Exposing Wounds

“Our deepest wounds are so well defended that we cannot bash down that door, we have to seduce the wound out into the open with promises of acceptance.” ~Oriah Mountain Dreamer

The truth is we are all wounded and we spend entirely too much time trying to hide our wounds from ourselves and from the world.  We have become a society of pretenders.  We pretend to be happy, we pretend to be perfect, we pretend we have everything all figured out.  But, what if we didn’t have to pretend?  What if we all felt safe enough to let our hurts unfurl into this world with grace and beauty?  What if we could look our individual and collective histories in the eye and have compassion for all of our suffering and ignorance?  All at once.  Together.  What if we could hold our brokenness and our sacredness at the same time?  I think there would be a collective sigh of relief.  For once, we could just be ourselves.

Lately, old wounds have become fresh again.

First, I saw this:

Then, this:

And, most recently, this image of Sitting Bull on Fox Nation with the headline, “Obama Praises Indian Chief Who Killed US General”:


In the last few weeks, I had a teacher post a stereotypical image of Native people in “celebration” of Thanksgiving on the classroom overhead. I have heard the word “shaman” spoken too frequently and with too much woo-woo nonsense behind it. I have seen enough Indian sports mascots and sexy Indian “princess” Halloween costumes to last me an eternity. And I do not need one more person telling me to stop being angry at Columbus because that is “ancient history.”

To continuously scratch the same piece of flesh causes a mighty large wound.

What if, instead of burying my hurt until it explodes into anger, I reveal it as it arises? What if I had told my teacher that her stereotypical image made me feel unsafe? What if I told woo-woo practitioners their use of the word “shaman” reminds me of a sacred history that may never return? What if I could make Fox Nation understand that their false headline took away another chunk from the soul of my people? What if I could tell sports team owners and costume wearers that reducing a hugely diverse culture into cartoonish images only continues the dehumanization they have told themselves is a thing of the past?

We are often personally offended when someone else’s hurt gets too close to our own.

What if, instead of covering up a genocidal history we told the truth about wars, battles, boarding schools, poverty, rape, murder, kidnapping, disease, alcoholism, abuse, forced sterilization, relocation, and neglect? What if we faced our own fear, shame, guilt, and anger? What if we exposed our lonely, sad, and grieving hearts? And, what if, in all of our truth telling, we revealed it without judgment, but with compassion for our collective suffering? What if we received the truth with openness and love? Maybe, in holding our brokenness alongside our sacredness, we would heal.

This is writing as spiritual practice. This is the use of my pen as a tool for Truth telling. This is writing bringing me closer to a spiritual understanding. This is writing teaching me the human potential for healing.


5 thoughts on “Exposing Wounds

  1. I hear you…your words bring great sadness over my heart, I can’t speak…the pain is too great…suddenly tears rise up from a deep well of pain, and fall like a dark rain bursting into streams of sacred gathering, lifting… lifting…hearts long lost in the brokenness, the betrayal and instilling new life, cleansing the blood of so many shed upon the fields…voices of the ancestors chanting awakening…

  2. Thank you thank you thank you so much for this beautiful post. I love you and your truth and honesty so much right now I feel overwhelmed.

  3. This reminds me of what they did in South Africa at the end of apartheid: they had people tell stories about their experiences and had people listen to them.

    In my own experience, writing practice in the zendo is powerful because we each pour out stories of our lives and our wounds and all that anyone can do is listen.

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