How To Hold Your Frog

What is bigger? Society or Existence? Intelligence or the Intellect? Existence or our own psychological structure? I think many in Western culture do not know the difference between ‘Intelligence’ and the ‘Intellect’. #HealingTrauma

All of life is intelligence. An ant, a butterfly, a tree, a rainbow, a child and even Existence itself. Intelligence is primary. The intellect is secondary. The intellect is a tool. It is a cutting instrument. That is why when someone is smart we say they are ‘sharp’.

“The brain is more than an assemblage of autonomous modules, each crucial for a specific mental function. Every one of these functionally specialized areas must interact with dozens or hundreds of others, their total integration creating something like a vastly complicated orchestra with thousands of instruments, an orchestra that conducts itself, with an ever-changing score and repertoire.” –
Oliver Sacks

It is like a sharp knife with a pointed tip. That why we say ‘he was right on point’. However, what happens when we use this sharp knife to love someone? A scientist knows a Frog through means of dissection. He pulls it apart. Knows all its pieces. Then the Frog is dead.

To experience the same Frog requires a different intelligence. To embrace the Frog just the way it is with awareness (i.e. It is what it is). Unfortunately, we have a tendency to intellectualise everything. We want to “know things.” We want to “fix things.” We even do this to our loved ones all the time:

We analyse, judge and dissect them. We pull them apart. Then we wonder why they feel dead. We do this to ourselves. Then we wonder why we feel dead. Because it is like a sharp knife we have dissected the world and everyone – including ourselves – into a trillion pieces of good/bad, right/wrong, more/less, sin/virtue, and so on.

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.

Remember the intellect is a tool. To know things. To fix things. To keep us safe and alive. However, it is used far too often, often incorrectly (i.e. excessively at ourselves, others and the natural world) and it can only take us so far. There are some things we can never know. Never fix.

Some things cannot be measured entirely. They can only be experienced: Life. Truth. Love. Young science will only ever take us so far due to the nature of the intellect. The limitation of this tool. At some point we need to stop. Put down the knife. Take a leap of faith (i.e. trust in the unknown): Look. Listen. Feel.

“The most precious gift we can offer others is our presence. When mindfulness embraces those we love, they will bloom like flowers.” – Thich Nhat Hanh

Perhaps the greatest tragedy is that we think the intellect is greater than intelligence. This could not be further from the truth. Intelligence is far greater than intellect. Existence is far greater than society. Intelligence is far greater than our own psychological structure.

Knowing this is primary. It is a humble freedom. Returning to a large scale vision: borderless and boundless. The highest realisation: I am that which is not. It must be nameless. For as soon as you label it, it becomes a ‘thing’ separate from the rest. A division created by the sharp knife: the intellect.

We will always need the intellect. However, we use it far too much. So much so that we have already carved up the planet. One of the greatest things we can do is absolutely nothing. Huh? If we did absolutely nothing for three to six months planet Earth would be thriving!

George Fragopoulos captured this beautiful imagine of Warruwi Boy and Joey.

Not trying to ‘know it’. Not try to ‘fix it’. Holding Your Frog: Look. Listen. Feel. The psychological mind rejects this. It thinks it is bigger than intelligence because of its inflated sense of self importance (See Thread: #4 Why I Switched from Self-Esteem To Self-Compassion). It wants to know. It wants to do. It wants purpose.

It cannot accept the Universe is absolutely perfect just the way it is. How can we convince the intellect this? Where is trauma predominantly? In society or Existence? What generally creates most trauma? The intellect or intelligence? What will bring the most clarity? The intellect or awareness?

“Numb the dark and you numb the light.” – Dr Brené Brown

Trauma is a disconnection within us and our relationship towards ourselves, others and the planet. In this sense, an ant, a butterfly, a tree, a rainbow, a child and even Existence itself are our greatest teachers. Remember trauma is disconnection: not feeling a sense of safety, acceptance, connection, love and belonging.

Healing Trauma. #YouBelong

Perhaps it is because we are viewing life with a cutting instrument. Dissecting rather than holding the Frog: Look. Listen. Feel. Essentially, we are also doing self-esteem (i.e. a ‘Survival of the Fittest’ mindset) rather than self-compassion (i.e. an ‘Enlightenment’ mindset: kindness, common humanity, mindfulness #YouBelong).

