Spiritual Formation as a Process of Seeing the Ways our Wounds Dance

Spiritual Formation as a Process of Seeing the Ways our Wounds Dance January 1, 2023

Unmasking the Inner Critic Andrew Lang Spiritual formation
Ahmad Odeh/Unsplash

Here’s a dance of terror that’s been happening within me the past couple years.

In 2018, a person close to me questioned whether or not I would be a good father. Wrapped in her own reasoning, mostly centered on the reality that we just didn’t like the same things and the wounding of her own life and experience of fatherhood, her wound was projected onto me.

This isn’t particularly unique; untended wounds are projected all the time. But this one hit, partially because of the intimacy of the relationship, and also because of what it found within me.

And this is where the dance began.

Her wound, when projected toward me, began to dance with my own wounds around not being good enough. Internally, I just couldn’t set this one down. It rumbled and tumbled within me. Over and over.

When I went to friends who I trusted to give me real talk, they were quick to let me know this made no sense given who I was. But still, I couldn’t shake it.

When our untended wounds dance, they create a storm.

This storm within me became something of a chip on my shoulder, something I looked forward to proving wrong. And despite knowing it wasn’t tangibly real, it felt a bit too close to home.

When I think about the story of Jesus being pierced on the cross, I think about the dance of the two liquids that emerged from the moment: water and blood storming together in a one-two step. Richard Rohr isn’t wrong when he tells us again and again that hurt people hurt people.

The wounds of our communities create wounds within us all.

One of the most important aspects of inner work is the observation of our own previously unexamined and under-examined wounds. While I call it inner work, you might call the process that unfolds in the tenderness of this act something different: spiritual formation, discipleship, personal growth.

When we give ourselves to the act of seeing ourselves with soft eyes, wounds and all, we begin to short-circuit the passing along of trauma and of our wounds. We begin to connect with That Which is Bigger Than Us – God, the Divine, Inherent Dignity.

And there is great mystery in this connection.

For me, engaging in day-to-day practices of seeing the Inherent Dignity within me and within every moment has helped me to develop the capacity to let the old narratives of “not being good enough” fade from my worries.

The chip on my shoulder, this dance within me, this storm; it has seemed to dissipate over time. Years later, and with two young kiddos now in my life, the wound I felt projected on me that day no longer sits in the front of my mind.

In the face of connection, the storms simmer down and there is a different type of dance made possible.


Happy New Year Book Sale!

Andrew Lang Unmasking the Inner Critic: Lessons for Living an Unconstricted Life

“In Unmasking the Inner Critic, Andrew Lang has created a beautiful and accessible guidebook to help you do the inner work central to the act of being human.”

—Brian D. McLaren, author, activist, and teacher with the Center for Action and Contemplation

Rooted in the teachings of mystics, saints, poets, and prophets, Unmasking the Inner Critic: Lessons for Living an Unconstricted Life offers guidance and support for how to move beyond some of our most challenging fears and negative inner narratives.

With an intuitive blend of reflection questions, contemplative practices, action prompts, and his own personal story, Andrew Lang shares the wisdom from secular poets and therapists—as well as from Christianity, Buddhism, and Sufism—that has grounded his workshops for almost a decade.

Discover how to:

  • do the work of inner excavation with spiritual practices that hold and embolden it,

  • dig deeper for a more authentic way of living and being who you truly are,

  • lay aside the masks that keep you from fully experiencing the world,

  • engage the inner life as the beginning of sustainable activism, and

  • live a healthier, more confident, and well-grounded life.

The perfect book for progressive Christians, secular seekers, and those who are deconstructing Christianity, Unmasking the Inner Critic helps us expand our spirituality beyond the institution of religion for our personal transformation and communal healing.

New Year Sale Information

From January 1st-7th, you can get both versions of Unmasking the Inner Critic at a huge discount!

Get the eBook on Amazon here for just $0.99!

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About Andrew Lang
Andrew Lang is an educator in the Pacific Northwest, an alumnus of Richard Rohr’s Living School for Action and Contemplation, and author of Unmasking the Inner Critic: Lessons for Living an Unconstricted Life. Along with writing regularly, he facilitates workshops helping people to navigate their inner lives and explore their sense of identity and spirituality. You can read more about the author here.
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