As we approach the Winter Solstice, the darkest day of the year, I find myself sitting with and welcoming the darkness, in myself and in the world. I just finished reading the galley of My Grandmother’s Hands author Resmaa Menakem’s new book The Quaking of America, about trauma healing somatic practices meant to prepare our bodies for the high likelihood of Civil War in America. Then, this morning, I read a Washington Post article “We Are Closer To Civil War Than Any Of Us Would Like To Believe.”

That led me to ponder bullies from a trauma-informed lens. There are the bullies who abuse their power and victimize others, who themselves were usually bullied and overpowered at some point in the past. Then there are those who fight back against bullies, those who run away from bullies, and those who use their power to protect others from bullies. Consider also those who defend and ally with bullies or those who eroticize or look up to bullies, feeling safer becoming a minion of or lover of the bullies. And then there are those who wind up victims, who get flattened by bullies or who are manipulated or violently forced by bullies into surrender- leading to oppression, sexual assault, physical injury, all number of criminal abuses, or even death.

All of this bullying and victimizing is a trauma response, and it’s all about power and how it can corrupt us. I’ve been thinking a lot about bullying lately as it relates to power- at the level of nested fractals. From an Internal Family Systems (IFS) lens, sometimes we bully our “parts” inside, as when one part makes a New Years Resolution and then after another part breaks it, an inner critic part comes in and bullies the part that broke the resolution. When we work with our parts using IFS, when we’re in Self, we can be tender and compassionate with all of our parts instead of bullying them. 

Take that out one layer, and we can look at our external family systems. We bully our children if we’re blended with parts that abuse power, or maybe we let our children bully us if we’re blended with conflict-avoidant, boundary-wounded parts. Likewise, when we’re in Self, we can be tender and compassionate with our children without letting them bulldoze right over us. In our friendships, romantic relationships, and business networks, we may also wind up being the bully or the bullied, depending on our coping strategies and trauma symptoms. When we’re in Self, we avoid overpowering or being overpowered, sharing power more strategically.

Take all that nested bullying and abuse of power to the cultural level and you wind up with racism, slavery, genocide, colonization and the US as the world’s bully, which is now getting bullied by the bully of all bullies, Donald Trump. It made me pause and wonder, “Is the bullying and tendency to abuse power that results from childhood trauma at the root of all that ails us, personally, relationally, culturally, and globally? Is it possible that trauma is the theory of everything, at least everything that causes us pain?

As part of my collaboration with the Campaign for Trauma-Informed Policy and Practice (CTIPP), a political organization seeking to influence White House, Congressional, and state government public policy with a trauma-informed approach, I had already been asked to take a stab at trying to explain how trauma may lie at the root of most of what ails us personally, relationally, collectively, and environmentally. But it wasn’t until I started thinking about bullies that I saw these nested layers of how power gets abused, starting inside of ourselves, parts bullying other parts, telescoping all the way out to the cultural and global scale. Is power and how we abuse it at the root of all that ails us?

INDIVIDUAL TRAUMA

Let’s start our exploration of “trauma as the theory of everything” at the level of the individual. We’re all familiar with the obvious forms of shock trauma that can change us from high-functioning, loving, healthy individuals to shellshocked war veterans, dissociated survivors of natural disaster, numbed out cult survivors, or traumatized rape or kidnapping victims. Witnessing the impact of such trauma tends to evoke easy compassion. We feel empathy for those who are victimized by the power of war, the power of Mother Nature’s wrath, the power cult leaders exert over their vulnerable followers, and the power rapists and kidnappers abuse with their victims. Our empathy helps us keep our hearts open to survivors of shock traumas like these.

