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Singing, medicine wheels, and the Initiated Adult

December 22, 2018

 

Singing is vulnerable.  Singing is an expression of the mythopoetic stirrings deep within.  The archetypal and personal experience of being alive.  Song is ancient.  And singing is NOW.  It is giving voice to the beauty and struggle of the present moment.

 

What does it mean to use our voice?  What does it mean to speak out, to sing out, even when we don't feel "perfect?"  What does it look like to give ourselves permission to be imperfect, and be heard ANYWAY?  

 

Someone told me recently that I was giving my power away by trying to "heal everyone."  He told me I ought to focus my lens a little smaller, so that my power wasn't diffused, or wasted on people and situations who weren't interested in it.  I was a little offended, to be honest...."Don't tell me what to do with my power and energy!  The world needs hope!  Everyone needs compassion and love and support!  Shit is fucked up and EVERYONE needs healing!  Why shouldn't I take a bigger perspective, and advocate for the healing of all??  Why shouldn't I believe that I can make a big difference, a big impact?? I refuse to be shut down by negativity!  I refuse to have my aspirations for a beautiful life on this planet jeopardized by someone who doesn't have faith in the potential for global shifts and the power of healing activism!!!"

 

It is amazing, sometimes, how someone you have just met can see your struggles so clearly.  

 

He was right. 

 

I DO believe in the capacity for global change.  I DO hold a vision for the healing of all, for the past and future generations; for greater harmony on Earth and among humanity. 

 

But it's not all up to me.  

 

And when I try to solve all the problems at once, I get really, really lost.  I can't find my feet, I can't find my breath, I can't find my direction. 

 

Being in Iceland as winter sets in has taught me a lot.  I came here because I wanted to learn the lessons of the North.  Indigenous cultures from all over the world have particular ways of understanding life; maps for making sense of the human experience as intertwined with the natural world, usually oriented around the cardinal directions: North, East, South, and West.  Often these maps are referred to as "medicine wheels," because they offer insights into healing through understanding the "medicine" that the various directions and sectors of life have to offer.  Each medicine wheel originates from the unique place where that particular culture resided, so each medicine wheel has slightly different understandings of the various directions, and the medicine to be found there (though often there are consistent similarities: i.e. the sun generally rises in the east, so the east is generally the place of new beginnings, innocence, fresh perspectives, etc.)  

 

My understanding of the North comes from an amalgamation of the various medicine wheels I have been exposed to, which generally orient towards the North as a place of darkness, cold, quiet; the deep wisdom and silence of the bones and stones buried under the snow.  It is a place of the ancestors; the wisdom that comes from having lived through it, from perseverance.  It is the where we find strength in stillness, because conservation of energy is essential.  In some medicine wheels, it is also the place of the Initiated Adult: The one who has been through the passages of childhood, adolescence, and apprenticeship, and has now come to understand their unique gifts, and their role in the community.  It is a place of accepting responsibility, of handling tasks, and acting (with pleasure) on behalf of the greater good...all with an understanding of the unique experiences, inheritances, wounds, boons, and lessons that have prepared them to do so. 

 

In the North, I am able to contribute because I know myself;  I understand my value, and my limitations.  I have developed the capacity to bear hardship, to conserve energy, to listen deep within, and to trust in the coming of a new dawn.  

 

So, yes.  I can't heal everyone.  But that is not my job.  My job is to find my voice.  My job is to know myself; to know my own strength so deeply that I never doubt how important my unique mission is.  To stop wasting time apologizing for all the ways I am imperfect, and instead fucking do something with it.  Because dammit, I am beautiful.  I am strong.  I have the wisdom of generations in my bones.  And I've got some shit to do. 

 

And so I offer my voice, not because it is perfect, but because it is mine.  Because sharing my voice in this way helps me translate my deep inner yearnings into an external reality.  Because it gives me courage.  Because I believe in the medicine of the North to catalyze Right Action. 

 

Focus on the things that keep you warm. 

Focus on the things that keep you alive, really alive.  

 

And when it's really dark, and you don't know which direction you're going....focus.  Focus on something true.  Hold it in your hands.  Let it be enough. 

 

Let it change you.  Let it initiate you into true adulthood.  Let it show you what you are capable of. 

 

And then, please.....use your voice.  

"SNOW" 

 

Cold

And alone

Far, far, so far from home

All I can see is More snow

Someone please tell me which way to go

 

Somewhere beneath the snow, and the I don't know's

The roots, the roots, the roots, they...they grow

Seeking life seeking substance, finding depth and strength and something like home

I'm learning patience I'm learning to rest in the unknown

I'm finding freedom in the quiet brilliance of this life that I call my own 

 

Down, down, down we go

Down, down, down we grow 

 

I wanna know you

Reveal yourself to me

I wanna show you

How beautiful this life can be

I wanna hold you

gently in my hands so I can see

I wanna show you 

Oh, how I can fly when I am free

Oh watch me flyyy when I am free

 

Down, down, down we go

Down, down, down we grow. 

Down, down, down we go

 

I wanna know you

Reveal yourself to me 

I wanna show you

How beautiful this life can be

I wanna hold you

Gently in my hands so I can see

I wanna show you

Oh, how I can fly when I am free

Boy, watch me fly, cause I am free

 

Down, down, down we go

Down, down, down we grow

Down, down, down we go

 

 

 

 

 

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