The Struggle Is the Same

By Phila Hoopes

“Everyone’s a critic,” the theatre saying goes…and (nearly) everyone has a critic’s voice droning on in their mind, sowing self-doubt, shame, paralysis….

For me, in setting up Survivors’ Haven, the criticism began with the name, the very definition of survivors.

“Isn’t that broadening the meaning till it becomes meaningless?” the inner critic sneered. “Let’s face it, resisting your own inner demons, even the temptation to end your own life, is nothing like, say, standing down rubber bullets in the defense of water, or emerging alive from a school shooting, or….”

It’s taken me a long time to get past that critical voice. How could I equate “imaginary” torments with the physical threats being heroically faced every day, around the world?

“There is a crack in everything; that’s how the light gets in.” Leonard Cohen, “Anthem.”

When I’m facing bone-level questions like these, I go out to the woods for clarity, for insights that seem to arise from the earth under my feet. As I sat on a black granite boulder under a tree, with a brisk wind in my face and snowdrops nodding out of last year’s leaves, the answers arose…

The destroying force – the force of anti-life – is the same. The force of inner shame, self-doubt, self-loathing, is every bit as effective at forestalling one person’s purpose, preventing their effective action, as bullets are in stopping another’s. Death by suicide is every bit as final as death by school shooter or lynch mob or poisoned air or water.

There is no imaginary pain. Pain is pain. The only difference is whether, and how, the destroying force lies outside ourselves, or whether it has entered in, whether through our energetic sensitivities, our ancestral baggage, our choices and habits, our brain chemistry, or the cells of our bodies.

The force of anti-life is the same. The only difference is how we respond: whether we are blinded and deceived and seduced – whether we are paralyzed and surrender, enraged and lash out – or whether we recognize the energy of the destroyer and resist, reaching out or digging deep for life and light.

The struggle against anti-life is the same – whether you are saving Earth and the beings of Earth by working for gun control or environmental protection or nuclear disarmament, whether you serve the cause of healing others in mind or body, or whether you are working to save your own mind and body from the inner destroyer.

The enemy is the same. The fight is the same. The goal is the same.

Choose Life.

5 thoughts on “The Struggle Is the Same

    1. The feeling is mutual, Noelle! <3

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