My beautiful wife and child, and my own trauma service dog of six years – caring, sharing, guidance and correction 24/7/365
So many relatives, friends and coworkers with whom I have shared the most epic communication fails. I have had many teachers. I’ve gotten lots of help
I have no birth right to it, and so I chose the Sundance, as a 6th generation settler. Well, I first saw the Sundance, as an infant – a solemn old man floating outside watching over me at night. I felt it as my sole source of hope for decades, in the bush, in canoes and little planes over the taiga and tundra.
I found the ceremony thirty two years ago, the backbone of my own recovery and trauma resolution, and so a deep reverence for cleansing and healing underlies my more technical/clinical skills
Many thanks to the special medicines known as psychedelics. Some excellent relief and resolution potential, yet a core characteristic all share is, to act as ‘unspecified amplifiers’. You can set the best intentions and still be unable to predict or control how things unfold
You can’t know what you don’t know and given how completely a suffering child can be hidden in plain sight, it can help to acknowledge that you may not know the extent of your psychological injuries sustained in infancy. The chaos and loneliness of your life now may hint at the source. If this is the case, absolutely reduce the potential harm of a sudden destabilization and make safety plans for a worst case overwhelm while under the influence of psychedelic medicine
All carry some risk of painful flooding. You may carry risks and vulnerabilities that are outside of your daily awareness. Avoid overwhelm and setbacks at all costs – learn the many ways to generate and maximize BDNF (brain-derived neurotrophic factor) surges without risking stability. Thank you altered states – those pleasant and accessible flow states to wholeness and health
Two transformative professors, decades apart. John back in 1995, who pointed out some qualities of my mind to me for the first time. And Bessel in 2016, whose hope focused understanding of trauma confirmed my stubborn belief that recovery and wellness are attainable
Lastly, the supremely helpful matrix of hazard/risk assessment with a slice of root cause investigation and analysis. Hazards are generally the same for everyone but risk is completely specific and individual. The two questions to ask are – how bad could it be? And how likely is it to happen?
Hazard: a brain tumor that needs surgery – pretty bad
Risk: Me doing the surgery is extremely high risk but a brain surgeon doing brain surgery with much lower risk. Understatment
Hazard: the twenty year anniversary of a painful loss – it depends right?
Risk: your time/resources/productivity get lost in unresolved, disenfranchised grief or maybe this year you needed to actually be reminded then can share a laugh and a solemn moment – maybe sliding a bit on the continuum, seeking balance and meaning
Hazard: first post pandemic extended family get together – should be great!!
Risk: dramatically high risk if I’m the gaslit scapegoat who was ‘always trouble’, hopeful that this time will be different. Lowest risk? That goes to those who have abused children and those who averted their gaze from those children
I did my BA in Conflict Resolution Studies 1996, and focused on the extraordinary influence unresponsive bystanders have. Controlling situations and circumstances by doing nothing. Doing actual harm by omission. What kind of plan would you need in order to BOTH attend the family get together AND effectively manage the risk of your explosive traumatic distress being triggered
High Hazard/High Risk:
Trauma that is Complex – multiple caregivers were involved – now as an adult, unable to trust or be close to others
Resolution: becoming willing to, learning to, thriving as you trust and are close with others. Dare to hope for a new vision of yourself and how you are in the world
And, trauma that is Developmental – environment of prenatal til three years old is chaotic and deficient – vital neural circuitry and pathways (your default mode) are laid down in a chaotic, deficient pattern
Resolution: learn about BDNF, use the five step Satisfaction Cycle (push, reach, grab, pull, collapse) to platform up emotional intelligence and psychological flexibility. The Vagus Nerve as support for breakthrough traumatic stress … you are allowed to reframe things, to excavate and lay a foundation for who you are now
Shape your legacy with inner cohesion and external coherence, unity and meaning. Set things right for yourself