Friday, August 18, 2017
Healing Our Shared World
Here's what I've learned from my own inner work that applies to our collective life: we have to deal with the past because we carry it with us, in our cells, in our institutions, in our unconscious assumptions and daily behaviour. What is buried, repressed or denied is not gone. Here, in Canada, we are just beginning to look at what was done (and continues to be done) to the indigenous peoples that called this place home long before our European ancestors arrived. We have to be willing to look squarely at what has been done, to listen to those most effected, and find ways to redress the wrongs, to compensate for grave injustice, to stand up and say, "No," to those who would have us pretend that it was or is all okay or justified, to say, "No," those who would insist that "might is right."
Many of us who had violent and abusive childhoods have learned the hard truth that although great healing that allows for a fullness of life is- with clear intentions and deep work- possible, we do not erase the past. There will always be a catch in my throat when I hear of how another's mother loved them. There has been much healing, but still, on some terrain I walk with a bit of a limp. But it does not keep me from dancing.
The hardest part of my own healing journey has been facing the truth of what happened. I did not want it to be so, and for a long time I did not even know I was rewriting history, pretending it had all been okay. To survive we often "normalize" that which is a long way from acceptable.
What many of us have done individually we must also do collectively. We must look at what has been and is still being done that is deeply harmful and unjust. We must listen- really listen- to the life experiences of those who have been most effected and let these stories break our hearts open. And together we must find ways to redress the wrongs, to heal the wounds, to ensure that no more harm is done. There are infinite ways to do this: to speak out; to participate; to lobby, legislate and demonstrate; to support and listen, listen, listen, to let the reality of what is and has been touch us, change us, motivate us.
So, I will end this post as I have so many others, with the words of Arthur Ashe, the first African American professional tennis player, born in Richmond Virginia in 1943. His words have become a mantra for me when I am overwhelmed by all that needs to be done and unsure of how to contribute:
"Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can."
Thank you Mr. Ashe. I can only imagine what challenges brought you to this wisdom. ~Oriah "Mountain Dreamer" House