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Gillian Sanger

Trauma-Sensitive Mindfulness

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Of course. I agree Kristen is a great teacher. I was just listening to Pema Chodron and she mentioned that our blockage to compassion can actually be our doorway to limitless compassion. For example, I am blocked in feeling compassion for my little sister because for the last 20 years she has been unavailable, in and out of treatment for severe alcoholism, overdosing many times, a regular in detox, etc. I asked myself what feeling was blocking compassion- right away I knew it was anger. Then I asked myself what was underneath the anger, since anger serves as a shield to more vulnerable emotions. I identified fear and hurt. Fear because I'm afraid she's going to die soon, and hurt because due to her disease she has not been a part of my life. Given those feelings, I realized how very much I love her, which led to feelings of compassion and empathy. 

I agree that there can never be enough teachers, and I am also grateful for this forum and the wonderful people who contribute. Have a great day!

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Wow, that's too bad about your sister. Next step for you might be making yourself available to her, maybe sending her a gift and telling her? Anyway, I hope Pema is right because then I have lots of portals to limitless compassion! 

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Yes, it's been tough. I have actually communicated my love and concern for her in a variety of ways...a lot of poems. I have to detach with love and remind myself that I can't 'fix' her. Good idea though. I hear you about lots of portals- me too!!

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On 6/7/2020 at 3:50 AM, David Weiskopf said:

But, "nurturing" involves seeking and nourishing for an onward-leading result. I love how Tara and other teachers from wisdom traditions say when you see your habits or patterns that result in suffering (and you have not the wisdom to know what to do), just do anything different! I have just waved my arms and sang loudly. Some people like Sean and Rick Hanson expressly suggest binding whatever you do with something joyously rewarding so what "triggers" the suffering starts getting less associated with suffering and more with positive experience. I think the "nurturing" and subsequent pausing to soak the results of R.A.I.N. essentially does that, don't you? Feel free to critique.

Hey David,

Absolutely. I think the 'nurturing' aspect of RAIN indeed invites us to create a more positive experience in the face of our suffering or mental activity. And this 'positive experience' doesn't just impact ourselves; it influences our relationships, our communities, and the world at large. This is something that might be left out in the more secular teachings - inquiry into our pain, suffering, and our fundamental interconnectedness.

There is indeed an element of depth that can be left out of secular teachings. And as both you and Jo have touched on, learning from a range of teachers can help to fill this gap. The journey into more mindful being is indeed just that - a journey. And along that journey I think we find value in different types of teachings at different moments. Overtime we collect a wealth of various insights and understandings of different approaches, which I think leads to more balance and a wider lens through which we view things.

On 6/7/2020 at 1:41 PM, Jo L said:

The other thing I found interesting is her notion of a yin/yang balance necessary for self-compassion. She noted that one needs the yin- a soft accepting of imperfection, an ability to hold one's brokenness and child self, as well as the yang- the fierce "mamma bear" part that has a "tough love" approach, can set boundaries and say no, has motivation and can meet one's needs. 

Jo - I love this ying/yang notion of self-compassion. I think this is beautiful because it highlights that the loving heart is both soft and strong, comforting and courageous. It makes me think of something someone once asked me. Their question was, "Can the heart chakra even be TOO open?" And my response was yes - because if we are only soft and nurturing, we lack healthy and necessary boundaries. This is where the 'fierce mamma bear' comes in that enables us to stand up for ourselves out of deep love and respect.

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Good morning, friends.

This conversation is such an important one and I am grateful to be part of a community where we can share our learnings as well as our vulnerabilities.

In the interest of keeping the dialogue going, I would like to share what I consider an important resource.  Below is a link to an article that was written by my dear friend, colleague, and thought partner Arlene Casimir.  She is an educator and literacy staff developer with a specialty in Trauma Informed Teaching and Healing Centered Learning.  The article speaks to the considerations of trauma that students have experienced during both the pandemic and the civil rights uprisings.  I would love to know your thoughts if you have a moment to read it.

For anyone working with children (in schools, counseling, or if you have your own), this will speak to the importance of compassion and present moment awareness that will be crucial to supporting them.

Wishing all of you ease and peace today.

Rachel

https://inservice.ascd.org/lessons-from-crisis-trauma-responsive-teaching-tools-for-the-work-ahead/
 

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Jo-

I know the exact talk with Tami SImon and Kristin Neff that you are referring to.  I also thought the Yin/Yang duality of self compassion was so interesting.  So much of the time, we seek to hide our 'shadow' or 'darkness'...here, that more forceful nature is seen in a new way.  That was a powerful conversation.

