STOP! THIS ISN’T ABOUT POLITICS!
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.
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, 2019