Healing America’s Narratives: Who Am I, Really?

Part of a series, this essay explores a question raised in Chapter Eleven of Healing America’s Narratives: The Feminine, the Masculine, & Our Collective National Shadow. Now available.

Amid the other-than-human world. Photo Copyright © by Reggie Marra

Who Am I, Really?

If you’re sure you know and are ready to dismiss the question, what follows may be a waste of your time — or exactly what you need. Here are five prospective responses. They are neither mutually exclusive nor exhaustive. Add your own.

1) I am a mystery that I explore more deeply every day.

2) I am a mix of elements that’s worth four or five bucks.

3) I am the result of the exploits of God, Adam, Eve, and that horrible snake.

4) I am a ___-year-old, ____-generation _______-American ___________ [ your occupation] from _________.

5) I am a child of the stars.

The identity story I choose (or that chooses me) provides a unique view of myself and the world and a wildly different array of possibilities for my need for healing, my views on Shadow, and life in general. Every human being in the history of humanity had a sense, clear or vague, conscious or unconscious, of who they (thought they) were. We’ll engage this question through three distinct, interrelated perspectives — Body-Mind (aka middleworld), Soul (aka underworld), and Spirit (aka upperworld).

Body-Mind, or middleworld, as used here, refers to our conventional, everyday lives. We do, think, and feel, and we recognize, to various degrees, the connections among doing, thinking, and feeling. Our thoughts and feelings impact what we do and vice versa. In terms of our who-am-I inquiry, the Body-Mind perspective encourages us to assess skills, strengths, likes, dislikes, and aspirations in order to identify with a job, social role, or occupation. We are educators, plumbers, nurses, stay-at-home-parents, and truck drivers, etc. From a Body-Mind perspective, our job may be a valid response to that pesky question famously asked by Mary Oliver, “…what is it that you plan to do / with your one wild and precious life?”

Turning toward Soul, we learn from eco-depth psychologist, Bill Plotkin, that our “soulwork…does not correspond to a job title.” Howard Thurman directs us to find “what makes [us] come alive.” Frederick Buechner refers to “the place where [our] deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.” Harvey Swift Deer speaks of “sacred dance,” and William Blake wrote of being “organized by Divine Providence for Spiritual communion.”¹

These various takes on a similar theme begin to move us beyond job descriptions and earning an income (each of which has its place) toward a somewhat deeper inquiry. Plotkin and Swift Deer differentiate soulwork or sacred dance from survival work or survival dance, which, in no way deprecatory, simply refer to “our way of supporting ourselves physically and economically….”² Aptitude and career tests and other Body-Mind assessments can be useful for matching us with survival work we might enjoy, and rarely, if ever, address soulwork, sacred dance, deep gladness, spiritual communion, what brings us alive, or what poet David Whyte calls the “one life / you can call your own.”³

Plotkin works with Soul as an ecological, rather than a psychological or spiritual, entity, referring to it as one’s “ultimate place,” or one’s “unique ecological niche” (“eco-niche”).⁴ Discovering one’s ultimate place or unique ecological niche in the world feels very different from getting a really good job with good pay and benefits. Our task from a Soul perspective is to find and create delivery systems that allow us to “offer our unique gift to the world.”⁵ These delivery systems change as we develop and are not who we are. They may manifest as survival work, soulwork, or both. For example, writing, teaching, and coaching are among my delivery systems.

From a Spirit or upperworld perspective, self-inquiry has been around at least from the beginning of the Advaita Vedanta tradition as a means of exploring this question. One iteration guides us through asking and returning to the question, “Who am I?” in a way that gradually eliminates who and what I am not. When I notice what arises in awareness (externals like clouds, sore muscles, job title, and cars, and internals like emotions, thoughts, concepts, and beliefs), I objectify and eliminate what I am not, as in “This cloud arises in my awareness, but I am not this cloud,” “This thought arises in my awareness, but I am not this thought,” “This pain arises…but I am not this pain.” Eventually I may get curious about “in whose awareness does all of this arise?” Who is this observer/witness? Who am I, really? Of course, this observer, or witness, or awareness itself is just another thought or concept until and unless I directly experience it. Then all heaven can break loose, until I get distracted again.⁶

Body-Mind, Soul, and Spirit perspectives each offer something of value. The center of gravity of our democratic, capitalist, American culture privileges the Body-Mind, replaces or dilutes Spirit with conventional, middleworld religious beliefs and requirements that usually protect us from any direct experience of Spirit, and generally ignores Soul — as Plotkin has developed it — or uses it in a variety of often disparate ways.

Ram Dass, in his teachings on change, aging, and death, shared a metaphor for waking up through these who-am-I perspectives or states of consciousness: he asks us to imagine that we each have a built-in receiver that picks up planes of consciousness. Most of our American receivers are tuned to pick up just one or two of the available channels — channel one’s physical traits (shapes, sizes, and colors, etc.) and channel two’s moods, emotions, and social roles. We don’t pick up more because middleworld culture doesn’t teach us (or know) how to fully tune our receivers. Said differently our American culture’s center of gravity holds a Body-Mind/middleworld perspective. We have not, as a culture, learned to tune into, nor do we seem to value, the Soul- and Spirit-based perspectives available on channels three, four, and five.⁷

Of course, amid our cultural attunement to channels one and two, some individuals do have access to additional channels. What channels are you attuned to? What’s your view on all of this?

Which leads us to story…in the next essay.


¹Mary Oliver, “The Summer Day,” New and Selected Poems, (Beacon, 1992), 94. Bill Plotkin, Nature and the Human Soul: Cultivating Wholeness and Community in a Fragmented World, (New World Library, 2008), 316. Howard Thurman attribution: https://quoteinvestigator.com/2021/07/09/come-alive/. Frederick Buechner, Wishful Thinking: A Seeker’s ABC, (HarperOne, 1993), 118–19. Harvey Swift Deer, in Plotkin, Nature…, 258. William Blake, The Complete Poetry & Prose of William Blake, David V. Erdman, ed., (U of California P, 1981), 724.

²Plotkin, Nature and the Human Soul, 258.

³David Whyte, “All the True Vows,” The House of Belonging, (Many Rivers, 1997), 24.

