As a musician, I am undisciplined in some of the critical ways. I know how to read all the musical symbols, can even use a program called PrintMusic to write or transcribe a musical score. I cannot to save my life actually read music, what they call "sight read". It's a bit of an embarrassment because I function musically at what I call a professional level both on guitar and on keyboard, but with severe shortcomings in so many areas.
But when I set at the keyboard and let go, accepting the limitations and using discipline to stay within them, then the music I make is just as good as anyone's. I know this, but I am so freaking weird about my limitations and fearful of your judgments. Those attitudes are in themselves a serious lack of discipline.
When I sit at my keys
And let these hands go as if
They belonged to her
I feel her breath. It soothes me.
I choose a voice to reach her.
I know she listens.
I feel the catch in her breath.
My music shines, shines.
There is always a price to pay. The path to power is especially sacrificial. The Native American Sun Dance does not surprise me in its harshness and lies far beyond my capacity. I have known one man personally who has taken the piercings and hung in the sun.
The modern scientific world puts strong positive energy into denying the possiblity of shamanic power, much to the diminishment of mankind. It forces some of us into byways, cracks, crevices, onto the edges of things. We must do this even though we may have talent, and even calling for shamanic roles. The shamanic roles are traditional ones, protectors of the tribe and healers of its members, but not from mundane trouble. There is a spirit realm too. It is this realm that counts.
If the shamanic roles are traditional, ancient, it follows clearly that some of us are born for these roles, and have the talent for them. Now of course people like this if exposed in unfortunate ways are thought quite ill.
The spiritual realm is denied by so many now. That denial adds a special discipline because defensiveness saps shamanic power even as social stigma does. And as ever, the presence of manipulators who pretend to power for personal gain gives the forces of denial a strong place to stand. Who can argue with protecting the social milieu against charlatans and superstition?
I go to those woods
Seeking strength and purity
As you told me to.
In the glade I found, I lie
Crucified by memory.
I take shallow breaths.
Pierced, bleeding, the price: my life
To become myself.