How Can Human Suffering Turn to Peace
Trauma. The word itself can tick up your heartrate and have us imagining war-torn countries, natural disasters, or horrendous assaults. It could also bring to mind personal memories connected to pain, shock, humiliation, and images we would rather delete. Or would we?
The truth is, our memories shape our future nervous system or wiring and experiences form pathways in our brain that shape our behavior, especially during our early years.
One of the aspects of our reaction to repeated trauma or living in a highly stressful environment has always puzzled me. That is until I wrapped my head around our amazing network of neurological responses to toxic environments.
Why do people remain in these situations when they can escape or why do they return to them? If you identify with this yourself, you may feel guilt or shame for returning to the pain or reliving it in your head.
The message here is to release that sense that something is wrong with you or with those you see enter into the pit of toxicity over and over. There is a host of explanations. I have one for you now.
While studying the work of Bessel Van Der Kolk, M.D. author of “The Body Keeps The Score” I’ve learned a powerful premise. When our brain and body are alerted to prepare for danger and stress, repeatedly, our nervous system will adjust to that hyped up feeling over time. In a nutshell, chronic stress and traumatic situations influence our internal wiring and influence our future state of regulation or when we feel calm and in control. This is especially the case in children. A state of constant dysregulation can begin to show up as a child who can’t focus, feels bored, or is acting out often. Adults become irritated easily, lash out or withdraw depending on their experience and method of coping. Even when we are surrounded by a safe and predictable environment, a person exposed to trauma can remain in that hyper state of arousal and the stressful situations can become more comforting than what most of us see as tranquility.
Many of us have weathered storms of life and have adjusted over time. The message here is to understand one another more deeply. We all trod the paths of life and need to take the first step toward kindness for others and ourselves. Knowledge is power and I take the liberty of adding knowledge is the first step to empathy for our fellow humans.
I invite you to tune in this week to a very special interview with Pixie Jarvis, Equine Professional Program Director at Outside Inn. Pixie radiates peace and joy while eloquently describing trauma. She works closely with individuals by guiding them through healing paths with her gorgeous horses as agents of care. Her story and experiences bring revelation and serve to brighten our future. Please tune in this week for this powerful conversation with Pixie Jarvis.