I understand Mindfulness is a buzz word and you might be sick of hearing it. However, what if it is the greatest tool given by Wisdom Traditions to young science? Mindfulness is ‘non-judgmental acceptance of the present with a sense of openness and curiosity’.

Mindfulness is the opposite of the intellect. A break from needing to know things and fix things to actually ‘experience’ them as they are: Life. Truth. Love. The opposite of division, disconnection and trauma: connection. What might that be like if we practiced it for long enough? A sense of safety, acceptance, connection, love and belonging.

Beyond words. Beyond ideas. Beyond belief. Beyond fact. Beyond philosophy. Beyond psychology. Beyond science. Beyond spirituality. Beyond politics. What is beyond this? Existence. Intelligence: A humble freedom. A sense of love and belonging that we are inseparable from Existence itself.

Australian Geographic: Laura Dance Festival
Cape York, Australia.

Existence created us. It exists within and all around us. An intelligence far greater than the intellect. Now we are talking clarity: to see things just the way they are. Now we have some perspective: A gentle freedom. A large scale vision: borderless and boundless. The highest realisation:

I am that which is not.

Beyond science and spirituality however either will get you here. But you must go the whole way. Breaking the glass wall. Jumping over the edge, metaphorically. Everybody will say no! But it is too late. You already fell! The bad news is that there is no parachute. The good news is that there is no ground.

“The bad news is you are falling through the air, nothing to hang on to, no parachute. The good news is there is no ground.” — Chögyam Trungpa

Enlightenment: You are a life beyond words. The byproduct of clarity – to see things just the way they are – is a sense of peacefulness. Joy is simply peace dancing (i.e. a higher intensity of arousal). Clarity opens the doors to peace, joy, love, compassion, blissfulness and ecstasy. So do not seek happiness. Seek clarity.

Clarity helps us to operate at our optimal state of arousal (See Thread: #3 Window of Tolerance: Safe Enough and Okay Enough vs Too Much or Not Enough). Not lost in our memories and/or imagination “stuck” in trauma (fight, flight, freeze, collapse). Clarity invites us to become grounded in the present moment: this increases our awareness, health and wellbeing, performance and when we are our most compassionate self.

Purposeful action is the natural consequence of clarity (See Thread: #2 What Is Intimacy And Play?). You will not hurt anyone. Because you will see that everything is connected (See Thread: #5 Three Phase Approach To Healing Trauma). You will still have an intellect. However, you now understand that intelligence is primary; intellect secondary. With awareness you are now holding the sharp knife in the palm of your hand.

Ready to use this sharp knife only if and only when you must (See Thread: #1 Threat System vs Peace System). Not obsessively. Do knives kill or save more lives? Knives have saved more lives. They are used every morning, lunch and dinner. They are used to perform surgery on others. They can been used to kill another. To take our own life.

However, a knife is not dangerous by itself. The danger depends on the hand that holds it. The intellect is not a problem in itself. However, without clarity it is an incredibly dangerous cutting instrument. It is an exceptional tool when used correctly; unfortunately, incorrectly and too often.

“We can and must respond creatively to the triple crisis and simultaneously overcome dehumanization, economic inequality, and, ecological catastrophe.” – Vandana Shiva

It is also ‘considered’ the greatest weapon. This is not true. They say ‘when the power of love overcomes the love of power; the world will know peace’. I say when we experience intelligence just the way it is; we will know peace. This is marriage of science and mysticism.

So what’s bigger? Society or Existence? Intelligence or the intellect? Existence or your own psychological structure? It will hurt Psychology that I asked this. However, it must be asked. Whatever the answer trust it. That’s how you hold the Frog.

“The sign of intelligence is that you are constantly wondering. Idiots are always dead sure about every damn thing they are doing in their life.” – Sadhguru

Enough is enough.

Let us be equally critical (Intellect) and open minded (Mindfulness) = Intelligence.

Awareness. Compassion. Purposeful Action.

Common humanity.

