Tuning out the "Songs of Our People"

This blog post is going to have an element of fun, so I hope you’re up for it! Despite being a former mom to two, beautiful pugs, I have become captivated by Siberian Huskies lately. I particularly love three huskies named Tikanni, Kita, and Tehya, who are internet stars!These dogs have the most amazing “husky howls.” Kita is described as having the “classic awoo,” Tehya sounds like the siren of an ambulance, and Tikanni… well, Tikanni actually screams. The mom of these three cool dogs is incredibly talented at video editing and includes her dogs' "thoughts" in the videos.

While the huskies are howling away, their mom describes them as “singing the songs of their people,” that is, all of their husky ancestors who have lived before them. This really piqued my curiosity: singing the songs of their people. It made me wonder if we are also sometimes caught up in singing the habitual songs of our people – the troublesome, habitual songs that do not create feelings of well-being as opposed to the fun husky songs.

I identify with Tehya, “the siren.” I have experienced a lot of habitual worries, especially motherly worries since my son Jack was born about 20 years ago. If I am worried about Jack, the siren in my head gets going: “Is Jack safe? Is Jack healthy? Is Jack taking good care of himself? How is Jack’s mental well-being?” Of course, I am not the only mother to worry about her child. What if my worries are just the long-engrained “songs of my people…or mothers”? I think it’s almost expected in our society that mothers should worry. Who came up with this expectation? What if I don’t need to take my “songs of worry” so seriously?

By contrast, Jack identifies with Tikanni, “the screamer.” Jack is a classical pianist, and he has a lot of habitual stress about practicing. The Tikanni in Jack’s head can really get going: “You need to practice more! You need to figure out how to practice correctly! Stay present in the moment so you can be creative! If you don’t practice well, you won’t perform well!” I’m sure you agree that it would be pretty hard to practice a musical instrument with screaming in your head. But like me, is Jack just hearing the habitual “songs of his people…or musicians”? Musicians throughout the centuries have struggled with insecure thinking around their practice habits. Again, I think it’s almost expected that musicians need to “suffer for their art.” What if Jack does not need to take his “songs of self-criticism” so seriously?

It is clear that Tikanni, Tehya, and Kita are much-loved dogs who have fun creating chaos with their singing. I don’t think that they hold tightly to their songs and develop bad feelings because of them. They happily create “husky chaos” and then move on to napping on the couch or bouncing on the trampoline and digging crater-sized holes in the family’s backyard. One other thing I love about Tehya is that she is often sitting quite comfortably while wailing away as “the siren.” Similarly, when I have a busy mind that is
worrying about Jack, nothing bad is happening to either one of us.

What songs are you singing? Are your songs telling you that you are depressed and that you don’t have value? Are your songs telling you that you are insecure and not good enough compared to other people? Are your songs telling you that there is something inherently wrong with you, which is why you cannot engage in your life? Or are your songs filled with vague ideas about how you have to “be better” somehow?

What if these are all nothing more than “songs of our people”? Songs that countless others have sung before us, that have been passed down through many generations, and that do not mean anything at all about us or our lives. What if we can find some space around our habitual thinking that will allow us to find more peace and joy? What if we can come to see that life has so much more to offer us than what our habitual thinking would have us believe? I think this is absolutely possible, because it has happened for me!

When I am not so caught up in worrying about Jack, I am free to engage in a relationship with him that is filled with connection, humor, and love. I am also more present and able to offer support when he asks for it. When Jack is not caught up with self-criticism during his practice sessions, he is free to be creative and to feel curious about exploring new ideas about both his musicality and physical technique. So much opens up when we do not pay attention to our old, stale sirens and screams.

Once we are aware of the songs we are singing, we can tune them out more easily. They can become background noise – like elevator music – rather than such a loud soundtrack. The key is in the awareness. All we need to do is be aware that it is our habitual thinking that is causing us worry and stress.

Thank you for reading today. I would love to hear your own insights or questions so please reach out to me if you feel nudged to do so. Until we meet again, I will leave you with one of my favorite phrases: Easy as it goes. I hope you experience ease and well-being as you move through your day and have fun exploring what songs you may be singing that are best tuned out.

And if you are would like to "meet" Tikanni, Kita, and Tehya, I highly recommend their YouTube channel: Tikanni Kita n Tehya - YouTube

Photo credit: Megan Byers on Unsplash.