Agreements: Healing Old Wounds and NOT Blowing the World up in the Process

Last night, I was irritated.  I wanted to bring my irritation to the page and talk about how we create villains out of the friends and loved ones in our lives by continuing to see and act through the filter of our old wounds.  I was angry that I still have friends who are active in this kind of activity, and I wasn’t feeling much compassion about it at all. This morning, I’m a little more balanced and able to act from my more compassionate heart, and I’m also well-rested and more inclined to talk about the solution rather than the problem.

Recently, I saw a meme that said (and I’m paraphrasing), heal your wounds, so that you stop seeing through their filter.  I stood up and clapped - gave a standing ovation to whoever came up with the meme. And… I recognize that the meme jumps right to the end and doesn’t cover the middle piece.  Healing and getting conscious can be a really long process for us humans. How do I, BEFORE I’ve healed those wounds and in the process of doing so, stop damaging myself and my relationships.  How do I keep from blowing up my world, stay connected, and protect my communities from the bloody, dirty, grit of our my humanity and old patterns of self preservation?

I am a lucky Human.  I am a part of a group that dives deep into Shadow work on a very regular basis.  We are often, together and as individuals, mining for the old crap that holds us in place and keeps us from our Big Magical Selves.  Sometimes, this work is really fucking hard, and sometimes it causes old wounds to flare up, ooze and bleed. There’s always a risk that we can, without any deliberate intention, brush up against these old hurts within our relationships with one another.  Shadow work is risky business.

Community agreements (that have crossed over into many of our personal lives) make the work possible.  While we’re all in the process of transformation (wound healing and beyond), our agreements provide us with a stable, healthy container for working with each other, communicating, and dealing with any shadowy conflicts that do arise. There are 11 agreements that have grown over time in our group.  The agreements that I find are the most useful and yummy in my personal life and life outside that particular, wonderful community focus on taking responsibility for my own shit (my thoughts, feelings, and actions), assuming the best of those around me, and acting from a place of positivity. I haven’t always been successful in relationships, and I have certainly made villains of those I loved because my wound-filter was so thick. Practicing relationships within the container of these agreements has helped me to build positive lasting relationships based on transparency, authenticity and shared regard AND to work through and heal some old, oozy, infected wounds. 

My favorite, self/relationship agreements look like this:

Think well of Self and Others.  I don’t need to shame myself (y’all know how I feel about shame) for feeling the way I feel, AND just because I’m feeling pinged, doesn’t mean someone deliberately pinged me.  If I act from this agreement, I’m reminded that most folks aren’t out to hurt me. They’re usually doing the best they can.

Ask for what I need (take ownership!).  If I’m pinged, it’s up to me to say what I’m feeling and ask for what I need.  I don’t get to think the other person “should know better” or “should read my mind.”  Clear, assertive (versus passive aggressive and aggressive) communication, can move so many roadblocks.  And yeah, I know. This one can be scary. I’ve had to ask myself, is it more important for me to feel comfortable or to build connection and lean in to change? For me, connection and transformation are more important than comfort.  I know that not everybody shares that feeling with me.

Speak for myself (use “I” statements).  I need, I feel, I see, I want, I do or don’t do.  Avoid “you-ing” and even “we-ing.” I’ve gotta stay in my  own hula hoop, and don’t assume I know a damn thing about how the other person thinks or feels in any given moment.

Practice listening rather than hearing.  Seriously.  I don’t think I need to explain this one, but I will.  Deep listening is such a gift that I can give to the people in my life..  More often than not, if I’m not mindful, I’m thinking of what I want to say or how to defend myself.  I’m a self-ish, self-centered being, especially when I’ve been pinged. Coming to my breath and then settling down to really GET another person’s reality has been life altering for me especially in times of angst.

Learn to accept feedback on my impact on the relationship or the group.  If I put interconnection ahead of my personal comfort, then asking for feedback becomes something that feels brave and important even when it doesn’t feel comfortable.  Receiving feedback, the good, yummy stuff and the harder stuff becomes a critical piece in my relationship and culture. (If the feedback givers are practicing the other agreements listed, the whole process can be juicy and transformational).

And finally:

Act from Love.  It’s easy, when I get pinged, feel raw, or out of control to react from my fears, insecurities and baser levels of being.  Trying to remember that I value my Self, this person, this family, or this group and move from that space rather than the restrictive Fear space is critical to making all the other agreements happen.

The nifty thing about agreements like these is that I can start practicing them even when I’m wounded and carrying all of my old shit in my backpack.  Using agreements like these can actually help start to UNPACK.  

Why or How?  

Because they are relationship builders.  Yep. Most if not all of our wounds happen in relationship, and that’s where healing begins.  In my case, all of my wounds began in relationship to others (not counting my neato brain chemistry but certainly impacting it) and then transferred to my relationship with my Self.  Agreements like these that focus on my relationship with my Self and with those in my Life have been magnificently important in my own healing process, and I honestly believe that they can help everybody else too. 

Copyright Fálki Heiđdóttir


  1. Love this part: "The nifty thing about agreements like these is that I can start practicing them even when I’m wounded and carrying all of my old shit in my backpack. Using agreements like these can actually help start to UNPACK." YES!!! I don't have to wait until I've gotten my shit together to get my shit together. It's part of the process (the eternal spiral).

    Practicing listening is a tough one for me. I want to agree, to say 'me, too,' to let the other person that I have been there, too. What I don't want to acknowledge is that I can't really say I've been there because I've barely listened enough to know where 'there' is! But, I can remind myself of what I said above...

    Thanks for this!

    1. thank you for taking the time to engage!!! I appreciate your feedback so much.

  2. Love these and love you. One of the things I love so much about the agreements is that it is a place we can come back to again and again, and it offers no shame or judgement. There is no "or" after the agreements. No, Or, you're a bad person, Or, you're not welcome here anymore, Or, you deserve bad things. The agreements are aspirational, never complete, always available.

    Coming from a shame focused background, thinking well of self and others can be difficult which for me makes it difficult to ask for what I need in a healthy way. There is the shame hurdle that says if I had my shit together, I wouldn't need anything. Then there's the fear hurdle--what if they don't care enough to help me? What if I am being needy? Then there's the how-to hurdle. Having learned passive aggression from a master, I find I have to sometimes sort out how to ask assertively and freely with no guilt or shame attached to either me or the person I am requesting.

    I feel so fortunate to have people in my life who are willing to wade through all of this with me and with love.

    1. Yummy yummy YES!!!!!!!!! "The agreements are aspirational, never complete, always available." THANK GOODNESS!!!!

  3. Thank you for sharing your words and wisdoms! I value this container we co-create with these sweet boundaries within which we call each other in--rather than just calling each other out. It is rich and juicy in here!


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