Well, hello, we are doing a series of conversations, series of podcasts around what we've been calling these critical questions that every single person needs to answer in order to build a meaningful life for themselves. And each one of these questions, I guess my dare for you would be to try to delete one of these questions. In other words, looking at each one of these questions, if there's one that you would say, No, I don't think someone needs to answer that. I think they could build a life that's personally fulfilling and meaningful to others without this one, and what we're going to talk about today, as a part of this is this idea of healing healing from the past, I can remember multiple times in my 20s, and 30s, where these old conversations would come up from my past, maybe girls that I had these awkward relationships with when I was a teenager, or old friends that we kind of had conflict that was never resolved. And I just remember thinking like I don't, I don't like that I wish I had, I don't know been guided, or shown or taught how to deal with my past at a younger age, a life with regret. A life where you're still stuck in a memory or a loop or pain, a life where you can't move forward, because you're stuck on the past sucks.
I remember an older woman heard me present somewhere and sent me an email is a few years ago, and she wanted to meet up and share a story and get my advice. And I was intrigued, I guess, by the way that she read the email. And we had coffee together. And she told me and she's in her late 70s. At this point, she told me about this experience that she had when she was a teenager where someone had spread a rumor about her in this rural town. In the Midwest. There was a I think it was a race for a student body position that she was trying to campaign for and opponent of hers. Some other students spread this rumor when she was out of town that she had gotten pregnant and had an abortion, something like that. That's the way I remember that story. And she came back from a trip and I was the rumor around the school. And she what she said she's like, in my town, and you know, the time that I lived, that was about as awful of a story as you could share about someone and it was entirely untrue.
And so I said, Well, how did you handle it? And she said, Yeah, I didn't do anything. I just decided to ignore and move on. I dropped out of the race. As soon as I graduated high school I moved on, and I never went back. And then she asked, What do you think I should have done?
Oh, my gosh. So you see a woman who still, by that point, 60 years later, was still stuck in the past. And that painful experience that she had, she never forgave that woman she'd never healed from it, she said that she actually made decisions. Because of that to not trust people. Again, it had damage on her marriage, and her experience as a mom.
And what I've learned from her story, and many others,
it's really hard to build a life that's flourishing on top of one that's still hurt or broken. And I have a feeling you would agree. It's really hard.
It's really hard to be stuck in the past. There's implications of that. Obviously, that experience that feeling that emotion of regret, awful.
The idea that you continue with almost like you can't help yourself with these loops of thinking and ruminating on the past, maybe having these fantasy kind of daydreams of what you could have said, or should have done, or literally haunted by things haunted by memories and experiences, that continues to play you and affect your life through fear and anxiety. Oftentimes, when we go through something and don't quite know how to process it, or don't have the tools that we need, we make these vows. I will never like the woman that I mentioned, I will never trust someone again, I will never be the kind of person who stands up for myself. And it stunts your growth and this residual experience of shame now we're just doing
On this episode of a real cursory, a real shallow dive into trauma, and past memories, there's so much more to say. And so many more people more well qualified, which is what we're going to do in next week's episode, bring in an expert on all this. But these are observations about my life and having worked with so many people for the last 20 years. But then the opportunity on the other side, to make sense of your past and work through it, and learn life lessons, to experience freedom to integrate these painful memories and experiences into something that can make you more open, give you more life and energy, fill you with hope and optimism, and more than anything, build resilience and your willingness to take greater risks in the future. That's the opportunity that I found in discovering why this question is so critically important. What have you healed from? What have you been healed from? What have you worked through? How have you made sense of your past?
That's the question here, again, I dare you to try to remove this question as being critical to building a life. That's flourishing.
Life that's really meaningful, where you continue to be stuck in the past, whether it's a uniquely, a traumatic, violent experience that you went through, or something that you went through happened to you, that just gave this residual effect. I remember a kid one time said that I was such a nerd. And for some reason, the way that kids said it. I'm sure many kids have said hurtful things to meet that just rolled off my back. But for some reason, that day, that person, that tone of voice, that choice of words, stuck with me for years. And it wasn't until I worked through it, and processed it, that I made sense of it.
breakups, heart ache, failure, being caught doing stupid things, parents divorce, being hurt or wounded, being cut from the team, not making the team, these are all experiences that are common to the human experience. How do we make sense of it? How do we go through those things and make sense of your life? That's, it's an opportunity. And it's a key part. It's a key part of building a foundation. This is about your identity, and who you are and what you've been through. So three simple kind of movements, or what you can do to get unstuck. On one hand. It's the questions, questions that we can process and spend time on, through writing and thinking reflecting on our own that will help us get unstuck. certain questions can help us go there.
There are a few and in the shownotes will share some more. Very simple, is there something you've been through that has had a big impact on you?
And maybe whether it's you would say negative or positive? Maybe it's a significant loss, the traumatic event, especially stressful conditions that you were exposed to? That's a question that can help you build a timeline just to get started to help you think through and maybe identify some things that have either you've been stuck on, or you felt like they were stuck on you.
