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The Healing Power of Being Heard

Supporting each other as we process trauma


photo by Jennifer Palo

We’ve all had to be very strong this past year. It’s felt like multiple generations of pain and sorrow condensed into 14 months. It’s been a time of great vulnerability. Everyone I know has suffered loss in this past year. For some, this loss is added to a pattern of loss over many years.


It’s been a vulnerable time in which even the most supported among us faced sickness and injury, financial ruin, mental health instability, death of loved ones, restructuring of society, etc. So much shifting, lurching and disorder.


And then consider those who have already been traumatized because of childhood abuse, racial vulnerability or poverty. Or those with at-risk health conditions, those living alone or the single parents among us. The list goes on of those who have felt incredibly exposed in these past months.


Those of us who are empaths, who feel deeply the emotions and energies of others, have been challenged to live within society at this time without absorbing this collective pain to our own detriment. We can’t turn off our caring, but we have had to turn off the tv, limit our social media intake and seek out more quietness in nature. We have sent out many prayers across our globe, as I know everyone has done.


Yet in all this disorder there is God. I’m careful here, because I know not everyone is comfortable with talk of God and Jesus. I have learned that there are people who have been hurt by those who use the name of God for power and selfish ends.


If you’re not comfortable with Jesus, because of the ways His Name has been used to harm you or ones you love, I am so sorry. But if you have responded to unconditional love, forgiveness and acceptance in your life – to a Light that is surrounding us – that is the same source.


I walk lightly here, because I respect and honor the spiritually traumatized and the marginalized – the very ones Jesus came to love and rescue.


God has been with us this past year. God is still with us. In the chaos, the Spirit is at work calling us to the Light of love, peace and understanding. Comforting us in our heavy losses, so we may in turn see, hear and comfort one another.


It seems that it’s time for us to see and hear each other without an agenda. Without seeing some as being on the inside and some on the outside. Following the example of Jesus and being willing to honor the individual with a sense of intentional listening, understanding and genuine interest.


Often in the way of the Divine, those who have suffered terrible difficulty, loss and trauma are those who have great compassion for humanity. Always in those places of trauma, they have seen there is some light, some gift, some strength.


Those who were faced with severe loss, hardship, discrimination or violence in their lives did not choose those experiences, nor did they choose the path they traveled because of them. Some were traumatized very young. They did not choose how their brains were wired as a result, and they did not choose the unique coping methods and gifts that they received within those challenges.


Many of these people are healers. And they have so much to share, so much we can learn from. They have taken a path of personal healing into some agonizing territory to come out stronger and lead others into the Light. That may look and sound different than some of us are comfortable with, but the Spirit’s work in their lives cannot be denied. I have met many of these individuals.


Jesus saw and honored the individual in every situation, because He knew their path and how the individual was a product of their often-harsh society. He saw and understood the individual, the marginalized, the traumatized. He honored them by listening, sensing, understanding and speaking to their need and experiences. He was led by the Spirit – by what we own as the gift of intuition, a kind of knowing and sensing.


May we do the same for each other. There is such healing in simply being heard. Let’s be that soft place where others feel heard, so they can be encouraged along their journey and so we the listeners can be expanded into a new awareness. We may be genuinely surprised at the difficult experiences that some have had – things we may never guess about a person. In these open and authentic conversations, we can learn much from people with very different backgrounds than ours. We can also learn beautiful wisdom from children and young people.


Additionally, we can experience stories of modern courage through books, music, film and art. There is wisdom from the Spirit all around us in our society. The Spirit will guide us to avoid darkness and will bring us into unexpected Light as we step out of our comfortable corners.


I like to say that God’s love is expansive and not restrictive. When we simply follow the peace of openness, there are no limits to where our healing journey may take us.


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