⁴Plotkin, “ultimate place” in Nature and the Human Soul, 35–38; “unique ecological niche” in The Journey of Soul Initiation: A Field Guide for Visionaries, Evolutionaries, and Revolutionaries, (New World Library, 2021), 6–17. A 52-minute interview with Bill is available here (there are more): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uOTaKXHMabM

⁵Plotkin, The Journey of Soul Initiation, 18.

⁶This paragraph is meant to be descriptive, not instructive. My encounter with self-inquiry began with the writings of David Frawley and Ken Wilber, which led me to Ramana Maharshi’s work. Here’s a link to Frawley’s writing from 1998: https://www.vedanta.gr/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/Frawley_SelfInquiry_ENA5.pdf. Online references to self-inquiry are abundant and unequal. Inquirer beware.

⁷Ram Dass, “The Art Form of Dying,” Conscious Aging: On the Nature of Change and Facing Death, CD, (Sounds True, 1992), Disc 2, 2:50–6:25.

Healing America’s Narratives: An Overview

[Part of a series, this essay breaks from those that precede it and offers a “one-stop” overview of Healing America’s Narratives: The Feminine, the Masculine, & Our Collective National ShadowNow Available]

Healing America’s Narratives presents the case that the mood of the United States of America in the third decade of the 21st century is inevitable when considered through the intersection of the lenses of history, developmental psychology, politics, and spirituality. Our current dysfunction, while worrisome, is not surprising.

More to the point, the nation is cursed and blessed with competing (not just different) narratives that, even at their most oppositional, share aspects of a collective Shadow — that which is denied, repressed, unknown, or unacknowledged, and projected onto others. America’s specific Shadow elements include ignorance, arrogance, fear, bigotry, bullying, violence, greed, excess, and untrustworthiness — each of which is present in varying degrees throughout history, amid current events, and across the political spectrum. These elements arise historically and currently through an unhealthy manifestation of masculine energy and a virtual absence of healthy feminine energy.

The book’s title and subtitle posit that in order to heal these narratives, Americans will have to recognize, own, and integrate our individual and collective Shadows. To heal, as used here, means coming to terms with things as they are — that is, accepting what is true, even if we don’t like it or we disagree with it. Healing begins when I accept that I just broke my arm (rather than railing against how it happened); curing or fixing commonly takes place with the help of an orthopedic surgeon. Each has its place.

In order to authentically heal it’s important that each of us comes to terms with our cultural givens and the extent to which we have accepted, revised, discarded, or developed beyond them. “Cultural givens” refers to the view of the world given to us during our earliest years by family, community, schooling, and religion, or lack thereof — all within the context of the time and place of our birth. In order to become healthy adults, it’s necessary to question what we’re given as kids, and then choose to accept, revise, or discard it based on our own direct experience of the world.

This questioning can be exhilarating at best and terrifying at worst. Paying attention to several qualities can help us as we question. Briefly:

  • Skillful means invites the mechanic to tighten the bolt just enough without stripping the threads, and the surgeon to make the incision just deep and long enough (and on the correct patient). It requires us to interact with children in developmentally and chronologically appropriate ways.
  • Development, as used here, reminds us that how we view the world impacts what we see and how we see it. Here’s some developmental shorthand: it’s all about me; it’s all about my group(s); it’s all about all of us (humans); it’s all about all that it is (the planet and beyond). To make this even more fun, each of those four ways of seeing can manifest in healthy or unhealthy iterations.¹ Each successive view interprets a given event from an increasingly inclusive, comprehensive, and complex perspective.
  • Intentional practice reminds us that habitual thoughts and behaviors impact who and how we are. It makes sense to intentionally practice who and how we want to be.
  • Seek the broadest, deepest view available in any given set of circumstances (or at least when it makes sense to do so). Why would you choose to be narrow and shallow in your perspective?²
  • Honor the power and paradox of silence. Silencing the voices of others is a time-tested tool of oppression; intentionally practicing silence for oneself is often at the heart of insight, growth, and transformation.
  • Truth, in a given moment, is fact- and evidence-based and separate from opinion and how evidence is interpreted. In the words of Parker J. Palmer, over time, “Truth is an eternal conversation about things that matter conducted with passion and discipline.”³
  • Love is perhaps the most powerful energy we know. In the book, love has the following traits: “the joyful acceptance of belonging”; “the will to extend one’s self for the purpose of nurturing one’s own or another’s spiritual growth”; and the absence of fear.

Evidence of America’s Shadow elements is provided in chapters three through ten of the book. Deciding which evidence and how much of it to present was a challenge. Chapters three through seven, respectively, provide very brief, selective histories of women; Native Americans; African Americans; the war in Vietnam; and the post-9/11 wars in Afghanistan and Iraq — each of which deserves (and gets elsewhere) more attention than it gets. The rationale for these choices is provided in the book. Chapter Eight provides additional examples of Shadow, every one of which also deserves more attention than it gets. Chapter Nine brings Shadow into our current century in an exploration of polarized, woke, and cancel cultures, and Chapter Ten argues that the 45th president of the United States personally embodies all nine Shadow elements.

Chapters eleven and twelve begin the process of exploring ways out of our current mess, and will be sampled in more detail in forthcoming essays.

So, the book explores nine elements of America’s collective Shadow through selected historical and developmental perspectives on the nation’s 246 years of existence. The exploration is presented through the author’s (my) particular worldview, which is made clear in chapters one, eleven, and twelve. It is not (obviously) an exhaustive history of the country or a final word on any of the narratives it explores; it is an evidence-based exposition of America’s competing narratives and collective Shadow and a guidebook for those interested in healing the narratives and integrating the Shadow.

It’s definitely not for the closedminded and probably not for the faint of heart.


¹The “developmental shorthand” (me; my group(s); all of us (humans); and all that it is (the planet and beyond) are explored more deeply in the text and the endnotes. Regarding healthy or unhealthy manifestations, none of these views is right or wrong; rather, when healthy, they are increasingly inclusive, balanced, and complex. These four are significant reductions of what’s available to humans.

²Also developed further in the text and endnotes, this broadest, deepest view is based in Ken Wilber’s work, and includes considering individual values, beliefs, and behaviors; collective (relational/cultural) values and beliefs; and the natural and human-made environments, systems, and infrastructures within which we live and upon which we have impact.

³Parker J. Palmer, The Courage to Teach: Exploring the Inner Landscape of a Teacher’s Life, (Jossey-Bass, 1998), 104.

