On Longing to Heal the Fractures of Self and World

Autumn-GeeseThe day is cool and breezy. Clear, blue skies hold the first flotations of autumn leaves. Nights have turned chilly, and the turning year leads us toward the resting time.

I recently met with a young person who was suffering. That meeting left me thinking about how, when we are young, it is so easy for life to leave us in despair. Not that we don’t hurt later; maybe it’s just that when we are young our hopes and expectations are fresh, and, when we are disappointed or betrayed, we feel it keenly. Pain may seem unbearable then.

So often, early pain creates splits in one’s sense of self, leaving one divided rather than whole. When this happens, life looses that sense of comfort and ease that underpins joy. Without ease, both the social and interpersonal worlds can seem daunting, indeed.

At least early on, Spirit may offer us opportunities to seek wholeness and companionship, to heal the fractures and splits, with self and others. Even when we feel there is a war within us we may be invited to understand that even divided selves are part of the human experienced, as is the pain such divisions may engender.

When I meet young people (or elders) who struggle against themselves, my heart reaches out to comfort them. I want badly to offer solace and encouragement, to show them pathways home. Yet, I am repeatedly reminded that I am only allowed to offer; I must never insist. Perhaps this intense desire to help arises from my own experience of suffering. No matter; healing demands I temper my hunger to aid; I can offer and must respect the response I receive in return.

I imagine we are each in such a relationship with the larger world as well. We yearn to heal Her, and all those who share Her with us. Yet, we are only allowed to do what we receive permission from the other to do; each being must choose a path that seems fitting to them. Of course, beings may choose paths of darkness, leading to harm to self and others. Then, those of us who are affected must make hard choices, even as we hold a vision of ease, comfort, and joy for all.

As the autumn settles upon the land, we gather the harvest and prepare for the winter to come. It is a fitting time to reflect on the challenges of the road and the mysteries of joy and suffering. It is a good time to offer one another support and solace, and to share the plenty. May we have the grace to do so without insisting they choose to live in our own preferred way.

13 thoughts on “On Longing to Heal the Fractures of Self and World

  1. Bert Hellinger’s family constellation work has a solid therapeutic foundation that can helps open a window into where these intense and apparently self-destructive pull arise. One of his basic principals is that children often blindly take on the traumas of their ancestors out of love and loyalty. Healing can come from those children seeing that the greatest wish of those who came before them is for the children to be whole, healthy, and happy. His first book in English ‘Love’s Hidden Symmetries’ is a great resource whether or not you decide to actually do the constellation work. Personally, I have found his work one of the very few tools that can illuminate and ease some of the distress, illness, and addiction in my

      1. Yesterday I spent some time with some college students who are studying energy work. I hope I left them with a sense of mystery, some curiosity about the ways we are connected across species and time, and and interest in how those connects are expressed in out lives. We shall see.

  2. Wonderful post Michael! It is difficult to watch anyone struggle. Sometimes we can only offer to lead the way to the places that soothe our own spirit. Take care. Bob

  3. I can surely relate. Over the years it has become easier for me not to offer my two cents worth and people rarely ask for those two cents. Suffering will not end until each has had enough to drown in and I know for sure that I cannot be that judge. However, if I were able, I certainly would like to end another’s suffering.

  4. Great post Michael. I can relate so much. I do also find it difficult but many deny any kind of help. Sometimes it looks like, they don’t wish to be better. All need to be ready to receive and listen.

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