What did I mean by “Healing Self, Healing Earth? I say, “What did I mean” in past tense on purpose. I am not the same person I was when I wrote the book “Healing Self, Healing Earth” back in 2010. I have changed, and hopefully, learned, grown, matured.
When I wrote the book, I mostly wrote it from the perspective of someone who was wounded. I was also an activist, working in Central America—Guatemala specifically—to help change U.S. policy, to help get the devil off the back of the people of Guatemala. But I did not know how wounded I was at the time.
When my life fell apart around age 40, I headed back to the United States, with my tail between my legs. First, I had not healed Guatemala, and second, I realized that I, myself, needed healing—or something.
I began what might be called a ‘Dark Night of the Soul’, or my inner journey. And after some years, I began to write my book. I felt—and feel—that we first need to get some sanity and clarity in our own mind, heart and life, before taking on the world.
Now, 12 years after writing this book, I find myself contemplating, “did I know what I was writing about”? Let me share my present views on the book’s main message.
I still feel that the overall premise and message of ‘Healing Self, Healing Earth’ is helpful. We are wise to, as Jesus said, “first remove the plank in your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck that is in your brother’s eye.” Luke 6:42
This does not mean we have to be perfect to take action in the world. But we certainly are more effective if we have a clue who we ourselves are, what makes us tick, what our triggers are, in short, if we are conscious, awake, and humble.
“Healer, heal thyself” is a common phrase we hear, and it has merit. Sometimes we focus on the other, or outside issue, because we are actually projecting our own pain. Furthermore, focusing outside ourself takes our attention away from our own pain. But this often has detrimental side effects.
One, we ignore our own issues, and second, we often make a mess of things by trying to “help” or “heal” others from our own state of ignorance and unconscious pain and patterns. Believe me, I am speaking from experience! I found myself creating lots of conflict in my life. And, focusing on others, without them asking for it, while ignoring our own compulsion is basically codependance.
So, again, the main point of my book is hard to refute. But there is another take on this. The “self help” movement can be an excessively narcissistic diversion. While there may be a time in one’s life—as in mine—when it is wise to step back, meditate, climb into a cave so to speak, lick our own wounds, ultimately, we want to get out into the world and forget about the “mini-me” egoic personality.
I suppose it is a balance. I went through ten years of therapy, and it was immensely helpful. And we always want to be doing our meditation, our prayer, whatever it takes to clear our pain, face our triggers, and keep our sanity.
And, life is short, and we have to get over ourselves. Most of us live in an ego-driven world, where we try to “make things happen.” Society rewards those who bring attention to themselves, do great things.
“Healing Self, Healing Earth”, can even feed the ego, as in, once you do that courageous inner work, you will be able to do great things for the planet. But we are not here to save the world; it has already been saved—some say–by one Jesus Christ.
Yes, the world is still a sin-stained mess, with the same demons and distractions we were warned about over and over two thousand years ago. But maybe our role is less about “healing self” than surrendering ourselves, offering ourselves. Maybe when we give ourselves over to God—or let Him take us—the healing happens.
I suppose this is the biggest thing I would change about my book (maybe in the revised edition?). My inner journey is continuing of course, but I believe my recovery was slower than necessary because I was so focused on “healing” my wounded self, making it happen, that I refused to surrender to that which truly heals.
I do feel the book has some wisdom and valuable tools. I was so desperate to end my inner pain, I tried everything I could get my hands on: meditation, yoga, hypnotherapy, therapy and countless other healing modalities. I offered some valuable info and doznes of meditations, reflections, and breathing exercises.
In the end, I still feel that the “world” will change when enough of us surrender our inner world to something bigger and beyond our small “me”. At least it would help. Or perhaps God Himself will decide when and how to heal this world. At this moment, I just do not know. So maybe that would be my next book title: “I just don’t know.”
In the meantime, my best advice is to always face our inner demons and wounds and triggers, with courage and humility. But we do not have to do it alone; in fact, we can’t. Ask for and receive help. Give it all up to God. Let God use you and your wounds for great things. Let Him mold you and make you into an instrument of His peace.