I have been contemplating when a return to a near daily practice would begin. Balancing this practice with morning practices of health (good exercise and food) is a trick! But it is time to begin. I anticipate that it will not occur daily, but near daily. I also invite you to offer your own daily practice! We are in this together!
Recently, the impact of secondary trauma made itself present to me through my interactions with a couple people.
Secondary trauma is commonly referred to as "the stress resulting from helping or wanting to help a traumatized or suffering person."* Dr. Laurie Pearlman, an expert in the trauma field prefers the term vicarious trauma to describe the "cumulative transformative effect of working with survivors of traumatic life events." -Transforming the Pain: A Workbook on Vicarious Trauma, Saakvitne, Pearlman and Staff of TSI/CAAP (Norton, 1996)
What we know about working with incarcerated youth is that they are generally highly traumatized as compared with the general population (see ACE study results). Also, it feels like there is a higher prevalence of generalized trauma in the air right now. My observation from listening is that for the African-American community, every time an African-American is shot by a police officer, it becomes a secondary trauma. And we really have to face it, an inordinate number of African-Americans have been shot and killed by police with impunity. It boggles the mind. But I digress.
Secondary trauma is prevalent in the community. The results of not dealing with secondary trauma is what we are seeing in our society right now. Anger. Detachment. Fatigue. Pain. Weird sleep patterns (too much/not enough). Hypersensitivity. Resentment. Cynicism. Monoperspective outlook. (symptoms)
To treat secondary trauma, we (the societal we) have to integrate self-care into our work and our personal lives. One way we do this is by having our own regular practices of self-care. Journaling, art, music, meditation, yoga, mindfulness. Dare I say, ritual?!
The polarization in society could be laid at the feet of secondary trauma exploited and worsened by those who would profit from it. There is a horrible commercial by the NRA essentially urging people to buy a gun so they can shoot people. It basically describes people who participate in protests and then says, "The only way we stop this, the only way we save our country, and our freedom, is to fight this violence of lies with a clenched fist of truth" ... and buy a gun. Here's what we know. Gun sales have decreased because people no longer feel like they have a President that will take away their guns. How can we increase gun sales? Pit people against one another, incite fear, exploit unhealed traumas.
Somehow, we have to figure out how to process our fear and unhealed traumas. We need to shift to using trauma informed practices in all our places. School, work, and in our homes. It is only by transforming our trauma that we will be able to shift from spilling our pain onto other people to transforming brokenness to beauty.
What do you need to heal?
Let my heart rise up to meet mercy, my voice to meet compassion, my hands to meet action.
BIBOLOVE: Breath In, Breath Out--shhh
Love Will Find a Way by Michael Franti
Jewish Daily Reading: Daily Study from Chabad
Christian Daily Reading: Revised Common Lectionary Daily Reading
Muslim Daily Reading: Daily Verse from The Only Quran
Buddhist Daily Reading: Daily Zen
Please bring your own sacred readings to the daily pattern. If there is something else you'd like to see, please share!
“Anything that’s human is mentionable, and anything that is mentionable can be more manageable. When we can talk about our feelings, they become less overwhelming, less upsetting, and less scary. The people we trust with that important talk can help us know that we are not alone.”
― Fred Rogers
Weekly prayer focus comes from the World Council of Churches prayer cycle. We know the world needs to be surrounded with prayer and positive thought. This allows us to work through the world country by country. We focus on one set of countries per week with the same prayer, lifting them up. I encourage you to fill this in however you see it.
Focus countries: Kenya and Tanzania
Let us pray.
We know that we fail to live up to being makers of peace. Let us bring in rather than push out, be invitational rather than confrontational--seeing signs of life while decrying the desecration of hope.
For the countries of Kenya and Tanzania. For the countries of ________________________
For signs of hope and peace, we pray for ________________________
For the oppressed and weary, we pray for ________________________
For those we love, those we hate and those we are indifferent to
For the transformation from ME to WE
Let peace prevail on earth.
So may it be.
Translation by Neil Douglas Klotz, Sufi
O Birther! Creator of the Cosmos,
Focus your light within us— make it useful:
Create your reign of unity now-
Your one desire then acts with ours,
as in all light, so in all forms.
Grant what we need each day in bread and insight.
Loose the cords of mistakes binding us,
as we release the strands we hold of others’ guilt.
Don’t let surface things delude us,
But free us from what holds us back.
From you is born all ruling will,
the power and the life to do,
the song that beautifies all,
from age to age it renews.
Truly— power to these statements—
may they be the ground from which all
my actions grow: Amen.
May Peace Prevail on Earth. Amen. So mote it be.