“Compassion for self first” was and still is the only message ever to come to me from Quan Yin since way back when I built my first altar and it was for Her. Having a camp week focused on a story surrounding Her didn’t change that message, though the story message of camp was more about sacrificing for the good of the community as fits the dominant culture from which Quan Yin arose.
This can be a problematic concept for a community that states frequently and vehemently, “You are your own spiritual authority.” So how to mesh the two seemingly opposite views? First you need to break down what sacrifice means. If one of the definitions of sacrifice means to offer up something and make it sacred in the doing then we can see ways to sacrifice that fits our culturally opposite idea of individuality and personal authority.
“As seed making begins with the wounding of the ovum by the sperm,
so does soulmaking begin with the wounding of the psyche by the Larger Story.” ~Jean Houston
If I offer up on the altar of life a piece of me that serves my community, it is a gift giving. It is not something that removes anything from me and in the giving I make that piece sacred. If I offer up parts of me that have been wounded, but I don’t live in the pain of that wounding and instead write a new story of Who I Am afterward then the wound itself becomes sacred and my story afterward becomes my gift to my community.
For me to be able to offer such a thing I must first hold that piece of reality that truth has wounded in my soul’s core. I must hold my old story that no longer fits me in my new reality, see the wound created by that, value it for the healing properties that it has, and have enough compassion for myself to see that wound as a gateway, not a barrier to a new, more powerful, and authentic story for myself. By doing this I embody the powerful healing that occurs and I now have the opportunity to be more than the wound, more than my old story. By creating a new story and writing new patterns for myself I shift which then shifts the realities of those around me. This serves my community. This sacrifice of offering up of my sacred wound to the community serves it by me being my authentic self and wearing stories that speak to who i am in this moment.
To quote Cynthea Jones: “The tragedy is not that we have experienced pain, but that we allow it to eclipse all that follows it; that we keep it ever present and our lives unchanged by all of the experiences that follow. What if we were to make our wounds and ourselves sacred by sacrificing them and opening ourselves to the greater story, the story of all that we have become and all that we are becoming.”
And so in making myself sacred, in healing my wounds, in writing new stories of me I ask myself: