Healing of Memories

In certain circles, we say, “If it’s hysterical, it’s historical.” This past Friday evening, we began our Healing of Memories workshop in a similar vein.

We were led by Fr. Michael Lapsley, who lost his hands and one eye in a terror bombing in South Africa, and created the Institute for the Healing of Memories as part of his own journey toward wholeness.

He asked us to identify a recent moment that both “pushed our buttons” and, in a flash, took us back to an earlier time. I could think of nothing like this, though I could recall recent exchanges that caused me to over-react.

The next day, through reflection, picture-making and story-telling, and surrounded by others on the healing journey, I had a revelation. In the course of 30 minutes, I laid bare a piece of my history, made illuminating connections between past and present, and had a remarkable catharsis of grief that surprised me with its presence, force and urgency.

This experience has given me so much to ponder:

  • Pictorial representations and the unconscious
  • The role of community in healing
  • The redemption of story-telling
  • The limitations of our own awareness
  • The mystery of the human experience

My own particular mystery is this: I know what it’s like to ignore an issue of which I am aware. I know the cost of that choice. I know what comes from finally facing what I have ignored.

I have no understanding, yet, of the cost of my unknown and unexpressed pain, grief and hatred. I wonder, now, what will flow from the new awareness, the new freedom and the new love.


“If you bring forth what is within you, what you have will save you….”

from The Gospel of Thomas



About Soul Intention

"Spirituality is, ultimately, about what we do with...desire. What we do with our longings, both in terms of handling the pain and the hope they bring us, that is our spirituality." from The Holy Longing by Ronald Rolheiser. Paraphrasing what Gerald May has said, in his book Will and Spirit, spirituality is our experience and interpretation of our relationship with the Sacred. The intent of this blog is to explore for myself, and to invite others to explore with me, just what is it we do with our desire? What is our spirituality? Mine has been shaped by many things...in my formative years, by the Roman Catholic church. In the last decade, by the 12 steps. Most recently, by the Episcopal Church. And, always, always, by the sense that Nature helped to reveal the Great Mystery, of which we are all a part. So, my spirituality includes concrete practices, like the Steps, as well as probing more philosophical matters. I was certified, in January 2011, as a Spiritual Director by the Haden Institute. During those 21 months of study, which included a broad range of topics from Celtic Spirituality, to the Christian Mystics, to Jungian Depth psychology, I was given the space and time to ponder my own spiritual journey, hear about others' paths, and benefit from participation in an intentional community. My hope is that this blog can engender a similar conversation. Peace, Paul
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