How do we simultaneously exist and heal ourselves in a world that is in crisis? How do we integrate traumas when they occur at a community level? How can we turn a crisis situation into an opportunity for healing? Today on the podcast, we are journeying into all of this and more as we explore all types of trauma; with the guidance, knowledge, and wisdom of Dr. Jimi Wollumbin.
Dr. Jimi Wollumbin is a renowned expert in his field of traditional Chinese Medicine and has been practicing for over 20 years. He is the CEO and founder of One Health Organisation, a wellness-based charity that has distributed over ten metric tonnes of herbs and supplements to 100 locations across 13 countries for the past 15 years. Jimi is an incredible human whose life soul work is devoted to the holistic healing and reconnecting of all humanity.
Over the past month, SuperFeast, and the entire Northern Rivers community of NSW, Australia, have experienced the worst flooding ever recorded in the history of this region. Thousands of people have been left homeless, heartbroken, and traumatised. Our hearts go out to all those who've been affected by these floods and suffered a tragic loss.
It is true; that even a crisis like this allows us the opportunity to build resilience, strength, and experience growth. But what happens to the trauma left within us unhealed and unprocessed? Trauma cracks, leaks, and is passed on from person to person, through generations. Dr. Jimi explains: "It can not be walled off. You can't ignore it. The only way to heal trauma is to integrate it. When trauma heals, it becomes a rhizomatic resilience web built on love and connectivity".
In this curative conversation, Dr. Jimi Wollumbin examines humanity's history of collective trauma and how these traumas are still affecting us today as a community in modern culture. Through metaphor and anecdote, Jimi illustrates the fragmented nature of trauma and compassionately explains how we can integrate our trauma wounds to become active conscious caretakers of any crisis, rather than adding to and further becoming a part of the problem.
"We've all experienced trauma. All living systems have a component of resilience or anti-fragility. Communities, rainforests, humans; We all become more resilient from stressors. But only if we have time to repair, integrate, and reflect upon it. If someone continues to get trauma after trauma, after trauma, after trauma, after trauma, after trauma without integration, what happens? They break. But if you have challenge integration, assimilation, repair, repeat, that's like a gym workout".
Mason and Jimi discuss:
- Survivors guilt.
- Vicarious trauma.
- Collective trauma.
- Community trauma.
- How trauma leaks.
- Epigenetic switching.
- The perpetrator model.
- How to integrate trauma.
- Victims, perpetrators and trauma.
- How to deal with the effects of trauma.
- Shamanic medicine, trauma and soul retrieval.
- How do we live and heal in a world that is in crisis?
Who is Jimi Wollumbin?
Dr. Jimi Wollumbin is not a GP or an MD but a Doctor of Traditional Chinese Medicine. He is one of those rare individuals that is an expert in his field that also knows how to teach others. He has spoken at the United Nations, opened for Deepak Chopra, spoken alongside Bruce Lipton and has even been personally insulted by the Dalai Lama. He teaches integrative doctors across America, sits on the faculty of the America Integrative Health and Medicine Association and is a lifetime member of the Tibetan Medical Institute's 'Friends of Tibetan Medicine'. Having joined in 2002 as a regular 'member', he is now also an esteemed 'Fellow of the Australian Traditional Medicine Society'.
After completing his internship in Chinese Medicine in TCM in Beijing hospital in 2002 he has since completed 3 research exchanges at Ayurvedic hospitals in India, 2 with the Lama-physicians at the Tibetan Medical Institute, 1 with the Persian Hakims of the Unani Tibb Hippocratic tradition, 3 at the Trad-Med Department of the Mongolian National University in Ulaan Bataar, and a 2019 trip through Siberia to research Shamanic medicine and present his work.
Jimi’s original degree at the ANU was in philosophy and eastern religion which is why Dr Seroya Crouch describes him as ‘a philosopher of medicine’. He has written several books, none of which have been published, acclaimed or even read... yet.
He is also the CEO and founder of One Health Organisation, a wellness-based charity that has distributed over 10 metric tonnes of herbs and supplements to 100 locations across 13 countries since 2005.
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Resources mentioned In the Podcast:
The Yellow Emperor's Classic of Internal Medicine
Microbes and Viruses with Jimi Wollumbin (EP#58) SuperFeast Podcast
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Check Out The Transcript Here:
Jimi, welcome back to the podcast. Really appreciate you jumping on with me, man.
