Don't Die With Your Music Still In You

06/06/2014 10:20 am ET | Updated Aug 06, 2014
Philip and Karen Smith via Getty Images

Don't die with your music still in you is the most profound phrase I heard over and over as a child. I knew that we all incarnated in this lifetime with a purpose, with something unique that called to us and excited our soul, and the idea of dying without ever expressing the music I came here to play terrified me. It still does! I've asked myself many times what my purpose is-- why am I here?

As a child, my parents instructed me not to follow the crowd. "Try not to get caught up in what other people tell you to do," they would say. "Just follow your heart, Serena."

Later, when I was a teen, they'd tell me, "When you follow the herd, you're bound to step in shit. Avoid the herd. Think for yourself. Do what you feel is right for you."

I heard this kind of thing all the time, but it wasn't exactly easy to take such advice. Doing what I wanted and doing what was right were often not the same thing. The times in my life when I didn't make the best choices were often times of great struggle that led to enormous personal growth. I try not to judge my past; after all, I wouldn't be who I am without it!

Not dying with your music still in you is not about what you "do with" your life. It is about how you lead your life. Raising children to dance to the beat of their own drum means raising them first to hear, and then to follow, their own inner calling. It means encouraging them to follow their hearts--to listen to their intuition, and nothing else. It also means encouraging them to move forward in their lives, rather than keeping them stuck on a decision they made in the past.

Being yourself allows you to enjoy every step of your journey, without ever having to change for someone else. As I get older, I understand that life really is about the journey. While that once irked me, I now love it!

Slowly, I awakened to my true purpose. I discovered that I'm most in alignment with who I am when I'm communicating; when I am sharing knowledge that inspires me. There are myriad "jobs" that could carry out this life's purpose, but what I came to realize is that my purpose is not what I do. It's how I do it. It doesn't matter the medium I choose; it only matters that I express myself. I am expressing my purpose through this book. I don't know if I will make a career out of being a writer, and it doesn't matter. Because what I've discovered is that, when you are living on purpose, the outcome doesn't matter. The only thing that matters is that your mind stays open. To everything.

Having a mind that is attached to nothing means learning to work with situations that aren't turning out as we'd want or expect. It's seeing that everything is in perfect order anyway. It's hard to see something challenging as being in perfect order, but those of us who have gone through tough times know that we'll eventually come to realize that the sun has been shining behind the clouds all along.