Bending the Arc Towards Justice and Peace: Our Common Purpose

As headlines insist on the inevitability of a war that may pull the entire world into a pattern of destruction we – Earth and all Her Inhabitants – may not be able to survive, we know there are people who have faced the worst and found solutions by working together toward a common goal.  Rather than watch videos of interviews with individuals who thrive on conflict and want to humiliate one another, we can learn from people who support the health and well-being of all.  After hearing the rhetoric that suggests war is not only inevitable but the only way to solve conflict, in my search for the antidote to this belief I discovered an obituary of Dr. Paul Farmer.  Through his obituary, I found Bending the Arc, a documentary that explores the birth of Partnerships in Health, a global outreach NGO improving healthcare and lives everywhere.

Like Harold Evans, whose persistent reporting exposed the Thalidomide crimes against humanity committed by corporate profiteers in England,  Paul Farmer and his partners have worked tirelessly to shift political and medical resistance to healing the sick in Haiti, Africa, and throughout the world.  Harold Evans, a long-time editor, used reporting as a means of exposing unpopular facts that revealed the sinister causes of one of the great drug tragedies in human history.  Paul Farmer, a physician and healer (this second title reserved for those who bring compassion and wisdom as well as medical knowledge to their skills and competencies), used his evolving medical and social understanding along with his ability to make empowering partnerships within various communities to change the face of healthcare for the underserved. Both men are profiled in documentaries exploring how they changed the world for the better, Paul Farmer in Bending the Arc, and Harold Evans in Attacking the Devil: Harold Evans and the Last Nazi War Crime.  I recommend both as a tonic for depression over current evidence of destructive human behaviour.

The title of the documentary, Bending the Arc, comes from a speech delivered by Dr. Martin Luther King and is illustrated by the work of Farmer and Evans along with countless others who devote their time, wisdom, skill, and optimism to healing what is broken in education, politics, the justice system, and health care:

“The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.”

We are all invited to help bend the moral arc of the universe toward justice.

When we are threatened with a war that may end life as we currently know it on our magnificent planet, this arc may appear too long, too inscrutable.  Paul Farmer and his vast team of partners, and Harold Evans and his tireless researchers and reporters, demonstrate how human beings can help to bend the arc toward justice simply by clarifying what they want to achieve and persisting in the acts that bring this achievement to fruition.  We can do likewise, because this vitally important work leads us back into the murk of unhealed childhood trauma, our own and others.  As we enter this trauma territory common to human beings everywhere with the intention to heal, we are empowered to make a difference in our homes, our communities, our professions, and even on the world stage, as Paul Farmer and Harold Evans have.


Healing early trauma creates people who are self-regulated and resilient, optimistic and resourceful, and, most important, kind to themselves and others.  Rather than make war, healing people create possibilities for transforming whatever is driving negative, alienating beliefs, thoughts, and behaviours.  Healing people become peacemakers who then become advocates, activists, and artists building supportive, life-affirming relationships that bless the greater world.

Again, how?

Respectfully asking questions of the Self is the starting point.  “Why am I assuming the worst about this person or situation?  What in my past may lead me to consider the world a dangerous, even evil place?  Where did I lose my trust, in my parents, in my Self? How might I repair my trust and learn to move forward with a different view?”  Resistance to such questions is the voice of fear, often disguised by anger or indignation, belittlement or criticism.  Asking these questions while gently and lovingly tapping through EFT points assures the body, the heart, the mind, and the spirit that we are fully present to this process of healing and can handle whatever comes up. In other words, this process empowers us to initiate specific areas of healing that, in time, radiate out to others naturally and organically, thus encouraging their healing as well.

Developing a daily habit of EFT to explore the specific stories, images, perceptions, and physical sensations honours the harm done to us rather than denying this harm. The shift to accepting the truth of our early experience rather than belittling or denying it all together, changes everything by awakening compassion for our own tragedies and suffering.  Our compassion for our personal pain and suffering is what transforms fear and rage, disgust and the urge to harm or humiliate others as we have been harmed and humiliated. Compassion transforms reactive violence against Self and others into energy we can use to learn to appreciate and value our unique selves, to accept all our experiences as contributing to our uniqueness, to appreciate the healing work others have undertaken, and to create the lives of agency, peace, and meaning we yearn to live.

