overheard

Ms. Tippett: That’s fascinating. Something else I read is you were reflecting on Hurricane Hugo, hurricanes in general or natural disasters, this phenomenon we see of people helping each other, of getting out there and helping each other — and you also look at that and see that it’s not just that people are helping each other; they’re moving their bodies. Again, there’s this physical involvement kind of as antidote to the

helplessness of the situation, which is so manifest.

Dr. van der Kolk: Good. I’m really glad you read it because people talk a lot about stress hormones. Our stress hormones are sort of the source of all evil. That’s definitely not true. The stress hormones are good for you. You secrete stress hormones in order to give you the energy to cope under extreme situations. So it gives you that energy to stay up all night with your sick kid or to shovel snow in Minnesota and Boston and stuff like that.

What goes wrong is, if you’re kept from using your stress hormones, if somebody ties you down, if somebody holds you down, if somebody keeps you imprisoned, the stress hormones keep going up, but you cannot discharge it with action. Then the stress hormones really start wreaking havoc with your own internal system. But as long as you move, you are going to be fine. As we know, after these hurricanes and these terrible things, people get very active, and they like to help, and they like to do things, and they enjoy doing it because it discharges their energy.

Ms. Tippett: So we are healing ourselves. We don’t realize that, but we know how to…

Dr. van der Kolk: We are using our natural system, basically. We’re not only healing; we’re coping. We’re just dealing with what we need to cope with. That’s why you have that stuff. That’s why we survive as a species. What was disturbing in Hurricane Hugo, which was my first encounter quite a long time, and what we saw again in New Orleans, is how these victimized populations were prevented from doing something, and that’s really what the observation was.

Ms. Tippett: Right. And that that compounded the trauma.

Dr. van der Kolk: Yeah. So I get flown into Puerto Rico after Hurricane Hugo because I’ve written a book about trauma. I knew nothing about disasters, but nobody else knew anything either, so they flew me in. And what struck me — I landed in Puerto Rico, and everybody is busy doing stuff and building things, and everybody’s too busy to talk to me because they’re trying to do stuff. But on the same plane that I flew in with, officials from FEMA came in, who then made announcements, “Stop your work until FEMA decides what you’re going to get reimbursed for.”

And that was the worst thing that could have happened because now these people were using the energy to fight with each other and to pick war with each other instead of rebuilding their houses. That’s, of course, similar what happened in New Orleans, where people also were kept from being agents in their own recovery.


Bessel Van Der Kolk talking to Krista Tippett at On Being. Listen to the episode in full here.

overheard

"She assured me, “You can’t teach yoga. All we can do as teachers is share our maps.” Yoga might mean knowing what’s happening in your body and then finding an external geometry that rhymes. How can you do that with a stranger standing at the front of the room offering a succession of poses? How can I become my own authority if I keep leaning on experts?"

--  Mike Hoolboom (in conversation with Matthew Remski)

overheard

'Whenever I feel disappointed, disillusioned or uncertain the best remedy throughout my life has always been to do something active. This morning I woke up feeling all of those things so I went for a run. Then @carmenzsf and I dipped out of our normal @mahfia_tv office hours and went skating and talked about how crazy this is. Then I had a conversation with Molly the inspiring founder of @theunsungheroines book and I was reminded that at the core, we as humans, male and female, are designed to overcome and persevere when faced with challenge and uncertainty. When presented with a situation we've never been in before, or trying something that we've never tried before, even one that we can barely wrap our head around, our body and brain is designed to figure it out and overcome. The way that happens is through compassion (love and support), communication, confidence and literally moving your body. So to all my game changers out there, find your compassion for all humans (whether they are like minded with you or not), be generous in your speaking and actions, muster up your confidence and GO OUT AND SHRED. You will feel better and the world will keep turning and great things will happen. I don't know everything but this is what I do know. ❤️'

-- @mahfiaboss on Instagram post the US election, shared by the brilliant Molly @theunsungheroines (this is the book)

overheard

'I'm 85'

'I still climb, it's hard work on my knees nowadays, but it's worth it. The freedom is worth it. I'll find somewhere to climb and walk everywhere I go. This will be the last trip to Europe, I don't know that i'll find any hills in Amsterdam.'

-- American man on the train from Brussels to Amsterdam

overheard

You have to use your entire body weight when you are rolling out clay slabs...unless you have a press...and it is important to move the clay around as you go so that you roll it out in different directions and also turn it around at different intervals so that you roll both sides; otherwise tensions might occur in the drying or firing process leading to cracks. It’s like the clay has a memory for the shape it began in and it’s always trying to get back to that form. Like us! We need to move and be moved in all different directions to prevent tensions.

-- at the studio

overheard

"For me, movement is life. The world is a vortex, and if we stop moving, we stop being in the world... Movement may be in the body, but may also be only in the mind, in the will."

- Nadja Voss

overheard

'You think women are weak? Women are forged of iron. My body, it has bled and blazed and broken, and yet it beats on. I am iron. A little rusted, perhaps, but still I endure."

-- From ravenreyse : my 77 year old grandma, straight up reciting poetry at us to get out of going to the doctor’s office.