Continued from previous post…….

So, one only needs to look at one’s country’s history to get an idea of how much historical violence, wounding and unspoken suffering has occurred over the centuries. If we then consider how this cultural and collective trauma is tightly interconnected with our individual and familial traumas and legacies we can understand that it all creates a vicious ongoing cycle. The repercussions of this experience manifests as the residual energy from the traumas in our bodies and the accompanying symptoms, toxic narratives and practices, which are passed down through generations until people decide to acknowledge, break the silence and heal.

One of the speakers of the summit, Dr Scilla Elworthy, who has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Award three times, believes that personal and collective trauma drives war and that the cycle of violence in many places where there is conflict will only stop through acknowledging, integrating events and healing, both at a collective level and at a personal level, through stillness and inner work and facing our fears.

She shares one activity she has used to do inner work, a type of Gestalt practice to work with her inner critic or inner dragon (we all have a critical inner part), especially, when it wakes her up at 3 in the morning. So, she uses two cushions (or chairs) and allows a dialogue to take place between her adult self and this younger inner part as she actually switches seats. The inner dragon usually has a gem (of insights and truths) under his paw. From an Internal family Systems approach this  critical inner part might have been viewed as a protector created a long time ago to prevent us from fully showing up and doing things in order to keep us safe in situations where silence and hiding were adaptive in the past.

More insights in brief from the Collective Trauma online summit

We need to move from trauma organised societies to trauma informed societies to healing oriented societies

It is now necessary to build trauma informed health, medicine, educational, cultural, religious, spiritual, political and economic contexts and systems

Most trauma occurs in relational fields, and relational safety is important for recovery and resilience. It is important to share stories in safe spaces and in communities

Destructive instincts are essentially our life instincts traumatized and distorted and turned into death instincts

Trauma is about broken connection to our body, our cells, others and reality

More on the physiology of trauma in next post…..

Some insights on individual and collective trauma from the Collective Trauma Summit-2019

One of the first things I had written to post on this site when I was putting it together was about how individual innate trauma responses like denial and dissociation, projection and transmission, and so on, also operate at a cultural and collective level, and that all our experience is embedded in bigger contexts, all the way up to the cosmos.  Our individual and inter- generational traumas are embedded in and informed by larger cultural and collective traumas. We are all situated in social containers where collective traumas dynamics are being played out constantly and which inform our circumstances and thinking. Thomas Hubl talks about a collective trauma web we are all entangled in. We cannot escape this because there is probably no place or country on this planet where, across generations, there has not been massive scale trauma experiences like wars, famine, dire poverty, dislocation and exile, occupation of territories and genocide, dictatorships, oppression and marginalisation of groups, slavery, racism and sexism, to mention but a few. If we add natural disasters like earthquakes and tsunamis and the massive environmental destruction and climate trauma we humans have been inflicting upon Mother Earth, which is now an ongoing, accelerated experience, then it is easy to understand how trauma is relevant to all of us.

Some valuable insights I gleaned from the talks of this summit from diverse fields are:

Lack of resolution of trauma and loss emerges in children and others, even with the best of intentions. When leaders of countries carry unresolved traumas the consequences can be dire and can create massive suffering and wounding on communities and the planet

Trauma separates and separation in itself causes trauma and disempowerment

Trauma fragments, disconnects, disembodies, creates absence and blindness on the nature of reality

Trauma is an assault on integration, wholeness and presence, which is what health and resilience are made of

We have become blind and often desensitized to trauma because it is ubiquitous and because there is barrier of ignorance we need to break through

Trauma does not dissipate on its own. It is cumulative and is passed on until it is acknowledged, discussed, embraced and resolved

Trauma impacts the development of brain areas and affects epigenetic regulators, which may result in the transmission of trauma responses and behaviours for many generations to come, according to research on mice and observations and qualitative research in holocaust survivor families, and other communities with cultural and collective trauma

Unresolved trauma depletes our physiology and impacts our capacity for secure attachment

Another hallmark of trauma is lack of self-acceptance and self-compassion

Trauma teaches children to shut down their body and it stifles their growth and potential

Trauma narrows our consciousness and has a disembodying effect. Maybe that is why we are so disembodied from nature and blind to the fact that we are part of a living organism. We are not mechanical objects or creatures separate and independent from nature and each other

The importance of somatic approaches, movement, contemplation and mindful stillness to return to embodiment and presence

Trauma tears down our spiritual world, which starts to come alive once we start healing and tapping into a more expansive sense of Self

More in the next post…….

A painting and a book on narcissism, schemata, presence and mindful awareness

‘I think it’s very important to live in the present. One of the great things that improvising teaches you is the magic of the moment that you’re in … because when you improvise you’re in right now. You’re not in yesterday or tomorrow—you’re right in the moment. Being in that moment really gives you a perspective of life that you never get at any other time……………….’  Charlie Haden

I recently listened to a podcast, which then led to my looking up Wendy Behary’s book: Disarming the Narcissist: Surviving and Thriving with the Self Absorbed for various reasons. Firstly, people who carry early wounding and have injured instincts are prone to attracting people with more narcissism than is healthy and even safe. One could also say that we live in an era that fosters narcissism and predator mentality towards other people, animals and the planet itself.  I was also attracted to her book because it is informed by Dan Siegel’s work on interpersonal neurobiology and mindfulness and Jeffrey Young’s schema theory and therapeutic modality, which I had become quite interested in during a Master’s programme about nine years ago. I had not returned to Young’s material since; however, any work one undertakes that involves growth and self awareness presupposes some awareness of, release and repair of old, often unconscious, schemata.  So, it all sort of came together and I ended up reading the book even though I am in the middle of two other books.

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