What is your Second Song?
I’m sitting in a dark room nursing my daughter. It’s midday or it’s midnight and I’m here in the room because it’s the only place where she’ll settle. I’m here because I need to be. I’m here because there’s nowhere else to be.
I’m here in a dark room singing the second song of my life.
I once heard author Maia Toll describe the spirit world described as the “second song” of existence. Subtle, quiet, ever-present. Like the song we hum under our breath as we clean the kitchen, the second song of the Otherworld thrums underneath the surface of our most mundane moments.
In contrast, we all know what the first songs of our lives are.
They are loud and outwards, and often contain all the trappings of “accomplishment”. Our first songs are what people see on social media. They’re the things we tell ourselves we must strive for— and the things we often feel we’re falling short of.
And yet, no matter how much attention these first songs garner, they aren’t the melodies that open the gateway into the Otherworld.
We think we need grand gestures to connect with the spiritual world… but what if all we need is to embrace the holiness of our second song?
In the eight months since I’ve become a mother I’ve lived the truth that all parents know intimately— the work of raising a child is monumental, and largely invisible. I spend more time each day tending to her than doing everything else put together. And yet, the hours spent feeding her, bathing her, swaying with her in my arms, getting her down for a nap and picking her back up again, are mostly unseen.
To be a parent is to become a mountain, with only the tip of your existence visible from the outside.
Before she came, I was afraid of what having a child would mean for my spiritual life. I knew I’d be losing the expansive hours I had every day to meditate, pray, journal, connect in with myself. And it’s true, I have.
But I’ve also gained something precious in return— a second song that, if I only slow down enough to appreciate, can open a direct connection to the Otherworld.
Because the truth is, the invisible world comes closer as we engage in the invisible tasks that make up the bulk of our lives.
The things that slow us down, bring us into the present, ground us here in the texture of existence are the spiritual rites that will open new doorways into the unseen world.
They are the thresholds we sweep, the lunches we pack, the laundry we fold. The mundane, the repetitive, the humble.
The entryway is hidden in plain sight.
So what is your second song?
What are the things you devote your energy and life force to that largely go unseen?
How can you appreciate these simple moments more in your life?
Because this is the humorous truth of existence—we think we need exotic overtures to access the spiritual realm, when all we need is to tune into the everyday, and we’ll hear a melody that was hidden from us before. The hymn of the Otherworld, rising from underneath the floorboards.
Listen while you scrub the floor or rake the leaves and let yourself be transported through the gateway that was always waiting for you.
And if you’d like to drop into a rich conversation around all the mystical thresholds of autumn, come join me for this free panel discussion next week. I’ll be joined by Mimi Young and Langstan Khan as we discuss death, rebirth and animism.
This is going to be such a deep conversation. I’d love to have your presence there for this meeting of the minds and see what magic we can explore together.