What is your family taught you or your community or culture taught you about processing those painful memories and experiences, the trauma, the loss?
And is that helpful for you, some of us come from cultures and families that say, I'll give you something to cry about, or walk it off. I remember as a literally baseball coach, having this moment where seeing a boy get really hurt really hurt. It turned out he had broken a bone. We didn't know it yet. But I remembered the first thing that his parents said when they rushed out to the fields. When this kid lives as a serious blow was get up. We don't sit here and act like that. Like, oh,
we don't. When you're nine years old, we don't we don't acknowledge pain hurt. I mean, and I almost called the parents later on said
he had a broken bone. What were you thinking to say that and what was what were those parents thinking? Well, that's probably the message that they were given. When they were growing up. That's just not how we do things. So some of us, I would say many of us were raised in environments where if something bad happened to you, you move on. You don't talk about it. You don't question it. You don't get stuck in it. You just pretend like it's not there. And that's a problem because it is it stays in there. It stays in the backpack it stays in the top of your mind. It stays in your body which is a big part of
What we've been learning from amazing books like The Body Keeps the Score or what happened to you the book they came out by Oprah recently last year to
the body keeps score is a best selling book. The past couple of years trauma is now a part of what we talk about. In some would say overuse that term. Not everything is traumatic. But I think it's better to err on the side of working with people and saying, hey, something happened to you. Let's process it. Let's talk about it. So the first part, the first movement, to get unstuck from the past, and making sense of your life is reflecting on these big questions. The second part is discussion, sharing your experiences with someone you can trust, and great research, especially by guy named Dan Siegel's, Professor, author, researcher coming up UCLA talks a lot about the need for a safe person to process with to share out loud the experiences of your past. Now that could be on one level of friends to another level, a trained therapist, recommend both I've experienced both the power and benefit of both.
So but that starts the movement. So getting unstuck, is discussion.
I remember a group of students that I was working with a few years ago, high school seniors. And as they were wrapping up the class I was I went in, I think 16 weeks in a row twice a week. So we spent a lot of time together. The last session that we had, I asked this question, what have you been healed from? Because of our discussions over the past 16 weeks? What have you made sense of that maybe you wouldn't have had we not talked about it. And they shared one after another. These moments that they had realized and made them stronger, or moments that they realized they were holding on to and they decided to let go of it was maybe one of the most beautiful moments I've had in leading or facilitating a group of people, a group of students as they shared and processed breakups heartaches moments that they've been through moral failures that they had made, and they apologize to one another, they confess things to another. And what I saw was them getting unstuck. And I imagine them coming back to their reunion, their 10 year 20 year that 50 year reunion, and not having the same experience that many of us have, where we don't want to go, or we're afraid to see that person. Or we still carry the regrets and the shame of it, whatever it was, whatever the mistake was, whatever the thing was that happened. They were I watched them become free from those things. It's a beautiful thing that happened. Imagine if maybe if you're an adult listening to this, you had had that experience before you went into adulthood, and career and marriage and family. And you are you had been taught and given the opportunity to get unstuck and healed from some of the stuff you've been through, could have been a real game changer. There's a pretty interesting research on what they call aces adverse childhood experiences. And it's there's even an instrument a test you can take to see how many aces you had, as experiences growing up adverse childhood experiences. And I think it's if you had more than six, I looked at it recently, I think if you had more than six, the likelihood of you experiencing not only the residual effects of trauma, but also that there'd be significant consequences to your physical health. Not to mention your mental emotional, social health.
But imagine if it became normal for us, as parents and educators to to know that this was important to create space, and help young people process these. So first movement is to reflect second media share. And a third movement, something that we do is kind of heart and soul of the new school is the the format that venue to retail, as life story, your life story in a cohesive way
that we create the environments, the venues for young people to talk about their experiences and what they've been through just the format the invitation, the expectation that someone would share has transformational healing effects on people. Your life matters, here's an opportunity for you to reflect on your life, what you've learned or what you've been through in retail that so we can do that. We can do that in classes, we can do that in our families.
And the final thing I'd say is this the hopeful message is that we can help kids process trauma, past experiences that is stuck inside of them, keeping them stuck, we can do that. We can create the venues and of course there's room in for professional therapy, but there's also a part of making things normal
discussions, classes and family conversations where we can do this.
Wouldn't it be great if we could ask every student? What have you been healed from no one escapes pain or loss, or hurtful experiences, nobody. But there's an opportunity to help help young people experience healing and getting unstuck for them. So they can make sense of their past and have a firmer, stronger, more resilient foundation to build a meaningful life. That's what this week is about. We have an article if you want to read it.
That's part of the show notes. And next week, we're bringing in an expert to talk more specifically about healing from trauma. So thanks for listening. We'll be back next week with another episode of The Jusco podcast
Transcribed by https://otter.ai