I’ve spent so much time
Trying to figure out
Just who I am
Defining myself by This. Not that. Me. I. My. Not this. Nor that
Some of this, some of that
Each attempt as ungratifying as the next
Each circumambulation a creation and deterioration of identity
Each a procession to the pyre
In countless eons
I have been burned from something into nothing
From Name to dust
Only now I discover
What I am is a hearth
May the warmth of what burns inside me comfort those coming in from the cold
May my every teardrop contribute to the beginning-less stream of compassion
May all beings remember their nature as wide open-heartedness
Without obscuration or obstacle
- Scott Menasco, PhD., MFT
Primal wounding results from violations of a person's sense of self from mistreatment, large and seemingly small. Wounding may occur from intentional or unintentional neglect, physical or emotional violations, physical or emotional abandonment, or from an inability of significant others to respond empathically to the person, or to aspects of the person, or from a general unresponsiveness in the surrounding social milieu. All such wounding involves a breaking of the empathic relationships by which we know ourselves as human beings; it creates an experience in which we know ourselves not as intrinsically valuable human persons, but instead as non-persons or objects. In these moments we feel ourselves to be "Its" rather than "Thou,"s, to use Martin Buber's terms. Primal wounding thus produces various experiences associated with facing our own potential non-existence or non-being: isolation and abandonment, disintegration and loss of identity, humiliation and low self worth, toxic shame and guilt, feelings of being overwhelmed and trapped, or anxiety, depression and despair.
- John Firman, Ann Gila, A Psychotherapy of Love, adapted
Wide enough to keep you looking
Open enough to keep you moving
Dry enough to keep you honest
Prickly enough to make you tough
Green enough to go on living
Old enough to give you dreams
- Gary Snyder, American poet, essayist, lecturer, and environmental activist
Gone was everything you ever thought with nothing to recall
Yesterday of no consequence, tomorrow not at all
Forgiven and absolved, nothing left to fight.
Your time had reached the moment,
Came the lightning, came the light.
- Olivia Harrison, Came the Lightening, Twenty Poems for George
How do we begin to know ourselves in a way that will be transformative? Perhaps we will find if we practice approaching ourselves with kind contemplation as a skillful means we will begin to discover the penetrating truth of our experience.
When inward tenderness
Finds the secret hurt,
Pain itself will crack the rock
And, Ah! Let the soul emerge.
- Jalāl al-Dīn Muḥammad Rūmī, more popularly known simply as Rumi, a 13th-century Persian poet, Islamic scholar, theologian and Sufi mystic
In my beginning there were deep wounds inherited from those who brought me here
For a long, long, long time those wounds and the way I dealt with them colored every experience, every ray of sun, and the light from every distant star
But now I see deeply
And I choose to transform with understanding, humility, caring, and kindness those old wounds that lit my path with dark hues of black and grey
So I may abide calmly and walk freely in the dappled light of day
It is often said that in today's modern and postmodern world, the forces of darkness are upon us. But I think not; in the Dark and the Deep there are truths that can always heal. It is not the forces of darkness but of shallowness that everywhere threaten the true, and the good, and the beautiful, and that ironically announce themselves as deep and profound. It is an exuberant and fearless shallowness that everywhere is the modern danger, the modern threat, and that everywhere nonetheless calls to us as savior.
- Ken Wilber, Sex, Ecology, Spirituality, The Spirit of Evolution
Perhaps never before has humankind been so alienated from so many of its normal feeling states, as it is in the twenty-first century. Never before have so many human beings been so emotionally deadened and impoverished.
The disease of emotional emaciation is epidemic. Its effects on health are often euphemistically labeled as stress, and like the emotions stress is often treated like some unwanted waste that must be removed.
Until all of the emotions are accepted indiscriminately (and acceptance does not imply license to dump emotions irresponsibly or abusively), there can be no wholeness, no real sense of well being, and no solid sense of self esteem. Thus, while it may be fairly easy to like yourself when feelings of love or happiness or serenity are present, deeper psychological health is seen only when you can maintain a posture of self-love and self-respect in the times of emotional hurt that accompany life's inevitable contingencies of loss, loneliness, confusion, uncontrollable unfairness, and accidental mistake.
The human feeling experience, much like the weather, is often unpredictably changeable. No "positive" feeling can be induced to persist as a permanent experience, no matter what Cognitive Behavioral Therapy tells us. As disappointing as this may be, as much as we might like to deny it, as much as it causes each of us ongoing life frustration, and as much as we were raised and continue to be reinforced for trying to control and pick our feelings, they are still by definition the human condition, largely outside the province of our wills.
- Pete Walker, MFT, Complex PTSD: From Surviving to Thriving
Love is a place
& through this place of
(with brightness of peace)
yes is a world
& in this world of
- E.E. Cummings
To understand all is to forgive all, and I believe that if we knew everything we'd arrive at a certain serenity. Now having this serenity as much as possible, even when one knows - little - nothing - for certain, is perhaps a better remedy against all ills than what's sold in the chemist's. A lot comes of its own accord, one grows and develops of one's own accord.
- V. Van Gogh