The Case for Tenderness

In a recent podcast that I was listening too entitled “Clear and Vivid with Alan Alda: Father Greg Boyle on Compassion, Kinship and Real Ways to Help Others,” Alan was speaking with Father Boyle, founder of Homeboy Industries, the world’s largest gang intervention, rehabilitation and re-entry program in the world. I was stuck by the following passages that touches on the process of healing and how it can be generalized in many ways across the human experience.

“Part of [what we do at Homeboy] is healing, so you have to do the work, we want people to excavate their wounds if you will, they have to go back and become friends with their wounds and their own brokenness. We get trapped sometimes with the message that it is all about content but its really about context. Its a community of tenderness where they can feel some relief and some rest from their own chronic, toxic stress; so then they feel safe. They become their own sanctuary that they sought in you.”

He goes on to say, “At Homeboy we say love is the answer,  community is the context, but tenderness is really the methodology. Tenderness is really the highest form of spiritual maturity and its the way that love can become connective tissue, otherwise love will stay somewhere else, it will stay in your head, or in the air, or even in your heart, but unless it becomes tender, that is the finishing touch on love.”

Despite the level of our wounds or how we got there, it would seem that in order to repair and restore ourselves to a healthy place, it begins with a willingness to seek the context of other, where the open space of tenderness can lead us to giving ourselves permission to become our own compassionate victor in the quest for growth.

To listen to the full podcast:

To check out Homeboy Industries:

Photo credit: http://Photo by Brennan Burling on Unsplash

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