Namaste, my brothers. I hope today finds you well and in good spirits. I wanted to write about healing, we must also talk about woundings, for the two go together. How can we transform our wounding so that they can become sources of strength which we can draw on in those moments when we are brought to our knees in grief and despair?
We are all – each one of us – deeply wounded. There is not a single person on this earth who has not sustained numerous woundings over the course of living. The wounds to our psyches are not as visible as those wounds that our bodies sustain. We carry our psychological wounds deep within us and it is much harder to heal those physical wounds.
Our life experiences and the realities that we live in have an impact on our mental and emotional health and well being. The ones that impact us negatively are our woundings. Some of these experiences of wounding we have more control over than others. The reality is that we live in a society in which there are many systems of oppression within which we must exist and which wound us very deeply, that is. things like racism, incarceration, sexism, classism or homophobia. In addition to these systems we also create our own wounding by engaging in behavior or activities that are not good for us (for example substance use, addictive behaviors or violence). Sometimes the very behaviors that are hurting us are the coping skills we have developed to try to deal with our woundings such as using drugs and alcohol.
It is very important to be aware of the difference between those factors and conditions that society imposes upon us that create wounding and those that we impose upon ourselves. There are many places where the two intersect; and the impact on our mental and emotional health and wellness becomes even more profound as we turn the negative thoughts and beliefs about ourselves inwards and start to act them out. To quote James Baldwin: “You know it’s not the world that was my oppressor, because what the world does to you, if it does it to you long enough and effectively enough, you begin to do to yourself.”
Take a minute to think about what woundings you have sustained over the course of your life. How are they continuing to impact your life, the choices you make and the behaviors you are engaging in? The reality is that unless we can start to heal our wounds they continue to bleed within us, causing us to stay in a cycle of wounding. We end up operating from our wounded places and in doing so, wound others and ourselves. If we are to heal ourselves and create healing within our communities, we have to break this cycle.
This brings me back to the questions I asked at the beginning of this article. How can I create healing for myself and perhaps for those in my life I have caused to be wounded through some of my actions?
“We end up operating from our wounded places
and in doing so, wound others and ourselves.”
Healing is a process. It will not happen overnight. Some wounds may never heal completely; but we can find a way to integrate them into who we are in a way that allows us to move forward in our lives. In doing so, we stop the bleeding. Nothing that has entered into our experiences is ever lost – positive or negative. The person I am today is made up of my woundings as much as my successes, perhaps even more so because the woundings have made me stronger.
Some of the things we can do to create healing include not engaging in unhealthy behaviors that cause us to wound ourselves or others (for example substance use, violent behavior). Also, we can start to create community with others who are engaging in healthy behaviors and seeking to make changes to unhealthy lifestyles. In doing this we support our healing and that of others. Spiritual belief and practice is vital to our healing because it gives our lives meaning. Engaging in regular spiritual practice grounds us and gives us solace. Finally, engaging in health creative pursuits can be a way of transforming our wounds as well (for example writing, art, music, dance, etc…). These are just some of the ways that we can start to create healing.
Our wounds, if left unattended, continue to bleed and motive our behaviors. In creating healing for ourselves we can start to make changes to those behaviors we are engaging in that do not suit us and which are negatively impacting our lives and the lives of others. In starting to heal these wounds, and ourselves, our woundings become transformed into sources of strength we can draw upon in our time of need.
I would love to hear from you about the ways in which you create healing in your own life. Feel free to write to me c/o of the editor. Until next time, blessings…