Be well.

Rachel

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45 minutes ago, Rachel said:

Below is a link to an article that was written by my dear friend, colleague, and thought partner Arlene Casimir.  She is an educator and literacy staff developer with a specialty in Trauma Informed Teaching and Healing Centered Learning.  The article speaks to the considerations of trauma that students have experienced during both the pandemic and the civil rights uprisings.  I would love to know your thoughts if you have a moment to read it.

Thank you so much for sharing this with us. It is interesting that you share this because just a couple of hours before I read it now, I encountered one of the quotes used in this article posted on social media. It is the quote:

"To heal is not to return to normal. As Sonya Renee Taylor says, 'We will not go back to normal. Normal never was. Our pre-coronavirus existence was not normal, other than we normalized greed, inequity, exhaustion, depletion, extraction, disconnection, confusion, hoarding, rage, hate and lack … We are being given the opportunity to stitch a new garment. One that fits all of humanity and nature.'" https://inservice.ascd.org/lessons-from-crisis-trauma-responsive-teaching-tools-for-the-work-ahead/

When I read this on social media (and again now), I felt a resounding 'YES' arise within me. We should not aspire to return to normal; we are in dire need of a new way of living and relating to one another - and to the earth itself.

l also like the way she has broken down the healing process. It feels very intuitive for me and I feel greatly compelled towards shadow work (it is something I wish I knew more about):

"I offer three tools to help us navigate this healing process: shadow work, bearing witness, and uplifting students." https://inservice.ascd.org/lessons-from-crisis-trauma-responsive-teaching-tools-for-the-work-ahead/

And as Arlène notes at the end, our wounds indeed become our wisdom.

Wonderful piece. Thank you again!

 

 

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I know Arlène’s article describes something very different from my schooling experiences and, unfortunately, my upbringing. My mom was a teacher. I recall being aware as early as half way thru elementary school of feeling rejected, like my growth and development did not matter, only my meeting expectations and being useful mattered. Slowly I died and this angry, aggressive, bitter, competitive, rebellious and hypervigilant self emerged. Oh yeah, and starving self, starved for love. It took a long time to realize there were plenty of people who loved me, including my parents. Initially they did not know how to nurture and show it effectively. Moreover, they had their own baggage. Later, I had so armored myself that did not know how! I’m still dealing with it at age 69. As a prosecutor I worked with a lot of school administrators and teachers and I saw scant indications of any real progress. My home state legislators were even worse! I hope for more people like Arlène. Her article resonates with this talk a progressive firebrand posted. It’s long, so please feel no obligation to watch if you are not so inclined.

 

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Hello friends-

I hope this finds you all safe and well.

Yesterday, 2 things came across my awareness that I thought had relevance for this conversation.

One- I attended a Juneteenth rally here in Jersey City.  Most attendees were white.  This gave me a sense of hope.  As we stood together and chanted and cheered when passing cars honked and raised fists of solidarity, I noticed a young Black man, maybe about 19 or 20.  He was alone, holding a sign that read "Please stop killing us."  I observed him as he periodically looked out over the crowd.  I saw him smile several times.  I imagined that in that moment, he felt seen.  Less alone in his struggle and his grief and his trauma.  It was a moment that stayed with me through the evening and still, this morning.

The second was listening to my teacher share a. passage by Brigit Anna McNeil yesterday morning during our Friday Morning Zoom Sangha meditation.  It resonated so deeply for me- personally as I continue on the path of learning and healing, and collectively- what we as a world are in the midst of right now.  The protective instinct to run from and leave our hurts behind, until we cannot.  Until they are seen, tended to, healed.   I hope you find resonance with it as well.

You have got through all those heart crushing experiences.
So much trauma, it could have crumbled your bones.Yet here you stand before me; beautiful and strong; awe inspiring.But I'm not so sure that you pulled yourself out and away from the wreckage whole. It feels as though you left a piece of yourself in that place; cutting it away so you could run, closing your ears and heart to the whispering cries of help. And now there seems to be a slice down your middle, a missing piece from your centre. Creating disharmony and uncomfortableness within your very bones.Perhaps it is time to stop your survival sprint, and put your hand on your heart. Feeling into the places that are tender and torn away. Gently pulling them out of the wreckage and into your flesh, your embrace. Without harshness or self criticism, but instead, finding feelings of compassion and kindness for the lost and starved parts of you. For this is how they come home, this is how you make what is broken, whole. And taking your golden thread of care, that is contained within your sewing kit of recovery. Slowly stitch yourself together, singing the old songs of healing. Reminding yourself, with each stitch; of the medicine woman within. Who turns the darkness into light, the wound into a gift, the death into rebirth. As you whisper these stories of strength, courage and medicine deep into your fabric, you call yourself back, drawing your essence into the heart of you once more.
Teaching yourself how to love yourself, stitch by stitch.