⁴ “the joyful acceptance of belonging,” Br. David Steindl-Rast, Gratefulness: the Heart of Prayer, (Paulist, 1984), 167; “the will to extend one’s self for the purpose of nurturing one’s own or another’s spiritual growth,” M. Scott Peck, The Road Less Traveled, (Simon & Schuster, 1978), 81; and “the absence of fear,” based on Marianne Williamson’s reflections on A Course in Miracles, in her A Return to Love, (HarperPaperbacks, 1993).

Healing America’s Narratives: Dominos, Defoliation, Death, & Democracy

[Part of a series, this essay is adapted from Chapter Six of Healing America’s Narratives: the Feminine, the Masculine, & Our Collective National Shadow (October 2022)]

Photo © by Ryan Stone on Unsplash

Decades before the 2003 U. S. invasion of Iraq, the United States invaded Vietnam — initially with “advisors” and eventually with bombs, troops, and bullets. After its defeat in World War II, Japan was forced to leave the former French colony, Indochina — as Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia were then known — which it had occupied during the war. After Japan’s departure, France’s attempt to reassert control of the area was thwarted by popular support for Ho Chi Minh. Under his leadership, on September 2, 1945, the “Proclamation of Independence of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam” emerged. It borrowed language and concepts from both the American and French revolutions, and it listed grievances against the French colonizers in 1945, much as the British colonists, who would eventually identify as Americans, had done against their British governors in 1776. The Vietnamese proclamation begins:

“‘We hold truths that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.’” This immortal statement is extracted from the Declaration of Independence of the United States of America in 1776. Understood in the broader sense, this means: “‘All peoples on the earth are born equal; every person has the right to live to be happy and free.’”¹

In 1945 and 1946 Ho Chi Minh wrote repeatedly to President Truman and other world leaders, and at least once to the United Nations, asking for humanitarian aid because some two million Vietnamese had died of starvation in the final years of World War II. The U. S. president, the other leaders and the United Nations did not respond. Ho concluded that “We apparently stand quite alone; we shall have to depend on ourselves.”² When the French began their eight-year war against Ho Chi Minh’s government and its followers in 1946, the U. S., first under Truman and then under Eisenhower, helped arm the French and financed most of the French effort.

With the 1949 Communist victory in China, and the faith that the Viet Minh had in Ho Chi Minh, the U. S. articulated and began to act on the “domino” theory — that if one Southeast Asian country were to succumb to Communism, the rest would follow suit, and that if free elections were allowed, Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia would be controlled by Communists. Said differently, the U. S. wanted to stop the possible spread of Communism in the region by preventing free democratic elections.

In April 1953 President Eisenhower had delivered his “The Chance for Peace” speech to the American Society of Newspaper Editors. Widely known as the “Cross of Iron” speech, it celebrates the end of World War II, warns of the Soviet Union’s post-war behaviors, and argues both against the costs of war and for hope, freedom, and democracy. It also includes, less famously than the cross of iron metaphor, these five precepts:

First: No people on earth can be held, as a people, to be enemy, for all humanity shares the common hunger for peace and fellowship and justice.

Second: No nation’s security and well-being can be lastingly achieved in isolation but only in effective cooperation with fellow-nations.

Third: Any nation’s right to form of government and an economic system of its own choosing is inalienable.

Fourth: Any nation’s attempt to dictate to other nations their form of government is indefensible.

And fifth: A nation’s hope of lasting peace cannot be firmly based upon any race in armaments but rather upon just relations and honest understanding with all other nations.³

Beginning almost immediately, and continuing for the next twenty-plus years in Vietnam and in various places around the globe to the present day, the United States would violate Eisenhower’s first, third, fourth, and fifth precepts, and engage an ongoing national debate about the second. The Soviets and Chinese would exacerbate the situation, but they didn’t claim to adhere to these same precepts.

Under Presidents Truman, Eisenhower, and Kennedy the U.S. first ignored and then incrementally opposed Ho Chi Minh in the north; set up, supported, and eventually disposed of Ngo Dinh Diem in the south; and increased the presence and levels of engagement of U. S. military advisors. President Johnson, with the financial blessings of Congress, then officially sent U. S. combat forces to Vietnam without declaring war. Johnson and Nixon each escalated specific aspects of the undeclared war both on the ground and in the air. As we know, it didn’t end well.

More than 58,000 Americans, and depending how the counting is done, some three million Vietnamese combatants and civilians lost their lives during the war. Millions more on both sides died due to poisoning from the defoliant Agent Orange.

In 1995 former secretary of defense Robert McNamara published In Retrospect: The Tragedy and Lessons of Vietnam,⁴ in which he explored eleven lessons learned. He would elucidate another set of lessons in his conversation with director Errol Morris in the 2003 film, The Fog of War. The architects of America’s policies and war in Vietnam ignored Eisenhower’s precepts. The post-9/11 architects of America’s policies and wars in Afghanistan and Iraq would go on to ignore Eisenhower’s precepts and both sets of McNamara’s lessons learned — which we’ll explore in the next essay. The office of the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) would eventually publish What We Need to Learn: Lessons from Twenty Years of Afghanistan Reconstruction in August 2021.

I’ll leave it to readers to draw their own conclusions about political and military lessons learned since World War II.


¹“Proclamation of Independence of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam” (September 2, 1945); multiple sources online; here’s one: http://afe.easia.columbia.edu/ps/vietnam/independence.pdf

²Neil Sheehan, A Bright Shining Lie: John Paul Vann and America in Vietnam, (New York: Random House, 1988), 148–53. Howard Zinn, A People’s History of the United States: 1492-Present (New York: Harper Perennial, 1999/1980), 469–71. Sheehan puts the number of letters and telegrams from Ho Chi Minh to Truman and his Secretary of State at eleven over an 18-month period and notes that Britain, China and the Soviet Union also ignored his requests for help at the time. China and the Soviets would later provide financial and military assistance when the U.S. began financing France’s efforts. “We apparently stand quite alone; we shall have to depend on ourselves,” Sheehan, 149. Zinn includes an excerpt from one of Ho’s letters, 470–71. The U.S. State Department classified and locked away the correspondence, which would not become public until the publication of the Pentagon Papers, Sheehan, 152–53.

