In some way, we have all been wounded. Previously, I used the analogy of a snake bite to illustrate the experience of being wounded as well as the healing process. Today, I want to talk about the “original wound”. We all have one. There are no exceptions. It is typically marked by the first salient experience we have of grief, sorrow, pain, suffering, neglect, or abuse. The original wound sparks our initial understanding that the world is filled with more than just the magic, wonder and innocence of childhood. It whispers to us that there is also suffering and, while we may come to understand this in a painfully sharp instant or aching slowly over time, it changes us and we are never the same. There is no way to avoid this, it is simply a part of life.
For most of us, the original wound sculpts the course of the rest of our lives. Inside that wound is a painful truth, one that we often avoid facing at all costs. Many people are so subconsciously preoccupied with avoiding this truth that they will find ways to create secondary and tertiary wounds to serve as a distraction from the root of their suffering and fear. Living life this way, things external to us change, we run the rat race, but we are never quite the people we want to be or living the lives we desire. The secret that we don’t learn until some paradigm-shifting crisis rocks our world is that the original wound contains a lesson that we need to learn in order to grow into ourselves as individuals. Once we learn this lesson, we find that hidden in our wound all along was a gift.
In The Night That I Died, I spoke about the culmination of a most difficult period in my life. I had struggled with mental illness since I was 14 years of age (I am now 28), was an addict who had been using heavily for 2 years, and had thoroughly sabotaged all the good relationships and opportunities that life had previously presented to me. I’d hit rock bottom. In the darkness and distress of that experience, I was faced with my original wound. With nothing left to lose, I entered that wound, finding inside the contents of my worst fears and insecurities. After spending some time sitting in my internal night the lesson that had been hidden there began to glimmer. What followed was a series of revelations and epiphanies and within a 24 hour period I felt like a new person. I walked away from drugs completely, no longer qualify for the diagnoses that had plagued me, and brick by brick, I began to reconstruct my life. But, that was not the end of what my wound had to offer.
Shortly after this “by the grace of God” event of spontaneous recovery, I noticed something strange. At seemingly random moments, my hands would start to feel an odd sort of activation. First, there came intense heat, as if there was an internal heat source that radiated an unnatural warmth. Eventually, the heat progressed into vibrations, like my hands were shaking at an incredibly high speed. Together, these two sensations made them feel like they had become less solid than and had expanded into space. Understandably, I thought that these bizarre sensory disturbances were a result of my long-term drug use and that they might disappear over time. Nope!
Over time, I discovered that I could alter the quality of the sensations using breath control. What followed was a series of experiments in which I used my breath to make it increase, decrease, and flow to different areas of my body. One day, I decided to tell a friend of mine who I knew wouldn’t write me off as “crazy” or immediately attribute it to my past drug use. I explained what was happening, asked if I could try something, placed my hands on the crown of his head, and began to focus my breath. What I suspected would happen did; he felt the heat coming from my hands! Feeling a bit more confident, my experiments graduated to human trials. One by one, I sought out other friends to serve as volunteers, trying different areas of the body, doing full body sessions, and in each case I got increasingly positive feedback. People were reporting heat, vibrations, vivid mental imagery, visions, colors, one person even had an out of body experience. It was one person who finally brought the answer I had been searching for to my attention: Reiki. I was doing Reiki and this realization culminated in my formal training.
Having found the desperate courage to go into my wound and find the lesson buried there, I finally began to heal. When I integrated the understanding and wisdom from that lesson into my life, my unique gift began to emerge. As I said in the beginning, we each have a wound but that also means that we each have a gift. It could be anything: singing, dancing, academics, writing, crunching numbers, building or fixing things, being an exceptional homemaker, everything and anything under the sun. In my case, it was Reiki and a newfound connection to Spirit. Instead of perceiving our gift as some sort of “special ability” and thus running the risk of comparing them against one another, I prefer to look at it a different way. All gifts are created equal because they all serve the same purpose. After going through the trials of confronting our wound and the terrifying contents inside, the things we have avoided our whole lives, we are rewarded with the shocking discovery of our own personal power in the form of some sort of talent. Beneath the sleeping dragon lies the gold. Once we slay the dragon and take back the treasure that was always rightfully ours, we begin to grow into the power to shape ourselves, our lives, and the world around us instead of just letting the world shape us. Then, anything becomes possible.