Wild and Precious Life

(Written in August 2005)

I was thinking about the line from Mary Oliver: “what will you do with your one wild and precious life?” and how it always makes me feel bad, like I have wasted mine.  Well, have I wasted it?  I think she’s talking to people who’ve lived small conventional lives, lives of denial.  And what about lives of greed and power and cruelty?  If my life has been narrow, if I’ve failed to live as wide and wild and courageous and generous and creative a life as I would have liked to, and as I think I had the talent and capacity for, it’s not because I was weak and cowardly but because I was up against major damage I couldn’t even see.  And I have taken a stand for truth, for justice, for peace, I have fought against oppression, I have spoken out for the disadvantaged.  I have devoted money time and energy to good causes.  I have supported friends, sometimes at cost to myself.  I have done my best to love unconditionally and to live with integrity.

Thinking again how in these times, when there are no recognized shamans and shamanic teachers in our culture, some of us who were to be shamans were initiated by the ordeal of being abused as children.  Unfortunately, that meant for some of us, that we never got to step into our full power.  Maybe that’s not important, maybe kindness and humility and working for healing are more important.

“Shamans know that those wounds are not their own but the world’s.” (Matthew Fox)


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