holding differences

How does the wounded boy hold differences or disagree with another? The wounded boy has a long, pot-holed road of possibilities: sulking exploding, being rigidly righteous, punishing the other with silence. The wounded boy has no core place inside for holding ambiguities, or differences. So, when he encounters any perceived differences, he feels immediately threatened and persecuted. He cannot tolerate these feelings so he acts out by blaming the other or blaming himself. There is no middle ground for holding mystery. The wounded boy is so fragile inside that when a difference is experienced, he must make the other wrong or he must be wrong. There are only two choices in this arena: hurt or be hurt. The man, having been a wounded boy engaged in being a blamer or being blamed, has slowly cultivated a third way of being in the world. This third way is to turn toward the feelings with mercy and compassion, to slow down and breathe with the feelings, to allow the feelings to be here. The man has cultivated a sacred ground for his intense feelings. This sacred ground could be an actual place, such as a trail in the mountains, or it could be a quiet resting place in his room at home. In this place, the man is in sacred relationship with his raw, vulnerable feelings. He practices non-judgment. He does not analyze or evaluate his feelings. What he does is something the wounded boy has little access to: loving kindness.

The man in his fullness gives himself a slowed down, kind and merciful space to be with whatever feelings are here. After the man has walked or sat quietly with his feelings, he might want to do something creative. These feelings are like a giant compost heap of creativity: writing, drawing, sculpting, playing music. The possibilities are endless. He may want to call on his friends to listen to his conflict. The man begins to grow what shamans call “a medicine body”, a body that can hold difficulty and conflict. This medicine body is like a fertile field that transfigures compost into beautiful plants and vegetables. After many years, the man has grown an immense medicine body, just like a farmer has grown several hundred acres on fertile ground.

The wounded boy has much to learn from this man. May this man pour these blessings onto the boy in a sacred light, or holy ground.


From the Place Where We Are Right


From the place where we are right,

Flowers will never grow in the spring

The place where we are right is hard and trampled like a yard

but loves and doubts dig up the world, like a plough, a mole

and a whisper may be heard from the place where the ruined house once stood.

~ Yahuda Amicai

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