We belong to each other

A friend used to have a poster in her office:  A simple black circle inscribed with the words Every wound is an opening if we but let it be.

Every wound is  an opening if we but let it be.

I’m not so sure whether that is true.  What I do know at this moment, is that We the People are grievously wounded.

I have friends posting on Facebook that they can’t stop crying.

Too much violence in too short a period of time.  The preternatural calm of traumatized voices describing the indescribable horror.

Seven dead.

Two black men in separate incidents Louisiana and Minnesota; five police officers in Dallas at the hands of a sniper at the end of a peaceful protest.

In many spiritual traditions around the world, seven is a number of completion.

Can we be done with killing each other now?  Please?

“All things are connected like the blood that unites us.  We did not weave the web of life, we are merely a strand in it.  Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves.”

Today is a time for grieving, for holding one another, for taking the first step toward healing.

That step ties in perfectly with the automatic female stress response:  Tend and Befriend. 

Oxytocin is sometimes called the “love hormone” partly because it is  released by couples when they are in love.  It is also produced in enormous amounts in women who have given birth.  In studies done at Harvard University, researchers have discovered that everyone, both men and women, releases the hormone oxytocin as part of the “cocktail” of hormones we produce when under stress or trauma.  However, the effects of  testosterone blunt the effects of the hormone.  So men are more likely to engage in the classic “fight or flight” response.”  Women’s response, hardwired into our neurochemistry, is to tend and befriend – to take care of the children and one another.

So I feel my friends’ pain, nearly as keenly as if it were my own.  Yet because I am at a bit of a remove, I am more able to shift into holding space, bearing witness to her pain and the collective rage and grief we all feel.

I have no answers.  To suggest there are easy answers is to insult the depth of pain and grief and outrage.

Tonight I pray and sing,  I drum and cry and I send my love and light from my home in Rhode Island to Louisiana, Minnesota and Dallas, as well as to the hurting hearts of my fellow Americans.



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