I was leaving Sedona, not on a fast train, but on a 10 passenger shuttle to the Phoenix airport and as I entered I realized what bad planning I had created. This was a 2 hour ride and the seats were filled from other hotels and 3 people including myself who were in a really peaceful, spiritual place after a 5 day retreat.
I thought, “Well, I’ll meditate down the mountain, these people won’t talk to each other.”
Then I heard some whispering from a yoga teacher from Atlanta that I had spent time with and within 15 minutes everyone in the shuttle had joined the conversation.
The woman sitting next to me was a trauma therapist. We started chatting about our experiences and before you know it, we had the life story of the young man sitting next to me and several other folks on the bus. The young man’s father had been a Vietnam Vet, had anger and silence issues and now health issues…hmmm!
Everyone experiences Life events that can easily be classified as trauma. Most people don’t get the help they need to have resolution and ultimately generational trauma continues unabated.
What I know is if I strike up a conversation anytime we will end up talking about these life events, whether I am on a Shuttle from Sedona or on a first class flight; whether a billionaire or a welfare recipient, trauma affects most people in the world and we are behind the curve in trying to heal all those who need our help.
I was blessed to attend that workshop in Sedona with Spiritual giant Depak Chopra and the extraordinary Jean Houston. The workshop , Summoning the Sacred, delved into Archetypes which are concentrations of energy that exist in the collective consciousness as we know from studying Karl Jung. Many of us relate to certain Gods or Goddesses, historical figures or other heroes in our everyday life. My mentor was Phyliss Michelfelder, an amazing clinician and woman’s advocate and one of my Archetypes. She played a huge part in the kind of clinician, CEO and woman that I became.
We moved on to the Hero’s Journey created by Joseph Campbell; he recognized that most movies, stories and lives have the elements of the Hero’s Journey.
The elements of the hero’s inner journey are suspiciously close to the journey of the trauma victim to survivor to thriver.
1. Limited awareness of problem
2. Increased awareness for the need for change
3. Fear and resistance to change
4. Overcoming fear
5. Committing to change
6. Experimenting with new conditions
7. Preparing for major change
8. Big change with feeling for life and death
9. Accepting consequences of new life
10. New challenge and redirection
11. Final attempt(s) last minute dangers
Throughout this process folks who have experienced the challenges of life (traumas) continue to tell their story in many different ways, whether verbally, through art, psychodrama, music, group process, Somatic experience, an equine or adventure therapy process. Ultimately, we become the masters of our story, the story is no longer our master.
During our time with Depak Chopra and Jean Houston we meditated, did yoga twice a day and sat with them as they took us through many experiential activities.
At the beginning of Meditation we asked:
Who am I ?
What do I really want, what is my heart’s desire?
What am I grateful for?
For trauma survivors that process begins at The Refuge almost immediately with the important first assignments, for on some level most people are asking those questions. Most of our clients come to us in such enormous pain, fear, sadness and turmoil and have recognized that they need help to unravel the trauma story in order to live without the pain. They come to The Refuge with hope, even the smallest amount of hope can grow to a huge presence with the support of professionals who have seen thousands of Miracles walk through our doors.