Unlearning What We've been Taught to Recover what We’ve Lost, Suppressed, or Given Away
I’ve been reading a lot about trauma over the last five years, in my quest to heal from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) caused by a rape in 2010. In my reading and working with energy healing to cope, I’ve wondered if it is possible to continue to unwind the systems of oppression that plague us via energy work.
Scientists have begun to ask if we “store” the memories of our ancestors. In energy work, this is already an accepted idea. In a blog I follow written by Mary Shutan, a practitioner with a lot of experience in ancestral healing, she writes about the connection between ancestral trauma and today’s current events. It makes sense that we should focus on healing for those who are in oppressed groups, but what we seem to not want to talk about is healing the ancestral lineage of those in the role of “oppressor,” or who have ancestors who have oppressed others in the past. Mary writes about this, too.
I’m no expert--not by a long shot--but I wonder whether ancestral healing for those whose ancestors were slave owners, for example, might begin to unravel centuries-old ideals that were relevant to people’s ancestors then and not so relevant to where we are now. I think these ideas are complex, so I hesitate to point to energy work alone as a simplistic solution. Rather, I think it is an unexplored avenue worth our attention, in addition to the other activism already in place.
My own experience around just one part of my healing process made me realize that perpetrators are wounded people. That statement isn’t meant to excuse their awful behavior, by any means. Rather, it is an acknowledgment that somewhere along the way, woundedness can drive people to victimize others. I’ve never been one to believe that being abused automatically leads to being an abuser, and I still don’t believe that. That’s not what I’m saying here. What I am saying is that we all live in a society with a complicated relationship to power.
Under the patriarchal system, we are all told that certain people automatically have more inherent power than others. I believe this to be one false ideal which encourages us to look toward external sources to validate our self-worth. Another ideal we are taught is that our power is in our jobs or our possessions, which I believe also serves to make us think power is something to be bought.
In everything I’ve learned about energy work, it is said power is actually to be found within. One person’s power is only useful to that specific person; your unique gifts are non-transferable. We enter the world with all the power we need stored inside us, and the work of healing is partly to rediscover the power we had before we became convinced we had none. It is this internal strength and our inherent gifts we work to uncover with energy work, and through doing so, we begin to live into our purpose on the planet.
It is said everyone has a purpose, and again, I’m no expert. I’m still finding mine. I don’t know if this holds true for others, but for me, I seem to be the only one who needs convincing that I matter and have a purpose to begin with. And if this is true for others, then we all have to unlearn what we have been taught to recover what we’ve lost, suppressed, or given away.
I often wonder what might happen if, worldwide, we did just that. How might our world look different?
I don’t have illusions of a Utopia, but sometimes, I hope we could reorganize the world we live in to distribute our resources just a little differently.
This article previously appeared on The Good Men Project.