An Open Letter to the Citizens of Our Country and Our World
In our world today, with so much abuse of power coming out into the light of day, it is crucial that we all work to help create the healthy, healing change we want to see in our world. Often, we call this crucial work “activism.”
As a psychotherapist in private practice, I am, in my own way, an activist. And I have helped other activists learn about an important part of helping our world that most of us overlook.
As I have said many times in my work – aloud and in writing – action in the outer world is very important to help create change in our world. However, there is an element that many of us overlook in our activism that is equally crucial, and must be included in our activist efforts: doing the inner work within our own individual selves to explore and heal our inner wounding. I call this “inner activism,” and it is essential that we do this inner work so that our efforts at outer change – no matter how devoted they are – are not “secretly” driven by unconscious wounding from our past which actually undermines the outer work we’re doing, and sabotages the sustainability of the changes we’re working to make in our world. This is what we have witnessed in the civil rights movement, the women’s movement, the peace movement, the movement toward financial and economic stability, and more … Our not having done our inner healing has undermined the outer efforts we’ve made.
It is essential that we become “inner activists” as well. Especially in these times where we are called upon to yet again make important lasting changes in the outer world, but cannot do so without also making the changes in our inner worlds.
It is unfortunate that we, whether we are activists or not, are often not taught this one important thing: that if we try to simply change things in the outer world and not the inner world, too, we will then find ourselves creating the same things in the outer world all over again. If we don’t explore and heal our own wounding, we will keep recreating – and escalating the re-creation of – the very country and world we have already created.
Thank you for your own efforts to create change in our world. To help in those efforts, I would be open to exploring with you how I may offer my services and this healing message about “inner activism” to your group, your organization, your community, your government.
With thanks, hope, and many blessings …
4 thoughts on “INNER ACTIVISM IS CRUCIAL, TOO.”
Uncertain that the former activisms you mentioned were inherently marred by lack of “inner work”. The forces against social change in the outer world are incredibly powerful and the “change back” penalties formidable. I could name specifics, but I don’t think this is necessary. It is often out of inner wounds, as well, that activism derives it’s staying power and force. I don’t think the dualism holds up that well upon reflection. My 2 cents with thanks for your exploration and willingness to hear.
Dear Miriam …
Thank you for your thought-provoking response to my article. Thank you for your appreciation of my exploration. And thank you for knowing my willingness to hear you.
If there were time, there could surely be an ongoing in depth conversation about this. I have written about it in more depth before, and surely will again … and others have, too.
Good point, Miriam, that “it is often out of our inner wounds, as well, that activism derives its staying power and force.” Yet, so much can go awry if that’s what drives the activism … so much can go awry individually and communally. Gloria Steinem, from her own experiences, acknowledged that “being a social activist can be a drug that keeps you from going back and looking at yourself.”
In my article, I was trying to help people begin to understand – in a very brief way – not that the former activisms were inherently marred by lack of “inner work,” but rather that what we create successfully in the outer world can be undermined or sabotaged in the long run without the inner work to support and sustain it.
We create from the inside out, even when we aren’t aware of that. And although psychotherapists may understand the dynamic, it is not widely known in the society.
It is true, the forces against social change in the outer world are incredibly powerful. My experience with and understanding, though, are that there is a vicious cycle between the individual inner forces against change and the societal outer forces against change, and that healing that vicious cycle depends not only on our doing work in the outer world, but also on our doing the inner healing of our inner vicious cycles.
An important mirror of this – on a microcosmic level – would be the outer forces against change in a family where the father abuses his wife and/or children … and the work that needs to be done not only in the outer world of the family but also within each of the members of the family, if real sustained change is to be created within the family, and for the generations to come.
I don’t see or intend what I’m suggesting as dualism, but rather as the healing of duality. Not just inner or outer, but rather the bridging of the two into wholeness.
I hope you feel heard and responded to, Miriam. And I hope those who read your comment and my response have a better understanding from our interchange.
Many blessings …
We will be together in this fight!
Thank you, Carla, for your words of encouragement. We have a lot of work to do – inside and out. And our knowing we are not alone in it is encouraging, supportive, and inspiring.
Many blessings, Carla …