Resmaa Menakem is a therapist in Minneapolis, and author of My Grandmother’s Hands, Racialized Trauma and the Pathway to Mending Our Hearts and Bodies. I interviewed him in 2019 and Krista Tippet in March of this year. I highly recommend his book and listening to both of these interviews. His perspective, practical wisdom and insights are so needed right now. These are actions we can all take as we move through these challenging times with intention and courage.
“When we’re talking about historical trauma, intergenerational trauma, persistent institutional trauma, and personal traumas — whether that be childhood, adolescence, or adulthood — those things, when they are left constricted, you begin to be shaped around the constriction. And it is wordless. Time decontextualizes trauma.
It is not just that they lived through trauma, but that the angst and the anguish was decontextualized. For my black body to be born into a society by which the white body is the standard is, in and of itself, traumatizing. If my mom is born, as a black woman, into a society that predicates her body as deviant, the amount of cortisol that is in her nervous system when I’m being born is teaching my nervous system something.
Trauma decontextualized in a person looks like personality. Trauma decontextualized in a family looks like family traits. Trauma in a people looks like culture.”
Resmaa goes on to speak about the vagus nerve, gut instinct, the psoas muscle, and how we lock down and brace against pain. Trauma is stored in our body without the original context or situation. In My Grandmother’s Hands, he gives us many exercises and ways to work with healing trauma in and through our body. As our body “settles”, it helps other bodies to settle and come into harmony together. That harmony can turn into a culture of resilience and flow.
~ Lynn Fraser
The Kiloby Center for Recovery
The first substance abuse treatment center in the U.S. to focus primarily on mindfulness.
Watch 15 brief Covid stress relieving interviews here: https://radicalrecoverysummit.com