In peace-

Rachel

 

 

 

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16 minutes ago, Rachel said:

Hello friends-

I hope this finds you all safe and well.

Yesterday, 2 things came across my awareness that I thought had relevance for this conversation.

One- I attended a Juneteenth rally here in Jersey City.  Most attendees were white.  This gave me a sense of hope.  As we stood together and chanted and cheered when passing cars honked and raised fists of solidarity, I noticed a young Black man, maybe about 19 or 20.  He was alone, holding a sign that read "Please stop killing us."  I observed him as he periodically looked out over the crowd.  I saw him smile several times.  I imagined that in that moment, he felt seen.  Less alone in his struggle and his grief and his trauma.  It was a moment that stayed with me through the evening and still, this morning.

The second was listening to my teacher share a. passage by Brigit Anna McNeil yesterday morning during our Friday Morning Zoom Sangha meditation.  It resonated so deeply for me- personally as I continue on the path of learning and healing, and collectively- what we as a world are in the midst of right now.  The protective instinct to run from and leave our hurts behind, until we cannot.  Until they are seen, tended to, healed.   I hope you find resonance with it as well.

You have got through all those heart crushing experiences.
So much trauma, it could have crumbled your bones.Yet here you stand before me; beautiful and strong; awe inspiring.But I'm not so sure that you pulled yourself out and away from the wreckage whole. It feels as though you left a piece of yourself in that place; cutting it away so you could run, closing your ears and heart to the whispering cries of help. And now there seems to be a slice down your middle, a missing piece from your centre. Creating disharmony and uncomfortableness within your very bones.Perhaps it is time to stop your survival sprint, and put your hand on your heart. Feeling into the places that are tender and torn away. Gently pulling them out of the wreckage and into your flesh, your embrace. Without harshness or self criticism, but instead, finding feelings of compassion and kindness for the lost and starved parts of you. For this is how they come home, this is how you make what is broken, whole. And taking your golden thread of care, that is contained within your sewing kit of recovery. Slowly stitch yourself together, singing the old songs of healing. Reminding yourself, with each stitch; of the medicine woman within. Who turns the darkness into light, the wound into a gift, the death into rebirth. As you whisper these stories of strength, courage and medicine deep into your fabric, you call yourself back, drawing your essence into the heart of you once more.
Teaching yourself how to love yourself, stitch by stitch.

In peace-

Rachel

 

 

 

Wow Rachel. Thanks so much for sharing. I think it is great that so many white people, many of whom likely never heard of Juneteenth until this year, attended the rally. I can't get the image of the young black boy with the sign "please stop killing us" out of my head." Such as simple. peaceful protest, yet the pain and history in that statement is heart-wrenching. I hope that white people approached him and gave him love and support. I also hope that white and black people were united at the rally, instead of naturally sticking to their kind, which often happens in large groups of people. We need to listen to and get to know Black people. They have important stories to tell and important ideas about how we can move forward. I'm not saying that didn't happen- just going by past rallies and gatherings. 

Brigit Anna McNeil spoke the truth- there are incredibly strong and determined people out there still fighting for justice. We need to recognize and honor them.

I attended a zoom meeting by HumanizeMyHoodie and it was interesting because the founders, Jason Sole and Andre Wright reminded us that sure, the emancipation proclamation was declared, but that did not end slavery, but for a very few slaves. and Lincoln himself had slaves. Eventually the emancipation proclamation led to the Thirteenth Amendment with abolished slavery, but even then, black workers were essentially slaves to their white bosses. 

Despite these facts that get lost in history, Jason and Andre were celebrating and declaring how free they felt, and that they never anticipated this kind of movement in their lifetime. I'm so thrilled to be part of this movement and will continue to do whatever I can to move things forward. It's about time!

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Great to read @Racheland @Jo L, this is so interesting.  I never saw a Black person until I was out of high school.  1982...Really

It was uncomfortable at first because my dad was like a slave owner.  I felt like a slave a lot growing up.  He would say "I own you until you are 18 years old" so in a way parents do, being responsible.  But he was also racist.  

I think I felt that way simply because I didn't know how to feel or if I was suppose to feel different.  Now after knowing and having friends I am comfortable with everyone.  All human beings are the same we all have the same inside our bodies and parts etc.  We are the same but unique within thought and mind.  I am a warrior in belief systems and individuality.  I strongly wish all person to have the confidence to own their individual right to be alive at any age.  By having personal thought, spirit and belief in the self. 