Jimi Wollumbin: (00:04)
Always a pleasure.
With the crisis going on here with the flood, we jumped on Instagram during the middle of it. And I feel like that was such a great conversation. And it was just too much to fit into half an hour, although very relevant for the intensity of where the situation was at. And we want to go, and have a really, really broad conversation today, in regards to how one approach is a crisis. I feel like we'll learn a lot in terms of how we approach maybe a more micro one in our own lives, versus the [crosstalk 00:00:39] on a global level, or who knows where we go. But you've got so much experience, especially with your organisation, which I want to hear more about. And I want to understand a little bit more, you've been doing this for years. 15 years, I think, is that [crosstalk 00:00:56]?
Jimi Wollumbin: (00:55)
Yeah, that's right. Yes.
Look, so many lessons. And in terms of addressing, meeting a natural disaster, there's a lot of practicalities I'd like to just hear and learn from you. Because I feel like one of the things that led to probably not as much chaos as there could have been, but the chaos, was the gosh, what do we do? Who do we lean on? Does the government [crosstalk 00:01:22]? Or is it the SES? Is it just volunteers? Does the army come in? No? Okay, cool. Maybe not [inaudible 00:01:28].
And so, there was, how do we organise this thing? And there is a pattern and a rhythm to responding to a crisis, I want to go into that with you. And what I want to lead into the conversation, I've just been thinking about, with my therapist, it constantly comes back to, you have a rupture, and you repair. And it doesn't matter how many ruptures there are, your top skill needs to be, as long as you can consistently come back and repair, quality repair, then your relationships with yourself and others is going to be strong. And I think that's something that made me think about this response. We're having a massive rupture, and we always will. And what's the quality of our repair? And so with that, I'd love to just dive in wherever you are feeling-
Jimi Wollumbin: (02:16)
Brilliant. And so, yeah, I absolutely hear you. And I think if anyone that's hearing us speak for the first time, even though we've spoken many times before, my background obviously has a clinical aspect to it. So, I'm a doctor of Chinese medicine, and see private patients, and have done for 20 something years. But I've also founded an NGO called One Health, that's worked in the community sector on international projects and local projects, and acted as an incubator, like a greenhouse for small upstream wellness based holistic community health organisations. Not the downstream interventions, but the positive ones at community building.
Jimi Wollumbin: (02:56)
And so, in our conversation, I'm going to dance in between those two things, of the experience with individuals, and the experience with communities and organisations. And so, when you just said your therapist speaks to you about that, then I think a really good place to start is, because everyone who's going to be listening to us, is going to have an experience of their own, of something that has been traumatic for them. And whether that was a traumatic breakup with a loved one, or whether it was something that was of a different nature entirely.
Jimi Wollumbin: (03:28)
We've all experienced trauma. It could be a car crash, it could be painful childhood experiences. And what you were saying was about the process... Sorry. What I heard you say, was that your therapist was saying, "Listen, trauma or strife is a part of life, and it's going to happen again and again, as long as there's a repair phase." And so, the really beautiful thing, I've just got my drinking bottle here, is that every time I whack this drinking bottle, it gets a little bit more fragile. A little bit more fragile every single time. Whereas, every single time a martial artist wacks their forearm, it gets a little bit stronger. And so, living systems have this component of resilience or anti-fragility.
Jimi Wollumbin: (04:25)
So, a non-living system, like my drinking bottle, gets more fragile with every stressor that it encounters. Entropy is having its wicked way with it. The second [inaudible 00:04:37] of... Entropy is taking its place. Heat, death, all of those things. Whereas living creatures and living systems, communities, rainforests, Mason and Jimi, we all get slightly more resilient from stressors, if... underlined, if we have time to repair, and integrate, and reflect upon it as well. If you just get trauma after trauma, after trauma, after trauma, after trauma, after trauma, then you break. But if you have to challenge integration, assimilation, repair, repeat, then that's like a gym workout. Because a gym workout is a trauma to those muscles that haven't done that before, but it's a microtrauma.
