[Part of a series, this essay continues our exploration of Chapter Eleven (So, Now What?”) of Healing America’s Narratives: The Feminine, the Masculine, & Our Collective National Shadow. Now available.]
In the context of the history¹ of the United States, of the nation’s collective national Shadow and state of affairs in the third decade of the twenty-first century, and our reflections on who we are, the stories we tell and embrace, who and what we impact or impacts us, what we might be missing, who our people are, our inevitable death, and how we’re in relationship with all of this, what might we do individually or collectively in order to engage this healing and Shadow integration? Good question. Thanks for asking.
Our exploration of this question in forthcoming essays will necessarily revisit some concepts and practices that we’ve already acknowledged (cultural givens, skillful means, healthy development, intentional practice, silence, openness, truth, and love) as well as some that we have not explicitly addressed, such as resistance, trauma, self-discipline, self-compassion, empathy, and community.
In preparation for what’s to come, as you read this now, consider the previous paragraph and get a sense of — perhaps write down — one or two (or more) of the concepts and practices listed that you feel you would like to work or play with and develop further, and one or two that you feel you are in a good place with — that don’t need your immediate attention. Feel free to add your own if there’s something in your awareness that’s not listed above. And you can always change your mind and revise your list.
Another way to do this, which I find more challenging, is to prioritize the list: #1 would be what you feel you’d most like to work or play with and the final item you list would be what you feel is in pretty good shape right now. Again, none of this is etched in stone; just playing with the list might bring an insight. Stay open and curious.
Be kind to yourself.
¹The brief histories explored in the book include women, Native Americans, African Americans, the Vietnam War, and the post-9/11 wars in Afghanistan and Iraq — all in the context of the book’s title and subtitle.