Recognizing the Wounds

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by Jen Peer Rich

Artist unknown

All this grief, rage and discomfort we are feeling nourishes our collective soils. Know that none of it goes to waste. Breakdown is a necessary part of collectively waking up from the painful illusion of separation.

Roberto Assagioli (the founder of psychosynthesis) said that we cannot heal what we are not aware of. We as a collective peoples are becoming aware of our wounds so that we can tend to them. And we do this despite having been conditioned to suppress our traumas. It’s difficult to become aware of people, places and experiences that hurt. It’s even more difficult when we are saturated in the dream of separation. It’s easy to ignore our wounds when the dominant culture tells us to hide/avoid/fix/pathologize/shame/privilege pain at all costs.

Now is a good time to wake up from the illusion that we don’t matter to each other, that our lives don’t connect.

Now is a good time to seek out these wounded places. Now is a good time to wake up from the illusion that we don’t matter to each other, that our lives don’t connect. Now is a good time to confront the lie that we are separate from our earth home. We won’t collectively wake up and confront the wounds of separation unless we first recognize them.

What do these wounds look like? The examples are many. Wounds of colonization, genocide, ecocide, wounds of power, social injustice and endless wounds of war. All the ‘isms’ of separation and imagined hierarchies that inflict hurt on our brothers and sisters. Scientists warn us that feedback loops of ecological collapse are well underway but we are so wounded we hardly care to recognize them. Daily gun violence by angry white male terrorists is the new normal. Post-normal. Post-truth. The United States is moving day after day away from democracy and towards authoritarian rule. Corporations are considered people who consume all our time, resources and attention. Mass species die-offs and factory farming wound us. The power structures of white supremacy and patriarchy are runaway trains of oppression and wounding. Other countries have figured out how to leverage our most basic weakness against us- our belief in separation of mind/body/politics/species/thought/religion/peoples. I could go on and on about our wounds…

We recognize the wounds in order to heal them.

So many forces falling apart as the wounds of separation fester, these decaying forces struggle to survive their Great Unraveling. These are painful times. Unraveling is painful because grief, rage and discomfort are ever near. But breakdown is a necessary part of collective awakening. We recognize the wounds in order to heal them. Otherwise they remain unconscious. Future generations are depending on us to make the pain conscious by recognizing it.

Every heavy feeling we feel is an opportunity to see the wounds. Do not turn away, these are usable materials, like energetic compost contributing to the health of our shared life system. We have legacies of pain to tend to and it is by moving into it that we consciously take part in healing. In leaning into the heavy feelings without judgment, and with a willingness to see and to heal, we do our part to foster a different paradigm of shared dignity and mutual co-arising with our Homeland Earth.

Jen Peer-Rich
is an alchemist, artist, speaker, and author, focusing on themes of conscious living, ecological sanity, and cultural evolution. Her message attracts brave humans, who dare to investigate themselves in an honest psychological inquiry that challenges the lie of separation from nature. She is the founder of Friends in Presence (

4 thoughts on “Recognizing the Wounds

  1. Re: Daily gun violence by angry white male terrorists is the new normal.”
    While I am horrified by the recurring violence, part of dealing with our wounds is coming to an understanding of how we are part of the situation in which they occur. Words are powerful, and labeling people as terrorists limits our ability to truly see them in their complexity. None of us are simply one thing; interbeing (co-arising, pratityasamutpada) shows us that we are made up of countless elements, of, as the Tibetans say, inconceivable causes and conditions. So many of the shootings are done by men who feel unseen, unvalued, unheard, left out of the good stuff, and so on — they are deeply wounded and responding unskilfully to the polarization that they help create. This is not to excuse the violence, but if we can’t somehow elicit or draw forth their pain and confusion, create a situation in which they can feel and see it there is little hope of change. We truly are all in this together.

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