Wounds into Wisdom was written to spark conversations and ignite a change in the narrative.

A family’s trauma experience rumbles through history like a train, depositing its load, car after car into newborn skin. Most of us are unconscious of our ancestral inheritance. But at any moment, we can wake up and stop the trauma train. We need one another to do this momentous work.

It took me half my life to connect the dots between my ancestral history and the tragedies that were befalling me and my siblings: a brother’s suicide, a sister’s psychosis, the callous cutting of ties between parents and siblings, siblings and each other. What made us so volatile, so unloving? I finally woke up to the understanding that the past wasn’t past, that my family’s traumatic history, as well as that of my people, was still alive within us.

Tragedies may befall us, but they do not define us. An aware community of friends can help us wake up to the effect of the traumas that lie in our past—our own and those of our parents and ancestors before them. We can do a lot of growing on our own, but we need support from awakened others who can witness, mirror, and love us. We need others who are oriented to the light of healing to remind us: You can change the narrative of your life.

In this sense, my book Wounds Into Wisdom is not an end unto itself, but rather—and here’s my deepest prayer—a live spark that will ignite a larger conversation about the impact of intergenerational trauma and how we can transform the narrative of our lives. I believe that it’s in healthy, awake communities—book groups, chat groups, meetups, affinity circles, and retreats— that the deep work can be done.

Here is a list of teachers and organizations that have been key to my own waking up process: