The United States of Avoidance

Here we are in America, in this post-election time of divisiveness, hope, and seemingly insurmountable differences in need of healing. I believe that it is time for accountability, then unity.

I’ve been reflecting a lot about “what’s going on.” And I believe that we can no longer avoid delving into the devastation.

Here I am in the photo, out for one of my daily miracle walks, and someone had written the word unity on the sidewalk. I’ve added the word account-ability in red above it on the photograph.

And I think that’s also a partial equation because BIPOC (Black Indigenous People Of Color) and other groups of marginalized people need freedom before unity.

I find myself with my privilege wanting to rush right to the unity- to see beyond differences- to fix the problems and make them go away. I too get tempted by the “hurry up and heal” model- because it’s so incredibly uncomfortable to be in devastated places.

And of course we want to heal! 

Or at least many want to heal. Some are not ready, or don’t know how.

Others are refusing. 

Many others are avoiding their feelings, or feeling too many feelings at once, or just overwhelmed by it all.

But the problems won’t go away until we face and feel what’s made them stay this way, and then do the necessary accounting for the damage that has been done, and fix that- at the root.

And I believe that we need considerable help for the fixing- and the healing.

Many years ago, the love relationship I was in had become intolerable, and I wanted to leave as a solution. I thought that if I left, my problems would go away. And of course some would. But I knew that the root causes would continue growing. 

So I took a step I hadn’t taken before in any of my other love relationships- I asked a skilled therapist to intervene and help us, instead of trying to avoid further pain by running away from the relationship. 

I felt so scared and sure it wouldn’t work.

The therapist led both of us through a process we co-created that he called a “relationship autopsy.” We examined the relationship together in a forensic way- and looked at all of our internal systems that contributed to what wasn’t working, and we each accounted for the parts we brought to the relationship that contributed to its non functioning.

That work was hard and took time, and eventually resulted in us deciding to part. That parting was now informed and supported by the accounting, and all had been said and expressed- what a relief! 

Over time, we developed feelings of unity, and understood each other far more than we had before. 

We were able to heal only after we examined the whole creation, and made the necessary amends. 

It was totally worth doing this work, and it made me better able to give and receive love in every relationship since then.

I appreciate what lawyer Sherrilyn Ifill says in the following quote, and would add one word- and that word is yet. I think that it is not yet time for rushing to the healing, and I believe that we must all do the kind of preliminary work that is required to begin healing.

With respect, this is not the time for healing. We have not properly diagnosed the sickness or cleaned the wound. We have not begun to investigate why the illness was allowed to fester so long or identified those who withheld early treatment.”

—Sherrilyn Ifill 

President and Director-Counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund

I believe that we are each being called now to do deeper work with ourselves, with our families and loved ones, and then bring our full hearts and growing awarenesses to do the necessary collective feeling and healing work that must be done, together.

And then we can begin moving from the United States of Avoidance to the United States of America.

May we all be willing to do, and continue doing, the necessary work- even when it is hard or we feel hopeless. May we receive the joys and benefits of doing our inner work, and seeing substantive outer results. May we practice resting as well as rising up.

I wish for skilled therapy for us all- in whatever forms that takes.

I see, feel and am experiencing the incredible healings that are possible by working at the roots. This is what I both teach and practice.

I love to see and support all the profound ways that love and miracles move, and keep moving among us, with our full and imperfect participation.

If you wish, you are welcome to let me know what you’re creating, learning and experiencing. 



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1 Comment

  1. Karen Lynn Ingalls

    Well said! Thank you! This blog post was really prescient — in the weeks since you wrote it, we’ve really seen our societal infection rise to the surface in ways that are absolutely undeniable, even by most of those who have been least likely to acknowledge it. May we finally be able to cleanse the infection, and begin process of healing and reparation!


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