Healers, Not Warriors. The World Needs Love
Pain knows no abstractions. We feel it weighing down on our chests, creating tension in our necks, and welling up in our eyes. It causes us shortness of breath and makes us wince when we pay attention to it.
This is what it feels like to be living through the global transition of humanity in the early 21st Century. Global warming. Mass poverty. Corrupt governments. Broken economies. They are abstractions, every last one of them.
But the feeling of searching for a job when you know there isn’t one. Or seeing a loved one slip away into the night as you feel powerless to help them. These things are visceral. They are physical and present. They are happening right now and you can feel it in your bones.
A great mistake of social movements has been to frame the struggle as a struggle — make it a “battle” among activists and protestors willing to fight for what they believe is right. This is the ethos of the warrior. It is a battle cry for heroes to garnish their armor, pick up their weapons, and confront the enemy at their door.
Sadly misguided in this approach is the failure to recognize that what the world needs now, more than ever, is healing. We have forgotten our sense of place, lost sight of what is important, broken our hearts with damaged lives and shattered dreams. The future looks bleak — not because it IS bleak, but because we project our inner consciousness outward onto the world. And what we feel inside is pain.
The world needs healers and we keep framing the process of social change as a series of contests… get my candidate elected over yours; mobilize my team of activists against yours; divide the world into “us and them” so we can vanquish our enemies. This is like pouring acid into a flesh wound. It only makes matters worse. It only causes more pain.
Desperately needed right now is to look backward in time and really understand the root causes of our woes. The climate crisis is a symptom, as are the insane levels of social inequality that are breaking societies all over the planet. These problems arose in the past when our ancestors (and we ourselves earlier in life) were in unhealthy relationships with our surroundings, other people, and ourselves.
What is the ecological crisis but a one-sided relationship of extraction and exploitation? How is it that psychopathic behavior became idolized in the business and political worlds? Where are the innocent dreamers with the magical curiosity of childhood still capable of imaging a better future? These things are connected to one another. They are systemic. They happened on our watch because we collectively feel — somewhere deep inside — that this is exactly what we deserve. Our solutions continue to be piecemeal because each of us, in ways we are too afraid to admit, is broken and doesn’t know how to put the pieces back together again.
This is the work for healers, not warriors.
It may sound quaint to say that love is the answer, but it happens to be true. Not in the simplistic manner of puppy love (like the one that brought ruin to Romeo and Juliet) but rather in the mature rugged kind of love that comes with the struggle against terminal illness or turning the other cheek to love thy enemy.
We need stalwart love, cathartic and transformative love. We need to start believing that we are worthy of love so that we can build a world together that delivers it for us and future generations.
Earlier this week, I wrote an article that is still trending now — as it struck a deep chord in the hearts of thousands of people — about how late-stage capitalism comes with a mental disease of self-shaming and feelings of humiliation. If indeed it is a sickness, getting through this difficult time will be a process of maintaining health and becoming stronger with time. This cannot be done alone. It is a spiritual journey into ourselves, yes. But it is also a social journey outward into the world.
We heal our planet by recognizing that we are a part of it. We remedy our broken politics by gathering in communities and establishing healthy social norms for leadership and representation. We repair our economies by withdrawing our support from the narcissists and investing instead in meaningful relationships among people who help us feel nourished inside.
This is what has been happening in a million tiny pockets of humanity throughout the last fifty years.
The one piece of hope I’ll offer now (of many worthy to share) is that the revolution is already happening. We don’t have to wait for it to begin. It is fully in process and growing daily. All around the world there are people forming cooperative businesses, investing in local communities, forming political parties around life and healing (to replace those of war, conquest, and death), creating new technologies that improve health and vitality, making it easier to connect with others in our own communities and spanning the globe.
At least 200,000,0000 people share these life-affirming values right now. You are NOT alone. We are legion and our numbers grow daily.
Yet there is much work to do and time is of the essence. Be a healer in your little pocket of this great big world. Hold firm to the feelings of gratitude and service to something larger than yourself and you will be able to look back on this transition with pride and a warm heart. Let those who respond in fear and small-mindedness live with their own shame many decades from now, for there will be some among us whom we will not be able to help. Find solace knowing that you opened your heart when the living things of this world called out in pain. And you felt the same hurt in yourself, compelled therefore to nurture and heal.
Onward, fellow humans.
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