But what about survivors of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE’s)– those childhood traumas that result from physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, physical neglect, emotional neglect, domestic violence in the home, substance abuse in the home, mental illness in the home, parental separation or divorce, or an incarcerated family member? Yet aren’t many of these ACE traumas also related to power and how we wield it? Without appropriate screening and intervention, these ACE trauma survivors may go undiagnosed, unnoticed, and untreated. We may only suspect someone has a high “ACE score” when we observe behaviors that are obvious trauma symptoms, such as substance abuse, criminally boundary violating behavior, mental illness, or certain kinds of physical disease. If a child was victimized by others who abused power, it’s natural that they might grow up either bullying others or getting bullied.

ILLNESS AS A TRAUMA SYMPTOM

As I explain in great detail in my upcoming book Sacred Medicine (which you can preorder here), one of the common manifestations of a high ACE score is adult-onset physical illness. If you doubt that trauma and disease are strongly linked, consider what California Surgeon General and pediatrician Nadine Burke Harris, MD said in her groundbreaking TEDMED talk: “In the mid-’90s, the CDC and Kaiser Permanente discovered an exposure that dramatically increased the risk for 7 out of 10 of the leading causes of death in the United States. In high doses, it affects brain development, the immune system, hormonal systems, and even the way our DNA is read and transcribed. Folks who are exposed in very high doses have triple the lifetime risk of heart disease and lung cancer and a 20-year difference in life expectancy. And yet, doctors today are not trained in routine screening or treatment. Now, the exposure I’m talking about is not a pesticide or a packaging chemical. It’s childhood trauma.”

Dr. Burke Harris is referring to the landmark 1990 study of 17,421 patients, conducted by Dr. Vince Felitti at Kaiser Permanente and Dr. Bob Anda at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), who collaborated on the ACE study, which has resulted in over seventy peer-reviewed scientific articles. ACEs have been well-studied by scientists, and there is rigorous scientific data linking exposure to ACEs to autoimmune disease, cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), frequent headaches, ischemic heart disease, liver disease, and health-related quality of life.  Even the most mainstream cancer centers are examining the link between trauma and disease. Researchers from Harvard and Moffitt Cancer Center studied 55,000 people and found that those who had six or seven symptoms of PTSD at some point in their lives have double the lifetime risk of ovarian cancer.

DEVELOPMENTAL TRAUMA 

As awareness of ACE’s increases at the level of public health, and as we grow more sophisticated in spotting Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in survivors of shock trauma, another type of trauma goes largely unrecognized, undiagnosed, and untreated- developmental trauma, or Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (C-PTSD.)  What about the subtle traumas of everyday life that interfere with a child’s healthy nervous system development and set them up for a lifetime of struggle, the invisible traumas that may be hard to spot, diagnose, or understand? What about those whose ACE score is zero but who still struggle in ways that are hard for the individual or others to understand? It may be harder for us to feel compassion for these individuals because they may look like privileged people who lived charmed lives on the outside. As such, our compassion may not extend to them the same way it would to a shock trauma survivor or even someone with a high ACE score. Yet inside, these folks are hurting and their nervous systems are firing threat responses, often because they have been victims of those who abuse power in more subtle ways, as with controlling, overbearing, manipulative, or narcissistic parents who fail to meet their development needs appropriately. Because they might not have been outwardly abused in more obvious ways, these individuals may be largely unaware of how traumatized they are, and they may not understand why life feels so hard.

As described by the developmental trauma treatment NeuroAffective Relational Model (NARM), we are traumatized anytime we lose our capacity to be in touch with our bodies, emotions, and each other, attune to our needs and emotions, recognize, reach out for, and take in physical and emotional nourishment, trust healthy dependence and interdependence rather than solely practicing self-reliance, set appropriate boundaries, say no, set limits, and speak our minds without guilt or fear, and live with an open heart, integrating a loving relationship with vital sexuality. How many children in modern life actually get these needs met?

