Becoming the Song You Are Here to Sing

Jane BurnsUncategorized

I believe in all that has never yet been spoken.
I want to free what waits within me
so that what no one has dared to wish for

may for once spring clear
without my contriving.

“I Believe in All That Has Never Yet Been Spoken” by Rainier Maria Rilke is one of my favorite poems. As a writer, a shamanic practitioner and teacher, it expresses something I also believe in—the immense power of everything that has not yet located its voice. 

We are always perched on the very edge of revelation, whether we realize it or not.  But, revelation can’t be forced.  The reprieve we sometimes require from the muddle of daily living is gained simply by standing empty in the present moment, and then listening, deeply and without the burden of preconceived notions, until it finds us—that unsaid thing—bubbling up in a liberating burst of healing and shift and insight until it finds the surface of our tongue.

No matter the despair, no matter the clutch of the heartache, there is always somewhere deep within us a well circulating with the wisdom of release and grace.  A well that is fed by the underground waters of Source.  Part of our challenge in life is to bring those waters to the surface and channel them out into the world.

If this is arrogant, God, forgive me,
but this is what I need to say.
May what I do flow from me like a river,
no forcing and no holding back,
the way it is with children.

Children are all soul.  This is how we enter our lives—egoless and defenseless—with no foresight into how we will eventually need to suppress what is pure and vibrant and inspired within us.  As we grow, we are educated and conditioned in favor of how others might prefer us to be, in favor of what the world requires and what pigeon hole it has prepared for us. Our limitless potential clashes with a constrained and limited world, in which we must live and, against all odds, thrive.

The world does not know us, know what is best for us, what we have to offer.  It can’t know what it has no inroad to, all we have yet to say.  Only we carry the knowledge of that potential, which is indelibly inscribed on our own soul.

I see my work as a practitioner as the delicate act of mining those soul inscriptions. Those silenced, buried, sometimes lost yearnings, swept away in the backwash of trauma, abuse, suppression, struggle and heartache that life has swept in with its ceaseless tide.

Whenever the wild and unfettered expressions of our young and unseasoned selves meet the constrained and structured world, it is usually the world that wins out.  Our family of origin, the schools and churches we attend, our peer groups, neighborhoods, and community all weigh in and use their respective influences to inform us as to who and how not to be if we ever hope to fit in.

And, fitting in is what we crave most as children.  We are tribal creatures, after all, and our very survival depends upon us getting along, finding a place and fulfilling a needed role.

The role we feel inclined to fulfill is tailored precisely to the work we came to do in this world: teacher, healer, artist, visionary, advocate, etc.  The child who carries the teacher archetype might start out by correcting her family members and telling them what to do; the healer may aim to fix everybody who is sad or sick or troubled in the family; the artist will automatically marginalize himself so he can feed his imagination and secure a good bird’s eye view on life; the visionary will start expounding on needed change in the family; the advocate will defend all the underdogs in the neighborhood, and so on.

But that role will likely not be appreciated.  And, it might not end up being the role we are permitted to play.  The teacher or visionary of new ideas might well end up becoming the enforcer of the old ways; the artist will be pulled out of the realm of the imagination and into the fray of the family, the healer might become the one who carries the fallout for the discord rather than the solution to it, and the advocate might well become the scapegoat!

What results from this standard form of social conditioning is the loss and suppression of the human soul and its own unique yearnings, and this is where soul retrieval and shamanic healing can come in and restore the landscape. The stage might be set in childhood, but adult life oftentimes stretches out into a kind of rinse and repeat process we can’t seem to understand or change.

Of course, there is a method to this madness.  We actually learn what it is we seek to remedy and change in this life by first becoming and living it!  The wounded healer learns how to heal others by first healing herself; the artist becomes the incisive critic of human strife by suffering in the oppressive thick of it; the advocate learns firsthand what it is to be blamed and silenced; and the teacher and visionary see more clearly the changes and foresight required in this world because they witness up close its blindness and failures.

Much of life is about finding our way back to the right pew in the right church, and our soul—not the outer world—provides that map.  We call it finding our voice.  But, it is also, learning to hear that voice and what sets it apart.  Learning to obey that voice. 

In the Celtic tradition it is called our song, a unique and ingenious refrain that distinguishes and identifies us.  A song only we can sing.  A song that helps those lives we were meant to touch find us.

I do hope, for the sake of this world, that you will one day find your own song.  And that you will bravely follow your untamed inner map to that one true place of yours in this world and that you will stand firmly and enduringly there, singing!  Everything, everything depends upon it.

Then in these swelling and ebbing currents,
these deepening tides moving out, returning,
I will sing you as no one ever has,

streaming through widening channels
into the open sea.