Whole People Create Whole Communities

It seems natural to avoid things that hurt. Yet, when we close ourselves off to the things in this world (or inside of ourselves) that confuse, scare, or challenge us, we simultaneously close ourselves off to the things in this world that clarify, empower, and ultimately make us whole. The journey toward integration and wholeness is a practice of allowing every part of our lives to speak.

When we only recognize and listen to the things that make us feel good, we get a distorted view of ourselves, and we soon realize that the life we want to live isn’t actually attainable…because it isn’t real. A real life includes flaws, mistakes, and pain. It is identifiable as real by its wrong turns and lessons learned way more than by its shining moments. It may be awkwardly written, and it may be full of expletives, but it’s poignant poetry, nonetheless. The ups and downs create a lyrical feel as stories are told, and the wisdom found in dark places becomes the beacon of hope for future journeys. Hope is born in struggle, and resilience is strengthened through the endurance of showing up right where you are, just as you are, over and over again. That kind of endurance runs deep like the roots of an Oak tree. When strong storms come (as they do in any real life), all that is untethered will sweep away. What is left is what could never be swept away, no matter how strong the storm.

If we can let go of who we think we’re supposed to be, we become more able to embrace who we truly are. Who we’re supposed to be doesn’t have full access to the strength and gifts of our truest nature; those things are only freely accessible to who we were born to be. If the voices and experiences of our lives have taught us to be someone other than our true selves, it might take a while to learn the sound of our own voices. But when we can find a way to listen, we can also find a way to let go of the defended “supposed to be self” and get back to our true self. That transformational journey is informed and sustained by the disowned and neglected parts of ourselves. Once we’ve listened and started the hard work of integrating those marginalized parts of ourselves back into the whole of ourselves, we can freely access the strengths and gifts we were born to give this world.

And what is good for one human soul is good for all souls. Whole people create whole communities: communities where everyone belongs, and all voices matter. The process will surely involve awkward moments, some confusion, hard work, and pain. It will likely include wrong turns and lots of tough lessons. But it can be real, and it can therefore grant us access to all the beautiful strengths and gifts we were born to give each other.

Speak Your Mind


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