Most of us had imperfect parents, and those of us who have children ourselves are often imperfect parents ourselves. Children seem to be fairly resilient, and some level of parental imperfection seems to roll off the backs of kids like water on oiled duck feathers. A “good enough” parent is often just that- good enough. However, as cultural influences increase the number of parents who fail to be “good enough” and as developmental trauma passes from one generation to the next like a virus, more and more kids suffer from developmental traumas that interfere with their ability to grow up into healthy, contributing, safe, loving, mature, generous, community-minded members of society who know how to take care of both themselves and others. We might label these kids with a variety of DSM-V diagnoses (the categories psychiatrists use to label and organize mental disorders.) These kids might wind up medicated, locked up in juvenile detention centers, addicted to substances at a young age, eating disordered, joining a gang, sick with chronic illnesses, or blazing through a school and opening fire on their peers. But really, they are traumatized, and we are misdiagnosing them and failing to treat them effectively.

Going back to the mid-1950s in the Harvard Mastery of Stress Study, thirty-five years of follow up with college students shows that in the absence of closely attuned parental caring, 87% wind up with a disease of some kind versus 28% of those who felt well cared for by their parents- and that doesn’t even track the behavioral problems that result from trauma. What we’re now learning is that the absence of the positive can traumatize children even more than the presence of the negative. 

WHAT DOES HEALTHY CHILDHOOD DEVELOPMENT REQUIRE?

For childhood development to proceed normally, for a child to grow into a functional, loving, open-hearted, contributing, sovereign community member with access to their personal agency, someone who knows how to care both for themselves but also for others, a series of core developmental needs must be met. Children need to first bond with the birth mother, learn how to develop attachment bonds, and feel safe, loved, connected, and nurtured, both in utero and in the first year of infant life. The parents, especially the birth mother, must be attuned, self-regulated, and have the capacity to help co-regulate the child when the child becomes overwhelmed with intense and distressing emotions like fear, anger, disappointment, jealousy, or sadness. Because many children wind up being emotionally or physically separated from the birth mother because of adoption, surrogacy, prematurity, maternal disease, infant illness, maternal abandonment, maternal mental illness or substance abuse, shaken baby syndrome, maternal career choices that leave babies cared for by a nanny or daycare rather than a parent, lack of paid maternity leave, or other interruptions in the normal bonding process, we have an epidemic of children who did not get this early need for bonding with the birth mother adequately met. This kind of developmental trauma is the most severe and the most resistant to treatment because of the impact on brain development and the developing nervous system, but it is treatable.

The child must also be allowed to take risks, to separate from the parents, to practice protesting and saying no, to individuate, to feel their own power and agency without abusing it, to become autonomous beings, unique from their parents and others. They must be able to trust and depend upon their parents to get their emotional and physical needs met, so they grow up able to trust themselves to get their own needs met, but also able to trust and rely upon others in a healthy interdependent way. They must be supported in developing an open-hearted sexuality that doesn’t dissociate the heart and their personal power and agency from the genitals. They must always know they are loved unconditionally, rather than transactionally.  When safe, consistent, attuned, loving, nurturing parenting is absent, or when parents abuse their power over their children in any way, physical and mental illness in adulthood is practically inevitable unless the traumas get treated. Considering how many parents are emotionally checked out and abusive with their power over vulnerable young children because of their traumas, we’re talking about epidemic levels of trauma and disease in countless individuals worldwide. 

Yet traditional ACE scores do not measure these kinds of developmental trauma, so they typically go undiagnosed and untreated. Of course, those with a high ACE score often also experience comorbidities with developmental trauma. But developmental trauma can impact us even in the absence of a high ACE score. Because developmental trauma distorts our narratives about ourselves, our families, and the world, survivors of developmental trauma often think they had an easy childhood and don’t understand why life feels so hard. Life for these individuals feels chronically difficult, especially when it comes to navigating healthy relationships with good boundaries. Because relationships are so vital to optimal longevity and health (and the science on this is clear,), impairments in relational connection become a huge mental and physical health risk for those with developmental trauma, which often lands these folks at the doctor’s office with mystery illnesses and cancer recurrences, rather than in a therapy office. By these definitions of trauma, most of us have experienced multiple traumatizing events in our lifetimes. As such, a complete trauma history, including screening for developmental trauma, needs to be part of any medical evaluation, especially when patients fail to meet the criteria for a typical diagnosis or do not respond to currently available conventional treatments.

