Damaged Goods & Wounded Healers

<Jan. 2008>

We don’t have to look very far to find people who are “damaged goods,” do we? We all are…

We all have pain (of one kind or another); we all experience feelings of aloneness & loneliness & even abandonment (at least occasionally); we all have damaging tales of childhood we can relate that illustrate our parents’ mistakes, lack of sensitivity & perception, &/or even outright hostility or abuse.

We’re all in this darn leaky boat together! That means, we’re all in good company – & plenty of it! – doesn’t it? We are not alone.

Human beings did evolve to be communal creatures – to live & share & mate & raise children & enjoy the company of our fellow human beings.

We did not evolve to live in “nuclear” families with two cars in every driveway, two or three televisions in every house & “a chicken in every pot.” You don’t have to take my word on this; eminent anthropologist Richard E. Leakey states in People of the Lake – Mankind & its Beginnings, “…we know that most primates, particularly the higher primates, live in social groups….The probable reason for living with your fellows is partly because it offers some protection against hungry predators, but mostly because it provides a ready-made education system for the young; primates have a lot to learn, and living in groups is the best way to achieve it.”(1)

I’ve written elsewhere about dysfunctional families. I’m not sure many of us realize how deeply etched the pathologies visited on most of us in our “families of origin” are. So many of our fears, insecurities and neuroses were created decades and decades ago – yet we act as though the things that motivated them are still right in front of our faces! I don’t think enough of us realize the degree to which we hobble ourselves and our potential in the present, based on dysfunctional modes of thought and “mind grooves,” if you will, that were set up way back in childhood.

Modern life is so busy & hyper-charged and downright frantic (not to mention noisy! Muzak and noise everywhere we go), and we can be so caught up in less-than-helpful pursuits such as “looking good,” “keeping up with the Joneses” and “s/he who dies with the most toys wins,”(2) that we pretty much fail to see the forest for the trees.

Our species has arrived at a highly critical juncture in our development. We’re trashing our very own life system (the beautiful Planet Earth), and yet on we all go, “working 9 to 5” quite as though we are not about to go SMACK into a wall at 1500 miles an hour.


We need to grasp – and quickly! – that we either work together to save our own species and what remains of the Earth, or we all “go down with the ship.”

We have to transcend our personal agendas and our deeply-ingrained habits of selfishness and self-absorption.

We have to recognize our deep connections with the rest of our species and world/the Earth – the deep mutuality in which we all live – and our shared fate and future.

There is a lot more to life than a showpiece home, expensive electronic equipment/gadgets in every room, and trips to…wherever we feel like, whenever we happen to feel like it.

Yes – change is required.

Yes – adjusting our lifestyle is required.

Yes – living “more with less” is not only necessary and possible, it’s also extremely rewarding!

Yes – we can change. We are capable of change and growth and adaptation; if we weren’t, we’d still be living in caves, no? Is it not all about evolution – change??

Where to start? Right where you are. There is plenty you can read on this blog and elsewhere (look under the ‘Recommended’ tab for some potentially helpful items).

I’m not an advocate of hugely radical change overnight, but at the same time, the challenges we face are daunting and the work we need to do is pressing. Our work at solutions will take plenty of energy, time, resources and will – and we are long overdue to get started!

Plenty of help is available! I’ve created a list of recommended reading and viewing, & in particular, I recommend the work of Sharon Astyk, Guy Dauncey & Elisabet Sahtouris. Their books/videos – and their examples as human beings – are wonderfully inspiring and hopeful, practical and helpful.(3)

Become a ‘wounded healer’, like so many of us have already done. Do your best to transmute the negative energy/experiences that have held you back in the past.

Know that we are all wounded. We’re all in plenty of company; our entire species is wounded! We’re homesick and lonely, and we need one another far, far more than most of us realize. Our civilization – culture – society – call it what you will – has damaged each and every one of us.

But we can change. And grow, and heal.

We simply haven’t any choice!?


P.S. There are quite a few items on this blog that can, I hope, be of use!

There are:

(1) People of the Lake – Mankind & its Beginnings, Richard E. Leakey and Roger Lewin, Avon, 1978, pages 43-4.

(2) Wins what??

(3) Why not start a regular ‘Film Night’ where you live or work? Help inform others!! We will all need each other in the coming times; no person is an island!