Woundedness as the Source of Strength – Growth in Difficult Situations

Volcanic Tree © 2014 Bo Mackison

Volcanic Tree © 2014 Bo Mackison

Nobody escapes being wounded. We all are wounded people, whether physically, emotionally, mentally, or spiritually. The main question is not “How can we hide our wounds?” so we don’t have to be embarrassed, but “How can we put our woundedness in the service of others?” When our wounds cease to be a source of shame, and become a source of healing, we have become wounded healers. ~ Henry Nouwen

This tree is a testament to growth in the most challenging and demanding of situations. Growing in the volcanic ash, this tree survives. Not without cost. Not perfectly. But still it grows.

You might think that volcanic ash would not be a hospitable growing medium, black specks, supporting little life. Yet, once the heat of the fire of the ash has cooled, life gradually returns. With rainfall, plants begin to grow. Animals return to the devastated area.

Volcanic deposits can eventually develop into some of the richest lands on earth.

Nature does not hide its woundedness. But it serves as a reminder that, given time and healing circumstances, growth ensues. Life continues.

About Bo Mackison

I'm a photographer, book-artist, traveler, naturalist, and creator of the Contemplative Creatives Journey, An Online Workshop and Community and Desert Wisdom Cards and Workshops. Though often not well known, I find the desert a welcoming place - a healing space. Its mysteries and gifts transformed me several years ago. Since that first encounter, I return again and again to fill my well in what most people think of as a desolate region. I'd love to share my desert discoveries and wisdom with you. Please subscribe to receive my five part mini email course The Gifts of the Desert. It's my gift to you.


  1. Gandalf says:

    Definitely true words.

  2. Trees can teach us so much. Nature can teach us so much. We only have to pay attention.

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