Broken Systems And Freedom Within

Why reinvent the wheel? Let’s begin with Joseph Campbell: “The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek. A hero is someone who has given his or her life to something bigger than oneself. #HealingTrauma

If the path before you is clear, you’re probably on someone else’s. If you can see your path laid out in front of you step by step, it’s not your path. Your own path you make with every step you take. That’s why it’s your path.

Joseph John Campbell was an American professor of literature at Sarah Lawrence College who worked in comparative mythology. His work covers many aspects of the human experience.

Life is without meaning. Each of us has meaning and we bring it to life. The meaning of life is whatever you ascribe it to be. Being alive is the meaning. It is a waste to be asking the question when you are the answer.

Myths are public dreams, dreams are private myths. This is the great realization of the Upanishads of India, already in the ninth century B.C. All the gods, all the heavens, all the hells, are within us. All the worlds are within you.

Isha Yoga Centre, Tamil, India.

“Yoga is not just about twisting and turning. Yoga means to exist in union with the rest of creation.” – Sadhguru

Find a place inside where there’s joy, and the joy will burn out the pain. If you are falling….dive. We’re not on our journey to save the world but to save ourselves. But in doing that, you save the world. The influence of a vital person vitalizes.

Those who think they know how the universe could have been had they created it, without pain, without sorrow, without time, without death, are unfit for illumination. The black moment is the moment when the real message of transformation is going to come.

At the darkest moment comes the light.

Rosa Louise McCauley Parks was an African-American activist in the civil rights movement best known for her pivotal role in the Montgomery bus boycott:

“I have learned over the years that when one’s mind is made up, this diminishes fear; knowing what must be done does away with fear.”

And all you have to do to transform your hell into a paradise is to turn your fall into a voluntary act. It’s a very interesting shift of perspective and that’s all it is… joyful participation in the sorrows and everything changes.

The demon that you can swallow gives you its power, and the greater life’s pain, the greater life’s reply. Not all who hesitate are lost. The psyche has many secrets in reserve. And these are not disclosed unless required.

Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela was a South African anti-apartheid revolutionary. Mandela spent 27 years in prison. Mandela became the country’s first black head of state and served as President of South Africa from 1994 to 1999. His government focused on dismantling the legacy of apartheid by tackling institutionalised racism and fostering racial reconciliation:

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”

What each must seek in his life never was, on land or sea. It is to be something out of his own unique potentiality for experience, something that never has been and never could have been experienced by anyone else.

The big question is whether you are going to be able to say a hearty yes to your adventure. We must be willing to get rid of the life we’ve planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us. The privilege of a lifetime is being who you are.

The way to find out about your happiness is to keep your mind on those moments when you feel most happy -not excited, not just thrilled, but deeply happy. What is it that makes you happy? Stay with it, no matter what people tell you. This is what I call “following your bliss.”

The goal of life is to make your heartbeat match the beat of the universe, to match your nature with Nature. Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors for you where there were only walls. Your sacred space is where you can find yourself again and again.

Is the system going to flatten you out and deny you your humanity, or are you going to be able to make use of the system to the attainment of human purposes?

Greta Thunberg, Climate- and Environmental Activist with Asperger’s:

“Our relationship with nature is broken. But relationships can change. We are part of nature. When we protect nature, we are nature protecting itself.”

Out of perfection nothing can be made. Every process involves breaking something up. If the seed does not die, there is no plant. Bread results from the death of wheat. Life lives on lives. Our own life lives on the acts of other people. If you are lifeworthy, you can take it.

You may not know it. The world is a constellation of imperfections, and you, perhaps, are the most imperfect of all.

Eternity has nothing to do with time. Eternity is that dimension of here and now which thinking and time cuts out. This is it. And if you don’t get it here, you won’t get it anywhere. And the experience of eternity right here and now is the function of life.

It is by going down into the abyss that we recover the treasures of life. Where you stumble, there lies your treasure. The very cave you are afraid to enter turns out to be the source of what you are looking for.

We cannot cure the world of sorrows, but we can choose to live in joy. Participate joyfully in the sorrows of the world. The problem is not to blame or to explain but to handle the life that arises.”

My turn: Every system you enter has its obligations and if you don’t follow them you will likely get kicked out! That’s why shame is such a powerful emotion. It is “the fear of disconnection” aka the fear of rejection.

This could be our family, school, work, the law, military, or religion. Hell even climate change! If we don’t follow life none of us will get out alive! Regardless of the system, at some point we will die. Death brings meaning to life. Everyone deserves a pleasant life. So there is no excuse to leave our children behind.

Peace System (i.e. Intimacy and Play) despite the silence or judgment, blame, punishment, shame and stigma.

We all depend on the system to survive. However, if society is all we focus on for sure we would rather suicide. There is a time and a place for all things. Knowledge will always have its limits. On the other hand, our ignorance is boundless. Is it any wonder it feels bliss?

Once we think we know everything then for sure we will want to die. However, we do not know it all. We know less than a child. Mindfulness means “nonjudgmental acceptance of the present with openness and curiosity.” Mindfulness returns us to the heart of Existence where freedom lies:

“Love is the absence of judgment.” – His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

Is it any wonder animals and children have healthiest emotional systems on the planet? It is in their ordinariness they are in touch with life. Not “stuck” in thoughts that obscure reality. This is why Mindfulness is as vital a tool as science to keep in your pocket.

Importantly, mindfulness is not escaping life. It is seeing reality just the way it is. Not projecting what we think we know onto it. It is more accurate to say someone else’s beliefs since they’re not even yours. Remember you copied them? That is why you have not found your bliss!

Jagadish Vasudev, venerated as Sadhguru, Indian Yogi and founder of Isha Yoga Centre, Tamil, India:

“The most precious thing in life is life itself. Are you getting it now or only on your deathbed?”

Why hold onto something untrue, when we can release it in an instant for the real deal? Freedom is in this moment, within and all around us, if only we could taste life. Well one thing is for sure. Any system brought you here. So at some point it is up to you to set yourself free. Why?

Otherwise you will never know what it means to be. We will only see the other as someone much bigger and better or someone much smaller and lesser than us. Once we see the essence of every single thing is just the same as anything else, we will experience peace on Earth.

Now the only thing that matters is how beautiful and profound is your life? Are you growing deeper and broader, or narrow, rigid, inflexible and divided? The former requires you can balance local wisdom and science. Not just the nonsense of one’s mind.

“Through his towering humanity on screen and talent David Gulpilil made us confront our shameful treatment of First Nations people’s and challenged us to learn from it and not look away. He taught me so much about how we’re on the land of worlds oldest living culture and I’m so grateful.” – Kon Karapanagiotidis AM.

If there were no rules and we had absolute freedom, our lives would be in chaos trying to balance relationships, children, jobs, school and responsibilities. So having systems can be incredibly useful for discipline, structure, routine and harmony.

However, if the system is too regimented, any life will become unpleasant. Being a control freak is a byproduct of insecurity. Essentially we are trying to make the insecure secure. However, nothing is secure. Life is vulnerability. Too many rules is harmful. Beliefs and conflicts have killed.

For Socceroo’s legend Craig Foster AM and Sonny Bill Williams, New Zealand.

“8yrs ago, NZ offered to resettle 150 refugees per year that Australia refused to help @sonnybillwilliams & I are calling on @scottmorrisonmp to accept the offer. These empty chairs symbolise lost lives, dreams, hope in the interim at a cost of $10 billion + our humanity.”

Australia and the World
Courage, Solidarity, Humanity and Leadership.
Or Refugee Torture, Human Rights Abuse, Xenophobia and Climate Inaction.
From Local to Global.
Annual Australian National University Address
National Press Club, Canberra.

History shows us none of this is new. This is what mindfulness was intended for. Even if you cannot beat a particular system, you can find your own bliss since Existence is far greater than any system within it. Clarity is the heart of Existence.

“We have not even to risk the adventure alone; for the heroes of all time have gone before us; the labyrinth is thoroughly known; we have only to follow the thread of the hero-path. And where we had thought to find an abomination, we shall find a god (i.e. Existence); where we had thought to slay another, we shall slay ourselves; where we had thought to travel outward, we shall come to the center of our own existence; where we had thought to be alone, we shall be with all the world.” –
Joseph Campbell

Why is this more vital today than ever? The greatest threat to humanity is apathy. Our capacity for empathy is proportional to our embodied awareness. This means experiencing ourselves as a part of Existence. Trauma is disconnection. Empathy fuels connection.

Polyvagal Theory is ‘Friendship’ via intimacy and play (aka Social Engagement System). Intimacy: safety, stillness, low arousal, flip side of freeze. Play: safety, movement, high arousal, flip side of fight/flight. #Friendship #Intimacy #Play

“Mistakes are always forgivable, if one has the courage to admit them.” – Bruce Lee


Trauma can temporarily damage, disrupt, or make it difficulty for us to access our Peace System (peace, joy, love, compassion, blissfulness, ecstasy). Our perception of reality becomes distorted (i.e. lost in memory and imagination) and “stuck” in trauma (fight, flight, freeze, collapse).

