What’s going on in our country and our world is not about politics, although so many people think it is. It’s about our human defenses against feeling being acted out in the political arena day after day, hour after hour. People may insist it’s about politics and become addicted to politics as a new defense mechanism against what’s deep at the root.

An Open Letter to Congress - from Judith Barr
This is the message that complements Judith's blog post on the same topic:
This isn’t about politics! It’s really about our fighting against remembering and feeling the traumas we’ve experienced – especially the ones from when we were children.  And it’s about that every time we defend against the past traumas that still live within us, we create new traumas that mirror the ancient ones.  And the new traumas we create have a traumatic impact on us, those around us, and even our world. And especially our children!

Sue Grafton, best-selling author of the alphabet mystery series, writes about this phenomenon in her book, O Is for Outlaw: “[When she built her current house,] was Laddie conscious of what she’d done or had she mimicked Duncan’s house inadvertently?  What is it that prompts us to reenact our unresolved issues? We revisit our wounds, constructing the past in hopes that this time we can make the ending turn out right.”

We, the people, do this all the time … individually, in our families, and communally on a larger scale … generation after generation after generation.  This is the true underlying cause of history repeating itself.

But instead of unconsciously and compulsively trying to make the ending turn out right, we need to heal the wound to its root. We need to become aware. We need the help to feel safely, our feelings from the trauma, and our other feelings, as well. We need the assistance to go through the feelings and come out the other side … without the need to hold those feelings at bay, without the resulting compulsion to act them out in our lives and our world, and without the blocks to our utilizing our minds, hearts, bodies and souls for healing, health, and well-being for all … that is now beyond our imagination. Only then can we help our children and generations to come with their feelings, with healing trauma, and with preventing future trauma.

Fred Rogers knew about feelings and their crucial place in our lives many decades ago, when he created his show, Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, and when he testified before Congress in 1969 in an appeal for public television funding.

Mister Rogers created a relationship with each child who watched his show. He helped children know they were unique and liked just the way they are. He wanted Congress to experience and know the importance of a child’s being safe and able to express feelings in healthy ways – for self and with others. He knew the connection between that safe expression of feeling and mental health. And he was very clear that “it’s much more dramatic that two men could be working out their feelings of anger – much more dramatic than showing something of gunfire.”

To give an example to the Congress people, Mister Rogers told them the words to a song:

“What do you do with the mad that you feel? When you feel so mad you could bite. When the whole wide world seems oh so wrong, and nothing you do seems very right. What do you do? Do you punch a bag? Do you pound some clay or some dough? Do you round up friends for a game of tag or see how fast you go? It’s great to be able to stop when you’ve planned a thing that’s wrong. And be able to do something else instead, and think this song —

“I can stop when I want to. Can stop when I wish. Can stop, stop, stop anytime…. And what a good feeling to feel like this! And know that the feeling is really mine. Know that there’s something deep inside that helps us become what we can.”

In our world today, our healthy relationship with our feelings is desperately needed. Just as desperately as when Mister Rogers was working to help us with our feelings, and maybe even more.

I help adults create a healthy relationship with their feelings on a daily basis …
to help them heal from past trauma …
to help them prevent re-enactments of those past traumas …
to help prevent trauma to their children,
and to help them live healthy, full and fulfilling lives.

It is my honor and privilege to do so.
And it is my deep intention to continue to do so.

In addition, now I have a dream …
I am sitting in Congress, speaking to those who are considered leaders in government.
I am telling these men and women:

Each one of us was somehow wounded long, long ago when we were young.
The wound was too painful for a child to bear.
So we buried it and our feelings, too.
And then we invented ways to keep it all buried,
without even realizing we were doing that.

We didn’t have people to help us with those wounds and that pain.
Either our parents hadn’t learned how from their own experience
or maybe they were the ones who wounded us.

Left buried beneath our awareness, those wounds and traumas happened again and again –
at different ages, with different people, in different forms.
At some point, without realizing it, we were creating or re-enacting them over and over again.
Some say, “in an attempt to make it turn out right.”
Some say, “in an attempt to bring it into our consciousness so undeniably that we would finally work to heal it.”
And some say “both.”

I say “both.”

Unless we understand this, we cannot change it.
Unless we say “yes” to learning about it –
both in our minds and experientially in our lives –
we cannot change it.

The acting out in our country as a defense against ancient wounds
has escalated and escalated and escalated.
The degree of escalation is immeasurable.
But all we need to do is look, and we can see it …
yes, we can see it.
It is all around us.

