Some beautiful words came back to me this week. They are from Parker Palmer and have to do with wholeness; and yet they first came through the reflecting path of woundedness.
Note the similar sound in the first three letters: Who & Wou
Who are we? And how do we function, out of this woundedness?
We all have been wounded, in some small ways and perhaps in some big ways as well.
Does it matter in the end?
I believe it does, depending on the reasons why we ‘moved’ to this earth in this lifetime; yet it ought to be a personal answer.
I remember the maths teacher I had in 11th grade. For whatever reason, she didn’t like me and had a tendency to give me a hard time. I still remember her face, her island of origin (Corsica) and her last name (Scaliola), but not her first name.
Did she destroy my confidence somehow?
Or did she help me build resilience?
In retrospect, I cannot even give an answer and it doesn’t matter. Yet I can tell it is not a pleasant memory and it stuck with me.
Again, this is a small example, a small bump on the road we call ‘life.’
They are bigger bumps, much bigger ones; I would call them life-affirming events, and we all know what they are.
Yet I believe that, when all is said and done, what matters is how our heart resonates with the event. Does it shut down, or does it take it in to transform poison into elixir?
You will see what I mean when you get to Parker Palmer’s quote.
What is hidden must come out, and must be addressed if it is our goal to become whole.
Pain especially cannot be ignored. We cannot go through life while playing the ostrich game, our head in the sand.
There is a season for everything, it seems, and the colder months in the northern hemisphere might give us a chance to reflect and regenerate. So that we are born afresh when the sap comes in, when our hearts open up again and yearn for the new.
“Quakers took a stand against slavery early in American history partly because one man, John Woolman, was willing to hold the tension between reality and possibility. But it is important to note that the entire Quaker community was also willing to hold the tension until they were opened to a more integral way of being in the world. They refused to succumb to the impulse to resolve tension prematurely, either by throwing Woolman out or by voting to allow the slavery-approving majority have its way. Instead, they let the tension between reality and possibility break their collective heart open to justice, truth and lo
There is an old Hasidic tale that tells us how such things happen. The pupil comes to the rebbe and asks, “Why does Torah tell us to ‘place these words upon your hearts’? Why does it not tell us to place these holy words in our hearts?” The rebbe answers, “It is because as we are, our hearts are closed and we cannot place the holy words in our hearts. So we place them on top of our hearts. And there they stay until, one day, the heart breaks and the words fall in.”
From A Hidden Wholeness, Parker Palmer, p. 181.
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