³President Dwight Eisenhower, “The Chance for Peace,” April 16, 1953. Audio: https://www.eisenhowerlibrary.gov/eisenhowers/speeches. Text: https://www.americanrhetoric.com/speeches/dwighteisenhowercrossofiron.htm. Accessed June 5, 2021.

⁴Robert S. McNamara, In Retrospect: The Tragedy and Lessons of Vietnam, (Vintage, 1996), 321–23.

The Fog of War, Errol Morris, director, (Sony, 2003).

⁶John F. Sopko, et. al., What We Need to Learn: Lessons from Twenty Years of Afghanistan Reconstruction, (Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, August 2021) vii-xi, https://www.sigar.mil/pdf/lessonslearned/SIGAR-21-46-LL.pdf

Healing America’s Narratives: Trails of Tears and Broken Treaties

[Part of a series, this post is adapted from Chapter Four of Healing America’s Narratives: the Feminine, the Masculine, & Our Collective National Shadow (Now Available)]

Photo © by Boston Public Library on Unsplash

Some five-hundred-plus years ago, European explorers began bumping into land masses now known as South, Central, and North America and the islands of the Caribbean. The indigenous inhabitants of these areas include the Taíno, Aztec, Lakota, Yucatán, Iroquois, Inca, Nez Perce, Huron, Apache, Cherokee, Navajo, Olmec, Inuit, Toba, Quechua and Chibcha, among many, many more.

These peoples had been on these lands for some 10,000 to 20,000 years when the English, Spanish, Portuguese, and French met, interacted with, and eventually colonized them.¹ Slaughter, rape, removal, and betrayal often characterized the colonization process, which in contemporary parlance is a literal cancelation of people and culture. The invaders interpreted what was different as “lesser” (or, as some might say today, not “woke”) and perceived the unfamiliar humans as “innocents,” “savages,” or both.

A pattern emerged: arrival, intrusion, violence, commerce, acquisition of land through treaty, and acquisition of more land through violence and treaty betrayal. As more Europeans arrived or as something of value was discovered in or on the land, the Europeans and then the Americans broke treaties and took what they wanted.

In his enforcement of the 1830 “Act to provide for an exchange of lands with the Indians residing in any of the states or territories, and for their removal west of the river Mississippi,” Indian killer, slaveowner and president, Andrew Jackson, promised that “There, beyond the limits of any State, in possession of land of their own, which they shall possess as long as the Grass grows or water runs. I will protect them and be their friend and father.”² Estimates put the total number of humans removed during the 1830s at around 100,000, with 15,000 deaths along the way.³ Said differently, an infant, a child, a woman, or a man was forced to leave home 100,000 times and travel hundreds of miles in horrible conditions. More specifically, some 2,858 refugees were forced to travel some 1,200 miles by steamboat and some 12,496 were forced to travel by foot and wagon for 2,050 miles over three different routes.⁴ Their friend and father didn’t protect them.

That’s a synopsis of one example. Here’s a list of several more, among many: the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1851 (broken amid a gold rush shortly after it was signed); the 1864 Sand Creek Massacre and the retaliatory 1866 Fetterman Massacre; the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1868 (broken in 1874 with the discovery of gold in the Black Hills, and again in 1877 with the Congressional “act to ratify an agreement with certain bands of the Sioux Nation of Indians and also with the Northern Arapaho and Cheyenne Indians” in direct violation of Article XII of the 1868 treaty, effectively taking the Black Hills without consent of 75% of adult male Indians).⁵

By 1890, the 60 million acres of the Great Sioux Reservation, as identified in the 1868 Fort Laramie Treaty, had been reduced to about 22 million acres in 1877 due to government’s and prospectors’ interest in gold and other minerals, and then further reduced to 12.7 million acres through the Dawes (General Allotment) Act of 1887. The Dawes Act ended the tribes’ communal holding of land and allotted set acreage to individual Indians, who were required to farm the land for twenty-five years. Any land that was not so allotted would be sold to the public.⁶

Less than thirty years after the 1890 slaughter of some 150 children, women, and men at Wounded Knee, Choctaw men whose parents and grandparents had been removed from their land in the 1830s enlisted to fight in World War I and became the first “Code Talkers,” using their native language so enemy spies could not understand messages. Some thirty-three tribes, most famously the Navajo, would similarly serve in World War II.

Fast forward to 1980: the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that in 1877 the U.S. government had in fact illegally taken the Black Hills in violation of the 1868 Fort Laramie Treaty. The ruling upheld a 1979 Court of Claims decision that called on the U. S. to pay $17.5 million plus 5% annual interest, which at the time totaled about $106 million. The Sioux refused to take the settlement, which is now worth more than $1 billion, asserting that the land was never for sale, that money was not just compensation, and that the value of the gold, timber, and other resources removed from the area is significantly greater than the money offered.⁷ The issue remains unresolved in 2022.


1. Adam Rutherford. “A New History of the First Peoples in the Americas.” Atlantic. October 3, 2017, https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2017/10/a-brief-history-of-everyone-who-ever-lived/537942/. Accessed March 8, 2021. The article is adapted from Rutherford’s A Brief History of Everyone Who Ever Lived: The Human Story Retold Through Our Genes. New York: The Experiment, 2017.

2. Howard Zinn, A People’s History of the United States 1492-Present, (Harper Perennial, 1999/1980), 133–34.

3. Elizabeth Prine Pauls, “Trail of Tears,” Encyclopedia Britannica. https://www.britannica.com/event/Trail-of-Tears, Accessed February 10, 2021.

4. Claudio Saunt, Unworthy Republic: The Dispossession of Native Americans and the Road to Indian Territory, (W. W. Norton, 2020), 280.

5. Fort Laramie Treaty of 1868, Article XII: https://www.archives.gov/milestone-documents/fort-laramie-treaty#transcript

6. Miles Hudson, “Wounded Knee Massacre,” Encyclopedia Britannica, December 22, 2020, https://www.britannica.com/event/Wounded-Knee-Massacre Also: The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica, “Dawes General Allotment Act,” Encyclopedia Britannica, Dec. 4, 2019, https://www.britannica.com/topic/Dawes-General-Allotment-Act. Accessed April 23, 2021.

