…And the Walls Came Tumblin’ Down: the Fine Art of Knowing When to Tear Down Walls and When to Build Them


Inspired by a post by Dr. Jean Raffa (http://jeanraffa.wordpress.com/2011/09/16/the-secret-to-healing-relationships/) these thoughts about walls came out.


The idea of tearing down walls is sort of a paradox for me right now.  We all build walls, naturally and almost effortlessly when we are growing up– “normal” ego-development walls, that is.  But when you add to the mix childhood traumas, then walls became not only natural to build, but necessary, even welcome.  And as I am discovering, most of the walls have to come down in order for me to allow myself to be touched—heart and soul and mind–touched, and to touch others.  The work is slow, for the most part, brick by brick, chink by chink.  Other times, the walls crumble as fast and as dramatically as they must have in Jericho when we are suddenly and unexpectedly inspired or moved by another person or experience.  At times like these, many walls fall, revealing hidden gardens and treasures. 

Some walls remain, however, and I am learning to look at them as blessings—like the guard rails on a mountain or the walls of my house.  Sometimes I need the protective embrace of the earth transformed into brick and mortar.  Sometimes I sit atop the walls and watch.  Other times I lean against them and weep, knowing there is something on the other side, but I am too afraid to climb or even look.  Still other times I revel in the solitude behind the walls and write rivers of words; for paradise, after all, means “an enclosed garden,” and I am learning to be OK with me, and that hidden within the walls of my heart, is a safe place where my dreams are growing. 

I say all this to say, I am still learning which walls need to come down, which need to remain; which need to remain and yet be hopped over or dug under.  There are no easy answers, especially when walls start crumbling without any notice, when the earthquakes of healing wave through and I find myself standing in the light—the light of the wisdom and love of others.  I am learning to step through the wreckage and breathe.  The gardens are still there.  I needn’t fear losing them.  Indeed, they are easier to share once the walls come down. 

Other times walls go up without me realizing it, like I accidently hit the “shields-up” button on the Starship Enterprise…Luckily, I am open enough today to learn how to learn.  And for me, it is not just emotional or soul walls—it’s mental walls also—old ideas and paradigms need to come down too—like it’s OK to earn money trying to help others—doctors do that all the time, or that it’s OK to make money doing what you love. It has taken years for those walls to come down, but luckily they are coming down.

I am slowly learning that, while walls can be fascinating, and strangely refreshing to the touch with their ancient coldness; beautifully constructed with various marbles, schists, and granites, they are still walls—wailing walls, walls to protect, walls to divide, walls to hang paintings on, and walls to put windows and doors into.  It is a lot to sort out—which ones to tear down and which ones to leave, and when it’s OK to build them.  But the rewards of intimacy, of true connections, soul to soul, heart to heart, mind to mind that come from the meetings without walls, are so worth the effort and struggle to be free.

Thank you Dr. Jean, Lefty, Blaine, Mandy and the boys, and all of you, dear readers, who serve as Joshua’s lovely and beautiful horns.


Copyright Joseph Anthony of the Wonder Child Blog

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