Wound and Light by Valerie Dodge-Reyna

"The wound is the place where the Light enters you"- Rumi

Today as I write I am mindful of the recent and present catastrophic disasters that are hemming in havoc at the borders of North America.  Harvey, Irma, Maria…are marching eerily to the same beat of the major earthquakes and raging forest fires.  I am personally affected by this as I await in silence to hear a word from my beloved family in Puerto Rico who have felt the heat of these epic storms, now twice with a few weeks.  The lights have gone out from a complete loss of power and in the face of hope. 

If you find yourself feeling numb about these events you are not alone.  The human mind cannot possibly comprehend what the earth is purging and the human heart has a certain capacity for what the feelings can hold.  

But there is gift. The gift of the wound. 

Like disasters, "the wound" is powerful enough to take us to the most important things in life.  To drink in the deeper water that satisfies our thirst, to the pearl of great price and to the buried treasure underneath the surface of what the eyes can see and the heart aches over.  

If you pay attention to the silent gestation that is happening beneath all the rubble, you will notice shimmers of light emerging out of the darkness.  The normal playing field of humanity has been leveled in these disasters and we are witnesses to something underneath the blankets of security, the inequality of power and false identities.  I have noticed a common thread of humility with glimpses of the true self and a collective strength that has resurrected from the mounds of debris.   As the images surface of those who are helping one another we are witnessing the truth in equality, the innate goodness of humankind, and the beauty of a united purpose.  Though incredibly hard, I am hearing what is sacred in the conversations; many who are saying “I have lost everything but what is most important now is helping others”.  But we know too well from 911 how temporary this awakening can be.  

Love your neighbor as yourself. 

Do you ever find that a daunting inquiry? 

I believe we only see as far as our wounds limit us.  So we try and think our way into living or we live into the limitations of a persona that has been shaped by these wounds perhaps without ever noticing them until one day like the earth our wounds cry out, "Mend my life"!  For most of us it takes a catastrophic event.

Again, there can be a gift in these events.   However, finding our true self does not have to enslave itself to disasters.   There are other ways to wake up.  If you pay attention, you will hear the voice calling you home. 

One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
kept shouting
their bad advice – – –
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
‘Mend my life!’
each voice cried.
But you didn’t stop.

You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations – – –
though their melancholy
was terrible. It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.

But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice,
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do – – – determined to save
the only life you could save.

The Journey by Mary Oliver

San Jaun, Puerto Rico-2013

San Jaun, Puerto Rico-2013