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