Dedicated to Sadhguru. 🕊

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” – Maya Angelou

Now you know the power of Trauma Informed Care. Let’s turn this framework into a mindset for personal, social and political change. If you are unable to, you might need help first, to get safe or become ‘unstuck’ from trauma. Reach out for trauma informed care. #YouBelong

With love,

Dr Louise Hansen
PhD in Psychology
Human Rights Activist

#HealingTrauma #Justice4Australia #YouBelong

Beth Orton – Central Reservation (1999):

Running down a central reservation
in last night’s red dress,
And I can still smell you on my fingers
and taste you on my breath;
Stepping through brilliant shades,
All the color you bring,
This time, this time, this time,
Is whatever I want it to mean.
If this is where memories are made,
I’m gonna like what I see,
And everything that I ever took for granted,
I’m gonna let it be.
I step through every shade,
All the color you bring,
This time, this time, this time,
Is whatever I want it to mean.
And everything and nothing
is as sacred as we’d want it to be,
When it’s really all,
Make it really all,
Compared to what.
It’s like living in the middle of the ocean,
With no future, no past,
And everything that’s good about now,
Well, might just glide right past.
I’m stepping through brilliant shades,
All the color you bring,
This time, this time, this time,
Is fine just as it is.
And everything is sacred here,
And nothing is as sacred as I want it to be,
When it’s really all compared to what.”


For my step father Mark Joseph McCarthy. You taught me to relentlessly seek, against everyone else’s advice.
“The Uluru Statement from the Heart is an invitation from First Nations to all Australians to realise a better future. Learn more and help us educate other Australians.”

“Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.” – James Baldwin
“Feeling overwhelmed by the amount of support we received overnight! We’re able to fund one more Indigenous Psychology student for a full three year Psychology degree from just a 10 minute appearance on ABC #TheDrum.” – Dr Tracy Westerman AM

If you would like to donate, please visit:
Kon Karapanagiotidis AM. Lawyer, Founder and CEO of Asylum Seeker Resource Centre:

“Being fierce advocates is at the heart of what we do at the ASRC and now even that is under attack. We’ve joined forces with Hands Off Our Charities (HOOC) alliance made up of charity and civil society across the country to fight against the new regulations that could see charities deregistered for engaging in advocacy activities.”

Advocating for asylum-seekers: lessons from the pandemic:
Energy Transition Expert Simon Holmes à court:

“Australia’s political system is too broken to tackle climate change, and big polluters are determined to keep it that way. But we have a plan:”
My partner Marcelo Alegre Rubic who taught me do not let anyone control your life. #YouBelong

Trauma Informed World was inspired by Kopika and Tharnicaa; two faces that remind us everyday of Australia’s cruel refugee system. One of many systems in Australia that remind us of the negative operation of power. #HomeToBilo

Kopika (left) and Tharnicaa (right) were kept at Christmas Island Detention Centre for nearly two years despite trauma informed calls to return them to Biloela, Queensland. Tharnicaa has spent most of her life detained by the Australian Government and is still in community detention to this day. #YouBelong

***Since the creation of this website the Biloela family were released from detention, returned to Biloela and granted permanent protection in Australia. However, hundreds more people still remain stuck in a system that requires urgent reform.***

Welcome to the Kaldor Centre for International Refugee Law. Join us to make positive changes for refugees around the world.

New Kaldor Centre policy brief proposes reforms to Australia’s temporary protection system | Kaldor Centre:

You can listen my talk with Dr Cathy Kezelman AM, President of Blue Knot Foundation on my own healing journey, training and study and how it has informed my work and advocacy for a trauma informed world here:

Trauma Informed World acknowledges and respects Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people as the Traditional Custodians of the land and waterways on which this educational resource was inspired. I acknowledge and respect Elders past, present and emerging. I honour the continuation of educational, cultural and spiritual practices and celebrate the extraordinary diversity of people and relationships worldwide. This website contains images of deceased persons. There are also swear words in some of the songs presented that portray intense emotions. This website is not intended to trigger people who have experienced trauma. However, if you do find any of the content triggering, each page has a link to Australia’s National Helplines and Websites for immediate mental health support. These are my own personal views and comments and may not reflect the views of my employer.

Australia’s National Helplines and Websites:

To provide the best information possible, Beyond Blue has listed national helplines and external services. All services linked to Beyond Blue are reviewed before they are posted.

Published by Dr Louise Hansen

This is a free educational website on Trauma Informed Care for survival and wellbeing. While each injustice differs, all stories share the same trauma: the negative operation of power. Let’s break the cycle of injustice and trauma together one day at a time. The byproduct of clarity is peace. Joy is peace dancing. Trauma is disconnection. Empathy fuels connection. Knowledge is power: “Love is the absence of judgment.” – His Holiness the Dalai Lama. #YouBelong

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