In the world of mind-body medicine, I have not heard people talking in a deep way about what I will call “interdependent healing” — ie, the relationship between healing family, community, and self. All I have heard is people saying that if you’ve got issues with those around you, well, work ‘em out. What happens, however, when you’ve done your part, but those around you are just not on the healing path?
I recently heard a rabbi talk about how the Iranian-American Jewish community lives with a consistent, low-grade depression. The community came to the States not as immigrants, but as refugees. Exiles. And so my own family left Iraq back in 1950, fleeing to Israel, and then in my dad’s case, continuing on to the United States.
Although I was born and raised here in the good old US of A, I feel not only like an exile from a country where I’ve never been, but also like an exile from my family, the Middle Eastern Jewish community, the greater Jewish community, and, well, society in general — each for its own set of reasons. I intimately know that low-grade depression the rabbi was talking about. And when we hit the Jewish holidays, like Passover this week, that depression is amped up in full gear. I spent the day feeling melancholy.
I have, in fact, deep layers of distress tied up inside me, revolving around complex issues of identity, religion, gender roles, violence, racism, immigration, family, community, and society. I know that I have to continue addressing these layers — bringing to them light, love, and healing — as part of my path out of pain.
Unlike the New Age crew, I do not believe that my experiences with these issues caused either the incidents that led to my condition or the pain itself. I do, however, feel that the residual effects of these issues interfere with my ability to achieve a total heart-spirit-mind-body harmonious alignment. And I furthermore believe this alignment is key to overcoming and transforming my current physical disabilities.
In other words, I know I have the power within me to radically shift matter on the physical plane. I just gotta get my energetic ducks in order.
Here’s the rub: Healing from dynamics within a family, community, or society involves healing relationships. In other words, there is only so much that I as an individual can do. I am dependent in some way on the response of others. When I reach out in healing – as I have done, again and again and again – but an individual or community does not want to so much as acknowledge an unhealthy behavior, much less change it, well, that impacts me and my healing process.
The obvious response would be to let go of what’s not in my control. And so I have. But the thing is, the distress does not end there. In my case, the fallout of “letting go” has been isolation from people I love, from communities where I belong, and ultimately, from integral parts of myself — my heritage of prayers, songs, traditions, stories, and history. That alienation creates its own layer of distress, in its own way compromising my internal harmonious alignment.
I’m not sure how other people deal with this dilemma, but I have decided to write about my process on this blog, so as to release the experiences to the Universe and free my soul from the burden of carrying them. I will also experiment with new ways of actively integrating prayer, dance, and meditation into my process — invoking the transformation I want to see happen.