cross-legged in front of her. I brush her tear-stained locks from her face. “You can sing… because you want to. Not because you have to. You can sing… because it is yours to sing and no one else has any right to tell you if it is beautiful or not. Do you find it beautiful?”
She pauses for the longest time and finally nods, ever so hesitantly, ever so slightly.
“You sing… because it brings you joy, okay?”
And at that, she collapses fully into tears into my open arms and sobs and sobs an sobs as I cradle her there on the ground, rocking her ever so gently from side to side.
Sing… because it brings you joy.