Monday, April 12, 2021

The journey of the wounded healer

Many of us interested in spirituality and healing have been wounded in our lives – physically, emotionally, or at a soul level. Whether this wounding takes form by way of relational or attachment trauma, or through personal and archetypal betrayal, it has a way of coloring our perception and affecting our capacity to feel safe.

Our increasingly speedy and fragmented culture has come to pathologize valid human experience such as grief, melancholy, anger, and uncertainty, giving rise to a psychiatric and self-help community determined to “cure” or “transcend” dimensions of the psyche that contain important (and even holy) data for our unique paths of individuation, creativity, and meaning.

For some, initiation occurs only by way of transition, dissolution, and loss, through an embodied confrontation with the unconscious and the unlived life. These experiences are not signs of error or mistake, but calls to depth and evidence of how our wounding can serve an initiatory function.

At times, deeper healing will require that the wound disclose itself in more subtle ways within the psyche and the body, where it can seem like things are getting worse. Tending to this organic unfolding of the healing process requires newfound levels of courage, patience, and trust.

It is not an easy life, that of the wounded healer – one that we do not choose consciously – but is the honorable and noble inheritance of many who are called to the path.

It requires that we walk in this world against the grain and remain open to further wounding and revelation of shadow, and to dare to consider that radical possibility that the ally will appear in infinite ways. Not to harm, but to reveal.

Even though it may seem as if we are alone – and in part we must walk this path by ourselves – we are never truly alone, as unseen helpers, friends, and companions are always nearby. But at times will take forms that are not always immediately recognizable.

Art by Enrique Lopez Garre