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.: 1.30.2012 

Primal Wounds

"...I like to think that all of us have one or a few primal wounds, be they sharp, hot, cringeworthy humiliations in class or on a sports field, or scoldings by a parent, or awful scenes witnessed, or periods of visitations by terrifying images, or nightmares, or illnesses or abandonment or any number of such things in childhood and early life: Primal wounds, perceived threats to our existence, experiences that caused us to shut down or diverge from our true nature, to hide, to begin repetitive or addictive actions to shunt the mind away from awareness, to adopt beliefs that are patently untrue but serve to shortcut our thinking away from what we cannot accept about ourselves … the ways we are warped are myriad and probably as infinite as the infinite possibilities of human personality: Each one of us has things we hide, things we are ashamed of, things we will not tell anyone, things we have done that are against our nature and against our teaching, times we lashed out, times we were out of control and did not understand how we could do what we did.

These things vary in scope and size, of course, and certain abuses repeated over a long period of time are fundamentally different in their effect from momentary events. But I like to think of them all as wounds because that gives us some hope, and it democratizes the arena of pain, so that we do not slight the person with seemingly insignificant traumas nor do we fill with hopelessness the person who has survived unimaginable horrors. The point is that we can all make progress. We can all move forward through sensations and memories that we do not understand; we can all make our way forward however strange things get.

For that is our nature as humans: to be actors in plays we don’t understand and have not rehearsed, to be mere passengers in bodies that run off without us, that shout or strike out or submit without our knowing, that perform puzzling acts without our consent. At times, in fact, living as humans with minds and bodies and memories, it can feel like we are mere landlords; we have as little to say over what we do and what happens to us and within us as a landlord does over his unruly tenants."

Cary Tennis

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