Terrorism and Social PTSD

 Kids on a tank - Florissant, MO

My practice sees a great many folks with symptoms of PTSD. Did they experience a bank robbery like my favorite bank teller did recently? In her case yes. But most of the folks afflicted have simply been watching the national and local news. Mass shootings of the caliber recently seen in San Bernardino, California bring back the memories of the past horrors like Columbine, Colorado in the mid 1990's;  Colorado Springs, Colorado recently;  Sandy Hook Elementary in 2012. Mass shootings happen as frequently as every two weeks on average as reported by one of the news stations in a recently televised segment addressing the most recent shooting in San Bernardino. People see the atrocities in other countries coupled with what is happening here in our own back yards and wonder what is prompting us to be so evil to each other? Their sense of security has vanished and they don't know how to cope. Sleep issues develop. The lack of sleep causes reduced attention capacity along with irritability. Left to continue, interrupted sleep patterns can result in health depletion. 

Compassion is one of the many reasons I like my local bank. Did the teller of which I spoke in the last paragraph stay angry and hurt? No, she wondered why someone would be that desperate to chance jail time and even potential death by robbing a bank. Her words to me were "I am saying prayers for him". She related to me that yes she was scared and angry at first. But by seeing his Facebook page and how many children he had, he became more human than monster. Perhaps that is what we need to do for ourselves in these turbulent times?

By realizing our connection, by seeing that each human is just that, human - perhaps we can be more compassionate. By stepping back from our anger and hurt, maybe we can let tolerance take residence. Am I condoning bank robbery or resorting to gun violence to solve our problems? That's a big fat NO! However, stepping back and looking at the big picture may help us understand how we came to this space of violence before reason.

The disparity of wealth in our country, and perhaps in the rest of the world, has gotten out of balance. Like the ecosystem that shows stress from global warming, our social systems are exhibiting stress from imbalance of resources, racial inequality, and religious intolerance. How can we fix what has been in the works for decades and in some cases centuries?

Perhaps compassion is the answer. I don't know how to get warring factions to compromise to solve the problems across the globe. I do feel that we can be kinder in our everyday life to all those we meet along our path. Myself included. Instead of acting out from the place of fear, let us take a deep cleansing breath and call upon our higher self to find the compassionate solution. This simple and completely doable act calms the system. By breathing deeply into the area just below the navel, we engage that aspect of our autonomic nervous system called the parasympathetic system. It is this system that evolution has equipped us with to allow us to heal and restore. It is one of the places from which, I believe, that wisdom emerges.

So, today, take a breath. Resolve to travel your life path with more kindness and compassion. When you fall off the wagon, finding yourself angry/afraid, take that breath consciously again. Allow the energy of those emotions to transmute into compassion/kindness. Then consider the golden rule: "do unto others...". You'll find that you may sleep better

Mary S. Wallis, L.Ac., NCCAOM Acupuncture Diplomate, L.M.T., C.N.M.T.
Energy Medicine Practitioner in the Japanese styles of Kototama/Inochi Medicine and Usui Reiki
President Improved Performance Inc.
895 rue St. Francois Florissant, MO 63031