“A bird doesn’t sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song.”
- Maya Angelou
Unlike human beings, the song bird is unconcerned with having an answer. As human beings, we are often focused, and sometimes crippled by the need to find answers; to “figure it out”, whatever “it” is. We struggle and search and don’t find. Some people spend disappointing lives looking for something that doesn’t exist.
Much like the “truth,” answers are where we find them. Answers are subjective. We decide for ourselves what we care about. These are the answers. These are our songs. In these songs, we find the peace and joy and beauty in our lives.
The most apt definition of “success” I have ever found is: Success is being both content and ambitious at the same time. Clear and content in the quality of its song, yet ambitious in the song’s delivery, I suspect that the song bird is very successful.
Many years ago, I experienced a profound epiphany when I understood that I will never really know anything. I will know some things, but much and most of the world will live unexplored by me. Instead of being disheartening, this was liberating. I did not need to worry about what I would never know. Too much knowledge exists for anyone to know all of it. I was off the hook. I can read what I like and listen to what I like. I don’t have to know it all. I believe in exploration and enjoying new things, but I am not tortured by a ceaseless quest for information that I don’t really care about anyway. Living our lives true to the song of our heartbeat is the answer. The singing of our own unique song is the answer. And this is good enough for me.
Last night my daughter asked me to sit with her on the couch. She lay down with her legs on my lap and asked me to rub her feet. She then promptly fell asleep curled up in her favorite purple blanket. In this moment, I understood both the song and the only answer I will ever need.
Thank you, Maya.
[EDITOR'S NOTE:"Feel Good Friday" is a regular column written by Des Moines resident Dave Markwell, who just published his first book called "A Feel Good Life" (buy it on Amazon here). Dave also extols to all neighbors: "Enjoy where we live. Put your feet on the pavement and truly feel how great it is to live here!" Also, you can "friend" Dave on Facebook here. Or work out with him at his exercise company Waterland CrossFit!]