Found in my notebook after trauma healing workshop

“Trauma is not what happens to us, but what we hold inside in the absence of an empathic witness.”  Peter Levine

How do we build capacity to bring our full presence with and for one another. (the foundation of The Grenada Listening Project)

Seeing, hearing, experiencing, acknowledging our whole complex selves

How do we move from our heads to our bodies?

How do we acknowledge our feelings/emotions and where do these show up in our bodies?

Noticing. Noticing, noticing.

What do you notice in your body right now?

Can you hang out with these sensations?

Notice what you notice.

Let me know when anything shifts

Where does that voice live in you shouting, should, should, should, do, do, do?

Can you isolate this voice in your body?

Notice what you notice?  Can you stay with it?

Learning to track sensations, emotions, behaviours, meaning, images in ourselves and the folks we work with  (SIBAM)

Where is emotional memory located in our bodies?

Language of I’m curious, no judgement

Remember some people have never had the experience of being seen.

Rely on body awareness and physiological regulation

How to interrupt body sensations

Building capacity to hold intensity

The healing takes place between counter and trauma vortex.


Capacity to be in our suffering knowing we have counter places to return to

How to keep the energy moving

Creating safe spaces to feel more

We all have a tolerance to hold intensity, may look like “I’m fine.” When ‘I’m not fine.’

Can we build capacity over tolerance?

Can we let our bodies catch up with our minds when we go into freeze mode which may look like “I’m fine” hours after being yanked out of a burning car (Dad).

“There is a voice that doesn’t use words.  Listen.”  Rumi


Orienting through our senses: pull ourselves from the inside

Changing our relationship with suffering

“Its ok. Its ok not to be ok”

What is the addiction in service of?

Who are you without the addiction?

Everyone is different

Traumatic events disrupt our boundaries

Traumatic systems disrupt our boundaries

Women’s choked back ‘no’s’

Repairing ruptured boundaries

Work the edges. Was there any time that you were able to say NO? Start here.

Building a more regulated container to handle the discomfort of NO

Boundary exercises

“This is my personal space. You can only come in if I let you.”

Growing our capacity to know where our boundaries lay

Breath is primary way to track.

There is so much info in our breath.

Boundaries change based on who we’re with and where we are

Taking time to build relationship with ourselves

Slowing down is the best work

Working with Shame

‘An addict needs shame like a person dying of thirst needs salt water.’

How to shift ourselves and others out of shame

Shame is universal and cultural

Acknowledging shame

A sign of great shame and humiliation as a child, defence system unable to see oneself in the blame

Shame can manifest in hiding/pathological lying

Shame can control every aspect of our personality

Suicide is profound shame

Wound of betrayal

Shame can become deeply lodged in brain and body

Loss of connection

Difficult to work with shame, bringing shame up results in more shame

Accessing shame without amplifying shame

Dignity is opposite of shame

Recovering with a core sense of dignity

Shame can feel like death

How to counter shame: What you did is not ok but you are still loved

Addiction: I will do anything not to feel this primal pain

Shame can look like a collapsed spine, hunched shoulders

Disgust is a developmental companion/emotion of shame

Guide through, tracking sensations, images, emotions, meaning

Working with the posture of shame

Playing with: collapsing forward, sitting upward: coming into extension

What does it feel like to be in shame collapse? What does it feel to be in dignity pose?

Opportunity to move the body in and out of shame


Noticing what you notice

Translating teachings into the Grenada Listening Project

Into my own healing work

Into my own practice of presencing within and with people.

Becoming empathic witnesses

Creating safe spaces to be witnessed and witness others,

to be in our bodies, to track sensations, to notice what we are noticing, to ground, center, orient

The last physical community gathering (for now) I attended, a three day trauma healing workshop with Dr. Peter Levine, yes, The Peter Levine, world-renowned pioneer of Somatic Experiencing.  Even though Peter (first name basis cause that’s the kinda person he is!)  in the end did not travel due to coronavirus and bronchitis, he sent two of his team members Mahshid Hagar and Alexandra Whitney (phenomenal womyn/facilitators!) while he zoomed into our community space every afternoon. I am deeply grateful to have had this opportunity to share space with Caribbean family from Grenada, Carriacou, Barbados and Trinidad. Such an honour to deepen my own work in conflict transformation/compassionate listening; conscious healing, transformative justice with those working front line trauma work.

Hand to heart thank you Peter, Mahshid, Alexandra and the rest of our divine community!!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *