Who are we?

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It was raining hard and I was sitting on the sofa in my living room pondering on life. I was surprised and angry – mostly at myself because I had not followed my own instincts but traded them in for another’s opinion that was based on her perceptions.

Like a volcano, anger began to slowly collect in the pit of my stomach. It was aimed at all the injustice in the world, and with it, came the desire to play out the anger. There was no guilt just anger that soon exploded in my mind. I followed the images in mind where I turned over tables and yelled and punched and then suddenly the images began to change. I was no longer controlling them. They burst forth in scenes from the past – wars and the burning of books, historic events playing out as I sat huddled on the sofa, wondering who I was and how I was able to see so much. It was not however happening to me alone, because I realized that all over the world someone was actually enacting what I was seeing; someone was brutally murdering someone else; women were being abused and children were suffering. Food was scarce and fear and despair was being experienced by millions. All that I was doing was sitting in my living room watching the scenes in my mind’s eye, whilst across the globe people were carrying out these exact scenes. I let it all happen in my mind. I felt no guilt for taking part in these horrific scenes because I accepted the shadow inside of me. This shadow I knew would rule me if I did not acquaint myself with it. I returned to the source of this volcanic eruption.

I had invited some friends for a meal – and specifically underlined the need for us to be at the restaurant at a specific time. One friend insisted on going later – and I had let go, allowing myself to trust the process even though I knew it would be disastrous. It was, as everyone was out that day, and there were no free tables at the restaurant, or the next or the next. I decided to go home and my friends went on their way, but I was upset because even though I had taken such tremendous care to arrange the outing, someone else had taken a decision that had affected all of us, and worst of all, had been unable to apologize or even explain why.

I went back to the scenes in my mind, the anger and the rage until, exhausted from the exercise – with no anger left inside of me, still sitting on the couch in my living room I saw her….a Masai Woman with a red blanket around her, her face stony and her heart empty of emotion. My Masai woman was beautiful – she was strong and caring; she loved the land and her people. Once she had run in the sand joyously and yet, all that had changed, the day that she had been circumcised. I felt the compassion rise up inside of me for this poor woman who had been forced by circumstances belonging to the tradition of her culture and tribe, to lose what was most precious to her. I was aware that something was healing very deep within me but….and this is the most extraordinary thing. I knew that somewhere on the African continent there was a Masai woman who held a red blanket around her and stared out into the bush – feeling the wind gently caress her face and somewhere deep within, a sensation that she was not alone. This was an experience not theory – it was something I could feel deeply and for this then I was grateful…that I had honored my feelings of anger at something as trivial as an egocentric action, but truly explored them and allowed them to be.

Who are we and where are we going? Who are we and where have we come from? Who are we and can we heal the world when we heal ourselves and face the shadows within us? These are questions I have often asked myself over and over again. Now I know that we are intricate vessels that carry emotions and memories of suffering that may not even be ours, but need to be healed. I salute every Masai woman who has endured such pain and hardship with this story and assure each and every one of them that they are not alone.