Jimi Wollumbin: (05:31)
So, we've got all this language that comes in around that, like hermetic stress, it's microtrauma. How do things get stronger? How do we turn a crisis into an opportunity, a crisitunity? How do we come through this? And so, perhaps we could start just speaking at a personal level, because it gets very... If we don't ground it in our personal experience, then we might lose some listeners who don't have a background in community trauma. And so, how do you feel about starting off about our personal experiences of what it feels like at an individual level when we encounter that fragmenting challenge?
Yeah. I think it's super appropriate. I don't want to brush up in, I don't want to steal the microwave. But straight away there's the variation, as you said, of trauma or crisis occurring, is present within the world. Straight away what I think about, if we're looking at it in our own lives, if we want to be effective at meeting crises on any level, there's lots of people waving the banner for, maybe it's a crisis of conspiracy that they... For people with a climate crisis, or the oceans, or whatever it is.
If people don't have a quality capacity to meet the trauma, and go through integration, and then learning and repairing their own lives. When they do get to the point of meeting crises out there in the world, in the community, they don't really... Sometimes it's hard to get into a harmonious flow, and it becomes a little bit of [inaudible 00:07:04], and we typical excessive activism, that kind of energy. That's the classic psychological thing of, how about you make your own bed, and get your own house in order, before you go and try and save the rest of the world. So yeah, I think it's a very appropriate place to start.
Jimi Wollumbin: (07:19)
Wonderful. Yeah, absolutely. There's all sorts of ways in which our own trauma can get catalysed by a stressful process. And so, just to keep examples of this, is when I'm coaching a woman or a couple that are going into a birth suite. Then I'm just like, "Well listen, the birth suite, that suite, that's where so many of your own traumas can really arise, where you as a woman can feel abandoned, or that... Whatever your points are, it doesn't matter. It's different for every person that can come up during the birthing suite, in the birthing experience."
Jimi Wollumbin: (07:56)
And so, whilst we're declaring anything, a business, an economy, our children into the world, and we're in a birthing suite, then there's this transition phase just before a big dilation happens and out the baby pops, where the trauma gets activated. You know that you're in a good place. The midwife, the experienced midwife, when a whole bunch of that comes up, "I can't do it. No, you're not there." "Ah, good. If we can breathe here now, and you told me this, remember you said, "And when this happened, we were going to do this."" If you've got that, if you have that awareness of when the trauma gets brought up, and it can be held consciously, then the dilation and the baby can be born. But our own traumas get pressed upon, and resound like heartstrings, by other traumas.
Jimi Wollumbin: (08:50)
And so, it's important that we've had time to integrate our traumas, to connect them in, to have owned them, and to become a part of us, our wounds, and our traumas, and the things that we've been through. Whereas what happens, I think the image that I'd like to focus upon here, is that trauma fragment. And so, in the oldest traditional medicine system that we have in the world, , one of the central things that underpins Chinese medicine, and underpins Ayurvedic medicine, and underpins Socratic and Tibetan medicine. Shamanic medicine was the one that they all evolved from. Is that a fragmented soul the primary disease? And so, soul retrieval. Whether it's Inuit shaman, or essential desert Australian shaman. Whether they're from the Amazon, or from the Egyptian area. Then, they're all involved in this process of soul retrieval. And so, a part of the soul has been lost. A part of the soul been broken off. A part of the soul is stuck somewhere.
Jimi Wollumbin: (10:01)
And so, here's the image that we've got of an ancient image, and the shaman is the one that helps that part of the soul to be recovered. And so, trauma fragments. And let me give a personal example. When I was little, I was a happy, bubbly three year old or four year old, and very precocious, ahead of my years in some ways. And then, I went to school a year younger than everyone else. And everyone was a little bit older, and a little bit better developed in some particular ways. And my happy, bubbly but childlike thing, suddenly just felt not applicable. And I went, "Ah." And that part of me got fragmented. I lost a little part of my soul.
Jimi Wollumbin: (10:48)
And it got tucked away through the trauma of those other sweet little kids, just being themselves, schoolyard dynamics. I lost access to this little part of me, and it got fragmented. And then, I left it in a corner of my heart, in a corner of my mind. I had shame around it. It was no longer my geeky, playful, bubbly, little Jimi version. It was lost to me. And I found all of these other more sophisticated, funny, verbal parts that I put up to protect. But I've really lost access to a very important thing.
