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Do Hurt People Really Hurt People?

There is an adage that has been going around for quite some time now and every time I hear it, it vexes my soul. I remember the first time that I heard it was after an NFL standout was caught on camera beating on then dragging his fiancee out of an elevator. Yes, of course, there was outrage but there were also more than a few people oddly defending his disgusting actions by saying, “Hurt people hurt people. What happened to him to make him do this to her?”

We, as a society, need to stop excusing bad behavior by saying that “hurt people hurt people”. Who among us is not carrying a deep reservoir of pain? What I humbly propose is that instead of offering excuses for bullies and narcissists, we start thanking those of us that have survived all manners of abuse, loss and suffering and still choose to reach beyond our own pain to be of service to others. We are the ones that choose to amplify healing because we know that when you are truly hurting, your capacity to help others heal is proportionate to your capacity to heal yourself.

Yoga offers the opportunity to alchemize and analyze all that makes us, the shadow and the light. We take these two seemingly disparate concepts and fuse them to make something resilient yet soft. If our yoga practice is to be effective we must break into ourselves time and time again to face each pain, large and small and many times multiple pains all at once. This is not only how we restore balance to ourselves but also begin the necessary work of restoring balance to a chaotic world.

We further understand that there is no completion date for our healing. It is an ongoing ever evolving process. This is why yoga is something that the serious practitioner does all day, every day over many lifetimes. And this is why the phrase “hurt people hurt people” is a slap in the face to those of us who have dedicated our words and actions for not only healing ourselves but also dare to bring healing energy into every encounter, every moment. Especially when it’s difficult to do so.

Hurt people that choose to hurt even more people continue the cycle of suffering because they often don’t recognize or choose to reject the person the Mother has sent into their lives to spark their healing journey. They have become addicted to and reliant upon their own misery. And there are also those folks that are so afraid of facing their own demons that they excuse the demons of the bad seeds in our society by offering platitudes, excuses and relinquishing the offenders of their personal responsibility to do better and be better.

Make no mistake, I am not writing about abstaining from trying to understand the intentions or catalysts behind bad behavior but instead am calling on all of us to call them in to the necessary work that will facilitate their healing. There comes a time when it is imperative for cycles to be broken and generational destinies to be redirected. Each of us has the opportunity to perpetuate generational curses or to choose to perpetuate generational greatness.

When we continue along this path of excusing the everyday bullies and narcissists we enable their elevation to dangerous, global levels. It becomes an excuse to disrupt systems of government and at its absolute worse results in genocide. It is why we, as human society, went from spears, to guns, to canons, to nuclear and biological weapons. “They” hurt me so I have to remove “them” from the face of the earth. And all the while not realizing that “we” are “them.”  What world could we create if we invited more folks into brave spaces where they are allowed to reveal their hurts and do the deep work of getting better? Would we still need to divide ourselves into tribes and nations?

As a yoga practitioner and teacher my role is to create the vessel in which my students can do this work. Yes, I can teach you how to balance on your head but what I’m really teaching you is how to break your old patterns so that you can discover a part of you that is new and able to see new possibilities of healing instead of perpetuating the pain cycle. And the pain cycle stops when we stop making excuses for those that behave badly and instead call them into patterns and practices that slowly but surely cast light into their darkest places.

Yoga breaks us down. Yoga sees the abuse that we suffered. Yoga restores memories, our own and those of our ancestors. Yoga forces us to look at those painful things and hold them close in order for us to transform them and our lives. Yoga teaches us the path out so that when others find themselves lost in the darkness we have done the work to lead them out too. And we do this again and again for as many that cross our path and are open to receiving what is on offer. That is the yoga.


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