Intimacy is vital to keep a new born baby alive, to heal trauma and for peace on Earth. Buddha said: “If we could see the miracle of a single flower clearly our whole life would change.” Mindfulness is intimacy. It is seeing the flower beyond its name. Seeing life as a phenomenal intelligence at play.

So why were we not taught this at home or at school? History has not always favoured the wise. Our parents could not discuss mental illness the way we can today, openly. Many religions demonised it. Many scientists refused to study what could not be measured: emotion, consciousness, spirituality.

Historically, men also consulted Doctors. After wars trauma was primarily considered a physical affair. Today more people embrace Psychiatry (e.g. PTSD) and if Psychiatrists use Trauma Informed Care then its future is bright. The truth has no agenda. Neuroscience parallels Wisdom Traditions.

When we examine five world view – Free Will, Religion, Law, Disease Model and Neuroplasticity, it is easy to see why so many continue to judge one another as “weak will”, a “sinner”, a “criminal” or “powerless” with a disease, while others embrace the absence of judgment via Trauma Informed Care.

Australian of the Year Grace Tame. #LetHerSpeak

“We’re all welcome at this table. Communication breeds understanding and understanding is the foundation of progress. Lived experience informs structural and social change. When we share, we heal.”

We get stuck in trauma because we confuse belief, metaphor and fact. A fact is a fact, regardless of belief. A metaphor describes what a fact can never capture. A metaphor is as valid and necessary as a fact. Delusion is believing one is superior to the other. Why?

My Persian-Australian Bahai Refugee friend who came to Australia from Iran many years ago told me this story, maybe 15 years ago: She said the children at school always ask “Why do all the Religions fight with one another?” Her name is Marjan.

Marjan said: “Because each Religion is like a lantern. Inside each lantern was the truth (i.e. light 💡). However, each Religion wanted their lantern to be the best. So they all decorated their lanterns with different stories and in the process they covered the light.”

Vanessa Nakate, Climate Activist:

“How long are we to watch them die of thirst in the droughts? And gasp for air in the floods? What is the state of the hearts of the world leaders who watched this happen and allow it to continue? Our leaders are lost and the planet is damaged.”

The stories were intended to be signposts to truth (i.e. reality). The stories were not facts. No story or fact can capture life. That is why we say: It is what it is. So we must make do with what we have. Some side with stories. Some facts.

Some take the stories as facts. Some take the facts as the stories. However, even our understanding of facts has changed throughout the course of history. People fought and killed one another over which story was the truth and which facts were the facts. Long story short, they lost the light.

Name: Mehdi Ali

“I came to Australia asking for safety when I was just 15 years old. Now I am 23 and still in detention. I am suffering. We stopped counting the days a long time ago. We stopped having dreams and plans about our future. I said goodbye to those a long time ago too. I left home when I was 15, by myself. Australia locked me up and threw away the key. Shame on this cruel policy that destroyed my childhood.”


Delusion is believing one is superior to the other. Clarity is seeing there is a need for both. We are each our own lantern: a collection stories and facts. There is also a truth inside us that can never be named by either. Otherwise, it will cover the light. Mindfulness takes us here…

You are the flower. 🌺 #YouBelong

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

Matt Finish – Short Note (1981):

“Just a short note
You’ll find the key inside
There’s no one home tonight
But come in anyway
The shallow sea
Calm, but not asleep
You’re gonna wade into the deep
Tomorrow’s years away
And now I know
Why darkness makes me smile
The night will have its child
And the wind will wind away
The wind will wind away
Until you’re telling your friends we died
Laughing still
But the vessel that you fill
Will be your own
Wade into the deep
How much can you see,
Before we’re all the same
Those words I wrote
I see my errors now
There’s too much when and how
And you blow it anyway
The shallow sea
Calm, but not asleep
You’re gonna wade into the deep
Tomorrow’s years away
Every day, every day, every day
And now I know
Why darkness makes me smile
The night will have it’s child
And we’ll all just blow away
Just watch us blow away
Until you’re telling your friends we died
Laughing still
But the vessel that you fill
Will be your own
Wade into the deep
How much can you see
Before we’re all the same
Show me.”

“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:
Democracy On The Streets:

a global, chalk based wellbeing movement.
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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