Good morning or day to you! I hope this finds you well in mind, body and spirit. The dogs and I are huddled up in bed as another round of thunderstorms moves through. It’s feast for famine when it comes to weather here in Texas….the feast is underway.
Just finished my Facebook perusal this morning and came across a great article on a topic I touched on last March on intergenerational trauma. I was looking for a topic and this feels like a good one to revisit.
Here is direct link to the March post – there are links to some great videos about the subject in the context of Native American culture:
My Facebook comment to the article:
“It’s called intergenerational trauma on the “surface level” where it can be see and experienced but it is in the blood — the blood carries the memory of all who have ever been…and it is the recording device of living history.”
I firmly believe our blood is the recording device and transmitter of living history….each blood cell a recording disk. It only makes sense that we “pass it on” through each generation and each “copy” gets more and more data (positive and negative)….more and more mutations and even perversions of the original “story” aka truth. Our blood to me is like the ancient campfires where we used to sit and listen to the stories of our ancestors. I know from my own experience that each time a story is told it isn’t told exactly like the time before!
Perhaps another pathway to peace is to be found in the healing of the blood memory? May be we could try using something besides just more pills, electric shocks, bombs, gunfire, aversion, immersion?
Many people from generations from and before my own don’t like to talk about the past…”be stoic!” “quit whining and just get on with your life!” “we don’t talk about the past.” This attitude has proven futile. For even if we don’t talk about it, the past doesn’t go away. The past is in the blood memory and on an unconscious level we ACT out the past without having to say a word lol. We can’t help it! The only way we will every get rid of the past is if we no longer need blood to live. Don’t know if you ever thought of that but it’s the truth lol.
Now I’m not suggesting “wallowing” in the muck of the past and or using it as an excuse not to live a productive life BUT I am suggesting we cross the river of “Denial” and quit acting like things never happened. It’s reasonable to think generational denial is probably why we as a species keep repeating the same damn mistakes lol. From my own experiences it seems like the only way to truly get beyond the “sins of our fathers and mothers” is to talk about what happened, acknowledge it, grieve or express our emotions about what is revealed, learn what can be learned and THEN move on.
I believe the core to the “Why” of suffering can be found in the blood memory which isn’t just DNA. Blood, like anything, is an energy force….a stream (Meridians). What if holistic energy healing techniques like Reiki, the Meridians, Acupuncture, Quantum Touch and the like could heal the very “battery” of suffering…the heart and the blood?
Much smarter people than I at all levels of science and medicine are catching up to the ancients who figured all this out in their times. What I suggest is not a unique idea by any stretch. Modern humans (myself included) like to see “proof” of the sometimes intangible, and we finally have the gadgets to get it. Let us get more data…proof.
We already know that behaviors have a “chain of custody.” When someone grows up exposed to violence, extremists beliefs and or behaviors, lives in poverty etc., it isn’t just a tangible/visible thing going on. This is an energy thing going on. The energy doesn’t just disappear once the surface of a problem or situation is solved…it’s energy — it either becomes positive or negative and is either discharged or stored just like a battery. The discharge part…reference all my blogs about the work of Dr. Wilhem Reich! We are organic electronic devices and our blood and intangible energy impulses, to me, are much like batter fluid and can either make a device run like its supposed to or explode and destroy the outer casing!
Anyhew…the musings of a housebound crazy house wife……lol. Just something to think about if your interested in these things. Upliftconnect.com is on Facebook if your interested in more topics like this. I am on Facebook too https://www.facebook.com/jwygant and my blog posts show up there too. I send you love hugs and all the best through the wires on the winds that bless and sustain us.
Learning to release trauma before we pass it on to the next generation
PTSD is a whole-body tragedy, an integral human event of enormous proportions with massive repercussions. ― Susan Pease Banitt
Intergenerational Trauma is the idea that serious trauma can affect the children and grandchildren of those who had the first hand experience, due to living with a person suffering from PTSD and the challenges that can bring. What’s new is that, thanks to the emerging field of epigenetics, science is discovering that trauma is being passed down to future generations through more than simply learned behaviours.
One widely reported example is of holocaust survivors passing on the effects of trauma to children and grandchildren. It seems that trauma or its effects are being passed down through our genes, and it has enormous consequences for us as a species.
What are we Passing on our Children?
The single most dangerous idea I learned in school is that the genes you get from you parents are passed on to your children, and nothing you do in your life changes them. Thankfully, however, the findings of the new scientific field of epigenetics is starting to change this dangerous attitude. We do indeed pass on the exact same chromosomes from parent to child, however the quality they are in when we receive them can be improved or diminished according to what happens to us and the choices we make during our lifetime.
The reason why it’s dangerous for us to believe otherwise is that it has lead to entire generations of people believing that their choices concerning their own body and the environment affecting it have no detrimental effect on the genes of future generations. In short it has the potential to see us devolve, simply out of ignorance. Fortunately, as awareness of epigenetics spreads, it’s helping people understand that how we live our lives can change the quality of our own genes for the better and those we pass on to our offspring.
What Is Epigenetics?
We all know the image of a DNA double helix. Imagine now that each of the thirteen rungs in the spiral ladder that makes a chromosome is not simply a rung, but a binary, amino acid on/off switch. You may have received an exact same chromosome that your mother or your father carried, but this chromosome has been changing according to the way you’ve been living your life Some rungs in the ladder are off where they were once on and vice versa. Your genes are responding to the environment like you are, because like you are, they are alive.
Our DNA exists at the heart of our cells and provide the instructions for new cells to be created, so better quality DNA equals better quality instructions for cells to be created and in turn a happier, healthier body. On the other hand continued degradation of the epigenetic structure of our genes could be leading to lowering of immunity and fertility, and increased susceptibility to cellular mutation.
