Trauma causes contraction. People feel disempowered, defensive. Next thing you know there is misunderstanding, violent conflict. Everyone believes that they are defending themself against aggression. Their jarred nervous systems feel that way so surely it ‘must’ be so.
We swim in a culture of cascading trauma so familiar we hardly notice the effects. Fear and reactivity make it hard for human kindness to prevail. Yet the future of our planet depends on cooperation. Peace among nations depends on building understanding.
Working with trauma on a societal level is possible. Dance, music and community gatherings are avenues for calming a hyper-alert nervous system. Pre-industrial societies experienced the power of circle dances to heal the heart and create connection.
We can take these ancient steps today to create trust and warmth among diverse people. This is the soil on which peace can be built.
- Stefan Freedman
Artwork by Carmen Fuentes, Mexico