7. Numerous legal, historical and journalistic sources exist for this story. See Kimbra Cutlip, “In 1868, Two Nations Made a Treaty, the U.S. Broke It and Plains Indian Tribes are Still Seeking Justice,” Smithsonian Magazine, November 7, 2018, https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smithsonian-institution/1868-two-nations-made-treaty-us-broke-it-and-plains-indian-tribes-are-still-seeking-justice-180970741/; and Tom LeGro, et al. “Why the Sioux Are Refusing $1.3 Billion”, PBS News Hour, August 24, 2011, https://www.pbs.org/newshour/arts/north_america-july-dec11-blackhills_08-23 Accessed May 4, 2021.

Healing America’s Narratives: Fear of the Feminine & the Subjugation of Women

[Part of a series, this essay is adapted from Chapter Three of Healing America’s Narratives: the Feminine, the Masculine, & Our Collective National Shadow (October 2022)]

Photo © by Katherine Hanlon on Unsplash

True for a boy as well, a girl born in 1774, 1862, 1917, 1963, 1971, 2001, 2017, 2022,* or any other year received cultural givens and expectations that were unique to the time, place, and familial, ethnic, racial, and financial circumstances of her birth and childhood. That she was born a biological female provided an additional given that would impact what was expected of and available to her.

While an investigation of any aspect of our collective national Shadow discloses disturbing manifestations of what we refuse to see in ourselves, the fear of the feminine and the subjugation of women are both disturbing manifestations and foundational elements of America’s Shadow. More to the point, it is the persistent absence of the qualities of the healthy feminine, further undermined by the relentless presence of the qualities of the unhealthy masculine, that encourages and amplifies and may very well be the primary cause of America’s collective Shadow. Specifying “healthy” and “unhealthy” above is essential to this argument.

The feminine, as used here, tends more toward a concern with care, embrace, collaboration, mercy, and compassion, among other traits; the masculine tends more toward a focus on rights, independence, individualism, justice, and wisdom. While this not an exhaustive list, notice that each tendency, whether it’s considered feminine or masculine, can be beneficial in its healthy manifestation and that all of them are descriptive, not prescriptive: we can observe them, but we’re not suggesting that any woman or man is “supposed to” embody the respective feminine or masculine tendencies in a certain way.

While the historical subjugation of women is visible to any honest person who is willing to look, the fear of the feminine manifests in less obvious ways. This essay posits that those men who primarily manifest unhealthy versions of masculine traits like rights, independence, individualism, justice and wisdom — which historically have resulted in dominance over, violence against, and subjugation of women and others — often fear healthy feminine traits like relationship, care, mercy, and compassion as emasculating rather than integrating. More specifically, cisgender, heterosexual males who historically have been conditioned to “be men” (i.e. stereotypically unhealthy masculine) experience both a strong attraction to the power of the feminine in women and a fear-of-emasculation-based aversion to the feminine in themselves. They mistake healthy feminine-masculine integration as emasculation, which terrifies them, so they subjugate what they fear.

The white, British, Christian, male founders and earliest leaders of the United States were captives of their cultural givens (as we all are of our own). Their Bill of Rights did not explicitly demonstrate any care about or for women; their Declaration of Independence did not embrace women; their proclamations of freedom and justice for all included no mercy for women, and the significant wisdom inherent in the Constitution they framed lacked compassion for women. These statements are true as well for the Africans they kidnapped, brought here, and enslaved, for their enslaved descendants, and for the native peoples whom they betrayed, expelled, and slaughtered.

And, yes, it’s easy to look from the third decade of the twenty-first century with the benefit of much of what these founders gave us and invited us to subsequently discover and amend, and point out where we think they came up short. They had the benefit of neither the documents they created nor the learnings from subsequent fits and starts of implementing those documents, as we do, in our 246 years of history. Their documents remain remarkable; their human shortcomings were real. Both are true. We have progressed in our movement toward equality for women; we still have a long way to go. Both are true.

*Selected (among many) years that directly or indirectly impacted the lives of girls and women:

  • 1774: two years before the nation’s ‘birth’;
  • 1862: the Emancipation Proclamations & three years before the Thirteenth Amendment freed enslaved women (and men);
  • 1917: three years before the Nineteenth Amendment would give women the right to vote;
  • 1963: two years before the Voting Rights Act would begin to enforce the Nineteenth Amendment, especially in the former slave states;
  • 1971: a year before Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 would make it illegal to discriminate based on sex in any educational or federally funded program;
  • 2001: the September 11 attacks impacted the direction of the country for women, girls, men, and boys;
  • 2017: a record number of women decide to run for Congress, and most of them win in 2018, many in response to the behavior of the U.S. president;
  • 2022: Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York continues her efforts, begun in 2013, to change the way sexual assault cases in the U.S. military are adjudicated.

Healing America’s Narratives: Our Collective National Shadow

[Adapted from Chapter Two of Healing America’s Narratives: The Feminine, the Masculine, & Our Collective National Shadow]

Read or listen to this post on Medium (4 minutes).

In mid-March, 2003 I sat with Animas Valley Institute’s Bill Plotkin and others in Payson, Arizona, for five days of an experience entitled “Sweet Darkness: The Initiatory Gifts of the Shadow, Projections, Subpersonalities, and the Sacred Wound.” On the evening of our first day there, the United States began bombing Iraq. So while we were exploring our respective individual Shadows and projections, our country’s collective Shadow and projections — “the evil out there” that we tend to see in other nations, groups, cultures, genders, colors, orientations, and people — was on full display, providing us an opportunity for recognition, ownership, and integration at the national level as well.

Jungian analyst Robert Johnson refers to “persona” as “what we would like to be and how we wish to be seen by the world.…our psychological clothing” — the mask we wear. He refers to “ego” as “what we are and know about consciously” and to “Shadow” as “that part of us we fail to see or know…. that which has not entered adequately into consciousness.”¹

In A Little Book on the Human Shadow, Robert Bly posits that behind each of us in childhood, “we have an invisible bag, and the part of us our parents don’t like, we, to keep our parents’ love, put in the bag.” In order to keep our elementary-school teachers happy, we continue to fill the bag, and in high school we further fill the bag in order to please our peers. “We spend our life until we’re twenty deciding what parts of ourself to put in the bag, and we spend the rest of our lives trying to get them out again. Sometimes retrieving them feels impossible, as if the bag were sealed.”² Bly points out that “There is also a national bag, and ours is quite long…. we are noble; other nations have empires. Other nations endure stagnant leadership, treat minorities brutally, brainwash their youth, and break treaties.”³

So, Shadow refers to disowned or repressed traits of an individual or group that the individual or group doesn’t recognize in itself and unknowingly projects onto others, whether or not the trait is considered positive or negative and whether or not the others actually embody the projected trait. Sometimes they do; sometimes they don’t. If I tend to have a disproportionately highly charged emotional response to someone I experience as angry, there’s a good chance that I’ve repressed or disowned my own anger — it’s in my invisible bag.⁴ Until I recognize this dynamic and work to integrate my anger, anger will follow me around and allow me to see all these angry people “out there” everywhere I go, while I remain oblivious to being the one constant at every scene of all this anger. Everyone else is angry. I’m not. Oops.

Finally, the word shadow is sometimes used to refer to negative or undesired traits that we don’t like about ourselves. We might refer to these traits as our “dark side.” These undesired traits that were never in or that we’ve already retrieved from our invisible bag are not what we mean by Shadow in this essay.(6) We don’t know our Shadow is there. Our repression and denial are not conscious choices. Collective Shadow, as used here, refers to elements that are common to individuals in the United States. A nation does not have a discrete psyche or Shadow. A nation’s Shadow exists in the collective impact of individual Shadow elements that are common to many — not necessarily all — of its citizens.

As developed in Healing America’s Narratives, the collective Shadow of the United States historically and currently includes at least nine traits: ignorance, arrogance, fear, bigotry, violence, greed, excess, bullying, and untrustworthiness. Chapter Ten of the book argues that one man — a former president — embodies all of these traits and that his life unintentionally presents us with a gift: an invitation to recognize, own, and integrate our national Shadow amid our ongoing American experiment.


1. Robert A. Johnson, Owning Your Own Shadow, 3–4.

2. Robert Bly, A Little Book on the Human Shadow, 17–18.

3. Ibid., 26.

4. Anger is not necessarily a “bad” thing; it is clarifying. What can go wrong is how we understand and what we do with our anger.

SOCIALISM,* Critical Race Theory, and Total Radical Left Control in Connecticut’s 5th Congressional District

In mid-June a letter arrived in my mailbox addressed to someone who was assumed to be and has never been a “longtime, dedicated Connecticut Republican.” The letter was signed by George Logan, who’s “running to defeat liberal Congresswoman Jahana Hayes.”

*With the exception of the italicized book titles, the uppercase letters and underlined, italicized and bolded words in this post appear as they do in the in the letter.

Very little, if any, of the hyperbole, generalizations, and vague references that appear in the letter appear on Mr. Logan’s website. He is an engineer, husband, and father, and has served in the Connecticut State Senate. I have no way of knowing if he truly believes in and is 100% onboard with the content and form of the letter that bears his name, or if his campaign staff and others who would like to see him defeat Congresswoman Hayes make the strategic and tactical choices and require that he sign his name. Either way, this writing critiques the letter and not Mr. Logan.

What follows is grounded in the concepts discussed in the 2020 book Enough with the Talking Points, and is also informed by the exploration of America’s collective Shadow as explored in Healing America’s Narratives (forthcoming, October 2022). Stated briefly, George Logan’s June letter makes generalizations and assumptions that are not defined or backed up, it attempts to manipulate and/or scare prospective constituents while insulting their intelligence, and it subtly does to Congresswoman Hayes some of what he accuses her supporters of doing to him. Don’t take my word for it. Read the letter and decide for yourself. Candidate Logan is not the only candidate who behaves in this way; both Democrats and Republicans employ these tactics. Had his letter not arrived in my mailbox, I would not be writing this.

Some quotes from the letter, along with my commentary follow.

First quote:

“You’re NOT someone ready to just sit back and submit to total Radical Left control over your life by Democrats in DC and Hartford. You understand the importance of FIRING PELOSI. So I felt confident sending this Campaign Battle Plan to you.

“But before we dive into the details of the document, please keep in mind:

“1. This plan has some sensitive information. Nothing ‘top secret,’ but please don’t leave this lying around where just anyone could see it.

“2. After you’ve read it, please mail your entire Battle Plan Document back to me using the envelope provided.”

My Commentary:

The language of “submit[ting] to Radical Left control over your life by Democrats” is a hyperbolic, sweeping generalization the only purpose of which might be to terrify prospective Republican voters who might be easily scared by such exaggeration. “You understand the importance of FIRING PELOSI” says nothing about Mr. Logan’s actually opponent, Congresswoman Hayes, and, in my reading, is condescending to any prospective voter who sees that the letter attempts to conflate the two women.

The condescension continues by first characterizing the enclosed “Campaign Battle Plan” as “nothing ‘top secret'” and then requesting that letter recipients “…don’t leave this lying around where just anyone could see it.” Nod, nod? Wink, wink? Sure, it makes sense to try to appeal to in-group bias and build a community of support, but respecting the intelligence of prospective voters would similarly appeal to the sense of belonging and build support.

I’ll provide several more quotes here, and comment immediately on each one:

“Your gift of $500 could pay for television ads holding Jahana Hayes accountable for the crushing inflation we’re all feeling across Connecticut thanks to her socialist overspending.” Really? It’s a bit more complex than that. Jahana Hayes is simply not responsible for the inflation in Connecticut (and throughout the country). Mr. Logan’s letter provides no evidence that she is, or what he would do to stop it. Regarding “socialist overspending,” throughout U.S. history, attempts to use government spending to help individuals in need has been characterized by those who oppose such help as socialist or socialism. Attempts to use government spending to support failing corporations deemed too big to fail is characterized as being in the national interest. Individuals, it seems, are deemed too small to help.

Mr. Logan’s letter makes it clear that the “key to victory is delivering my truthful message to the voters about who I am, where I stand, and what I will do on issues they care about, including [among others, these two]:”

“Fighting and winning for [sic] low taxes – NO MORE SOCIALISM” See above and below for more on this socialist bogeyman.

“Getting rid of Critical Race Theory and putting parents in charge of their kids’ educations” As I write this, neither the letter nor Mr. Logan’s website provides any evidence of what he thinks critical race theory is or why he’s against it. The letter doesn’t address that many parents see Critical Race Theory as helping them stay in charge of their children’s educations. Here’s an exploration of why most Americans never heard of Critical Race Theory until 2020 and why it’s become the flashpoint it is.