Take a moment to consider whether you or someone you love might be impacted by trauma in ways you haven’t fully understood. If you’re like most humans, you have your public-facing persona that you try to morph into something that will make you acceptable to other people, and then you have the real you- the whole authentic spectrum of light to dark, angel to devil, good habits we might post on social media to secret habits we try to hide from everyone, including ourselves. It’s normal to have shadow aspects of our being that we try to mask or effort to reform with New Year’s Resolutions and other good (but ineffective) intentions. Depending on our traumas, we may either hide or flaunt our imperfections, depending on our peer group and what we believe will make us seem lovable to others. Yet underneath, we often feel ashamed of some aspects of our being. Many of us are afraid of being perceived as unlovable, damaged, broken, or worthless if only everyone really knew us.

What few realize is that many ways of being that our society judges, pathologizes, hospitalizes, sends to rehab, imprisons, or demonizes are, in fact, trauma symptoms, and all trauma deserves our compassion. What if you understood that trauma lies at the root of all mental illness, most physical illness, every criminal behavior, and countless other behaviors we might feel ashamed of, like being a #MeToo violator, an addict, a deadbeat Dad, a narcissist, a white supremacist, a thief, a cheater, a liar, a con artist, an abandoning or abusive mother, someone with an eating disorder, or an executive who destroys the environment for profit? What if you understood that all of those behaviors you might find hard to look at, show others, or accept in yourself were understandable side effects of traumas that happened to you, often when you were very young? 

Consider the small child who was overpowered by Mom or Dad or bullies in the schoolyard. Feeling helpless, powerless, at the mercy of someone bigger, someone abusive, an immature part of them decides “Never again will I be the least powerful person in the room.” Without understanding why they do what they do, that child grows up collecting power. He or she develops academic intelligence, talent, athletic skills, beauty, seductive sexuality, wealth, corporate power, political power, spiritual power, or perhaps joins law enforcement or the military or develops mastery at gang violence- whatever it takes to have power that is valued in the culture where they are growing up. 

Maybe one day, when that child grows up and feels helpless, powerless, and threatened inside, they feel an unhealthy sense of entitlement and assert their power as a form of dominance- and it looks like schoolyard bullying, cops who kill, maim, or harass BlPOC, domestic violence, narcissistic abuse, rape, child abuse, theft, a coup attempt to overthrow the government, or genocide? Yet it’s traumatic to be the one abusing power. It hurts us inside when we hurt others. What if that person hurts so much inside because of the harm they cause others that they need an addiction or dissociation or the hit of abusing their power even more to numb the pain inside?

Consider also the child with one overbearing parent and another passive, neglectful one who never stopped the domination or a second parent who bailed before the child ever met them. That child grows up helpless, overpowered, with no protection. Because healthy protest fails to stop the dominator, that child grows up incapable of saying no, asserting themselves, standing up for themselves and their needs, or fighting back against abuse in a healthy way. They may wind up the “parentified child,” caring for the parents instead of getting the care they really need. They grow up people-pleasing “yes” people, caregiving others, being nice and accommodating, sublimating their own needs in service to the needs of everyone else, pretzeling themselves, and depleting themselves in the name of being acceptable and approving. What if that person’s traumatized body needs to get chronically ill in order to have an excuse to say no, to receive care, to be worthy of having others help them? What if, in the absence of good boundaries and a healthy, life-force affirming NO, the body says no for them?

Our culture doesn’t tend to foster a trauma-informed understanding or compassion for those who might behave in ways others judge because of our trauma histories. We also tend to have shame-based identifications that cause us to judge ourselves, shame ourselves, berate ourselves, or otherwise beat ourselves up because we’re not behaving the way we wish we were. We also develop pride-based identifications that might protect us from feeling the shame of the harm we cause to ourselves and others. Heartbreakingly, trauma begets trauma.