You are leaders in our country.
Just like everyone else, you are reenacting painful experiences from your childhood … without even being aware of it.
Just like everyone else, you are trying to hold the memories and the feelings at bay.
Just like everyone else, you are acting out to defend against the pain of your own “once upon a time.”
It is destructive beyond measure.

Just like everyone else, you have the opportunity to explore, discover, and heal –
both from the trauma long ago and the impact of your reenactments on yourself, our country, and our whole world.
You are leaders in our country.
You have the responsibility to do this healing.
You have the ethical, moral, humanitarian, and soul responsibility to do your part of the healing …
and while doing so to help set our country and our government in alignment again;
and while doing so to model something new, something courageous, something life- and world-changing for our citizens.

I know it is painful to face and feel the trauma from the past,
but better that than create more trauma in order to avoid the past trauma.

Our citizens need to do this same work.
We each have that responsibility.
 But if you are our leaders …
your responsibility is even greater!

Our people are counting on you.
Our children are counting on you.
Our whole world is counting on you.
I am counting on you.

I waken and know this dream is reality.
I waken and I am still holding you accountable.
I waken and I am still counting on you.

With many prayers that you will take this responsibility seriously
and do your healing work.

Judith Barr

© Judith Barr, 2019




  1. What a powerful, timely and practical commentary on the tragic occurrences surrounding and within politics today. The acting out level is over the top. I do the healing work that JUDITH describes and I believe that it stops me from joining the acting out all around me. I also do this healing work with my clients. There is a better way to live, inside and out. I am so grateful for JUDITH’s relentless service in truth and love.

    1. Dear Andree . . .

      Thank you for your response to my “Letter to Congress” and about the work I do. In such a powerful, central,touching way. Thank you for acknowledging that it helps you not join the acting out all around you. Thank you for saying “out loud” for all to “hear” – “There is a better way to live, inside and out.” And thank you, Andree, for acknowledging my “relentless service in truth and love.”

      With many blessings to you in your work with yourself and with your clients and in your living inside and out. . .
      PS The more people we can let know about this work … the better. And the more we can let people know about this work … the better.

  2. I know I am being triggered daily by the circumstances in this country and in many places in today’s world given my history. I act by attempting to clearly articulate my opinion and sign petitions that often bring about good outcomes. However, the woundings are so constant that I am overwhelmed with the task and see little motivation in the leadership to look at their responsibilities.

    An interesting example is Ilhan Omar who herself is as trauma survivor as a refugee and, in her identification with one side of a conflict, wounded others legitimately suffering on the other side – both sides doing harm. People have to be willing to “do the work”. If they are not, all the good ideas in the world can not reach fruition. Deep sadness about this reality.

    Thank you for your letter.

    1. Dear Miriam . . .
      I am touched by your comment this time, as I have been in the past. Your sharing so generously. So vulnerably. So real. Thank you. Your example of Ilhan Omar is exactly the kind of current situation that caused me to write my previous blog article, “What Will the Women Do.”

      And I am so deeply touched by your sharing that “People have to be willing to ‘do the work.’ If they are not, all the good ideas in the world can not reach fruition.” And your “deep sadness about this reality.” Thank you, Miriam. I am often deeply saddened, too. And feel that sadness and grief profoundly.

      I’ll share with you … that then, I bounce back and I am inspired again to reach out to people wide and far, as well as close by … to help inform, intrigue, and inspire people who either don’t yet know about ‘the work,’ or who have pushed it aside for multiple reasons – whether personal, cultural, or communal. I talk about many of these reasons in my book How Did We Get Here?
      I have been working persistently to reach people, the media – traditional and alternative – government officials, people who have large impacts in our world who might be called to help, if they only knew about the work. Always open to suggestions of those to reach out to.
      Honoring the deep sharing you’ve done, feelings and all, and also your appreciating my letter … feels so meaningful and supportive to me.

      Honoring the truth of what you’ve shared about people needing to do their work and your deep sadness with it. . . and, at the same time … I have every intention of continuing my efforts and continue to welcome support to do so – yours and that of others, as well.
      Once again, Miriam …thank you for your comment, and for your generosity of heart and spirit.
      Many blessings …

      PS. “People have to be willing to “do the work”. If they are not, all the good ideas in the world can not reach fruition. Deep sadness about this reality.” One more thing, Miriam … I’m asking your permission to utilize this quote of yours as I write and reach out and speak with people. And if your answer is ‘yes’ … asking if you want me to cite your name when I include the quote or not.

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