Healing the Shadow Wounds of Western Civilization Which Perpetuate Wounding Upon All Life-Beings
Our American Culture is one of myriad gifts and blessings - traditions that have come from around the world with beliefs, Gods, Goddesses, practices and rituals that nurture, sustain and keep us connected to the Earth and the family system and the collective community. These valuable threads weave us together in rhythmic cycles of gathering in celebration and sorrow.
Unnecessary and harmful baggage was also brought to this “New World”. Many of our ancestors from around the world - not only our European ancestors of the Civilized West - have descended from a long line of cultural shaming and public punishing. We gathered in public spaces to watch as people were humiliated (and often further punished) in stocks or torturously burned alive at the stake. We have epigenetically inherited these cultural psychologies and myriad other traumas. We continue to experience the repercussions of the traumas of our lineage until we clear it and perpetuate wounding upon the Peoples of the World and the Earth as has been the modus operandi for centuries across the globe. Victim and Perpetrator archetypes have been embedded, encoded and live within us all. The more lineages are combined in our blood, the more trauma there may be to heal.
These shadow threads needs to be unpacked, washed and aired out in the disinfecting light of the sun. They need to be named and in many cases forgiven for us to let go of our tainted past and live in a more kindly present. The alternative is that the unconscious hidden energy-forms will eventually have a say and play out from time to time when our conscious psyche is mugged by these shadow programs. We become robbed of reason. The less we consciously know about these shadows the more we project upon others what we cannot tolerate within ourselves.
Forgiveness and Grief are keys to unraveling the threads of our collective shadows. We must acknowledge and name them. We cannot grieve, release, nor forgive what has not been acknowledged. And we cannot acknowledge or apologize for what we are not willing to feel or even see.
On the macro level, we as a people-government-country need to take responsibility for the shadows we’ve inherited from our ancestors by acknowledging the harm that we perpetrate/d upon others. In this case, I am referring specifically of the crimes against humanity committed upon this land I live upon and which were/are endured by slaves and indigenous people of this land and their descendants. Only then will we all have an expanding possibility of reclaiming the life-force energy held in containing what is hidden and unspoken.
On the personal level, we need to allow ourselves to feel what exists beneath the surface - within this container. In this way do we begin to discern the depth of what lay beneath the tip of the iceberg we see above the water. When we don’t acknowledge, grieve and release the hurt stored within the hidden depths, we use our resources to keep those doors shut and it becomes habitually difficult to feel anything. Our natural empathy for ourselves and others becomes stifled. We silence our poignant hurts and grief - over the punishments and shaming we have endured as children and then continue to endure as adults in the workplace - when we don’t have a cultural system which acknowledges this experience or belittles its impact on our psyches.
This punitive cosmology of our Western-American Culture becomes the constellation of our being. We exist to be punished or shamed and seek only to measure up in to be permitted to be valued as worthy - of a job, an award, of life, and love. We learned to live this way. We learned this as a way of life and exact/ed the same measures upon others - generation after generation after generation in our Western Culture, in the workplace, schools, and upon our children at home.
It is time to break this cycle. There are many of us waking up to the realization that we have been born to do this now. We refuse to allow the “curse” to be passed down onto our children. We are healing the past for the future. We truly are living and being the change we seek.
Grieve and Feel. When we acknowledge for ourselves the shame we feel, the hurt, and connect with those parts of ourselves we are grieving for, we give them a voice. The teenagers who became so disassociated they lost themselves for a time; the children who were touched in hurtful ways causing paralyzing confusion, fear and overwhelming shame; adults who too often gave permission for the boundaries of their being to be penetrated, who gave themselves away even as their bodies’ protest tried to be heard above the din of their epigenetic programming. Grieve and listen deeply to that voice of our being-soul-spirit, embodied at different stages of life. (You will be taken right back and be allowed to feel and release what has been stored in the body. Some shadows don’t belong to us and need to be given back to where it belongs with love. Give the dysfunctional narrative back to the person whose voice it belongs to. In other cased, the shadows are our pain body which we can give to Earth to be turned into mulch - nourishing energy we can then reabsorb through the chakras in our feet.
