Sunday, October 23, 2016

connecting dots

....sometimes it takes me a while to put the pieces together...

Once in a while I wonder how I got here. graduated undergrad in the 80's with a teaching degree in Deaf Education (was absolutely captivated by the intelligent beauty of ASL).

Fell into a teaching job in an inpatient adolescent psych facility two years later (long and uninteresting story). Two years after that, and a move - teaching and going to grad school to become a psychotherapist.

That journey is 25 years + at this point in a dozen permutations and a terminal degree along the way.

So how then, did I end up eyeball deep in the world of violence dynamics? Krav Maga instructor, expert ranked (go figure). Own a self-defense training center, teach classes on the physical & psychological aspects around the country, have met some of the most stunning people of my adult life, and get to work with a tribe of folks that always leaves me feeling like the shallow swimmer - all wouldn't-trade-it-ever stuff.  But still...

When I get asked the question about why, at a less than "young" age, I launched into this and why someone with a doctorate would give up the office to run a training center...the answer is a little twisty. Parts that are made for public consumption, parts that take some 'splaining.

Digging down under all the various reasons and explanations - underneath it all is the reality of healing. I have always found myself in teaching/healing arts. Wired for it, I guess. And someone who's known me for a damned long time remarked "this just seems so opposite of everything you do".

It's the perfect and complete expression of everything I have done. Took me a while to see it though.

Me, most people I know, we look at teaching and healing arts as gentle, kind. We expect compassion to look soft and warm. Healing it isn't gentle. And compassion sometimes needs a hard edge. Teaching requires pushing, pressing people and that's got a hard edge to it too, but I think it's funny we still -culturally-find ways to soften it.

Nothing about healing is gentle. It's kinda' violent, really. The need for healing is born in violence and the process - perhaps necessarily - is equally so, if not in a different manifestation. If you break a bone, that wasn't gentle. The healing process of cells growing and binding and working to rebuild - it's certainly a violent disruption of life while the mending happens but it goes beyond that - the pain of illness and injury is no joke. We say "brutal" a lot in this context for a reason. Pain is a part of healing. A necessary part.

If you have ever had food poisoning, eaten something that should have been tossed in the trash, you get the violence of healing.

On our mat we screw around a lot. We joke and laugh and it takes the edge of the reality of what we're about. It makes the darker reality of what we do a little less emotionally overwhelming. This is healing. Pairing the strength of a great group of people with the reality of being human -and all that entails - that's healing. It's healing while we hit stuff, sweep people to the ground, disarm a gun threat, fight someone off who has dragged you off by your hair...all healing stuff.

Hmmm. Words aren't cooperating. Trying again.

Rehabilitating overly domesticated humans - that's a healing thing. Deeply, intensely and sometimes excruciatingly necessary healing. Jung was known for his cautionary statement about the people who were the most at risk for horrendous acts...the people who are totally divorced from what Jung called the shadow self. The part of us that is capable of murder, pillage, plunder and random acts of cruelty. The more domesticated we become, the more intensely divorced from Jung's shadow we become.

If this divorce becomes final, then giving your teenage son a shotgun for his birthday (because it's tradition) and doing so by recycling the used-once-almost like new one his older brother committed suicide with - becomes a really good idea. Then, wondering why son number 2 is suicidal....and having no idea why the therapist is suggesting the lovely gift might be just a wee bit of a problem....*

Aftermath of the divorce.

Healing this - it calls for violence. Remembering we are capable of it, remembering everyone else is capable too. Finding our strength within it, and the power to control it.

So really, this is the deepest and purest expression of everything I have done. So far, anyway.

*this is not one of my cases - it's a case written up in one of M. Scott Peck's lesser known works.

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