Open Hearts as a Door to Social Justice

How can individuals find their own personal way to let go of the bias and inequities in our society and participate in its healing.

Photo Credit: Ellen Korman Mains – Broken Heart Monument at the site of a former children’s camp in Lodz, Poland

How can we use open hearts to improve social justice?  Addie van der Kooy’s Wholebody Focusing concept of “holding both with equal regard”  can help us open our hearts and sense our personal role in promoting social justice and perceiving bias. It can also be a guiding principle in developing ways to support social justice in the broader society. As white supremacy roils the U.S. and I prepare to attend an important Holocaust commemoration in Poland, while Diana tends to her own ancestral legacy in Italy, here is another segment from our conversation that touches these issues. It also touches on the inherent vulnerability and truth of the human heart that flies beyond bias and sees basic goodness and equal regard as fundamental to reality, not just a technique we do. Find  Ellen Korman Mains books Buried Rivers: A Spiritual Journey . Her website is Also click on  Holding  Space for the Suffering of the Holocaust for more of Ellen’s work on this blog.

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5 thoughts on “Open Hearts as a Door to Social Justice”

  1. Such an empathetic conversation between you as you explore what for each of you is equal regard. Diana, I love the idea of wishing people their hearts’ desire and what that brings to the relationship and how that comes from within without trying. Thank you.

  2. Slowing down as I watch the video. What a beautiful conversation! Thank you Diana for bringing it to us – and for sharing your practice about wishing others, strangers we encounter on the bus or in traffic, “their heart’s desire”.

    I just finished reading Ellen’s book, “Buried Rivers”, about her deep sensing of ancestral trauma around the Holocaust. I bought the book because was interested in the possibility of sensing ancestral energies which is something that I’m beginning to explore, learning about and sensing into my lineage. Ellen’s book is so rich with stories and teachings, I know I’m going to come back to it again and again. The concept of “basic goodness” underlies her whole quest. And it is beautifully illustrated in this video.

    I loved the book for its stories, and I love the video because it doesn’t have stories, just deepening and resonating the note of basic goodneses. The biggest gift to me from the video was how it goes deeper than the usual acknowledgment, in much psychological literature, that when hurtful actions arise they are distorted expressions of valid needs. I found this comment particularly profound: “underneath whatever is showing up (…) is a need, however distorted (…) WE ARE ALL WORKING WITH THAT AT DIFFERENT LEVELS”.

    Hearing this I feel a sense of relief, easing. Excitement: an aha moment! And such a letting go of tightness around my habitual need to confront people, externally or by running an inner monologue, that certain things are not okay. Just walking around a city block my impulse to confront can find lots of work for itself.

    A sense of YES comes. I let go of the tightness and accept the part that feels such urgency about stopping harmful actions. As a society, we need to put boundaries around hurtful actions. This creates safety. In a complex global society, we may need even stronger and clearer boundaries to protect human rights and the Earth. I embrace this truth.

    As I accept this part and let go of the tightness, a pool of ease and loving energy spreads around my chest and belly. I embrace a deeper truth: at the level of our innermost being, there are no boundaries. The same energetic pattern runs through my psyche and through the psyche of the person who may have chosen, in a dark moment, to use a firearm against strangers in the street. WE ARE ALL WORKING WITH THAT AT DIFFERENT LEVELS.

    Thank you Ellen.

  3. Thank you for connecting so many dots and mirroring so well. “We are all working with this on different levels” seemed like such a flat, innocuous statement to me. I doubted it would carry meaning for people, but you “heard” so well what I was trying to say. Thank you so much for reflecting and expanding it further, and for the felt clarity of “I loved the book for its stories, and I love the video because it doesn’t have stories, just deepening and resonating the note of basic goodness.” Thanks also to Diana for putting this together (from Łódź, Poland)

  4. And finally I want to reflect, appreciate, and further sit with this last part you wrote: “at the level of our innermost being, there are no boundaries.”

  5. As I listen to this conversation as it unfolded it became more and more what I think of as A Heartfelt Conversation that awakens my own consciousness too and expands my own world view of life around me!

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