beauty and blessing, wisdom and hurt

Posted on October 21, 2011


May the stars carry your sadness away,
May the flowers fill your heart with beauty,
May hope forever wipe away your tears,
And, above all, may silence make you strong.
(Chief Dan George)

Death is a natural part of the human experience (none of us gets out of this thing alive).

So also, hurt is a natural part of the human experience. None of us escapes this. We all have been hurt.  Deep hurt has caused deep wounds in most of us, leaving its scars in the flesh of our bodies, our emotions, and our very souls.

But what we do with this hurt … defines our lives on earth. Are we bitter, angry, hateful, death-dealing; or grateful, loving, caring, life-giving? Are we givers or takers? Do we become our hurt?

Deep hurt tends to leave a person in an endless cycle, from which it is very difficult to break free.

Deep hurt digs deep into our soul and settles there; and when it takes root, it can redefine who we are.

Do we become our hurt?

Science shows that our feelings reconfigure our very chemistry. We become what we are feeling.

“Studies have shown that DNA and the cells of our bodies are in direct communication with the feelings that we have regarding our lives. For each feeling, the body creates a matching chemistry. Through the release of life-affirming hormones such as cortisol, we literally experience what may be called “love” chemistry and “hate” chemistry.” (Gregg Braden, Secrets of the Lost Mode of Prayer: the hidden power of beauty, blessing, wisdom and hurt, p. 98)

This is a human trap from which some people never free themselves. Looking back on my own experience of heartbreak during a series of major life crashes three years ago (divorce, foreclosure, loss of job, clinical depression, AND turning 50 all the same spring), I realized now that I was emulating and radiating pain. The people that I had been friends with no longer knew me, no longer knew how to deal with me, or even how to just be with me. I know now that my whole chemistry had changed. I felt like death, I looked like death, and this is what radiated from me.

It is unfortunate that we as a culture, as religious organizations and individuals, do not know what to do with the pain of others. But through this, I feel that I have now found a new purpose in life, to seek out and be with those that are in such a deep dark place that they have no where to turn.

But, back on topic, what is it that we can do to break this cycle? We must find a way to find purpose in the pain. There must be meaning that comes out of these experiences. There must be. And we must be determined to find this wisdom… in order to continue, to have a reason to live.

BUT HOW do we break this cycle long enough for wisdom to take root?

How can we find this wisdom if we cannot see anything but hurt?

How can we walk in beauty if we can see no beauty?

… if all that we are able to see is hurt???

Often we take the easy way out and bury our hurt so deeply that it becomes “out of sight, out of mind” without realizing that our bodies never forget. Our bodies remember that hurt in its very chemistry.

The key to getting past hurt to the wisdom that awaits us is this… BLESSING.

This is something has been practiced among indigenous peoples from around the earth for many many centuries. Let us listen and learn.

This sense of blessing is not a traditional sense of giving approval.

“Perhaps contrary to the popular belief that when we bless something we put our stamp of approval on it, this form of blessing doesn’t condone, discourage, or encourage any action, circumstance or event. It doesn’t agree or disagree with any point of view. It simply acknowledges what has occurred. The act of acknowledgment without judgment is the opening that allows healing to begin.” (Gregg Braden, Secrets of the Lost Mode of Prayer: the hidden power of beauty, blessing, wisdom and hurt, p. 97)

The reason that blessing so critical in the healing process is that we as humans have a tendency to shut down and bury any feelings that are so intense that they cause a “fight” or “flight” response. We have to in order to survive in a culture that no longer requires or even condones a fight or flight response. We shut down and carry on. We don a façade and wear it… no matter what. And, again, it goes no where but where you have stuffed it. And our bodies always remember. And then, when we least expect it, it comes out in surprising and even monstrous ways; in our actions, reactions, and interactions.

Blessing is the act of facing our hurt, speaking out to it… facing our monster, if you will. We speak out and bless our hurtful experience; facing it, acknowledging it, so that, in expectation one day, we can embrace our experience for the wisdom it has brought us. The first step, though, to break the cycle is simply facing it and speaking out in acknowledgment.

As we practice this, we give wisdom its chance to take root in our lives. And it will, believe me, it will.

Speak out blessing to those that suffer.

Speak out blessing to whatever or whoever causes the suffering.

Speak out blessing to those that witness the suffering.

We cannot both judge and bless.

We cannot both blame and bless.

We cannot both hate and bless.

Blessing frees us up for a moment to create the space for wisdom to take root.

Blessing allows us to breathe.

The more we bless, the more opportunity there is for wisdom to grow within you.




In beauty I walk

With beauty before me I walk

With beauty behind me I walk

With beauty above me I walk

With beauty around me I walk

It has become beauty again

Hózhóogo naasháa doo
Shitsijí’ hózhóogo naasháa doo
Shikéédéé hózhóogo naasháa doo
Shideigi hózhóogo naasháa doo
T’áá altso shinaagóó hózhóogo naasháa doo
Hózhó náhásdlíí’
Hózhó náhásdlíí’
Hózhó náhásdlíí’
Hózhó náhásdlíí’

Today I will walk out, today everything negative will leave me

I will be as I was before, I will have a cool breeze over my body.

I will have a light body, I will be happy forever, nothing will hinder me.

I walk with beauty before me. I walk with beauty behind me.

I walk with beauty below me. I walk with beauty above me.

I walk with beauty around me. My words will be beautiful.

In beauty all day long may I walk.

Through the returning seasons, may I walk.

On the trail marked with pollen may I walk.

With dew about my feet, may I walk.

With beauty before me may I walk.

With beauty behind me may I walk.

With beauty below me may I walk.

With beauty above me may I walk.

With beauty all around me may I walk.

In old age wandering on a trail of beauty, lively, may I walk.

In old age wandering on a trail of beauty, living again, may I walk.

My words will be beautiful…

(Closing Prayer from the Navajo Way Blessing Ceremony)

The teachings of Beauty, Blessing, Wisdom and Hurt come from the First People around the earth. Indigenous people have followed these teachings since the beginning of time. But we as a modern people have forgotten these teachings that are so basic to living.

“From the ancient writings of the Gnostics and Essenes, to the native traditions throughout the Americas, hurt, blessing, and beauty are acknowledged as the keys to surviving our greatest tests. Prayer is the language that allows us to apply the lessons of our experiences to the situations in our lives.”

For more, please read the book by Gregg Braden called Secrets of the Lost Mode of Prayer: the hidden power of beauty, blessing, wisdom and hurt.