Stepping Stones

Trying to finish my PhD (2015).

For years I struggled to sit still, concentrate, do assignments, office work, appointments, registrations, etc. I was easily distracted. I’d procrastinate. A Psychiatrist thought I had ADHD. My attention is great today. There are so many tools. Martial Arts changed my brain. 🥷🇵🇭

It does not need to be Martial Arts, 🧘🏽‍♀️ Mindfulness also changes the brain. Although, some argue that it can be more difficult changing the brain with our minds, because our minds are so flippant (e.g. One minute we are here, next minute we are there. One minute we feel good, next minute awful. So it is often unreliable).

This might account for why so many people say they hate 🧘🏽‍♀️ Mindfulness or that it does nothing for them. Mindfulness is also experiential. This means that it takes practice over time to appreciate its benefits, rather than to be understood by our intellect on day one.

So systems like Yoga, Martial Arts, Traditional Dance are a reliable practice to regulate our emotions. When the body stops screaming, we feel good, and the mind follows. Also the body is primary. If you had diarrhoea, you would not be reading this. You’d be racing to the toilet.

Kali 3D Filipino Martial Arts Training Camp, Batangas, Philippines (2017).

So while Mindfulness is wonderful and I have done years of it and still do, having experienced both approaches, I agree with various wisdom traditions, that a sense of stability is more easily established via the body – and – in conjunction with Mindfulness, well look out.

Also worth noting, I do not do any body based practices today (i.e. Martial Arts or Yoga) because my focus has shifted to social justice. So it was enough for my system to experience these for a few years to find my own sense of safety. My mind did not need them forever.

I have seen this with many people older than me, such as my partner, the Dalai Lama and Sadhguru, etc. These guys are not doing Martial Arts or Yoga everyday and some of them do not do it at all now. Their practice has become life itself and the art was simply a stepping stone.

Kali 3D Filipino Martial Arts Training Camp, Batangas, Philippines (2019).

At one point I was addicted to Martial Arts and Yoga and convinced myself, if I stopped I would get Psychosis again. However, this has not been the case to date. I have not done either since Covid because I work in remote communities and also my focus has changed.

It was as equally important a lesson to find them as it was to be able to let them go to see that many experiences in life can be used as a practice and the practice itself is not the only solution, but a door to life itself, for people like me who simply could not regulate emotion.

My dream is that these trauma informed systems become accessible to the world for free and are used to help people who have great difficulties with addiction, violence and trauma. Several schools and prisons around the world already do this with remarkable results.

“It’s strengthened them mentally and physically. It’s given them a sense of inner peace. Yoga has radically changed these men’s lives for the better.” – Taylor O’Sullivan via John M. de Castro, Ph.D. http://contemplative-studies.org/wp/index.php/2019/09/12/improve-prisoners-self-directedness-with-yoga/

#HealingTrauma

Until they become free, if Mindfulness is the only option, here is a tip I learnt from trauma training. Rather than doing 10 minutes of Mindfulness a day as a side thing to reality, try 1 minute 10 times a day. This is much more achievable. When you shower, have a tea or coffee,

lunch, time with a friend, time alone, etc. Each time we do this, we break the cycle of being on autopilot (i.e. our routine thoughts, feelings, behaviours). Not only are these mini moments occurring in your daily life, rather than as a separate side thing,

over time all these dots will eventually connect and that will be the day you feel a shift that your system has changed to be more congruent with life. It will still be the beginning, because life is the beginning for all of us, no matter how old we are. If it feels like the end, that’s the mind.

This is where gratitude opens the door to the freshness and beauty of life. If you need inspiration, think of Nelson Mandela and how long he was in prison, and the freedom he felt simply from knowing himself and knowing life, and using that to inspire change. ❤️

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:

“It always seems impossible until it’s done.”

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
Psychologist
PhD in Psychology
Human Rights Activist

#HealingTrauma #Justice4Australia #YouBelong

Bette Midler – The Rose

“Some say love it is a river,
That drowns the tender reed.
Some say love it is a razor,
That leaves your soul to bleed.
Some say love it is a hunger,
An endless, aching need.
I say love it is a flower,
And you it’s only seed.
It’s the heart afraid of breaking,
That never learns to dance.
It’s the dream afraid of waking,
That never takes the chance.
It’s the one who won’t be taken’,
Who cannot seem to give.
And the soul afraid of dying,
That never learns to live.
When the night has been too lonely,
and the road has been too long.
And you think that love is only,
For the lucky and the strong.
Just remember in the winter,
Far beneath the bitter snow.
Lies the seed that with the sun’s love,
in the spring, becomes the rose.”

https://youtu.be/zxSTzSEiZ2c

#YouBelong
“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.”

https://ulurustatement.org/the-statement/
#IncarcerationNation

https://incarcerationnation.com.au

“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:

https://www.thejilyainstitute.com.au/about-us/
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

https://www.hometobilo.com

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

https://www.kaldorcentre.unsw.edu.au/

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

https://www.kaldorcentre.unsw.edu.au/news/new-kaldor-centre-policy-brief-proposes-reforms-australia%E2%80%99s-temporary-protection-system

You can listen my talk with Dr Cathy Kezelman AM, the 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:

https://www.beyondblue.org.au/get-support/national-help-lines-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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