May 5, 2020

Trauma and connection

I recently took a couple of trainings through zoom from Prevent Child Abuse Arizona. I listened to a lot of fascinating stuff about ACEs (Adverse Childhood Experiences) and parenting. Around 61% of people have had at least one ACE. ACEs can include witnessing or experiencing violence, abuse, or neglect and growing up in a home with substance abuse, mental health problems, or instability. ACEs have far lasting effects and literally rewire the brain. As adults, we may also experience various traumas. During the training, I made a single note (and now I can't remember if it is something she said or a thought I had, because, hey, I'll take the credit if I can...haha). It was this:

The antidote to trauma is connection.

There's not often a magic answer to the challenges of life, but I think that comes pretty close.

As humans, we NEED to feel love and belonging. And after trauma or ACEs we might struggle to regulate ourselves and sometimes that leads to unhealthy ways of coping. However, the best way to heal is through positive connection.

I would argue that means connection with other supportive, good for us people, connection with nature, connection with ourselves, and connection with God.

Little children don't need time-outs, they need time-ins.
Teenagers who are struggling need more time with us to feel love.

In general, we all need people who will get in there with us, listen to us, and look us in the eyes and be a safe place over and over again for as long as we need.
We all need time to connect to mother nature--to breathe in fresh air, wonder at the beauty of the world, and to put things in perspective. Nature is the best place to put things into perspective.
We, also, need to connect to ourselves and our own self worth. To notice what we like or don't like, what we need and don't actually need, and recognize the thoughts and feelings that flow through us without passing judgment on ourselves. We need to decide who it is we want to be and try to figure out what our personal mission and purpose is.
Most importantly, we need to connect with God. Through sincere prayer and scripture study. Through song or meditation. When we connect with a loving Heavenly Father and turn to Him, we will heal.

Things to think on:
How can I heal my own personal traumas through connection? Is there someone I should talk to (therapist, friend, God)? Is there something I should do to get to know myself better? How can I take time in nature this week? What are the thoughts that run through my head and how do I feel?

How can I help someone else heal through connection? Can I listen without judgement? Is there someone I could spend more time with? How can I show more love? How can I inspire someone to connect with God or with nature?

Because the antidote to trauma is connection.

Slightly related, but on a side note...Layla and I met some friends for a lovely hike at the Wind Cave trail.

Connect with people.
Connect with nature.
Connect with ourselves.
Connect with God.