Our exhibition is asking "What do you love that needs protecting? What are you moved to do about it?"
We believe that people are motivated to take action in defense of the things they love. In order to face the grief and despair of looking into the face of disappearing bees, dying starfish, devastating droughts and fires and floods that are killing people, we must be able to engage from our hearts.
We must feel the sorrow and the helplessness; to allow it to move through us. Our bodies and minds need to respond honestly and directly to what is being experienced. This process is a normal, natural human reaction to overwhelming feelings. To be able to "rise up from a restorative prairie fire" of the soul, we have to let the fire move through us; to feel deeply so we can come out the other side.
However, unresolved "trauma is the most and urgent public health issue" of our time, according to Bessel van der Kolk, MD, world-renowned psychiatrist, professor, trauma researcher and writer.
"Trauma victims are alienated from their bodies", says van der Kolk. People who are trapped in a trauma response numb out, and do not fully inhabit their bodies, making it difficult or impossible, for them to even know what they feel. "In the long term, they become experts in self numbing. They use food, exercise, work--or worse--drugs and alcohol-- to stifle physical discomfort. The longer they do this, the more difficult it becomes to remain present in any given moment. That's why the guy at the end of 'The Hurt Locker' is so utterly incapable of playing with his kid."
Back to our project....What's trauma got to do with it?
"Engage from your heart" we ask of people. "Notice what you love". But if someone is trapped in trauma, that may be too tall an order.
We want to bring awareness to the issue of denial that abounds in the world. There are vast numbers of people who will not admit there is a climate crises. "Why can't people see what's right in front of their faces? " We often ask that question of others who agree with us. We scratch our heads in dismay and frustration, because we cannot understand.
Denial is the body and brains way of coping with unresolved trauma. Those of us who have been traumatized need to be able to learn to tolerate our own feelings and bodily sensations, in order to resolve the trauma that gets stuck in our bodies.
Only then can we fully access that beautiful source of power and inner wisdom that is our heart.
Only then we are ABLE to know what we love enough to do something to save it.
Drawing on more than 30 years at the forefront of research and clinical practice, Bessel van der Kolk shows that the terror and isolation at the core of trauma literally reshape both brain and body. New insights into our survival instincts explain why traumatized people experience incomprehensible anxiety and numbing and intolerable rage, and how trauma affects their capacity to concentrate, to remember, to form trusting relationships and even to feel at home in their own bodies. Having lost a sense of control of themselves and frustrated by failed therapies, they often fear that they are damaged beyond repair.
The Body Keeps the Score integrates recent advances in brain science, attachment research and body awareness into treatments that can free trauma survivors of the past. These new paths to recovery activate the brain's natural neuroplasticity to rewire disturbed functioning and rebuild step-by-step the ability to "to know what you know and feel what you feel"
The book offers experiences that directly counteract the helplessness and invisibility associated with trauma, enabling both adults and children to reclaim ownership of their bodies and their lives.
Readers will come away from this book with awe at human resilience and at the power of our relationships--whether in intimacy of home or in our wider communities--to both hurt and heal.- From book jacket