“Healing America’s Narratives bears blunt, bold, eloquent witness to the hidden assumptions and attitudes that have shaped America’s history and psychology. Reggie Marra achieves something extraordinary here: he clarifies difficult concepts and shines unfaltering light on painful truths, yet he never loses sight of the voices, ideals, and possibilities that have been, and continue to be, dedicated to healing and wholeness. Stunning, insightful, intelligent, and fearless, this book deserves a place among the great narratives of the American psyche.”
—Trebbe Johnson, author of Radical Joy for Hard Times: Finding Meaning and Making Beauty in Earth’s Broken Places
“An educator’s vision for healing America’s traumatic past and politically fractured present…. Part 2 centers on the whitewashed narratives Americans have told themselves… Despite these historic wrongs…the book is optimistic in tone, emphasizing hope in the possibility of national healing.…Marra is well versed in classical literature, philosophy and history. …a sophisticated presentation of critical theory, U.S. history and philosophy, the book carefully balances nuance with accessibility and practical application….”
“Throughout his eloquent and thorough exploration of America’s collective Shadow, Reggie Marra embraces ‘truth’ both as evidence-based and as an ongoing conversation about things that matter. Deeply engaging both the political lens of our collective historical and current events, as well as the psychological lens of our individual inner terrain, the lingering effect of this book fosters hope and proactively embraces the possibility of a radical shift in how humans interrelate, even—and especially—while some of the worst traits of our humanity are so dismally on display.”
—Bridgit Dengel Gaspard, author of The Final 8th: Enlist Your Inner Selves to Accomplish Your Goals
“In this courageous, compassionate, wise, and visionary wake-up call, Reggie Marra asks some very deep and challenging questions about who we are as a nation, questions that all Americans would be asking if we were brave enough to look in our collective mirror. His socially, politically, and psychologically sophisticated answers are both shocking and self-evident, both outrageous and kind, both arresting and liberating. An exceptionally well-written and readable book, Healing America’s Narratives goes right to the heart and to the root of what ails our nation … and to what just might enable us to build a better world, a life-enhancing society. Brilliant. Thoroughly researched and referenced. A tour de force. Read it.”
—Bill Plotkin, Ph.D., author of Soulcraft and The Journey of Soul Initiation
“Outraged yet hopeful, sweeping in its conclusions but always characterized by humility, Marra’s impassioned treatise calls for a national effort to face and ‘integrate’ the collective ‘shadow’ of the United States …. for Americans to face themselves and our past, acknowledging the darkness and daring to do better, in both personal and political spheres. To lay out a path, Marra offers pained, unstinting examinations of historical American failings (the ongoing subjugation of women and Black Americans; the betrayal of Native Americans; the last half century’s worth of elective wars), all times and tendencies in which Shadow has prevailed…. In precise, inviting prose, Marra urges readers to look with clear eyes at ourselves. He makes clear throughout that he’s one of us rather than some presumed authority, putting in the work to understand himself and his nation; while he’s shrewd and persuasive at making a case, his conclusions…will challenge or offend some readers. He knows that, of course…. This call for Americans to face their ‘collective shadow’ will thrill readers eager for compassionate change.”
“Having worked as a psychologist for more than 35 years, I have spent a great amount of time in the shadow of the human psyche. I can attest that in order to heal from the possession of the shadow we must do the archeological work of uncovering all aspects and integrating even the most demonic energies. Not a fun task, and as Grandpa Jung said, ‘self-discovery is never a pleasant task.’ Marra is doing the collective archeology in his book as he explores how Collective shadow multiplies the power of personal shadow exponentially. Not integrating shadow is not an option, as we stand at the edge of the abyss looking down at the reflection of the demonic that is us. Clergy has failed in leading us on this treacherous journey. The creators of the new path are the dreamers, poets, storytellers and all who follow an ancient path of relationship with our earth. Marra is giving us the diagnosis and some of the treatment plan we need if we are to survive even into the near future. Let this poet, Reggie Marra, clear a new path into a new way of being as we integrate and befriend our personal and collective shadow.”
—Eduardo Duran (Tiospaye Ta Woapiye Wicasa), Ph.D. Vietnam veteran, author of Healing the Soul Wound: Trauma-Informed Counseling for Indigenous Communities
“In Healing America’s Narratives, Reggie Marra offers compelling and extensive historical research regarding the deep trauma and dysfunction of which our current social fabric is woven. In a conversational tone that expresses welcome, humor, courage, and a non-judgmental attitude, he invites the reader to ‘wake up, grow up, clean up, show up’ as an everyday practice of individual and collective listening, learning, and working for the good of all. This litany beckons us to commit our best efforts as we explore faultlines, deconstruct imposed barriers, and build more inclusive platforms of support.
“Marra writes, ‘The process of uncovering, recognizing, owning, and integrating Shadow is discomfiting at best, horrifying at worst, and inevitably necessary for the health of any individual, organization, nation, or species.’ He emphasizes that we stand to receive countless gifts in working to heal personal, collective, and ancestral Dis-ease. Aspects of Shadow into which Marra delves include violence against women, Native Americans, and people of African descent; destruction of the environment; and atrocities of war in Vietnam and Iraq.
“Acknowledging that many more civil rights challenges exist, the author presents connections and angles that have the potential to inspire any person – regardless of history, identity, and experience – to consider the larger picture in a new or shifted way.
“Healing America’s Narratives posits that we are all composed of intertwining stories, that these stories are made of basic life energy, and that we have the ability to learn and apply healing skills in navigating and transforming the full range of human understanding. Marra invokes the spirit of John Lewis’s ‘Beloved Community’ in affirming that we have something valuable to learn from those with whom we disagree. No matter where a conversation begins, Marra asserts, it is possible through active and empathetic listening to promote the next genuine connection.
“In the spirit of kindness, hope, and tenacity, Reggie Marra reminds us that regardless of the particular issues we face, each and every one of us needs and deserves the healing that arises from this essential work of becoming more fully human.”
—Janet E. Aalfs, author of What the Dead Want Me to Know
“Healing America’s Narratives is brilliant at so many levels. Reggie Marra takes the history of America—the good, the bad, and the in-between—and turns it into a guide for transforming the heart and mind, not just for Americans, but for anyone interested in the radical transformation of body, mind, and spirit. His prose, both inspiring and engaging, invites us to embrace a new narrative that discerns among cultural givens and other means that mold us. Reading this book feels like a rehearsal for new ways of being in the world. It is a manual on becoming fully human and embracing love as the universal language it is.
“Marra brings voices together, rightening history with unprecedented accuracy. In his voice we find a confluence of narratives from opposite, alienated, privileged, unprivileged, and marginalized perspectives—balanced with gender, race, ideological and social strata representations. This book is actually a summit about what we can hope is the end of an era. Reading it requires us to redefine history, healing, shadow, and love. In the author’s hands, history is a living source of healing. Savvy readers will walk away feeling affirmed that from ill-told history, new vistas arise from which to tell whole new personal and collective stories that heal.
“The extensive research supports testimony that transcends simple abstractions about justice or rightness, and embraces the living flesh of spirit and the unambiguous language of universal love. The final two chapters both invite and gently coerce the reader to show up, elegantly pick up the scraps, and put the world back into a cohesive whole in which the masculine and feminine dance as they are meant to dance.”
—Marianela Medrano, Ph.D. author of Rooting: Selected Bilingual Poems