In attempts to discredit Congresswoman Hayes by association, Mr. Logan’s letter refers to “the Pelosi Dark Money Machine” — as though there is not a Republican dark money machine–this is Trumpian projection for sure. What I just did there attempts to associate George Logan with Donald Trump, just as he, in his letter attempts to associate Congresswoman Hayes with Speaker Pelosi and a variety of concepts and groups (bolded and capitalized throughout the letter, which goes on: The road to FIRING PELOSI runs through Western Connecticut, and [big money liberal donors all over the country] all know it. Hmmm. But what about your opponent? Why not speak directly to how and why you would better serve all of the people in the 5th Congressional District?

“Because of the Democrats’ multi-trillion-dollar socialist debt bombs, families are suffering under record-high inflation.” Blaming inflation solely on Democratic policies without providing evidence thereof is overly simplistic and dishonest; combining the words “socialist,” “debt,” and “bomb,” is clever and not original. It’s also misleading and falls again into the habit of calling anything that attempts to help those most in need in this country socialism, as noted above. As an aside, we have a socialized interstate highway system, locally socialized police, education, and fire departments, and a socialized military.

“Because of the ‘Defund the Police’ crowd, citizens across Connecticut and the whole country are enduring a nationwide crime wave that’s costing lives and livelihoods.” This sentence is simply a lie, and it will probably scare Mr. Logan’s least informed prospective supporters. The lie has nothing at all to do with his opponent, Congresswoman Hayes, whose husband is a police detective in the city of Waterbury. Neither of them has spoken out in favor of defunding the police, but Mr. Logan’s letter attempts to link defunding the police with the congresswoman.

Enough. Again, read the letter yourself. My point is to point to the generalizations and lack of substance and evidence in the letter, and I would have done the same had I received one from a Democratic or Independent candidate–I am not registered with either major political party, and I vote. I believe George Logan can and should do better than this, and Jahana Hayes deserves better than this from an opponent. I have had Enough with the Talking Points and remain committed to Healing America’s Narratives.

I suggest that the candidates discuss their positions on specific issues and that they provide specific, relevant evidence to support those positions in future mailings, conversations, and debates.

American Status Quo

The following is excerpted and adapted from Healing America’s Narratives: The Feminine, the Masculine, & Our Collective National Shadow by Reggie Marra—forthcoming in October 2022.

On September 23, 2001 Rabbi Marc Gellman was one of the religious leaders who gathered at Yankee Stadium for a memorial service for the victims of the September 11 attacks. At the time the estimated number of deaths still hovered around 6,000, and Rabbi Gellman spoke of how stating the number of deaths—like 6,000 or six million—explains very little other than “how much death came in how short a time.” He went on to say that “the real horror of that day lies not in its bigness, but in its smallness. In the small searing death of one person 6,000 times, and that person was not a number. That person was our father or our mother or our son or our daughter…”1

            America’s ongoing domestic body count requires that we honor this observation. As a nation we have become numb to the 103 gunshot deaths a day because this everyday violence only earns headline status if it qualifies as a mass shooting—with four or more victims at the same time and in the same place.2 Three doesn’t cut it. Recently, ten shooting victims in a grocery store and twenty-one in an elementary school were required to remind us of our American status quo. And even with the headlines and talking heads that such tragedies elicit, even with the photos and brief bios of the deceased, the “small searing death” of each individual carries with it agonizingly intimate memories and moments in the hearts and minds of surviving family and friends that the rest of us simply cannot imagine, try though we might.

            The United States struggles and has struggled since its inception with the denial of the worse demons of its nature. Ignorance, arrogance, fear, bigotry, violence, greed, excess, bullying, and untrustworthiness cross breed and manifest in what Robert Bly called the long invisible bag we drag behind us—filled with all we deny and repress about ourselves—our collective national Shadow.

            As a nation, America remains an experiment. We were conceived through an often remarkable fertilization of ideas that gave voice to some and subjugated others. We were born through a bloodbath that separated us from the British. We were raised on the enslavement of Africans and African Americans, on land theft from and the massacre and betrayal of Native Peoples, on the subjugation of women, and on peasant labor. We were reborn in an attempt to maintain the experiment through an anything-but-civil bloodbath with ourselves, from which we have yet to fully recover. And we were reborn yet again as a financial and military superpower as the result of a global bloodbath.

            We regularly perpetrate and perpetuate violence against others while refusing to acknowledge and address in any effective way the everyday violence we commit against each other. Not yet 250 years old, we embody unhealthy iterations of adolescent beliefs in invincibility and immortality, despite clear evidence that we are neither. Not only have we not recovered from our bloodbaths of birth and rebirth in any whole, integrated sense, we continue to choose to bathe ourselves and others in blood, literally and metaphorically, because that is the normal we know.

            Ignorance, arrogance, fear, bigotry, violence, greed, excess, bullying, and untrustworthiness: we can recognize them, own them, and integrate them, or they will continue to own us. Which do you choose?


1 Rabbi Marc Gellman, remarks at the September 23, 2001 Prayer Service at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx, New York. The video is available online: https://www.c-span.org/video/?166250-1/york-city-prayer-service.

2 2014-2019: 14,515 gun deaths/year avg. (not suicide) = 40/day avg; 23,094 suicides by gun = 63/day; 37,609 total annual gun deaths = 103/day: https://www.gunviolencearchive.org/

Fully Human at Work: 2022

The ninth offering of Fully Human at Work begins on April 22, 2022. You are invited.

Whatever you’re currently doing to earn money in order to provide food, shelter, clothing, healthcare, indoor plumbing, heat, air conditioning, electricity, internet, phone service, transportation, and other necessities and luxuries for yourself and those you care for, consider for a moment that what you do to make money 1) may or may not have anything to do with your deepest purpose and place in the world, and 2) it may be an essential delivery system for, but is not in fact, your deepest purpose and place. This is not to say that what you’re doing to earn money is not good or important work, or that your employer (including you, if you’re self-employed) is in some way wrong or bad. It is to say that a delivery system is different from what it delivers—especially when it comes to delivering one’s true purpose.

