I’m meditating about the circle of healing in terms of community. There are several layers of a circle of healing in a healthy community. I see it as a spiral. Not one dimensional, but three, four layers deep. Sometimes more.
There is the inner circle, where people and souls who are closest to the circumstance or tragedy which has occurred are dealing with grief and anger. These people are usually family and friends and this is where the emotion and grief are the most intense. It is where emotions can be physically, emotionally, spiritually and mentally overwhelming, almost to the point of being disabling. The people in this layer of the circle need support, but there is only so much that those in the circles behind them can do. For one thing, there really is no way to take away the pain. The pain and anger must be dealt with and processed by each soul. For another thing, the people in the second circle are close enough to the circumstance or tragedy that they can also feel disabled and overwhelmed by grief and anger. These people may not have been as close, but they are still emotionally, mentally and spiritually affected. They need souls behind them so that they can be supportive of people in the the first circle and also process their own measure of grief and anger. They need a third and fourth layer of souls who can support them in the process.
At the third and fourth circles (if a community is so blessed) the emotions are also strong, but mostly as they relate to the people in the first and second circles. It is difficult to see the pain and anger experienced by people we care about who are very close to the circumstance or tragedy.
What sometimes happens is that the people in the third and fourth circles don’t know how to “show up” and provide an appropriate level of support. Being in these outer circles requires a certain level of grace and awareness, as well as a deep commitment to helping others heal without interfering. It is an art. In these outer circles, one must not overstate or over emphasize the level of grief and anger. At the same time, one must remain available and open to taking whatever part of the grief that is appropriate so that the burden is shared and lightened, even if only for a moment. So that the souls in the first and second levels aren’t lost to the grief and anger. It’s also harder for people in the first and second circles to accept the support of people behind them. There are any number of scenarios that can explain the resistance to this level of support. To my mind, it is mostly because we have forgotten the balance and art of being a member of a community.
I’m thinking about this today as I intend to head up north to Lummi Nation to support the community. I hope that my presence will be helpful. I’m going to practice this teaching that lives inside me and I pray that I come with a good heart to be of good service.