Over the last couple of months, myself and some other foster/kinship carers are enjoying listening to the Australian Childhood Foundation (ACF)’s webinars with international childhood trauma specialists. After each one I am left inspired and encouraged, but then I re-enter my life of children living with trauma and the impact they have on their siblings, friends, teachers, and communities. How do we allow the space for healing when the impact is so huge? How do we allow space for healing when I still need to be a wife, mum to other children, employee, friend, and have my own life!? And how does society allow this space for people to heal when our society requires people to fit into school, norms, ways of behaving and interacting?
There are no easy answers for this. One carer described it beautifully – we need space and grace – we need the space for healing and the grace of understanding from all sides. The grace from me to you, that your children shouldn’t have to be hurt or their school day disrupted due to my child’s behaviour and the grace from you to understand that my child’s world is a bit messy.
In today’s webinar, Emeritus Professor Judy Atkinson, a Jiman and Bundjalung woman, talked about her ‘trauma trails’ work supporting healing in Indigenous communities. She spoke so beautifully and gently and yet again, when the webinar was over, I was left thinking – how do I apply this? How do we allow people the space to heal, to find wholeness again? This goes beyond trauma for children in care – this goes to all of us in our lives – bad, yucky, unpredictable, and traumatic things happen to all of us in life – how do we give space in our society for healing? I am a natural ‘fixer’, do the course, find out what’s going on, and fix it! And I think society tells us that’s what we need to do - because there’s bills to pay, life to get on with, families to raise, jobs to do.
In Professor Atkinson’s trauma healing work, she allowed people time to not talk about their trauma, but connect through art, dance, music, nature and get to the trauma in their own time. Using approaches like Dadirri connecting to the deep spring within each of us – to find wholeness again. To connecting each of our minds, hearts, spirits, and souls to find healing again.
We are each responsible for our own healing BUT are also responsible for not hurting others in the process. Healing doesn’t have to be all sad and dull, it can be dancing, singing, listening, and grieving – can we do this for and with others? I hope so, I don’t know how to change this on a macro level, I loved Professor Atkinson’s idea of ‘healing centres’ for our kids struggling to fit into mainstream schools, but I leave that with others! On a micro level, I desire connection, laughing, crying, (I won’t inflict my dancing or singing on anyone else because that will be a whole another trauma!) and sitting with others in their trauma. I hope I can do this better. I also hope I don’t hurt others in my healing…