Monday, February 26, 2007

How Blame Limits Our Healing Ability

Someone once posed a couple of intriguing questions to me that got me to look at my entire life in a whole new way. The question was, "What if you had some say, before you got to earth, about who your family would be? How would that influence your view about your childhood and your life?"

My first thought was, "No way. I didn't choose this dysfunctional family." But those are the kind of questions that haunt you until you at least try them on for size. Otherwise, given my beliefs at the time, I was going to have to assume God was either cruel or crazy, or I had to assume God believed I could transform a stressful childhood into a great adulthood for some greater good I couldn't quite imagine yet.

If I did choose this life, I must have had a good reason and I wondered what the heck that might be. Otherwise, I figured my soul was hanging out in some far-out bar and I had just smoked some very wild stuff, when a recruiter came around asking for volunteers for tough earth assignments. I might as well see if I could understand a good reason for the difficult childhood I experienced.

So, I imagined my soul was existing in some comfortable setting and I was writing my case argument for my life on earth. I explained why I was choosing these parents, at this time period, in this city. I argued for parents of their political persuasion, religious views, income level, social perspectives, personal challenges and personal strengths.

I explained how I would use the adversities and gifts of this childhood to learn, develop compassion and eventually develop myself into a better human being.

When I finished, I was in shock! I no longer had a single reason for blaming my parents for any of their inadequacies as humans or as parents. I didn't have a reason to blame God or myself. All I had left was the naked realization of my ability to take a difficult, painful beginning and use it to turn myself into a realized human being.

Next: When You Think You Can't Forgive Yourself or Others

When the Wounded Places Inside You Need Love

Judith Duerk, a very powerful facilitator of women's circles once described our wounded selves like sieves. She suggested that over time the vessel we are becomes punched full of holes, a metaphor for wounds. Then, as we receive love, we are too wounded, too full of holes to be able to hold that love. In order to hold love, we first need to seal the holes–heal the wounds.

Whenever I am wanting more love, but not feeling it, I now know it is time to check on the holes in my sieve to see if I'm not able to feel and hold the love because of some wound in me that is leaking love away.

It takes courage to look at a wound. And it takes compassion to heal it. The greater the compassion, the greater the healing. Often, my own wound has scared me so much, I was only willing to take a cursory look at it or I opted to avoid dealing with it at all.

Once I sat down and stayed with the wound long enough to understand it–to really, deeply understand it at its core, I found it really wasn't as frightening an experience as I had imagined it would be. I also discovered as soon as I understood, my compassion rose up in me immediately and the process of healing at my core began.

With persistence, my sieve became a solid vessel once again, and only now and then do I find a new hole that needs my compassion.

Next: How Blame Limits Our Healing Ability