Wednesday, March 12, 2014

on innocence and healing - part 2

Perhaps the hurt of sharing it with my brothers is related to something Angeles Arrien talks about regarding healing. She says that every hurt we experience occurs in a place of great intimacy and in order to heal we must return to that place of intimacy. These are such profound words – a truth that points to a major difficulty of healing. Being hurt in this intimate place, why would I want to return? From my own experience and from I have witnessed in others, I know that Angeles' words to be true. And what more intimate place of injury than molestation? (This is more a statement that a question.)  But this return is so important, and can only be partially accomplished through "talking" about it. Intimacy takes place in the region of the heart where words and making sense and logic don't really have a place.  It's about getting underneath the "stories," the ongoing mental intrepretation of events and of who we are.  It's been my experience that the trauma occurred in a place that was preverbal and immensely energetic.  As such, the healing forms in a place that does include words but also emotion, physicality, energy, memory and conscious awareness and engagement, tapping into and arriving at a fullness of being.  The fuller the return with a conscious and loving engagement, the fuller the healing.  And, sadly, I can imagine situations so horrific that attempts at this fullness of return might be nearly impossible and perhaps even further traumatizing, particularly if not done skillfully and gently. So please be careful, go slowly.

Another aspect of healing that I learned due directly to my own experience is that to truly heal, to deeply heal, at some point an identification with the situation and the hurt must be released. It's a realization that I am no longer a violated one. The critical part of my healing was of letting go of the identification with injury, the hurt, the wrong, the traumatizing person and event.  And it goes beyond the letting go of an identification to a place of opening to a broader world, both internally and externally.   It's like my heart has become constricted and solidified around the hurt and all that it entails, that it becomes difficult to see anything else.  We are more than the sum of our pain and suffering, so much more.  But it can be so difficult to see this.

And a third equally important component of healing is forgiveness. I hesitate to write this because there are few things more difficult to forgive than molestation. The experience strikes to the core of hurt, and the accompanying experiences of shame, guilt, low self-esteem, confusion, anger, pleasure (yes, this to), hatred, lostness, fear, of perpetually and most probably subconsciously feeling like soiled and damaged goods, of always feeling anxiously on red alert, of being limited in the ability or unable to trust or to surrender to and enjoy pleasure, of constantly confusing love with hurt ... well it's obviously a great deal to forgive. To forgive the other person.  To forgive one's self for being, like discussed in part 1 of this blog, the imagined cause of the situation.  So if you are reading this and have had a similar experience, or for whatever reason you are not ready yet to forgive someone for something, I am not putting any pressure on you to forgive. But I do want to encourage and support you in moving in this direction, perhaps by first fostering the ability for forgiveness in a general and open and nondirected sense in your own heart. I know it might not be easy, but it's important and any ground gained will serve you well.

Healing.  Return to intimacy.  Releasing of identification.  Forgiveness.  And so, a return to innocence.  These are not all or nothing propositions.  They occur incrementally, little bit by little bit.  And it's probably a good thing that healing, does occur in this way.  Healing can feel so slow in arriving, we want relief from suffering so desperately sometimes that healing never happens fast enough.  But gentleness is a gift.