Yesterday I heard a moving story on NPR about an Iraqi war veteran and her struggle with adapting to life at home. She doesn’t like being around people much, preferring the company of animals. She says, “Animals don’t ask anything of you.” I can understand that, people are very complex and when you have dealt with some of the worst aspects of human behavior, animals can provide respite. I would argue this lends more credence to Peter Levine’s theory that animals don’t suffer from trauma as humans do. Caesar Milan, the Dog Whisperer on National Geographic channel, argues similarly that animals (more specifically dogs) live in the present moment, they don’t reflect on the past. Some would argue this point, but whether it is true or not that state of being is the goal of mindfulness. In mindfulness your goal is to live completely in the present moment. Setting aside the debate over whether or not animals, trees, the earth, has memory – mindfulness keeps us here, anchored right where we are. There is a beauty in this, you see it, hear it, feel it in the writing of great teachers like Thich Nhat Hahn.
Walk and touch peace every moment.
Walk and touch happiness every moment.
Each step brings a fresh breeze.
Each step makes a flower bloom.
Kiss the Earth with your feet.
Bring the Earth your love and happiness.
The Earth will be safe

when we feel safe in ourselves.
Thich Nhat Hanh

That is the goal of working with victims of trauma. To get us to the place where we feel safe within ourselves, where the event or events that caused the trauma do not inhabit every cell of our being. What that asks of us is a terrifying leap of faith. Not a religious faith, but a faith that we are safe within ourselves, even further, in our Selves. There are a precious few who are able to make that leap, to let everything go and feel safe within themselves. This is my wish for all beings, especially those of us who have suffered unresolved trauma and instead feel rape in every cell, or injury, or illness, or worthlessness from years of emotional abuse. I want to leap, holding your hand, and find us landing in a warm, shallow pool that cradles us, laughing, as dragonflies hum softly by….
May all of us find peace, may all of us find peace, may all of us find peace.


~ by janetlandis on December 15, 2008.

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