The Heartache of Today

My heart has been aching with all that is going on in our world today that is so painful and so destructive.  My open, aching heart reaches out to you to inspire, teach, and just be with you.

My heart aches
for the suffering in our world today.
My heart aches for the people who are under siege in their own homes.
For those who have fled their homes to escape destruction,
Yet are meeting destruction elsewhere.
For those who are the innocent bystanders of others’ willfulness.
For those who are the innocent yet seduced colluders of fierce willfulness.
My heart aches
for the suffering in our world today.

My heart aches
for those who are suffering in our world today.
For those who have been shot out of the sky,
For those kidnapped and taken from all that they know,
For those who have been used, misused, abused, tortured, and killed.
My heart aches for those who have been forced into slavery
And for those who have been seduced into slavery.
My heart aches
for those who are suffering in our world today.

My heart aches
for those who suffer, finding themselves without what they need –
for whatever reasons –
Starving, working harder than any person should have to work to survive,
And to help their families survive.
For parents who are unable to take care of and protect their children.
For people who live in constant danger …
Adults and children alike,
Even children who are unsafe living with their own parents –
Even in supposedly loving families, even in supposedly civilized countries.
It is more common than we want to realize.
My heart aches
for those who suffer, finding themselves without what they need.

My heart aches
for those who are suffering in our world today.
For those suffering from the experience of and the consequences of
Sexual abuse … greater in numbers than most wish to know.
People sexually abused
In their own homes …
By their parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, older siblings.
By their partners, friends, and people they know.
By strangers.
By those who are overtly violent –
Using it as an act of war or an act of power –
And by those who do it under a guise –
under the guise of play, the guise of taking care of them, the guise of helping them.
My heart aches
for those who are suffering in our world today.

My heart aches
for the suffering in our world.
For the suffering caused by us when we cannot and will not
Feel our own heartache.
For the suffering caused by our defending* against our own heartache.
For the suffering caused by our defenses that
Fight to be right, fight to win, fight to have it our way,
fight to have power over.
Fight to conquer, fight to have the last word, fight for some imaginary gain  —
something we lost long, long ago when we first built our defenses.

But more than anything,
My heart aches
for the suffering that is being experienced now
And will be experienced in the future …
Because over and over we insist on solving things only in the outer world,
Deluding ourselves into falsely believing that will create change we can sustain.

My heart aches
for the suffering we are now experiencing
And we will experience in times to come …
Because again and again we refuse to solve and resolve things at the root –
in our inner worlds –
So the changes would come from the inside out,
And, in truth, be sustainable.

Please don’t defend against your heartache anymore.
Don’t defend against your own feelings both today
And even more from your youngest days.
Don’t defend against your own powerlessness, hurts, fears as a baby
By lashing out at others today because of those who hurt you back then —
By withholding from others today because of those who hurt you once upon a time,
By willfully acting out your revenge on people and life in the current day,
While wanting to do, from underneath, whatever you want to do to those from your youth,
the consequences be damned.
Please don’t continue this normalized, socially accepted nightmare.

My heart will keep on aching
Until the needless suffering is done.
Where are those of you who will ache with me?
Where are those of you who understand the changes need to come from within?
Where are those of you who will help people make those in depth changes?
Where are those of you who do your own inner work  –
As part of daily living?
Where are those of you who will come forward to help?
Come join me.

This is a mammoth task.
But one we need to keep going with.
It covers more ground than I can name.
Yes, we need to stop bullies.
But even more, we need to heal the bully in us.
We need to negotiate cease fires between warring factions in countries.
But even more, we need to heal the splits, the factions within ourselves.
We need to stop the sex traffickers and free those they’ve captured.
But even more, we need to heal the sexual abuse in our societies, in our world,
By healing the sexual abuse and sexual distortions within ourselves…
So we don’t pass it down from one generation to the next.
None of us can do this alone.

My heart will keep aching until
we join together and help people heal the suffering from the past
that is feeding the suffering of the present and the future.
My heart will keep aching every time I hear somebody say,
“Move on. Just forget the past. It has nothing to do with the future. It’s just
dragging you down.”
The only tiny seed of truth in that statement is that
our past will drag us down to it for healing …
Our past wounding and trauma will haunt us …
Calling and calling and calling us
To do the healing we need to do.
Our past will haunt and call us,
Even if the haunting occurs through horrifying suffering
in the world outside and around us.
And even if we don’t understand at first
The calling that is actually occurring.

My heart will keep aching until we
Do the real work called for in front of our very eyes ….
Joining together to end the needless suffering
That comes from defenses we don’t want to dissolve,
Memories we don’t want to remember,
Feelings we don’t want to feel,
Changes we don’t want to make.
My heart will keep aching until …
I hope yours will, too …

*Read “Defenses Destroy” at to learn more about defenses and their harmful consequences.

© Judith Barr, 2014


Does your heart ache too … as you hear about, read about, see reports of the suffering in our world?  Can you allow yourself to feel the heart ache? Or do you have a reflexive movement to defend against your feelings?

Is your feeling response part of a lifelong pattern of defense against pain?  If so, what will you do to help yourself heal that pattern … for your sake and for the sake of our world?

Is your feeling response open-heartedness – from long ago or relatively new?  If so, what will you do to deepen and expand your open-heartedness and allow it to show you ever-new passageways … for your sake and for the sake of our world?

If you’d like to help even more to heal suffering in our world, help spread the word about the true roots of suffering in our world…and please feel free to pass this article on to others.

We don’t have to accept, resign ourselves to, settle for unnecessary suffering … if we are aware of the roots of that suffering and do the inner work we all need to do to heal our wounding and our defenses to the root.


