There are songs that just feel like life when you hear them.
Songs that taste like a sunrise unfolding before your bedroom window at the point where night says hello to dawn and heads back to his star-filled hammock.
Songs that smell like honeyed coconut and touch like brand-new duvet covers, soft, comfortable, safe and inviting.
Songs like India.Arie’s “Strength Courage & Wisdom.”
I fell in love with this song more than a decade ago when her debut album hit the music world. We were all forever changed because of Ms. Arie and her melodic truth-telling.
I knew this song was a gem then. I still count it as a priceless treasure now. When I hear it, in those first few notes of the melody and the bass line I hear truth, I hear realness, I hear authenticity.
Then India starts to sing and I step into a moment of truth to agree with her words, embrace them as my own and sit down in the affirmations each verse gives me.
I’ve embraced these words in such a personal way that last weekend, at the closing retreat for an incredible 10 month leadership program I took part in, I decided to sing each and every word.
In front of 40+ people.
Without music, so very A cappella.
On a whim. I literally decided to sing moments before I did.
Each of us in the program had the chance to share how the last 10 months changed us and what we learned about ourselves. I shared that the program helped me heal from deep losses and gave me incredible community in ways that I couldn’t have thought to ask for.
I also shared that this song, India’s song, came to mind that morning and reminded me that through this year, through the pains I had to process and heal from I could see that parts of me I thought I died were still with me. The strength, courage and wisdom I felt at times were lost to me had never left. They were just healing inside my heart, along with the rest of me that needed time, space and grace to recover from the wounds of grief that hurt but do lead to wholeness again.
I sang the whole freaking song. Verses 1, 2, chorus, the bridge and the vamp.
I was so nervous that I kept my eyes on the lyrics via my phone the entire time. I could hear the nerves in my voice at the beginning.
But they calmed down and I sang and I stood in vulnerability and in doing so, I believe I found a little bit more of myself in the process.
I found more of Melody in those melodies, standing behind that podium on a sunny Saturday morning in a Daytona Beach hotel where I let my story have its freedom in music and its freedom through me.
One melodie at a time.