RELATIONAL/ DEVELOPMENTAL TRAUMA 

Trauma doesn’t just interfere with our ability to show up in the world with meaning, purpose, morality, optimal mental and physical health, and an open heart. It also impairs our ability to relate to others in ways that allow us to share power, neither overpowering or being overpowered, but relating in a mutual and reciprocal way. The tragedy of relational trauma presents itself as a fragmenting of the wholeness of the soul. It unravels us more deeply than mere betrayal and cuts into us as a primal wound, one that leaves us feeling far less than the wholeness that is our natural state, our birthright. To dare to move beyond this kind of wound, to reach out to another who has been hurt in this way and say, “Come, sit, stay for a while, let us rest here together” requires profound courage and knee-trembling risk.  The absence of trustworthy companionship, the feeling that one is existentially alone, the chronic unmet longing to be seen, heard, understood, validated, and most of all, loved and accepted for all of who we are, lies at the broken heart of all trauma. 

Relational trauma impairs our boundaries and makes it difficult for us to both protect ourselves from the boundary violations of others, but also to contain ourselves within our own boundaries so we don’t overstep the boundaries of others. Without healthy boundaries, it’s hard to relate with others without either avoiding contact altogether or enmeshing with other boundaryless trauma survivors in dysfunctional ways. Without intact boundaries, boundary-wounded developmental trauma survivors tend to pair up and enmesh into a boundaryless fusion, confusing it for love or eroticizing it as attraction. 

Without appropriate respect for the individuated personhood of both parties, whoever has access to the most power, assertiveness, and agency risks intentionally or unwittingly dominating the other. In such cases, there is no capacity for real love, no real relationship. There is only a power play, with both parties struggling to exert whatever power they might have over the other until either the disempowered party submits to the domination or the relationship ruptures. Such is the heartbreak of developmental trauma as it relates to relationships.

Depending on how it affects the psyche, developmental trauma leads to either an exaggerated sense of entitlement (false empowerment) or a diminished sense of entitlement (falsely disempowerment.) At one extreme, trauma survivors feel entitled to what they are not. At the other, they lack healthy entitlement and let others bulldoze, bully, overstep boundaries, and overpower them without fighting for what is just or holding their abusers accountable. Trauma impairs our capacity to develop a healthy sense of entitlement, one that neither feels entitled to more than our fair share nor less than what is our birthright. In the aftermath of trauma, we wind up too entitled, feeding the hungry ghost of “more more more”- more power, more wealth, more fame, more sex, more “power over” relationships, more domination. Or we wind up not entitled enough, convincing ourselves we’re okay with crumbs when our birthright would entitle us to at least a full piece of cake, if not the whole cake. Whether we’re the one dominating or the one submitting and rolling over to others who feel entitled to dominate us, it’s hard to share power when the very foundation of our society is built upon a hierarchical power structure that is unjust, unequal, and unhealthy. Our law enforcement, criminal justice, medical, educational, and political systems do little to dismantle this retraumatizing dynamic and restore social justice and shared power for all beings.

COLLECTIVE TRAUMA

At the root of such dysfunction lies the issue of power. Healthy relating- between two or more people- requires shared power, but trauma disrupts a healthy relationship to power, leaving some falsely empowered and others falsely disempowered.  As such, relationships for trauma survivors are often transactions, rather than real reciprocal heart connections built upon a foundation of love, respect, and dignity. Without shared power, positive regard, respect, good boundaries, and appreciation of someone’s unique and individuated personhood at the root of relating, all manner of relational harm can be done. Relational exploitation, bullying, rape, narcissism and co-dependence, domestic abuse, child abuse, or cons spun as love become the norm for boundary-wounded trauma survivors.

