Singing Our Way Home

Singing Our Way Home

One of the tenderest and most beautiful moments in my mother’s final days was the night before she died.

My brother Josh sat singing to her for hours as she lay breathing raggedly, eyes closed, sunk deep into herself. And one by one all of my siblings and me, our spouses who were there, two of her caregivers, all clustered around her bed in the small darkened bedroom, sitting on chairs and on the foot of her bed, touching her body with love, while Josh continued to sing.

May the longtime sun shine upon you,
all love surround you,
and the pure light within you
guide your way home.

That was one of the songs he sang over and over, singing our mother’s soul home.

It occurs to me that singing each other home is one of the greatest gifts we can give in this life. Not just at the moment of death, but all through our lives from birth onward.

I’m told in aboriginal Australia, every person has a unique song, which the elders hear while the child is still in the womb. (At least I’m told it used to be this way.) The whole tribe learns this song and sings it to the child as he or she grows, when she falls or he cries or needs reminding of who he is. Singing her home to herself.

holding hands, touching with love

Whether in music or poetry, through our dancing or teaching, counseling or healing or simply touching each other with love, whether through firekeeping or by listening deeply to another, singing each other home to our souls is the highest expression of each of these arts and a priceless gift.

If we remember this as our purpose, or part of it, while we are making art or cooking a meal or talking to a stranger, we can elevate our lives and the lives of others immeasurably and do a great service to all life on this planet.

We can help to sing Earth home to her soul, her radiant, healthful aliveness in the web of life, through our rituals, our honoring and gratitude. We can do this for all things, whether supposedly inanimate or animate.

And thereby we renew our world. We sing the creation into its fullest expression. We guide our way home.

Singing our way home to ourselves is something we cannot do alone. We are designed to need others to help sing us home—whether they be human others or animals, plants, weather spirits or angels. We are part of an intimately interconnected web that we are required to depend on for life.

As humans we are given the unique quality of forgetting who we truly are, losing our way home. Our myths in all cultures throughout time tell of this getting lost, forgetting and remembering, finding our way with the help of others.

These myths or sacred stories are a guidebook to help us live well on Earth, honoring our interdependence, our magical gifts, walking our heart paths, heeding the call of our souls.

Let us remember to sing each other home and to ask others to help sing us home. Let us sing these sacred songs in our art-making, in all we do.


For more on how art calls us home to ourselves, read The Extraordinary Gifts of Poetry and Art, or engage your own soulful creativity with this creative exercise: Create an Ode, or discover your soul’s home in Why the Heck Am I Here?

Living Life as Prayer

Living Life as Prayer

Sometime this past year I set the intention to live my life as prayer.

I have carried this intention, less clearly named, for most of my life.

I remember a summer when I was around 15 or 16 that a young homeless man granted me three magic wishes.

I wished to become a great musician, and to grow closer to God. I don’t remember the third wish.

What amazes me about the two wishes I do remember is they are still my heart’s deep desires, to be a great artist, to dwell in union with the Divine.

My Beginnings

I grew up in a largely non-religious household. My parents were agnostic, philosophers and intellectuals, questioning everything. We kept a few of the major Jewish holidays.

Then, when I was about 10, my parents started attending a very open-minded congregation that was just forming. I did eventually go to Hebrew school for a couple of years and have a bat-mitzvah.

But, throughout my childhood and beyond, my connection to the Divine was allowed to develop on its own in a very pure and personal relationship that my parents found both mystifying and enviable.

Although I have carried a deep closeness with the Divine since I was a child, naming my intention to live my life as prayer has given a clarity, a shape that brings the commitment more fully into my daily life.

What Does It Mean to Live My Life as Prayer?

That is an open question, a generative question, one to keep asking and living into the answer.

“Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are now written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.” —poet Rainer Maria Rilke

Some Answers

To live my life as prayer means:

To live in deep devotion and connection to the Goddess (the Divine Feminine that we need so much in our world now) and All That Is.

To be a prayer for peace, for love, for wonder, for beauty, for Grace. To embody that in my being and doing.

To infuse what I create with that intention. To listen deeply to the song of the world, the wisdom of the world, and move in accord with it.

To offer up all that I do for a larger purpose and to live in alignment with my highest values.

I think about the life of a monk or nun, but out in the world.

How can I be a beacon of that which matters most to me? How can I serve the Divine in all things, in all moments?

How Do I Practice Living My Life as Prayer?

I aim for devotion in my actions, for deep care, for alignment with an understanding of the sacredness of all things.

I aim for presence, awareness, awakeness.

I cultivate gratitude and appreciation, a sense of the abundance and grace of this life.

And I also let myself feel the deep sorrow, the rage and fear, at all the lack of care and respect for life, all the dishonoring.

I keep repeating my intention to myself to remind myself of it. Almost always when I remind myself, it is a moment in which I find myself forgetting, caught up in the daily and the small self. By repeating it, I hope to return to a deeper connection and intention in my being and doing.

What Does It Mean to You?

Does it resonate with you to live your life as prayer?

What does it bring up in you, inspire in you? What questions does it raise?

If it doesn’t resonate with you, what do you live in service to? What matters most to you? What guides your life?

You might want to explore this topic in your journal.

Remember, these are living questions. Meant to open us into deeper inquiry and awareness, deeper being and living.

May they inspire your life to take on greater fullness and depth and joy.

I’d love to hear your responses here in the comments. Let’s be real with one another, because life is precious and we were given these amazing hearts to connect with.

If you are curious about working (and playing) with me one-on-one in my Creative Life Coaching to help you walk your heart path, I have space to take on a few more people right now. You could set up a complimentary Discovery Session, and we’ll explore together whether we are a good match at this time.

Maxima Kahn is a poet, creative life coach and teacher. She works with heart-centered artists and dreamers, helping them to unleash their creative brilliance and create lives of passion, purpose and deep play. She blogs about the creative life, writing, and artful, soulful living at www.BrilliantPlayground.com.

Art That Heals: A Manifesto

Art That Heals: A Manifesto

As artists, how do we respond to the crises in our world today?

In such dire times, how can what we create make a difference?

In this clarion call to artists, I offer a powerful, inspiring vision for how art can heal, matter, create new possibilities, change our world.

Without prescribing any style or form that art must take, I challenge the artist in each of us to step up to our potent role as way-showers, vision-keepers, change-makers.

If you are in the doldrums around making art or overwhelmed by the state of our world, I encourage you to read this manifesto and reconnect to your sacred purpose as a creator.

Download this 7-page, gorgeous manifesto for free.

No email address required. Just click the download button and enjoy!

This is my gift to you and to our world. Please share it with others in the spirit of generosity and love in which it was created. Let’s create a revolution of love through creativity.

May it inspire a wave of art, new visions and healing that we need so much in our world today.

Love, Maxima

2018 Year In Review

2018 Year In Review

This past year, I gave myself a huge gift. I cut back my teaching hours by half and poured myself into my writing life. Here’s what I learned, what I did and didn’t accomplish, and where I’m setting my sights now.
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