Recently I joined a workshop with a group of women, all of us agreeing to spend 21 days journal writing and pondering the answers to questions intended to help us dig a bit deeper into what makes us tick. It was a deeply moving experience in so many ways and I chose to commit to each proposed activity so that I could get the most from the opportunity.
Most mornings, as I padded about with my dogs, I would let my mind wander and ponder and do it without interfering or filtering. Each afternoon I put a live video onto the group to share where my ponderings had taken me. We each had a buddy to witness us and we were free to witness the others in the group too. Once the discomfort at watching myself on video passed, I found the whole exercise to be heart opening.
At the same time I was completing a training course on Trauma that Carolyn Spring of Reversing Adversity had offered. There was something Carolyn talked about that caught my attention. It was that many thousands of years ago, our ancestors lived in tribes of around 70 - 80 people. If one of the group should happen to be attacked and hurt by bears whilst at the river, they would return to the tribe for help. The tribe would sit around the campfire and the wounded person could have their wounds tended and have the space to tell the story of the bears, being heard, being witnessed and having the opportunity to release the stress chemicals from the body. This would then enable the brain to integrate the experience and the person's body would not hold the trauma. The tribe could also agree what needed to be done to keep everyone safe from the bears.
My experience with the journal group included sharing some of the events I experienced during a concentrated period of time. Events like supporting end of life care for a parent while undergoing my own cancer treatment, like dealing with difficult personal relationships, business issues and more. All came together at once which was pretty overwhelming. I am also, like many of us, keen to be no bother to others, keen to ensure others are looked after. So, I didn't really take support for myself.
With this group, as I explained the impact of dealing - or not dealing - with my overwhelm, I felt I was sitting with my tribe, around a campfire, being witnessed and I felt the healing in my body, in my heart. It is hard to describe how powerful this experience was for me. I explained to the others the story of the campfire and for many it seemed to resonate.
So I want to share this with you too. Have you got a tribe and a campfire to sit around? I hope so. But if you feel, like I did, that you don't want to be a bother you could be missing a huge opportunity for support and maybe healing. I can be in your tribe and we can sit round the campfire. All you have to do is call.