Before healing can begin, we have to make our wounds conscious.
We’re all in a process of healing.
I don’t know anyone who has got to where they are in life without taking a few knocks along the way.
Maybe it was in early childhood with a distant father. Maybe it was the loss of a child as a young mum. Maybe it was a painful separation in your forties.
And maybe it was nothing dramatic enough to get its own pin on the map in the course of your life. Maybe it was just never finding your place and the acceptance you were looking for. Maybe it was having to constantly struggle financially. Maybe it was that you felt things so strongly that your internal world was always in constant churn and your nervous system never got to settle.
But I think we all have something.
In many ways, the real challenge comes when you think you’re not carrying any wounds at all.
The mythologist Michael Mead says:
“The essential nature of every human soul is gifted, noble… and wounded. Those who think they are not wounded in ways that need conscious attention and careful healing are usually the most wounded of all.”
And the ideal that we are striving for is not to be ‘wound-free’. That would be nice, but it’s potentially an unrealistic ideal to aim for.
Rather, our challenge – everyone’s challenge – is to make our wounds conscious – to call them out into the light.
Once we can do that, then we can care for them and care for ourselves. We can live in ways that tend to and protect our wounds, rather than in ways that constantly expose and inflame them.
And part of me thinks that if you haven’t made your wounds conscious, then your wounds will start trying to find ways to get your attention – they’ll push their way into your daily reality… and wreak havoc!
We are self-healing by design. We cut ourselves, the skin naturally heals. We bonk our heads, the damage naturally heals.
And if we wound our psyche, then the psyche’s natural tendency is to go into a process of healing.
But if we refuse to acknowledge our hurts and pretend that everything is fine and there’s nothing that needs protecting or tending or care, then we stand in the way of that process.
If we do that, then eventually we’ll be over-run.
(If we’re lucky).
If you refuse to acknowledge that your arm is broken, and continue to do everything as you always have – playing tennis, horsie rides for the kids, working down at the docks – at some point life is going to put you on your arse. It will get so bad that you have to take a break.
Wounds of the psyche are just the same.
So our challenge is to uncover them and make them conscious, before they make a real mess. And then do what it takes to care for them.
That’s it. Just care for them, with the faith that our natural healing instincts will show us the way.