Healing the Wound of Discard

A Client’s Story

Yesterday I received an email from a longstanding client who has done some amazing healing  and empowering work that continues to transform her life.  She generously gave me permission to include her wonderful story in this blog article, which I feel "touches, teaches and passes on " a central healing challenge.  Here is her story, with my comments following (she asks to remain anonymous):

Today I met a man at the library.  We were both looking through the reference section for old fashioned illustrations and woodcuts.  He was looking for drawings of children and I was looking for drawings of tools.  I had gathered five large books and had them spread out before me. 

He had an ivy cap on, and a scarf and coat.  He had pale skin, bright blue eyes and large ears, and appeared to be in his 80’s.  He was walking past me and then he stopped and said "Are you an artist?"

I said, "Yes".  He had a thick Russian accent.  It took my brain a couple seconds to distinguish some of his words because of the way he pronounced certain things.  So I found myself really looking into his eyes and paying attention to his gestures to help me discern what he was saying.

"Did you go to school for the art?"  "Yes", I said.  "You have a degree?", he queried.  "What is this for?", I asked.  "I am looking for a picture to scan in.  Of an anvil.  For my father."

"Oh. And you have a degree? Four years?"

"Yes," I answered.  He explained how he had taken a drawing class, and began to pull out his drawing pad, which was nestled inside a slim plastic case with other things.  It was well-used.  He opened it up and showed me a couple of the drawings.  They were of children’s faces, all portraits.

He stopped at one, of a young African-American girl.  He said it took him fifteen minutes to draw.  The line work was light and soft and yet there was dimension to the face.  There was no outline, just slight feathery marks.  The eyes were captured in delicate marks and implied, not forced.  The strokes to indicate shadow were so soft and delicate, but at the same time intentional.   There was not a single mark on that piece of paper that wasn’t necessary.

He said, "These are supposed to be the golden years.  But I feel … discarded."

He mentioned that he comes to the library on Saturdays and Sundays and that if I would like, "Nothing planned, not important…just…if you would like, I could draw you.  Here. I might be here at 1 on Sundays, or Saturdays too.  I sit in the far corner where the light is good.  I like that area near the windows.  Not important but if you are here….who knows?"

He stuck out his hand, I asked his name and he said "________" in his thick accent, and I told him my name was _______ and we shook.  Then he disappeared.

I thought about the word DISCARDED afterwards.  I felt very sorry for him when he said that.

And I thought about the fact that I feel a lot of things in my daily life, and in my struggles, the one thing I have NEVER felt was discarded. 

He didn’t seem sad about feeling discarded.  He merely stated it as fact.  And moved on.

His drawings, his eyes, his slow way of talking, and observations about art, all moved me.  He was able to distill his life into simple terms, and yet … his life, to me, seems more meaningful and true than so much of the clutter and waste that I see around me.

A Central Wound

A fate worse than death, truly, to be discarded.  That is what the Nazis did with Holocaust victims.  In our culture we do, in many extensive ways, discard the elderly.  Within our own self as our ego’s attempt to hide our central wound of not being enough, we discard ourselves.  We discard whoever we want to distance ourselves from to shield ourselves from conditioned or anticipated pain.

The antidote, of course, is to face – to accept fully and unconditionally what is real. 

A Meditative Journaling Exercise

Settle back comfortably in a relaxed position, eyes closed, and take several full, deep breaths.  Now imagine how easily you can ask your higher self to appear before you.  As you have a sense that this is happening, ask your higher self to show you any parts of you, your life, your present, your hopes, and what you truly care about that has been discarded.

As your higher self responds, take note within your own attentive imagination.  When you feel complete with this exercise, open your eyes and record your experience.

The Healing Challenge

. . . is to take back what you have sacrificed – discarded.  You can do this so easily by simply reviewing the list you have made, and choosing again what your heart asks you to keep.  It is a call to wholeness, to recovery.

Remember – you’re so much, much more than you ever think you are.  And as we think, so, as James Allen says in his classic book As A Man Thinketh, shall we be.