|September 14, 2010
(Ken takes part in group sessions, from which this is derived:)
One of the things that we talked about this morning was how important women are in the process of bringing
our troops home.
One thing that happens to male warriors as a result of combat is that they shut off the feminine dimension
of being human.
I got back from Vietnam in 1968. It was 1990 or 91 before I could actually feel physical sensations like
a feather tickling my arm.
Because women are so focused on relationship their is often an asumption on there part that the silence and
distance of a combat survivor is because of something they did or didn't do. Very often this is not the case.
We have talked before about the fact that the cultural assumption of linear time is something
that warriors transcend in combat.
When troops return to their families there are two very different time references happening simultaneously.
The combat survivior is reliving the "past" combat experiences here and now.
The spouse is living in fear and dread of the next deployment.
The combat survivor is armored to the max to keep the the physical, emotional, and spiritual pain away (Armored
up refers to the defenses that we use to keep pain away. Sometimes it's remaining distant, other times it's
the scar tissue of indifference It can even be the pre-emptive retaliation of reject first harder in anticipation
of something hurtful happening.)
The spouse is armored up because she knows that if she isn't she is going to get her heart ripped out again
at the next deployment.
The result is that neither of them can meet emotionally or spiritually in the present. All that is left is
Here is what gets confused: When all that's available is the physical dimension humans confuse sex with intimacy.
The reality is that sex and death go together. Intimacy requires the affirmation of life.
Since Homer's Odysey and the Siren's song that led sailors to their deaths, the dark side of the feminine
has been described.
In Wiliam Manchester's book, Goodbye Darkeness, he deswcribes his experience as a Marine fighting through
the Pacific Campaign.
In one passage he describes a particularly vicious fight.
At the point when the killing became most intense he describes how he had an involuntary physical orgasm.
In When Our Troops Come Home I wrote about my encounter and experience of the Dark Haired Woman.
Robert Service was a World War I grunt. After surviving that slaughter he came to Alaska and began to write
One of his poems describes the transcendance of the Dark Haired Woman of Death into the vision of The Sacred
The poem is titled "My Madonna"
This human dimension of the feminine described as the Sacred Mother is a description of intimacy.
Intimacy is the willingness to endure pain as an aspect of life.
Intimacy is the capacity to bring forth life, whether it is in the physical form of an infant or the restoring
of feeling in a human heart that would "Never let anything hurt it this bad again."
Human experience, whether masculine or feminine, is imbued with this capacity for intimacy.
One of the life lessons of trauma of any kind is that there is meaning in suffering. There is meaning in pain
Human experience is meaningful.
This is why intimacy and the affirmation of life are compliments.
The search for meaning is the quest undertaken by human beings in the presence of the loss, betrayal, and
abandonment that occurs with trauma, especially life experiences like combat trauma.
The alternative to undertaking the journey to find meaning in life experience is withdrawal, isolation, and
Suicide is the act of accepting the invitation of the Dark Haired Woman and saying "Yes" to the
wanton seduction of the Banshee.
The Dark Haired Women has only a physical dimension. Sex and death are compliments in her domain.
I think that's all I have to say about that.