#PeacefulMondays: The deadly denial of the unhealed

Sunday nights are our time, a moment when I shut out the outside world, and when I hold you in my heart and mind for this #PeacefulMonday note to emerge.

That moment was shattered last night, as yet another US mass shooting played out at an open-air country music concert in Las Vegas. It’s now the deadliest in US history.

Like clockwork, media outlets and correspondents went into high gear, bringing us the latest as they saw it.

Like clockwork, social media commentary included wells of shock and sadness, silos of finger-pointing and hurt, default political positions on left and right.

Like clockwork, President Trump (as have Presidents before him) delivered a unifying message this morning, declaring evil and urging prayerful calm.

As of this note, the shooter is believed to have acted alone, and not to have had a history of violence.

And once again, we’re left with more questions than answers, more resignation than agency, more pain than peace.

As I reflected on this latest horror, this Martin Luther King Jr quote popped into my head:

“A riot is the language of the unheard.”

This was a quote for another time, and for another cause. Yet I began to find some sense and solace in its words.

America has a rich history of peaceful protests against what it sees as injustice, in its march toward a more perfect union.

In some instances, when that sense of injustice is turned inward, and grows into a mountain of denial, pain and rage, it can erupt like an uncontrollable volcano.

We don’t know, and may never know, what led this particular shooter to inflict his inner pain and rage on so many innocent concertgoers.

But we can choose to see the possibility and truth that, to adapt the quote above:

“Violence is the language of the unhealed.”

We all carry some inner wound, everything from an unreleased childhood slight to the traumas of fighting in a war. And many of us live in societies or cultures where we’re expected to put on a happy face, to pretend everything is “just fine.”

Suppressing those unresolved wounds can work for a time, until they don’t.

And sometimes they play out in the most horrific of ways, taking other lives beside our own.

There are conversations to be had, hearts to heal and policies to improve.

But first, we must want to.

We must appreciate those inner wounds, not by turning away from each other or impatiently sweeping them under the rug, but by understanding we all hurt and need healing at some level.

It may not prevent all senseless acts of violence in the future, but it can make a difference for the troubled minds and tortured souls among us.

Questions to ponder

 

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About the author

Maya Mathias

Maya Mathias is a global leadership veteran, with a life and career spanning 3 continents and 5 inspired self-reinventions. She is a peaceful leadership advocate and mentor, bringing her unique blend of East & West to her leadership development and innovation management practice. Maya’s life began with a lower-middle class upbringing in Asia, surrounded by poultry & vegetable farms and the ‘simple life’. She doesn’t forget her humble roots, and her body of work seeks to bring more equality, justice and personal purpose in troubling times. Learn more about Maya here.

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