I’m thinking a lot this summer about building community.
Even more so as I’m about to head off next week to a week-long training on rebuilding “the village,” into our communities based on indigenous connection practices from all over the world.
I’m super excited. My role as one of the volunteers at the gathering is Empathy Tent Anchor, and it has me thinking a lot about safety and connection.
When animals who live in the wild have something traumatic happen to them, they don’t go to talk therapy.
Actually, they don’t go to any therapy.
What they do is they return to the herd, (pack, flock etc) and literally shake it off.
Sometimes there is lots of shaking, and if you’re a human often tears come with the release.
There are a few things that we as mammals require in order to release trauma & grief fully, and they are actually based in the biology of our nervous system.
We need safety. And we need connection.
Sometimes we need more than that, but safety and connection are the foundation.
Once safety and connection is there fully, if we can listen the body will actually guide us into doing exactly what we need to do to release.
That’s the other thing we need that we aren’t taught in our society ~ the art of listening to the wisdom of the body. But that’s for another rant.
In our highly developed, fast-paced modern civilization safety and connection are two things that are not always so easy to find.
As someone who supports others to recover from what is sometimes very long-held trauma & grief, I get to see first hand how lacking these two very simple things are in our modern families and communities.
The biggest reason I see for this lack of safety & connection is FEAR.
You may have heard the acronym False Experiences Appearing Real.
Fear serves a powerful purpose when it is connected to present moment danger. It let’s us know when it’s time to leave a situation that isn’t actually safe.
But if we are holding a lot of unfelt trauma & grief in our bodies, we can start to False Experiences Appearing Real it.
We start to fear those overwhelming feelings that come with having held back our full feelings, sometimes for many years.
We protect ourselves by turning away from those who are feeling fully ~ the tears, the anger, the pain and sometimes even the love.
We turn away not only from our own feelings, but from anyone or anything who causes us to feel.
When fear is connected to not wanting to feel our own feelings, it can make witnessing other people expressing their feelings really uncomfortable or even terrifying.
We protect ourselves by turning away from the one feeling, or telling them to stop.
“You’re okay, pull yourself up by your bootstraps.”
Which then leaves them alone. No safety. No connection. Stuck. And the cycle continues.
Granted, there are moments we or our children need to be told this, so how do we discern?
We must begin by taking responsibility for ourselves and learning to heal our own stuff.
Unlearning the judgements and conventions of a society that tell us to keep going forward and forget about stopping to smell the flowers or feel our hearts.
Relearning how to listen to the deep wisdom of our bodies.
As we begin to heal we become more “response-able” people within our communities and families.
I believe that if more people can understand the cycle of trauma and how to release it safely and gently, then we can actually create MORE safety and connection within our communities and have less trauma happen in the first place.
Are you with me on this one?
Please comment below and let me know how these words landed for you.
And stay tuned if you want to be a part of this movement towards creating more safety and connection on the planet.
In love & light,