The harmful experiences we endured as children are often denied by the conscious mind until we begin to employ a somatic tool such as EFT. In spite of our denial or belittlement before we begin to acknowledge these experiences safely with EFT, their traumatic residue causes hypervigilance, suspicion, negative beliefs, and prowling, ever-present fears.  Healing begins when we rescue our experiences, the way we would rescue a suffering animal.  As we attend to the needs presented by beliefs, memories, sensations, and stories that emerge as we tap and speak the truth regarding what we have suffered, we are initiating the transition from humiliated victim into empowered, knowledgeable, and peaceful human being.

Our ultimate transformation can be worked through, alone if we are too fearful of others at the beginning of our journey, or with a trusted guide when we are ready to dismantle the darkness that says we are perpetual victims.  Whether we embark on our work alone or with a facilitator, it remains our work, and somatic – bodily – tools such as EFT will help to access specific events as we ask, gently but persistently, the respectful, curious questions leading to greater personal understanding.

For example, “I wonder why I believe . . .,” may be the deceptively simply starting place that leads, over time, to an empowerment that is revolutionary. The body faithfully carries the worst that has happened to us, and in its attempts to initiate our healing, actually demonstrates our unhealed feelings of humiliation and violation in the thoughts we think and in the actions we take toward Self and others. Doing our personal healing work makes all the difference, to us, to our families, our communities, and our shared Earth Home.

We have seen the signs of unhealed childhood trauma in many unspeakably cruel leaders, including Hitler in the past and Vladimir Putin in the present.  Both were the victims of childhood trauma who grew into men who denied the devastation of their personal experiences and projected their worst fears onto innocents.  In their denial and through their projections, they could perpetrate unspeakable atrocities on others.  Alice Miller’s work, For Your Own Good, delineates the pattern of unhealed trauma in adult life using Hitler as one of her examples.  It is an important book, translated from German in the early eighties and highly influential in our general understanding of the suffering that can be created by early childhood trauma when it is left unhealed.

Most people don’t have armies to command, but we do have people, animals, the natural world, and our own beautiful bodies we can humiliate and abuse, as such leaders abuse entire populations. Or, we can learn to transform our own experiences of violation into energies that make partnerships such as Paul Farmer and Harold Evans formed available in our own families, in our communities, and in our professions.  I believe we are all tasked with healing our personal traumas and making such partnerships in order to bend the moral arc of the universe toward justice a little more steadily and swiftly than it would otherwise bend.  Bending this arc is a grand calling, one summoning every one of us to show up with love instead of hate, wisdom instead of cruelty, and resourcefulness instead of helplessness.

Let us bend the arc together, starting today.

Until next time, and with love and optimism,



For information on how to use EFT to heal childhood trauma, also known as developmental trauma, please click on this website’s EFT tag.

A more general use of the points used in EFT is available through The Tapping Solution World Summit.  This summit is available online and free to those who want an introduction to how practitioners use tapping on meridian points in general applications, such as boosting confidence or addressing cravings. However, for lasting healing, our specific experiences must be acknowledged and addressed and this is best done with a skilled EFT practitioner to avoid emotional flooding and that terrible feeling of isolation that is born of childhood trauma. A directory of trained EFT practitioners may be found on the EFT International website at:

While not offering the depth of healing that a personal EFT session can, tapping with presenters on the Tapping World Summit is a great place to improve general knowledge about the various ways in which people are using meridian tapping points to create more peaceful and productive lives.  For more information on the summit, visit

Finally, undertaking personal healing may seem insignificant given the challenges facing our world today.  And yet, in the greater scheme of things, healing our personal traumas is the solution to many of today’s very serious problems, including domestic violence, police violence, massing killings with automatic weapons, and the extractive economies that are killing our universal Mother, Earth.  Let us all, as we pray for peace in the world, start with the wars in our own bodies and minds, hearts and spirits.  And let us remember, personal healing is the beginning of a new way of being in the world, one that radiates ripples of peace wherever we may go.