I would love to be part of movement for Black people.  Any people.  I understand where they want something for being treated so badly.  It is like that was then, now is now.  There will always be loss of some kind.  I do not think there is any amount of money or property that can make up for the past that they have endured.  It sickens me to the soul.  

 When comes to my inside essence I remain calm and practice but my outside essence is very concerned with people treating others as if monsters.  I totally understand.  My jaw dropped when I first saw the video of the knee on the neck.  I was outraged myself.    

Great topic.  Keep our prayers and peace within for them.

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Posted (edited)

Hi Paige,

I'm sorry that you grew up with a father who thought he could "own" you. I can't imagine how that felt. And it's also sad that you grew up in an environment where racism was present. I thank my parents for never having instilled negative beliefs about people of color or those who were gay or any other type of minority. When I dated a black man in my early 20's they didn't even question it, and I took that for granted. I realize many other parents wouldn't have approved. Children are not born racist- they learn from parents, caregivers, and from society and cultural conditioning. Even young black children learn bias against themselves- there is a study where young black girls choose white dolls to play with over black dolls. Not surprising given our culture's blatant portrayal of caucasian as the beauty ideal as well as the lack of black barbies and dolls. That's just one example. 

As an aside, there is an implicit bias test online that I encourage everyone to take:  https://implicit.harvard.edu/implicit/user/agg/blindspot/indexrk.htm  I can't recall where I saw it- maybe even on here. If so, I apologize!

I am proud of you Paige for acknowledging that you have changed your beliefs and for the growth that you have made. I'm curious, does your family know your beliefs now? And if so, what do they think about it? 

 

 

Edited by Jo L
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On 6/20/2020 at 3:45 PM, Rachel said:

Slowly stitch yourself together, singing the old songs of healing. Reminding yourself, with each stitch; of the medicine woman within.

Hello Rachel! First, what a beautiful image and retelling of your witnessing of that young man. Very moving!

I also love this above passage - the image of the medicine woman within and the golden thread. I will hold onto this.

@Paige PIlege - I am sorry to hear that this level of racism was present in your family growing up. It sounds like you've really taken a look into those belief systems and started to unravel them for yourself. Beautiful.

And thank you for sharing that implicit bias test @Jo L!

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8 hours ago, Jo L said:

Hi Paige,

I'm sorry that you grew up with a father who thought he could "own" you. I can't imagine how that felt. And it's also sad that you grew up in an environment where racism was present. I thank my parents for never having instilled negative beliefs about people of color or those who were gay or any other type of minority. When I dated a black man in my early 20's they didn't even question it, and I took that for granted. I realize many other parents wouldn't have approved. Children are not born racist- they learn from parents, caregivers, and from society and cultural conditioning. Even young black children learn bias against themselves- there is a study where young black girls choose white dolls to play with over black dolls. Not surprising given our culture's blatant portrayal of caucasian as the beauty ideal as well as the lack of black barbies and dolls. That's just one example. 

As an aside, there is an implicit bias test online that I encourage everyone to take:  https://implicit.harvard.edu/implicit/user/agg/blindspot/indexrk.htm  I can't recall where I saw it- maybe even on here. If so, I apologize!

I am proud of you Paige for acknowledging that you have changed your beliefs and for the growth that you have made. I'm curious, does your family know your beliefs now? And if so, what do they think about it? 

 

 

Oh yes, they do.  They respect the fact that I have my own take and will not tolerate it.  It is disgusting to me to act so above anything.  Not much is brought up about it anymore.  It was more present in the 70s and early 80s.  My dad has since passed a few years ago. My mom just went along with things.  But my mom today would never think of being racist now.  We both feel the same.  

It is hard for me to believe a black girl would want a white doll?  I would buy all types of dolls if I had a girl.  I had 2 boys is all for children.  I think it is important to offer all ethnics to everyone.  Why do they not sell them together?  I did notice in the Dollar General when close out came it was always the alternates that were left.  But I bought them anyway.  

It was difficult raising the 2 boys alone that were always judging people just walking down the street.  I cannot say how many times I scolded them for it.  That behavior is not tolerated.  Strange, I find myself saying it more often again.  Not surprising with the social events.  

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I am doing Trauma Sensitive mindfulness course right now and finding it hugely helpful.

I work with children and hoping to work with teens . I find it difficult to get them onboard. It is with these age groups that I love giving mindful tools that I hope will carry them through life.

I have fallen out of being here in this group but will try link in more. I read the posts often and such great community.

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