All Healers are Wounded

May 30, 2013 § 1 Comment

Wounded healer –
an archetype, they call it,
a phenomenon,
but they’re wrong.

It’s superfluous,
a word said twice, because
you see –

All healers are wounded.

Oh, they might not begin that way –
starry-eyed, full of cheer,
out to save the world,
cure its ills, a savior –

but a savior is a sacrifice
and they don’t know it
until they’re on the altar.

Most start out wounded,
and are wounded time and again.

This is what we do:
treat injuries,
see death,
witness the aftermath of all that
human beings are capable of,
the abuses we inflict on one another:
on each other’s bodies,
and hearts, and minds –
the fracture patterns we leave
on another’s soul.

Witnessing is the healer’s role.
Seeing without turning away,
hearing without fleeing,
holding the story and the pain
and seeing a fellow soul underneath.
We bear witness to pain when no one else will,
or can,
or even knows how.

In witnessing, we learn, in a soul-deep way:
there are terrible events in the world,
terrible deeds, terrible acts,
terrible capability in the human psyche.

You can’t see these things and stay whole.

Witnessing wounds.

All healers are wounded.

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Betrayal by Anatomy

May 20, 2012 § Leave a comment

there are emotions
tangled up in my cells –
memories embedded in knots of muscle
and twists of neurons,
feelings pushed down until they imprint,
weighty,
in my bones.

they release in strange ways,
stranger places,
barometric pressure freeing up the anger
in my knees,
or compressing out a stream of swollen sadness
in my wrists,
a sudden wave of feeling
nonsensical, no rational association –
even this: a swell of sentiment
(love/excitement/contentment/optimism)
bursting from the meat of my organs
only to be followed by a darker wave
of despair.

my neurons play turncoat.
i had my brain mapped, I knew
the ways it twisted in on itself, could
predict the rise and fall of serotonin, dopamin, could
surf each pitch and crest –

but they burned my heart to save my mind
(they, me, I –
don’t know who to blame anymore
for this botched surgery)
and now it’s growing back
sloughing off crisped flesh,
blackened cells,
dead muscle,
and what’s beneath is too, too raw

and meanwhile
emotions have secreted themselves
throughout my body,
hidden with memories patterned
into neural pathways rewritten
(poorly, erroneously,
this transformative virus
making a traitor of my head)
by events and environments,
action, reaction…

they release in a burst of blinding neurons
with every wrong move
(and some right ones),
unpredictable:
a twist of the spine,
a misstep, a touch,
most stretches,
until I am frozen by this –
a fear of motion.

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