February 21 – Cleaning Out the Wound – Mark Nepo, The Book of Awakening
If I had experienced different things, I would have different things to say.
So often, I have felt troubled and guilty bearing witness to my pain, and yet, not to make things worse. Somehow, in saying just what Mother had done in her cruel need to be the centre, or just what Father couldn’t do out of his fear of facing my mother; somehow, telling the truth as I know it makes me feel like a bad person – as if I’m making my pain up, as if I”m hurting others by saying bad things about them.
But the unshakeable bottom of all this is that I’m not making things up. If I have unkind things to say, it’s because I’ve experienced unkind things. And so, my only guide in this witnessing is to be accurate and honest. While I am not a victim, I didn’t ask for certain shaping experiences to happen to me. I didn’t ask to be slapped or ridiculed as a boy or to be mistreated by lifelong friends later in life. In truth, if I had experienced different things, I would have different things to say.
What is most healing about bearing witness to things exactly as they are, including my own part in my pain, is that when the voice of the pain fits the pain, there is no room for distortion or illusion. In this way, truth becomes a clan bandage that heals, keeping dirt out of the wound.
To voice things as they are is the nearest medicine.