Giving ourselves our voice back (as these shut-down aspects and dimensions of our personhood are re-integrated when we let go all the grief) empowers us to speak out loud, to demand justice, to demand acknowledgement for crimes against our and others’ humanity. (Really we are all one. There is no separation between I and Thou, between a person and a plant, between one living on this side of the planet in a palace and the other living on the other side of the palace without shelter.) We can channel our outrage into action for positive change. Into forgiveness and an embrace of all life.
Dive Deep into the Feminine Dimension. When we align with the lunar or feminine rhythms and cycles of nature, we can turn pain into pleasure. Journeying inward with our menstrual cycles (men have a cycle of creating and releasing too) give us insight into the gifts and messages coming from the divine feminine for our healing and realignment with all that serves love and life. We can identify and shed what is wanting to be released. Pain and dis-ease are messages about what is wanting to be seen and heard. When we listen we transmute the pain body into joy and ecstasy waiting to be released from the binding of misery. If we all shed layers of the old psychic skins of agony every month we would clear the birthing portal of any wounding imprints so that all we would birth into the world would be bathed in the crystalline clarity of pure innocence and Love. Original sin is merely a shadow of our inward pain unleashed upon all humanity.
When we release the false programming and shame and pain stored in our body, our innocence is restored and purified, and we are perfect in our eyes again as we have always been underneath those layers of conditioning that told us we were worthless, wrong, bad, shameful, not good enough and evil. We seek not to grieve to be ever in pain and suffering. Rather, feeling our grief is the path through which we shed our old skins and emerge from a purifying fire of alchemical constellatory change into a multi-dimensional perception of being in the world, a way of being in which we experience first-hand our interconnection with the vast depth - and loving creative potential - of all life.
Resources to help you dive deeper into working with your personal and epigenetic grief and trauma:
The Wild Edge of Sorrow: Rituals of Renewal and the Sacred Work of Grief by Francis Weller
"Describing how Western patterns of amnesia and anesthesia affect our capacity to cope with personal and collective sorrows, Weller reveals the new vitality we may encounter when we welcome, rather than fear, the pain of loss."
Waking the Tiger: Healing Trauma by Peter A. Levine
"The reader is taken on a guided tour of the subtle, yet powerful impulses that govern our responses to overwhelming life events. To do this, it employs a series of exercises that help us focus on bodily sensations. Through heightened awareness of these sensations trauma can be healed."
Spontaneous Evolution: Our Positive Future (and a Way to Get There from Here) by Bruce A. Lipton
"By questioning the old beliefs that got us to where we are today and keep us stuck in the status quo, we can trigger the spontaneous evolution of our species that will usher in a brighter future."
Womb Awakening: Initiatory Wisdom from the Creatrix of All Life by Dr. Azra Bertrand and Seren Bertrand
"Revealing how we must reconnect with the Divine Feminine to rebirth the Divine Masculine and restore balance to our world, they show how, as we reawaken the powerful ancient path of the Womb Mysteries, we help return our world to harmony with the wild, untamed creative flows and cyclical rhythms of the cosmos."
Principles of Inner Work: Psychological and Spiritual by John Welwood
Discusses the topic of Spiritual Bypassing, the ways in which we use spiritual practices to avoid feeling that result in dissociating from our body and our "fear of love, fear of the loss of love, fear of giving love, fear of receiving love and, establishing a sense of self-respect which is not overwhelmed or crushed by other people's opinions."
The purpose of the work we do is to help allow the natural process of resolution and integration of experience to continually flow into wholeness and pathways of sustainable joyful liberation.
Feed the Wild Wolf and Eat the Shadow
“The womb is not a place to store fear and pain. The womb is to create and give birth to life.”
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