Transforming Trauma - Los Angeles

Wednesday, 14 July 2010
Los Angeles, CA

On July 14, 2010, the Joyful Heart Foundation held a day-long retreat program entitled, Transforming Trauma. This day was part our Heal the Healers program which supports professionals working in the field of trauma recovery to reconnect with their spirits and find a path to continue to do the work in a sustainable and life affirming way.

Over 100 sexual assault, domestic violence and child abuse service providers representing 17 different agencies and organizations attended the program. Professionals from Children's Institute Inc., Good Shepherd Shelter, Rainbow Services, Peace Over Violence, The Village Family Services, LAPD, Los Angeles City Attorneys office, LA Child Guidance, The Rape Treatment Center, CPEDV and other organizations came together to support one another to engage in mindful self care and wellness behaviors that directly contribute to competent services for survivors and an effective and robust movement to end sexual assault, relationship violence and child abuse.

I am so grateful for the opportunity, it changed my life, helped me value myself and take care of myself so I can care for others.

On a warm and sunny Wednesday morning, the day began as participants arrived at the Tree People Conference Center, a platinum certified-the highest rating-from the US Green Building Council's LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) program, located in Coldwater Canyon Park. This location enabled attendees to settle into the day with a feeling that they were out of city and removed from their everyday work environment. Throughout the day, participants were given the opportunity to experience nature, on their own by exploring the grounds, and in community with a walking meditation and group finger painting under the eucalyptus trees.

The breathing was so freeing and opening.

The morning program included a viewing of "Joyful Revolution," remarks from Maile Zambuto and Stacey Bosworth and a presentation by Laura van Dernoot Lipsky, author of Trauma Stewardship: An Everyday Guide for Caring for Self While Caring for Others. Van Dernoot Lipsky shared her extensive work on how secondary trauma impacts individuals, organizations and systems and what we can all do on both personal and community levels to counteract the negative impact of trauma. All of this material was explored and explained within the context of the intersection of oppressions and with an understanding that we are all interconnected by the "single garment of destiny."

In the afternoon, the group was led in various movement, meditation and creative arts activities, including a joyful dance circle, with Allison Talis. These activities provided a forum for people to put into practice the strategies for managing trauma exposure response that were presented in the morning. This participatory workshop provided a tangible experience of what it means to move trauma through the body via movement and breathing and to take some time to reflect and restore using meditation and journaling.

I was guilty whenever I took time to help myself. Now I know that I can help others, as well as help myself.

The event was part of our ongoing efforts to broaden and deepen Los Angeles based programming which includes providing opportunities to focus on active participation in a liberation-based practice of self-care and wellness for survivors of violence and those that provide support to survivors in diverse communities across LA.

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