AND First Heal Thyself

March 27th, 2016

I was listening to a wonderful talk by author Rabbi Kushner. My favorite story that he told was of taking very young children on a tour of the synagogue. He told the children at the end of the tour that there was a wonderful surprise behind the curtain that he would show them when they came back at a later date. Sometime later, their teacher reported to the rabbi what several children thought was behind the curtain.

One thought, much like any good television give-away show, that there was a car behind the curtain. Another declared there was nothing behind the curtain. A third proclaimed that there were Holy Scriptures behind the curtain (accurate, of course). And the fourth children said there would be a mirror.

The last child’s insight just might be the reminder we need to respond to a world where anger, violence, and denigration of other people pervade journalism and media shows. Any search for truth, whether from religious authority, spiritual quests, reconnecting with nature and a life bigger than our individual one, involves encountering ourselves.

Who have we become? Do we like the person we are today? Do we behave in the same ways as we teach others to behave and wish to be treated ourselves? Are we willing to be grateful to those insightful others we encounter in life who remind us to get down from the pedestal of performance perfection and reconnect with our vulnerability, our humanity, and our oneness?

I once heard a speaker declare that hurt people hurt people. It is a phrase that describes what goes on in abusive households and competitive or fear-based workplaces where our insecurities play out in damaging and hurtful ways. Rather than look inward, the tendency is to hurl insults, judge others harshly, and throw them under the bus in order to garner favor with the powerful ones. We learned the behavior long ago on play yards and in families in order to be the favored child.

What would happen if we stopped denying our own mirrors and stopped blaming others for our discomforts? What would happen if we chose to begin the work of healing our own vulnerabilities and fears? What if we break the cycle of incivility and violence towards others by healing our own hurts so that we don’t respond to situations where we feel out of control by reacting from fear and the need to defend our egos? What if we learn that if we don’t like what we see in the mirror, we can change it AND we can develop the courage to look so deep as to rediscover the beauty and love buried within?

It’s time to break the cycle of hurt people hurting people by doing the inner work to heal our own hurts, by withdrawing our energy from hurtful behaviors that stem from ego and fear, and by viewing the mirrors in our lives as gifts. There will be no need to judge others harshly when we have turned the mirror on ourselves and healed our own hurts. AND that might help us to heal the planet.

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