Thursday, January 13, 2011

The Wounded Healer

"Imagine if you will, it is just before dawn and the sun is about to rise on the beach.  Some people have awakened early to see the predawn light.  The rest of the people are still sleeping on the beach.  Those who woke up early have a 'sacred responsibility' to help the other people as they begin to wake up to come to know what 'sunrise' is all about. "  Yacqui Shaman

"There's a gift in every wound.,
A blessing in every crisis,
A light in every darkness,
A love in every emotion."  Martin Lass

On November 1, 1977, a comet-like planetoid, named Chiron, was discovered by Charles T Kowel.  Chiron orbits between Saturn and Uranus, taking 50.8 years to revolve around the sun.  In astrology, Saturn represents the past as the task master.  While Uranus represents breakthroughs in the future.  Chiron lies between these two as the present moment teaching us to fulfull our ultimate potential
through healing and relationships.  In modern astology, Chiron profoundly stands for the deep wounds we each have in this life which we must heal in order to be able to help others heal.

In Greek mythology, Chiron was the son of Kronus (Saturn) a Greek god and a beautiful nymph, Philyna.  He was conceived in  a violent rape encounter in which Philyna had transformed into a mare and Kronus had pursued her as a stallion.  When Philyna is impregnated and bears Chiron, he is born as a centaur, a creature with the torso, arms, and head of a human and with the body and legs of a horse.  Philyna is disgusted and appalled that she has born a centaur as a son and abandons Chiron.  Chiron is later adopted by Apollo, the god of music, prophecy, poetry, and healing; who teaches Chiron all that he knows.  Overcoming his childhood wounds of parental abandonment and shame of his own body, Chiron becomes a mentor to sons of kings and Greek heroes as a wise teacher, healer, and prophet.  He later becomes wounded in trying to stop a raucous between a group of centaurs by being accientally shot by Hercules in the knee with an arrow that was coated with the blood of the monster Hydra.  Hydra's blood was known to create a wound that could never heal.  Since Chiron was an immortal, he was doomed to suffer the pain of this wound throughout all eternity.  Although a gifted and respected healer, Chiron could not bring healing to his own body.   He simply longed to die to end his pain.  After much suffering, Chiron agreed to trade places with Prometheus who had been punished by being chained to a large rock for giving the enlightening flame of fire from the gods to mere humans.  In agreeing to take Prometheus' place, Chiron was able to surrendar his immortality and die, ending his torment and suffering.  He was cast into the heavens, into the constellation of Sagittarius.  Thus, both Prometheus and Chiron were released.  Prometheus with his freedom and Chiron from his suffering through his death.  We can learn the key to healing through the myth of Chiron:  surrendar, acceptance, and release. 

Suffering, wounds come to each of us throughout our lives.  None of us are immune to fate.  We cannot chose the wounds that happen to us, they come.  However, we can chose our response to our wounds and suffering.  The Wounded Healer, like Chiron, is a person who has experienced their suffering whether great or small, gained the inner wisdom that such experiences teach us, and transformed this suffering into a healing power and inspiration for others.  The journey of our woundedness can lead us to a path of service to others.  Chiron might have sat around as the adopted son of Apollo repeating his abandonment story to any and all who might listen.  He could have worn his wound on his sleeve so to speak, disparaging his body, which did not look the way he thought it should.  He was a centaur, neither a model man nor a stallion.  Instead, Chiron learned what he could from Apollo and began to empathize with the suffering around him offering his healing skills to others.   Each of us have a similar path to travel.  We must chose whether to take our wounds and be a victim looking for the power that our wounds give us in terms of sympathy and attention from others.  We might chose the less traveled path of experiencing our wounds and learning what we must about ourselves to empower ourselves so that we might help others become self-empowered as well to trust that they can experience their own suffering regardless how painful and fearful that path may be for them.  As the great Helen Keller states, "Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet.  Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved." 

Chiron had a wound from the poison-tipped arrow which could never heal.  This wound caused tremendous torment and suffering for Chiron.  Despite all that he knew of the healing arts, he could not heal his own wounded body which had stood him well until this point.  Many of us can relate to Chiron's wounding.  There is terrible evil in this world and horrible things happen to many of us.  With a world filled with war, crime, poverty, rape, abuse and molestation of our most innocent youth, mothers in Haiti feeding "dirt cakes" to their children,  the stoning of men and women as "punishment" for alleged adultory in the Middle East...  As the Haitian proverb says, "A stone in the water does not know the suffering of a stone in the sun."  Neither can we know the depth of suffering which any one of our brothers and sisters must endure.  The term Chiron Wounding has come to mean that injury to our instinctual nature, a wounding of trust.  Often, this type of wound is the result of stupid, carelessness, a thoughtless accident or words spoken by someone we trusted.  It may be the result of great evil which unfortunately lives in the depths of humanity.  Regardless as to how this wound originated, this is a wound that never heals completely for the sufferer.  However, each of us has the ability to perservere and to work beyond our issues and not let our suffering define us.  We are more than our wounds.  We can resolve our sorrows and suffering of the past if we commit to staying awake and not allowing ourselves to dull or distract what we are experiencing with drugs, alcohol, overwork, compulsive shopping and sex... "Although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of overcoming of it."  (Helen Keller)   To overcome the evil and suffering in our lives. we must surrendar to it, accepting that it is a part of our past and therefore a part of our personal story.  Then we must consciously release the wound refusing to find power through it.  In this way, we become a healing beacon to our brothers and sisters in our family, our community, our world.  As a Wounded Healer, we begin to function in the world as a whole person out of wellness rather than woundedness.  We are able to empathize with the suffering of others and lead them to the path of releasing their own suffering so that they might join us in the joyful dance of life.  As Yoko Ono is quoted as saying, "Healing yourself is connected with the healing of others."

"The wounded healer knows that healing ourselves comes from our ability to empower our bodies, hearts, minds, souls, and spirits once more."  (Gabrielle Roth)  May each of us step into the world with bodies, hearts, minds, souls, and spirits empowered with love and wholeness so that we might help the least among us to find their path towards healing.

May you find gratitude and peace in every moment,
Namaste, Joan

Wounded Healer Quotes
If you wear black, then kindly; irritating strangers will touch your arm consolingly and inform you that the world keeps on turning.  They are right.  It does.  However much you beg it to stop.  Alan Moore

We are called to offer to others the comfort we received from God.  2 Corinthians 1

Love is infectious and the greates healing energy.  Sai Baba

Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. 
Leo Buscaglia

The greatest degree of inner tranquility comes from the development of love and compassion.  The more we care for the happiness of others, the greater is our own sense of well being.  14th Dali Lama

Our sorrows and wounds are healed only when we touch them with compassion.  Buddha

There is something beautiful about all scars of whatever nature.  A scar means the hurt is over, the wound is closed and healed, done with.  Harry Crews

You don't have a soul.  You are soul.  You have a body.  CS Lewis

There is more wisdom in your body than in your deepest philophies.  Frederic Nietzche

Have patience with all things but chiefly have patience with yourself.  Do not lose courage in  considering your own imperfections but instantly set about remedying them-everyday begin the task anew.  St Frances de Sales

A pearl is a beautiful thing that is produced by an injured life.  It is the tear from the injury of the oyster.   The treasure of our being in this world is also produced by an injured life.  If we had not been wounded, if we had not been injured, then we would not produce the pearl of our life.  Stephen Hoeller

Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile,  but sometimes your smile is the source of your joy.  Thich Nhat Hanh