Dignity, trauma and Mandela consciousness  (edited)

A. Personal and collective trauma 

Collective and individual trauma are intertwined and they both inform and define social structures and contexts. Educational, medical, law and justice, and so on, contexts and structures are embedded in a collective trauma field, but they also carry the power to heal, restore and contribute to the creation of a new narrative and a paradigm of power with and not power over. Also, through creating discourses and spaces for the healing and integration of collective trauma to take place we can normalize, release and heal individual trauma. Through healing the personal we create shifts in the collective.

More ideas from the Collective Trauma Online Summit

The law has the power to wound and oppress, but also heal and restore

Restorative justice releases trauma energy at an individual and communal level

Corruption is a form of violence that deprives people form a dignified life. Justice systems have the power to create shifts and restore

Silence can be a stabilizing force during dictatorships and can become a protection mechanism in oppressive regimes or cultural environments

Thought systems and practices of separation break down the community web

Separation between men and women is reinforced because it can play out in all classes, groups, contexts, everywhere on the planet

Structures of domination and wounding are visited upon us when we are disconnected, disembodied and distracted

Collective trauma creates collective suppression and unintegrated trauma becomes the enemy, the feared, the Other

We need to take ownership of our own unchecked or unconscious prejudices and fears or aversive racism. Dr Richard Schwartz suggests we focus on the ‘racist or prejudiced part’ (inner child energy) and listen to what it has to say. It is probably a younger protector part inside us, and so, we could explore when and where it got its racism from to unburden and integrate this part of our psyche, so that it does not drive our actions and feelings towards others.

B. Dignity and Mandela consciousness

I have been making references to dignity over the past few posts because it is highly linked to both big T and small t traumas of all sorts. And actually, brain scans produced by researchers at UCLA, suggest that physical wounds and dignity wounds light up the same areas of the area of our brain called the limbic system (https://www.ikedacenter.org/thinkers-themes/themes/dignity/hicks)

Also, even though our dignity is of inherent worth it is also vulnerable and because humiliation and shame is involved dignity wounds tend to remain hidden. Wounds that remain hidden create disempowerment and a sense of helplessness. Dr Donna Hicks suggests we develop Mandela consciousness, which means we need to do what Nelson Mandela did while incarcerated for 27 years in Robben Island prison, and that is to acknowledge that dignity is inborn, within our control, cannot be stripped from us, but requires our honoring our own and others’ inborn sense of worth.

‘People can try to harm it, as the guards at Robben Island did, but as Mandela proved so vividly, no one can destroy our dignity without our consent. Most of us, thankfully, will never face such circumstances, but we all can benefit from attention to nurturing resilience in ourselves and others. In fact, said Hicks, it is nothing less than our responsibility to care for our own dignity and that of others….. ’ (https://www.ikedacenter.org/thinkers-themes/themes/dignity/hicks)


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