Expand this boundary wounding and unhealthy sense of entitlement to the societal and cultural level, and trauma leads to the capacity to dehumanize another human, which leads to violence, racism, patriarchy, enslavement, war, genocide, colonization, land theft, political bullying, and every form of oppression, marginalization, and human rights abuses. It also impairs our ability to perceive our earthly home as a living being deserving of being treated with dignity, respect, gratitude, and environmental protection, resulting in climate crisis, deforestation, species extinction, and all number of nature rights violations.

The drive for “more more more” is the hungry ghost, for nothing can fill the void left by developmental trauma. What we all want, more than anything, is to be loved, accepted, and validated, to belong, to be intimate with ourselves, one another, with nature, with whatever we call God, and with life itself. Untreated trauma prevents us from experiencing what is our birthright. Such is the heartbreak of human life on earth in 2021, as evidenced by countless threats poised to destroy democracy in America, lead to endless wars, perpetuate dehumanizing behaviors like white-bodied supremacy, genocide, human trafficking, colonization, and war, and lead to more developmental trauma, high ACE scores, and shock traumas. Ultimately, untreated trauma will cause us to exterminate our own species (and many others) amidst environmental degradation and ecocide. The end is in sight, looming ever closer on the horizon. Yet our inability to act to prevent such species suicide is itself a trauma symptom.

Those who are falsely empowered may look like the “winners” in this dysfunctional dynamic. They may collect power in the form of intelligence, wealth, beauty, talent, influence, fame, political power, networking, or even spiritual power masquerading as “enlightenment.” But it’s an end-sum game. Like the cold war era movie War Games, this traumatized power game leads to mutual assured destruction. While on the surface, the falsely disempowered “losers” or victims of the power game may suffer the majority of the damage, and while that is not to be overlooked or justified in any way, the “winners” lose too. To be the overpowered victim of the power game obviously causes the greatest suffering to the victim. Those who wind up overpowered certainly win by having the moral high ground, even though they may lose more than can ever be fully restored- their dignity, their health, their inner peace, their faith in humanity, their trust in a benevolent universe, their ability to make a good living doing something they love, their right to feel safe, their sanity, their homes, their money, their freedom from oppression, or even their lives. Certainly, our primary extension of compassion must extend to the oppressed, marginalized, and overpowered victims of the end sum power game. Our policies, laws, reparations, and attempts at restorative justice must prioritize justice for these victims of marginalization, oppression, and domination and accountability for the perpetrators of harm and the abusers of power.

But we must not stop at extending compassion to the victims, for being the one who dehumanizes, overpowers, exploits, abuses others, overconsumes, or exploits the land is also a trauma symptom, usually arising from developmental trauma. When a child is overpowered in childhood, one survival strategy causes him or her to grow up determined to never again be the least powerful person in the room. That child grows up collecting power in every way possible so that he or she will never again be overpowered. Yet becoming the perpetrator creates another kind of suffering, one that closes and rots the heart and crushes the soul. As much as we might wish to dehumanize these people and cast them out of the wholeness of society as “monsters,” all trauma deserves our compassion, even if we are repulsed by the behaviors such trauma survivors enact. To dehumanize those who dehumanize only perpetuates the cycle and retraumatizes us all.

How can we have compassion for the people who abuse power and do despicable things without letting them off the hook of accountability or failing to insist that they reckon with the impact of the damage they’ve caused? We start by educating ourselves so we can be more trauma-informed. If we can end the bully culture inside our own internal family systems, if we can heal the parts that wrestle with power inside, if we can reparent ourselves and update our operating system to adult consciousness, meeting our developmental milestones as adults if we failed to meet them when we were children, we can start to integrate and share power with the fragmented aspects of our inner children. As we bring ourselves into more wholeness so our relationship to power, inside and out, becomes more healthy, we can telescope that healing outwards. Only when we stop bullying ourselves can we stop bullying others and stop tolerating others who try to bully us. Only then will our country, built as it is upon the bullying of Black Africans, Native Americans, white men who had less power, property, or wealth than our Founding Fathers, and women of all races, have any chance of becoming anything other than a bully culture.

