I just returned from the Sons and Brothers camp, which is a week-long camp for over 100 youth from across California. I was one of the elders as part of the Healing Generations Team, which attempts to provide a positive, interactive, rites-of-passage experience for youth of color.
It was at this camp, last year, that we were drumming to provide some dance music, in an attempt to get the youth up, moving, and interacting together. They seemed reluctant to get involved. So in hopes of encouraging them to get up and move, I decided to get up myself. Growing up in Compton and South Central Los Angeles, music, singing and dancing were significant parts of our lives; and I still love them.
But as I was grooving and feeling the music, maybe a little bit too much, I decided to make some James Brown type moves when all of a sudden, I hear a “snap” and feel like someone kicked me from behind. And just like that… “Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag.” That’s when I realized I couldn’t walk so well, and limped off the floor. I guess the dancing worked because the youth did get up but, to make a long story short, I had torn my Achilles tendon.
Upon arriving home and going to the doctor, he recommended surgery. But after conferring with a couple of healers and health practitioners, they told me “the body will heal itself, as long as you participate in the healing.” By this, they meant that I would need to get my leg casted with my foot pointing down, so that the two wounded parts would face each other.
After a couple of weeks getting around in a cast, my body felt crooked. I went to my chiropractor, who affirmed I was indeed out of balance. But then, he went on to tell me that the reason I had been injured was not because I had weak legs or ankles, but because my core was weak. He said, “when your core is weak, the rest of your body will take the hit.”
Obviously, there were many lessons for me here, about slowing down and not trying to be a teenager at my age. But the 2 major lessons that really came to me were about healing and growing.
In reference to healing, the message was: if you really want to heal, then you need to have your wounded parts face each other. Or in other words, you must be willing to face your wounds. I would even go further and say that we must embrace our wounds without shame or blame.
The second lesson in reference to growing is about rooting and strengthening one’s core. How do we build the core of healthy values and practices, that allows us to move and grow in fulfilling our sacred purpose?
The process of incorporating these lessons into our lives is addressed in more detail in Recovering Your Sacredness. But the teaching that I want to emphasize for now is: if you don’t face your wounds (issues, fears, problems, etc.) then, just like my Achilles tendon, although healed, it would have been crooked, or imbalanced and caused me pain the rest of my life. How many of us just “get by” in times of crises, but don’t really face our lessons?
And in reference to growth, we must change our patterns of responding to life by re-rooting ourselves in the core values of self-love and self-respect; and trust our intuitive voice to guide us.