I believe that authenticity matters; hiding who we are stifles growth opportunities for the individual and collective. So in this blog I write about all things that genuinely fascinate me: art, spirituality, the puzzles of personhood--and their ongoing interplay. For some, learning the artist's thoughts contaminates the experience of the art, and I respect that. It might be best to avoid this blog and visit only my gallery pages. Personally I can't get enough of the stories, ideas, and people behind art, so this blog is most appropriate for an audience similarly curious and open-minded, and who won't take offense at challenging perspectives and taboo topics. It's especially for those who are aware they're undergoing a spiritual awakening and seek to feel less alone in that process. I wouldn't be at this better place in my life if it weren't for the wayshowers I found online who helped me understand what was happening to me and to the world, and I hope to pay it forward by doing the same for others on the awakening path. But most of all this blog is for me, as writing helps me clarify my thoughts and record my progress like nothing else.
This is the second in a series of posts on the lessons I learned from my childhood and healing journey. For my full story, see the December 2020 post titled, "We Are Shaped by Our Experiences: An Origin Story Pulled from the Shadows." My intention is to inspire others to develop greater awareness about their own lives and to share ideas for building healthier, more supportive families and communities. Because I believe, as Teal Swan says, "We are given the very wounds we are meant to teach others to heal."
Quick: List five examples of trauma. Maybe picturing the trauma care center at your local hospital, you’ll likely name big, unforeseen events that cause severe bodily injury, like heart attacks, car accidents, gun crimes, and building fires. For much of our modern history, perhaps the least controversial definition of trauma is something like this: an acute, physical, often violent event that surprises and harms us in the moment that it occurs.
Maybe your definition of trauma extends to events that seem to leave the body intact but shock the mind, like a soldier's experience witnessing the unbearable carnage of combat--events that are linked with an eventual cascade of behavioral problems that fall under the term post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD. The federal government only fairly recently accepted PTSD as a legitimate problem among its veterans of war, as Dr. Bessel van der Kolk recounts in his 2014 book, The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma. But as the author asserts, "One does not have to be a combat soldier...to encounter trauma" with similar long-term effects. He goes on to list statistics associated with the famous ACEs study, described below, that identified sources of trauma in the home environments of the country's youngest--and thus most vulnerable--population.