As we arm ourselves with psycho-education and do the work on ourselves to heal the traumas that close our hearts, as we engage in spiritual practices that help us bench press our compassion muscles until we realize that overpowering or dehumanizing others rots the soul of the perpetrators of abuses of power as much as it causes harm to others, we can grow in awareness, face our personal and collective shadows, and begin to heal. As we realize that even the “winners” of the end sum power game are the losers, perhaps we’ll be open to ending the game, stopping to look around to see if there might be another way of being we haven’t tried yet, one that would require true democracy, real shared power between truly equal humans.

What other game is there? What’s the alternative to trying to win by getting to the top of the power hierarchy? If those with the most power sacrificed some of it and those with the least gained more power, if we could find a way to meet each other with shared power, why might that be worth trying? The honest answer is “It’s a mystery. We don’t know, because humans have never tried it.” But when I feel into it in my meditations, the answer that comes to me as “Intimacy.” We could trade “oneupsmanship” and power for real intimacy, with ourselves, with each other, with our country, with the land, with whatever you imagine as God. For some survivors of trauma, intimacy is terrifying. But as we heal ourselves, each other, and our culture, as intimacy becomes something we lean towards rather than replacing intimacy with everything we use to substitute for intimacy, perhaps humans can find another way of being, one that is more sustainable, more loving, more equal, more healing, more just, and more heart-opening.

The good news is that trauma is treatable. (If you’re curious what I mean by that, you can read What Actually Heals Trauma: The Key Components Of Effective Treatment, a treatise I co-wrote with The Trauma Foundation founder Chris Rutgers as part of my non-profit project Heal At Last.) Hopefully, it’s not too late, but if we wish to survive as a species, we must act now to restore all beings with what is our birthright- the human right (and the rights of other species) to be part of an interdependent ecosystem of shared power, healthy boundaries, dignity, respect, appreciation, love, care, and nurturing.

We’re doing what we can to help offer mass treatment of trauma in a scalable, affordable way with the non-profit I started, Heal At Last. Our mission at Heal At Last is to bring together people in recovery from illness, injury, or trauma in circles of healing, shared power, spirituality, writing, art, music, and connection for the purposes of easing loneliness, healing trauma, and improving physical and mental health outcomes, particularly for people who conventional medicine or mental health treatment has been unable to adequately help. Using creativity and music as a portal to cutting-edge trauma healing methods, spiritual healing, and energy medicine, we intend to empower individuals and communities of healing who are ready for the deep dive of treating the root causes of personal and collective suffering.

Although cutting-edge healing techniques have become a luxury good in modern cultures, those of us at Heal At Last believe healing and transformation is everyone’s birthright and should not be limited to people of privilege. Heal At Last is committed to bringing creative inspiration, soulful intimacy, community connection, and deep trauma healing work to anyone who is emotionally, psychologically, and spiritually ready for meaningful transformation, regardless of socioeconomic status, race, sexual preference, gender identity, political affiliation, or religion. So stay tuned…we’re trying to democratize trauma healing, find government dollars and philanthropic funding to help us pay for it, and develop a delivery method that is scalable, affordable, accessible, and trauma-informed, and as safe as we can possibly make it. If you’re interested in volunteering or being served by the Heal At Last community- or if you’d like to make an end of the year donation to help us fund it- we welcome you. You can sign up for our mailing list here, donate here, communicate with our fund-raising team at info@healatlast.org, or send a check to:

Heal At Last 501(c)3
610 Coloma Street – Suite 725
Sausalito, CA 94965

On this Winter Solstice, may this day of 2021’s greatest darkness help you lovingly examine the shadows of your own darkness and your relationship to “power over” or “power under” dynamics” so you can bring more light into a world in need of all of us in our wholeness, sharing power. Only then do we have a chance to build a future utterly different than what we as humans have ever created before.

Love,

Lissa

Lissa Rankin

 

 
 
 

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