The Trauma Vortex
The Healing Spiral
A vortex is a whirlpool-type formation that happens in water and air. It has a magnetizing effect and pulls materials into its circular path, holding things within its own orbit. I believe there are emotional and energetic vortexes, as well, that attract traumatized people into experiencing more trauma. I’ve called this the trauma vortex and I’m very familiar with it in my own life.
I’ve come to believe that we all carry trauma, whether it is obvious and conscious, or not as easy to see, and unconscious. Generational patterning creates installed beliefs about the safety of the world, and the trustworthiness of other humans. Over time, attitudes of racism, classism, sexism and elitism impact family systems. These patterns need to be healed so that the habits of violence and disconnection that these ‘isms’ have caused are stopped. This is referred to in The Little Book of Strategic Peacebuilding. “Chosen traumas are past traumas kept alive from generation to generation – sometimes over centuries – and are used as a rallying cry to spark new waves of revenge violence.” (pg 47) This syndrome can exist in families, as well as within communities, states and countries, or even within systems, like economics, health care and corporate environment.
Trauma seems to be at the “root of all evil,” if we can believe that there is such a thing as pure evil (which I don’t). There are therapists now saying that all addictions are rooted in traumatic events. As I’ve experienced it, early trauma in my own life gave me some strong messages: I am not safe in my own home; We are just waiting for the next bad thing to happen; I don’t deserve security or support on my life’s journey; life is just f**kin’ hard.
I’m also a highly optimistic individual, and if I can make progress with my own trauma to the extent that I am now doing well in most regards, anybody can heal anything.
My own healing path has shown me that my journey has been in the form of a spiral, moving always in an ascending direction, with more and more information and understanding available at each upward turn. I imagine that the base of this spiral is a place where I was just face-down in muck, not knowing there were other possibilities, but something made me look up and realize I might be able to struggle out of the muck. At each turn, I was able to feel more hope, experience less impact by the muck, and find more help for getting beyond the muck. There is a dense, cloudy slash, down one side of this spiral. It represents all the trauma and wounding, from this life and others, that I am currently carrying. Even though it may never be completely gone, with each turn my relationship with the wounding is different. This image pf a healing spiral, that supports growth and evolution, has kept me hopeful and engaged in my healing process.
I was struck by something Candace mentioned in class, and have thought of it often while writing this. Circumambulation is the act of moving around a sacred object or idol, to revisit it with each turn, seeing it differently each time. Perhaps the sacred object we are circumambulating is our own Sweet Self, and the journey is one of integration and spiritual awakening to the magnificence of who we really are.
"We need in every community a group of angelic troublemakers.
Our power is in our ability to make things unworkable." ~ Bayard Rustin
Another concept I love from The Little Book of Strategic Peacebuilding is presented on page 64: "Only local people can create the road maps to their future." It seems to me, especially after watching our community rally around recovery from the recent floods (sort of), that the best place to begin peacebuilding, other than within ourselves, is at the local level. By asking what is available locally, people begin to see the magic of accessing resources at hand, learning what is possible in the day-to-day reality of what is needed, rather than waiting for a rescue from outside the community. This local perspective gets people thinking not only about what they need, but also what they have to contribute to the collective. Seeing others being generous can inspire those who might otherwise hold back. This builds on and enhances what is already available and brings to light things that are already in place and working well. People become motivated to work together to effect change and support everyone within the community with all that is already in place, as well as develop together what is missing in regard to the individual and collective needs.