In a world where we can witness the brokenness in our hearts created by the trauma humanity carries, it often feels very overwhelming to “feel it all”. It is hard to not fall into either despair or savior behavior, or for some, it is even easier to feel nothing as their own pain is unbearable.
The despair is often the reflection of our unacknowledged brokenness. If I can’t save myself (unconsciously the belief we hold) how can I have any power in saving others or the whole planet from its insanity? If I am not willing to fully embrace my own brokenness how can I pretend to show up with all my heart to face the brokenness of others? The despair behavior often lead to inactions as the immensity of the issues we face can’t be solved at once or maybe ever… It reminds me of Mother Theresa famous saying “If you can’t feed a hundred people then just feed one”.
The froze state or total disconnection is also very present today. Living our life like none of this touch us. Consciously it is possible, unconsciously it is impossible. Our nervous systems are all connecting to each other and even if we create a perfect bubble of a luxury illusion of bliss, we do feel deep in our soul the suffering of the world. This lead any human with such behavior to addictions to drugs, alcohol or a life totally disconnected from compassion. Which is the source of racism, and many political heartless policies and behaviors. This is mainly seen to my experience with people with profound inner trauma and terror for their own suffering and shadows.
The savior behavior is trickier to identify. There are a lot of people with “good intentions” who attached themselves to a cause and carry a work of service but from a shadowy place of being a “savior”. The savior behavior reinforces the victim behavior. Countless western views of humanitarian actions are rooted in the belief that “we know better” what needs to be done for others to be saved.
It is very hard to step into the embodiment of the ultimate truth that nobody needs to be saved. Obviously, I am not speaking here from the imminent danger to their life and safety many people experience. From the millions of refugee’s victims of wars or the victim of sexual or physical abuse, the urgency of saving them is evident and needed.
Yet I am more and more attuned to the fact unless we truly dive into our own brokenness, discover the shadows of our behaviors that are born from it, we will only partially show up to do the great work of service that is needed for humanity and our planet. We will bounce back from despair to savior, or total numbness, in an ever-going rhythm of waves which will make us emotionally depleted and will lead to pain and anger.
In my work in the past 20 years with the poorest of the poor in India, with animal welfare activist and with the traumatized individuals I encounter, I have seen too often those patterns and their side effects of keeping the victim feeling powerless and the traumatized feeling broken and different than the “others”.
So, the only way is to recognize and embrace our own brokenness. We all have been broken, traumatized or abused, touched against our will or verbally abused. We all carry trauma from our childhood and/or adulthood. To a different degree but it is a universal truth of the human conditions. If I can allow and feel my brokenness I will not see others as different, feel separated from their pain, or approach them with the need to fix them or save them. I will show up to truly serve them based on what they need and want and not with any of my own agenda. I will be able to relate with anyone from a place of Heart only, a Heart that can hold their pain and suffering.
Another shadow of the work of service is to potentially feel so depleted because our own needs are not met, that we will feel entitled to be helped “They should know what I need”. “They should see all that I am doing for others and take care of me too”. This brings the essential question of who am I doing this work of service for? Is it true for others or is it partially (or totally) for feeling my cup, feeling seen, feeling loved, feeling good?…
No amount of saving others will ever save me.
No amount of despair will ever save me from my own despair.
No amount of seeing others will ever make me feel seen.
No amount of running away from the pain of the world will ever keep me safely away from my own pain.
Honoring our brokenness, by feeling it, and allowing it to be seen, will become the greatest gift we can give to ourselves and therefore others. By honoring my brokenness, I will embody what the broken need to embody and feel. I will allow others to heal as I am just holding a space of love and vulnerability for them. I will not show up as a savior or a perpetrator.
The world needs each and every one of us to embody our brokenness so we can heal all together in unity, not in power play. So we can all remember what It means to be fully human.
I see you there...
Shawinigan Ungaia (Guillaume Gauthereau)
PS: I highly recommend this text to step into your compassionate warrior of the Heart, The Shambhala warrior mind-training, by Akuppa.