Eco-depth psychologist Bill Plotkin writes that everything in the natural world—this oak tree, that Labrador retriever, this blue jay, that poison ivy, and every mountain, rattlesnake, dolphin, cow, river, rose, potato, salmon, grain of rice, stone, spider, and tick—has its place and purpose. Plotkin uses the word Soul to refer to a person’s or thing’s unique place in the world, and he uses the word in an ecological, rather than psychological or spiritual context. That is, he considers Soul to be “a person or thing’s unique ecological niche in the Earth community.”1

Despite what we do with, in, and to it, we humans are part of the natural world. If each of us has—if you have—a unique ecological niche, wouldn’t you want to know what it is? Rather than plugging your gifts and talents into the socket of someone else’s prefigured task and job description in order to make a living, might it be worthwhile to explore your unique place in the larger scheme of things and perhaps fully live into the one wild and precious life that you can truly call your own?2 Most of us, at least at the outset, find a job to make a living. Sometimes, if we’re willing to explore a bit and stay open, we begin to get glimpses of our unique place and the gifts we carry. And sometimes we may even get to make our living through the delivery of our unique gifts to the world. It is absolutely possible and admirable to live a good life working in a job that allows us to care for ourselves and our loved ones—without any sense of our unique place in the world. It is also possible and admirable to live into our unique place in the world in a way that allows us to care for ourselves and our loved ones.

Prior to the 2020 onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, much had been written and said about employee (lack of) engagement, mental health and the workplace,3 and, beyond just compensation, the importance of autonomy, self-management, mastery, wholeness, and a sense of purpose on the job.4 Less devastating than the illness and death inherent in the pandemic—but highly relevant to many lives—are the post-pandemic shifts in how and where some of us work and the shifts in how some of us view work. These shifts challenge varied assumptions that that many of us had (or that had us) about work and life. The pandemic exposed and continues to expose both the fragility and the resilience of humans and the systems we create. Because millions of workers have resigned their positions ostensibly due to what they learned about themselves and the possibilities for work, the media have named the impact of these shifts the “Great Resignation.” But you know this already.

Whether the Great Resignation was on its way and the pandemic simply accelerated it, or whether the pandemic played a more causative role, millions of people are shifting how they view work. And life.

In July 2019, my friend and colleague Kent Frazier and I engaged a series of conversations about mental illness, mental health, and mental fitness in the workplace. Fully Human at Work, a 12-hour, 6-session online program emerged and we offered it for the first time in January 2020. Our ninth offering begins on April 22, 2022. Details and registration information are available at: https://fullyhumanatwork.com/programs.

Fully Human at Work invites you to explore what it means to be fully human at work—and in life. This exploration is grounded in your unique experience of the relationships among:

  • Recognizing, owning, and developing your perspective—or worldview—including the “cultural givens” from your earliest years
  • Getting clear on how your intentions emerge through perspective and how they influence your words and behaviors
  • Doing more good than harm in your spoken and written communication
  • Doing more good than harm through your behavior
  • Choosing and engaging your livelihood in ways that honor your gifts and the world
  • Attending to the quality of the effort you put forth in your endeavors
  • Becoming increasingly mindful of your moment-to-moment existence
  • Navigating the multiple demands for your attention and focus5

The program emphasizes the importance of practice—in terms of what we consciously or unconsciously practice every day due to worldview and habit, and in terms of what we are willing to commit to intentionally practicing for our own development as we move forward with our lives.

Kent and I would love to have you join us on April 22: https://fullyhumanatwork.com/programs.

Comments from past participants: https://fullyhumanatwork.com/reviews-2


1Bill Plotkin, The Journey of Soul Initiation, (New World Library, 2021), 15, 378, 382-83.

2one wild and precious life that you can truly call your own emerges from the intersection of language from two poets: Mary Oliver’s “one wild and precious life” (“The Summer Day” in New and Selected Poems, Beacon, 1992, p. 94) and David Whyte’s “There is only one life / you can call your own” (“All the True Vows” in The House of Belonging, Many Rivers, 1997, p. 24).

3Regarding mental health and the workplace, among many other sources, see:

Harvard Business Review: https://hbr.org/2019/12/burnout-is-about-your-workplace-not-your-people

World Health Organization: https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/depression

MIT Sloan Management Review: https://sloanreview.mit.edu/article/why-every-leader-needs-to-worry-about-toxic-culture/

4For self-management, wholeness, evolutionary purpose, see Frederick Laloux, Reinventing Organizations, (Nelson Parker, 2014), 56+; for autonomy, mastery, and purpose, see Daniel Pink, Drive, (Riverhead/Penguin, 2009), 68-145; and Pink’s TED talk: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rrkrvAUbU9Y

5These eight foundational elements are based on the Buddhist Eightfold Path. We do not teach Buddhism in the program, nor are we Buddhists (aspiring Bodhisattvas, perhaps). The Eightfold Path has been around for two millennia-plus, and it holds up.

Found Poems – Ukraine, March 1-2, 2022


I wouldn’t really want

to participate in anything like this,

but I don’t really have any choice

because this is my home.

I have nowhere to go.

and I’m not going

to give it up.

I don’t get to decide

if Putin is going to invade or

to launch a nuclear weapon or

whatever. What I get

to decide is how

I’m going to respond to it.

My choice is to do something

productive and to help the people

who are defending my city.

     – Hlib Bondarenko, 21 years old, Kyiv, Ukraine. Yousur Al-Hlou, Masha Froliak, Mark Boyer and Michael Downey, “’There Will Be a Battle’: A Family Prepares for War in Kyiv,” New York Times, March 1 & 2, 2022.       https://www.nytimes.com/live/2022/03/01/world/ukraine-russia-war


I am the mother of my son.

And that is it. And I don’t know

if I will see him again or not. I can

cry or feel sorry for myself, or be

in shock—and all of it.

     But we’re past that phase.

There are more important things

in front of us now. Right now

they are coming to kill us all.

Everyone, 100 percent. Not one person

in Kyiv is feeling safe now.

     – Natalia Bondarenko, Hlib’s mother (source as above)


It’s very simple. We

protect our choice of freedom,

what we selected many years ago.

We proved this several times in 2004,

2014 and now. Fight for your country.

And I pass this message to Hlib. And

I believe the same message Hlib

will pass to his children.

       – Oleg Bondarenko, Hlib’s father (source as above)


Russia, the war, the

whole situation –

It’s just barbarity.

That’s how I see it.

They surely will lose

because they don’t have

any other arguments

besides cruise missiles and

heavy weapons.

       – Boris Redin, volunteer, near Freedom Square in Kharkiv, Ukraine, Associated Press, March 1, 2022