When Emotional Trauma Becomes Overwhelming
In simple terms trauma occurs when we reach a point where we can’t cope, we are overwhelmed and we don’t have the tools or skills to find our way through. We find ourselves in a state where our sympathetic nervous system goes into overdrive and we can get stuck in fight or flight mode for far longer than our body is designed to remain that way. Sustaining this state of high alert causes depletion and disruption of the normal functions of our system. In our culture we refer to acute cases of this as PTSD, post-traumatic stress disorder.
Thanks to this diagnosis, we have this somewhat arbitrary boundary which almost says that the truly traumatised people are on one side and the rest of us are on the other. The reality is that the boundary between those who suffer from PTSD and everyone else was invented, created, made up by the human mind with little regard for the fact that trauma is carried within us all in varying degrees. Each of us is on a sliding scale that goes all the way up to and past the line that tips a person into being diagnosed with PTSD.
The kind of trauma we all carry can include the smallest things like the time we were laughed at for not knowing the answer to a question, or other seemingly insignificant things like being teased as a child. It can include any moments of pain and tragedy that have occurred throughout our life, but by far the biggest factor of whether the pain remains with us as trauma is whether it was overwhelming, and whether it continued to be overwhelming.
According to transpersonal psychologists, when the trauma is so overwhelming that our only defence mechanism is to avoid feeling it, then we continue to carry it until someday we have the courage and strength to finally feel all of it and come to emotional completion, though the physical event may have ended long ago. A number of problems can prevent this: a person may not feel like they are in a safe enough environment, or not supported enough to go into the vulnerability of feeling their old pain in order to release it. The person may struggle with being re-traumatised by going back in to the memory of what happened.
Releasing Our Trauma So It Doesn’t Get Passed On
For some people, it’s enough to explain to them that they simply need to accept and allow the feelings of pain and discomfort to exist instead of trying to hide them, avoid them or push them away. As soon as as a person judges and labels their inner pain as something bad or something they don’t want or don’t like, they are inadvertently and unwittingly grabbing and holding their pain and preventing it from leaving.
Allowing the pain to flow instead of trying to stop it from happening is how we allow it to leave us and be released, however there is considerable risk of re-traumatization. In my opinion, this occurs when a person wakes up their old pain and trauma to try to release it, but then instead of accepting and thereby allow it to flow out of them they contract contract around it with their judgment that this is something they don’t want. So they experience the pain again, but do so without actually releasing it.
For many at the extreme end of the trauma scale known as PTSD, these experiences of past pain and trauma coming up in order to be released are uninvited and involuntary. During these bouts which can be triggered by anything that remotely resembles the original trauma or nothing at all, re-traumatisation is occurring repeatedly and compounding the problem.
What Happens When We Can’t Release Our Old Pain and Trauma?
If a person experiences trauma and they are never able to come to emotional completion because it is simply too overwhelming then the environmental influence of those events on the body through immense amounts of stress hormones signal to the genes that the environment is hostile and unsafe, and this has an effect on the epigenetic quality of the genes. The epigenetic structure of the genes changes and these genes in this state can then be passed to subsequent generations.
The worst examples of intergenerational trauma occur when a generation is born carry the trauma of their parents, and their parents and now the children as well are still living in circumstances that are traumatic. In some cases this can go on for generations, particularly in cases of ongoing war, colonialisation and genocide. Prof. Judy Atkinson speaks about her work helping entire indigenous communities heal from transgenerational trauma in her book Trauma Trails, and the traditional approach she works with can be found in the following Uplift article. Techniques such as breathwork and vipassana have also been successful as well as severe cases of PTSD having been healed through psychedelic means such as MDMA assisted psychotherapy, or ceremonial use of Ayahuasca.
Evolving, Not Devolving As A Species
I like to think that the epigenetic structure of our DNA can be like either a rock or a crystal. The molecules in a rock can be identical to those found in a crystal with the only difference being that the molecules in the rock are jumbled and those in the crystal are more aligned allowing light to pass through. In the same way, perhaps there are more jumbled and more aligned states that the those amino acid on/off switches in our DNA can find themselves in. The good news is that if our epigenetic structure can become relatively jumbled due to challenging and painful environmental factors, they may also become more aligned as we make healthier decisions about exposing ourself to less environmental contaminants and, if possible, less emotional contaminants like stress and trauma.
My personal theory about life is that the reality we live in is a rigged game; that all paths lead to learning and growth. The less gentle path may be for the quality of our DNA to degrade, perhaps increasing the likelihood that a) those that can’t adapt fast enough don’t survive, as well as b) sudden mutation jumping us to a different sub-branch of the evolutionary tree. The more gentle path to evolution may be by bringing our epigenetic code into higher states of alignment by healing our past pain and trauma and perhaps even healing the trauma that was passed to us from our ancestors. The only question that remains is: what kind of species do we wish to be?
http://whitebison.org/ – White Bison, Inc., is an American Indian/Alaska Native non-profit charitable organization operating under the provisions of 501(c)3 of the Internal Revenue Code and is based in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Through White Bison, it’s Founder and President Don Coyhis, Mohican Nation, has offered healing resources to Native America since 1988. White Bison offers sobriety, recovery, addictions prevention, and wellness/Wellbriety learning resources to the Native American/Alaska Native community nationwide. Many non-Native people also use White Bison’s healing resource products, attend its learning circles, and volunteer their services. White Bison is a NAADAC approved provider (#64009) and a Combined Federal Campaign (CFC) Member #11364.