"...despair is the covering of our love for our world and we crack it open by speaking it so the love can act. So the key is in not being afraid of our pain for the world, not being afraid of the world's suffering, and if you're not afraid of it then nothing can stop you." ~ Joanna Macy
Awhile ago, I listened to a powerful episode of “On Being” during which civil rights icon, Ruby Sales, asked the question “Where does it hurt?” This question is so simple and yet quite powerful. I have been pondering this daily, especially as I listen to current events and watch attacks played out on social media.
The truth of the matter is that we are all hurting. We have been trained to think of ourselves as individuals, so we often forget that we are all connected. (We are actually more similar than different.) What happens to the Earth, what happens to children on the other side of the world (or in our own country) affects us all. While we may not be able to pinpoint this pain, this does not mean that it isn’t there.
If you want proof of the pain, let’s look to the numbing agents. Yes, we recognize that opiate addiction is high. How about the other addictions: sugar, television, alcohol, cigarettes, consumerism, pornography, food, cannabis, Facebook (the list goes on)? Perhaps you don’t think you have an addiction, your life isn’t controlled by any of these, our usual definition of addiction. (I wonder, have you tried to go without eating sugar for a month? I have. It’s not a pretty sight.) Perhaps, you are right, maybe they aren’t an addiction, simply something you enjoy (and to be clear, I don’t think there is anything wrong with engaging in these, this is not about judgment).
The real question for me is why do we do something? Do we eat that piece of chocolate because we like the taste? Or do we eat it because we need a pick me up or a little boost to get us through or we deserve it? Do we watch television because we enjoy it? Or because we need to relax the brain or need to cry or need to laugh? Do we smoke cannabis because we are in pain or because we need a little help to deal with the world? (Physical pain doesn’t just develop on its own. There tends to be a root of emotional or spiritual pain and the physical pain is there to get our attention.)
Again this isn’t about judgment, it is about authenticity and honesty. It’s about taking the band-aid off and allowing the wound to heal. I have spent a day watching television because I was sad or just couldn’t deal with the world. I have gone back to bed because things just got to be too much. I am currently eating a piece of gluten-free coffee cake to help me get through writing this. And I would not say that I am a depressive person. My life is mostly filled with joy, wonder, and bliss. However, our world is so very far from the world that I want to live in and which I know is possible and this hurts my Heart. So I get sad, overwhelmed, and filled with grief.
I then turn to the Plants. Again and again, what they show me is the Beauty and gifts that are all around. They also remind me to look at me. What am I doing? What can I do? Where does it hurt?
Often when we are confronted with the pain of the world (or our own lives), we want to point fingers or lay blame, for it is definitely someone else who is causing this. While this may feel good for a brief moment, it leads to the overwhelm and feel of powerlessness. Not to mention, this simply divides us. What I know from my healing practice is that illness or dis-ease survive in a certain environment. If we can change the environment (which includes the thought patterns), the dis-ease will go away.
The same is true in our outer world; poverty, racism, addiction, sexual abuse, hatred, destruction of Nature all require a certain environment. While it may seem easier to point fingers, we do not have control over other people’s actions. All that we have control over is our own thoughts and actions. We are all responsible for this environment. This is the good news. Because when we dig deep in ourselves to uncover what is hurting and heal those aspects which contribute to these structures of pain, we shift this environment. And these shifts are contagious, helping other people heal too.
To be clear, this is not about blaming the victim. This is recognizing that a person who hurts is hurt. As much as we want to believe that we do, we do not act as an autonomous being. We each have been raised in a culture of beliefs and fears, most of which affect us unconsciously. Bruce Lipton says that the unconscious mind is in control 95% of the time. This means that our actions and decisions are mostly done without awareness. I believe this can shift, that we can become more conscious and we can work on our unconscious programs so that they are in alignment with our higher self. As we face and heal our own programing, we shift the limiting beliefs and structures of our culture.
I know many people have had a very difficult summer. We were all being challenged astrologically. As difficult as it was, what I saw was an opportunity to face these fears and old patterns, an opportunity to choose Love in a bigger way. From my experience, the more often we choose Love in all situations, the more Love is presented to us, sometimes in amazing ways.
This morning Tulsi reminded me that ki is a great support for when we want to look at our pain. Tulsi helps us to open our Heart and choose Love. Rose is another helper for this. Rose holds our Heart so tenderly, soothing the hurts, allowing our Heart to strengthen and blossom. There are many other Plants who are willing and able to help us navigate through the challenges.
The key is that we acknowledge the pain, allow ourselves to feel this, and try to find the root. Sometimes, all we have to do is feel it. We spend so much time running away from it, numbing it, because it seems too big and scary. When simply admitting to the pain, helps it go away. The more we do this for ourselves, the easier it becomes to be more Loving and compassionate to others. So maybe when we see someone acting out or struggling, we can simply say, “Where does it hurt?”
“The greater the number of people who are Loving and in-their-hearts, the more optimistic the scenario will be for everybody. The greater the number of people who are fearful and in-their-heads, the more pessimistic the scenario will be for those of that energy.” ~ Michael J. Roads from Through the Eyes of Love: Book 3
To listen to Ruby Sales talk go to: https://onbeing.org/programs/ruby-sales-where-does-it-hurt-aug2017/