In this very powerful two-part episode, Jana Spangler and Jody England Hansen join LDF host Dan Wotherspoon for a discussion of the close relationship between mental and spiritual trauma and our bodies. Much of what they offer is also true of physical trauma, but their primary focus is on how to recognize, understand, and find healing for our bodies and minds by exploring what is less obvious than specific bodily injuries.
So often, we don’t even notice how mental, emotional, and spiritual trauma affects our bodies, nor understand how it is these very bodies hold wonderful keys for healing and new creation. Do we find ourselves acting and reacting in ways that don’t align with our cognitive understandings? Why is this? Is it possible that our bodies have learned to become hyper-aware of potential threats to our well-being, and will therefore trigger reactions we don’t understand? I’ve already dealt with has happened to me. Are we, perhaps, having trauma reactions that override our conscious situational awareness that tells us we are in a safe situation?
Trauma causes both subtle and noticeable reactions, sometimes storing memories of bad experiences in certain areas of our bodies. And the best path to healing from these traumas and how they not only affect us but also others who can’t understand what’s going on with us as we react emotionally or physically in inexplainable ways. And, as we do pay attention to our bodies, we can often find clues to the originating events and fears that are manifesting in us. From there, if we are to heal, we will need to go inward, inside our life experiences, and sometimes even into the life experiences of those who have hurt us. Inner work is never easy, but it always pays off as we learn to face our pain and fears. It is from this work, that new neural pathways, and new understandings, new equanimity, and refreshed hope will spring forth.
There is no way to adequately describe the insights, recognitions, and validations this discussion holds. You will definitely want to listen to this two-part episode and share it with friends and family who may not understand you—or even themselves.
Links to things referred to in the podcast
Bessel van der Kolk, The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma, (Penguin, 2015)
Teresa Pasquale, Sacred Wounds: A Path to Healing from Spiritual Trauma (Chalice Press, 2015)
Film: The Wisdom of Trauma, available at thewisdomoftrauma.com
To learn more about the traumatic experiences that were part of the debacle of Natasha Parker’s excommunication proceedings, listen to Latter-day Faith Episode 90–91, “Witnessing Even When Things Hurt so Badly”