This post is in response to a comment sent to me related to my Independence post, a comment that opens a wonderful opportunity for us to explore further our use of power.

Who gets to decide what is needless suffering?
How do they decide?
How do they decide whose suffering is less than whose and whose suffering is worse than whose?
Is the suffering of the unborn child in the process of abortion worse than the suffering of that same child
. . . born into a family that doesn’t want him/her?
. . . born to a mother who leaves the baby in the trash?
. . . born to a mother who kills herself and leaves the baby to starve?
. . . born to parents who abuse the child?
Is the child’s suffering worse than the mother’s
. . . who is pregnant through incest, rape, or some version of powerlessness?
These kinds of questions can go on and on.

Where do we each use our power well?
Where do we each misuse and abuse our power? And how do we each heal our misuse and abuse of power??
These are the questions that will guide us to ending needless suffering.

© Judith Barr, 2011


Independence Day is fast approaching. On that day we celebrate our declaration of independence from Great Britain in 1776 and our independence as a country today.

As independent as we are in relation to many countries in the world, are we really independent? We could seek answers to this question through many lenses. Today we will choose one.

In my mind and heart, we are not independent as long as we suffer needlessly and as long as we cause needless suffering to others. Now there is some suffering that is simply part of life. And others where it’s a delicate balance.

If lightning strikes someone’s home, simply as a result of natural causes and no negligence on anyone’s part, causing damage to the home and maybe someone in the home . . . that suffering might be so very painful, while at the same time it was from a completely random act of nature. On the other hand, if there is a flood, which causes untold suffering to thousands and thousands of people, and the flood isn’t simply an act of nature, but rather the result of negligence on the part of people and groups whose job it was to keep dams and levees in good, safe, working order . . . then that is needless suffering. I know even with my explanation this is still very delicate. I invite you to stay with the essence, though, and not get lost in the details.

How do we know if we suffer needlessly? If you were wounded as a child – let’s say through abuse or neglect, or even lack of awareness by the one who wounded you – and repair was never made, and you haven’t consciously, purposefully, safely worked through the wounding and its impact on you . . . you are suffering needlessly. And in addition, you are likely wounding others by not working through your own experiences, thus causing them needless suffering.

If we don’t feel our suffering and work with and through it, we will definitely cause suffering . . . needless suffering. Here’s an example that has reflections in many ages . . . how many people and groups have tried to prove that certain others don’t feel, don’t suffer? Too many!

There are many who would use or have used – or misused – science to try to prove this. Meaning to try to prove their own prejudices. Meaning trying to defend their own disconnection from feeling and reality. But how many times and ways has that been done before? What about the argument that Black skinned people have no ability to feel, which was put forth in the days of slavery and beyond . . . and proven wrong? What about the assertion that Jewish people have no ability to feel, used by the Nazis during the holocaust . . . and proven wrong? What about the argument I’ve heard from people whose parents justified their abuse of their children as babies, saying they’re just babies and don’t feel or remember anything? This argument, also, is inaccurate! And what about those who experiment on animals, saying the animals have no ability to feel or would not be able to remember the pain they feel . . . an assertion that evidence is refuting more and more.

What about the Milgram experiment at Yale, in which people (all adults) were urged by “an authority” to inflict pain and suffering on someone (even though the person on the other side was an actor and wasn’t really receiving the shock)? As the result of their own unhealed wounding, the unwitting subjects of this experiment were capable of following orders that caused what they believed wholeheartedly was blatantly needless suffering on total strangers. Perhaps they were afraid of suffering needlessly at the hands of the “authority.” Or perhaps they were afraid of feeling the suffering (from long ago) that not obeying that authority would trigger inside them.

Claiming that some don’t feel pain and suffering has gone on before and continues to go on in our world today, sometimes in blatant ways and sometimes in subtle ways. Anyone who believes others can’t feel pain and suffering is not in reality. Anyone who believes others can’t feel pain and suffering is not in truth. Anyone who tries to teach adults or children that live beings don’t feel suffering is dangerous.

In addition, and this may not need to be said, but I feel called to make sure it is said . . . People who respond to the needless suffering they experience by making sure others experience needless suffering, too . . . destroy the independence they may long for, and the independence we long for, too.

On July 4th, our country will celebrate its independence . . . but we must ask ourselves, “Are we truly Independent?”

Independent? I don’t think so. We cannot truly be independent as long as we don’t heal our own needless suffering, stop inflicting needless suffering on others, and lastly … help those who are suffering needlessly find their way to healing that needless suffering, too. We cannot be truly independent until we are as sure as we can be that none of us experiences needless suffering.

What will you do to heal the needless suffering within yourself, the needless suffering you may cause to others, and by so doing, the needless suffering all over the world?

© Judith Barr 2011



This Independence Day – before, during, and after whatever festivities you have – take time to deeply explore the meaning of Independence . . . and how to heal the wounding inside you to help bring about independence for yourself and our world . . . independence from needless suffering.

How have you suffered needlessly throughout your life, and from what wounds did this suffering inside you emerge? Explore the painful parts of your life – going back as far as you can – and allow yourself to feel, as much as possible, the suffering you carry with you from long ago.

How have you caused others to needlessly suffer? Again . . . explore those times in your life where you have caused pain to others, and feel the feelings that go along with those memories.

If you feel called to share what you find inside yourself, I would welcome and honor an email from you.

Together, we can bring about a deep independence, one that not enough of us aspire to, in our own lives and in our world . . . if we are willing and open to explore and heal the roots of needless suffering in our lives and in our world!