Jimi Wollumbin: (11:25)
So, we want to see that fragmentation, that trauma, the image is like a crystal shard shattering, things break off. Trauma has this shattering effect, whereas healing has a rhizomelic web-like connecting effect. And so, at the personal level, that trauma of... And fill in the blank, it could be a bad relationship with your mom. It could be all sorts of different things, childhood or later on. There's a split that happens in the psyche, and there's a little part that gets tucked away, and then tucked away with its ball of pain.
Jimi Wollumbin: (12:04)
So, we wall it off. So, I can't deal with that, and can't deal with the pain. But can't deal with little Jimi, and his pain and shame. So, the pain and the shame, and the little Jimi, are under the stairs. But what needs to happen there is instead, is that I need to come in and find ways to contact and integrate that pain and that shame, the scars and the wounds, and sweet little Jimi, that was actually always fine. And so, I've got to come in my own response to trauma, and instead not be fragmenting. It's not an image like I need to surgically remove it with a scalpel. It's a rhizomelic zone. The rest of the parts of me, the gentle parts, the protective parts, the adult parts, the healing parts, the wise parts, all of these different parts come in around, like cells around a wound. If I had an actual wound in my flesh, they surround the wound, lovingly, all these other parts of me.
Jimi Wollumbin: (13:10)
And I say, you too are Jimi. You're okay. You're a part of me. I've got you, little man. You're like, "But I'm too this. And I'm not that." It's like, maybe, maybe not. But even if it's true... "I'm too short, and I'm too fat, and I'm too white, and I'm too bold." Yeah, but you're still all right, and I've got you. There's a connecting. A rhizomelic connection that takes place. And it must reconnect and knit that wound together, if I am to integrate myself and the wound, the Auschwitz, the witch hunt, the divorce, that's a part of me. Auschwitz is a part of me. My own Auschwitz. And it needs to be integrated. It can't be locked in the basement, unintegrated, with a part of the soul. That's a weird, festering, unhealthy process.
Jimi Wollumbin: (14:07)
So, the personal response to trauma is one of recovering the fragmented parts of the soul, and coming into relationship with the pain and the shame, and the hurt and the wound, as well as that poor, sweet part of you that got disowned, that was afflicted with that pain and shame. So, trauma shatters and fragments, and healing integrates and rhizomatically connects. Are those images landing for you?
I'm like, I'm journeying, feel through this. I'm feeling the fractal nature of it. So many metaphors, and analogies are arising, which tells me, that's of course coming from the Shamanic approach, which I know you ease into, with a lot of your approach to healing in life, and your profession.
Jimi Wollumbin: (15:06)
Can you relate to that personally as well?
I mean, absolutely. On every level I'm thinking... I can't remember the name. I had a friend in LA who practised this, the Japanese art of taking a broken vessel, and repairing it with gold.
Jimi Wollumbin: (15:23)
Yeah. I'm like, you can see why everyone is going, "Oh, that feels so nice." The awareness of integration, perfect season of autumn to be doing away with ideas of perfectionism. And with that cutting away of the ideas of what needs to be perfect, you get to just settle back into perceiving intrinsic value. Which is why I feel there's always something romantic about the energy of autumn, and the metals. Especially for Westerners, I feel like it's a real linchpin and probably a perfect time for us to begin with this process now.
Jimi Wollumbin: (16:01)
Yes, very necessary. It's quite disowned, that process, we want an internal summer or an internal spring. But no one wants to be middle aged and autumn, no. Nobody wants to go through the shedding of old autumn leaves. No one wants that process. And yet so much beauty and so much necessity in order for the spring to return, just one of those cycles of life. And so, that image of the pot that's been fractured and fragmented, and then all the different parts of it, that are brought back into relationship. Not to hide the wound, but to highlight it with gold. What gold? With spiritual gold, not literal gold. You use literal gold in the pot, but what we're doing at a healing level, is with wisdom gold. With saying, this too is sacred. I was raped. I was hurt. I was abandoned. I was discarded. I was abused. And that made me who I am today. That's the gold on it.
Jimi Wollumbin: (17:08)
When we can get to that point of the go... Rather than masking it of like, I don't have cracks in my being. I don't have shards, and facets, and all of that. It's like, of course you do. And in Japan, they also have this wabi-sabi, the love of not just shiny, perfect new things, but that the song dynasty chest that has come across from China, that's got wood rot on the little corner, but it's the gold flakes [inaudible 00:17:36] off on this other thing. And it's seasoned in this particular, slightly walked, and it's 500 years old. That's beautiful. It's perfect in its imperfections. It's perfect in its imperfections, and imperfect in its perfections.
Jimi Wollumbin: (17:50)
So, there's a signing up and an integration that happens through that. And that's healing to be able to do that for yourself. And it's necessary that we be able to do it for others. It's like, "Oh, I see." You can look at me, and say, "Oh Jimi, I see your glitchiness, and your funny little ways. And sometimes you're a bit too this. But that's part of your glory, Jimi. And you can gift that to me." And then, we can gift it to ourselves.
Jimi Wollumbin: (18:16)
So, the images of the way in which rhizomatically we're coming together and integrating. We're integrating the wound, and the fracture site where it was. At a personal level, this is how we respond to trauma. This is how we should respond to trauma, or these are the images that we have around trauma. The images that I would suggest, my experiences. In a clinical practice, at an individual level, these images are really important, rather than the thing is something that needs to be cut out, and thrown away, like a tumour or cancer. No, it's not. That only goes so far with some of these things, because they always happened. They always have a mark. It's always on your totem pole. It's always a part of your story.
Jimi Wollumbin: (19:10)
So, it needs to be owned. It's like life tattoos itself onto us. Even if it's a Guns Roses tattoo from when you were 19, or some other thing, it's just like, yeah, no shame. That's where I was. That's what got me here. Guns n Roses is what got me here. And then, to hold that.
I'm not going to jump ahead. I can really start seeing the correlation and that [crosstalk 00:19:38] expansion. But I think the top thing there, and talking about it on an individual level, especially because that's how we understand things, that are so macro and out of our control is, we look at what's in our direct environment, and look at what's in our control, and address that. And then inevitably, if you just blow that up, you can start getting a little bit of understanding of, "Oh yeah, I can see what we're talking about here." There's just on a global level, we're constantly having these ruptures, and crises, and traumas. And then, it's the maturity.
Maybe it takes a hundred years, maybe it's... Who knows, maybe it's years, maybe it's 500 years. You can see coming towards that critical, massive maturity on empathy, and understanding of what the process is, from when a trauma happens, going, I can recognise we're in a place where it's a pure wound. I can see we're in a place where it's like, it's an open wound, but we're just in that trauma response. And when someone's just feeling a bit deflated. And now, someone's going into being angry about it, and using compensation along the journey, and then going on to the potential that maybe healing's possible. And not jumping into like you brought up right there. And I know that's one for probably everyone listening here would understand what you're talking about.
But on a global level, you can see, ooh, that's one where that's a huge conversation. And some people are so deeply in a part of their integration process, or still in the freshness of trauma, or that the whole it becoming a part of who you are, isn't there yet. And I know you understand that, nonetheless, you know the roadmap, which is a big difference. The roadmap of healing. The roadmap of how we gain greater maturity, and capacity, and understanding, on an individual level, on a community level, nation level, world level. Which I think that's quite often what, people get sucked into one part of the trauma response, and don't remember it as a huge never ending process. That is literally what it is to be human, or what it is to be a planet
Jimi Wollumbin: (21:45)
When it is a never ending cyclical process, like the way in which it's more like challenge, or strife, and integration, trauma is perhaps the name that we give to challenge when it is not able to be integrated. So, we have challenge of just, wow, it was really challenging. I just lost my job. I went wobbly. And then, it really helped me, and I gain my strength and autonomy. And I came up in this other way. That was a challenge. Whereas, if there's a challenge that we can't integrate, and we behave in that fracturing way, and then it gets locked away, like environmental toxins that our body can't process with its liver, and urinate out, or sweat out. Then it gets locked away in our depository and fat cells. We'll do that later. Buffered, nice and safe in the beautiful succulent fat, we'll put it there, like a tumour. But then, it can fester.
Jimi Wollumbin: (22:41)
And so the same thing happens for us with our challenges that are just too big for us to digest and integrate. And we don't have the resources. That part of us that was hurt, doesn't have the resources to be able to fully integrate that. Then instead, the whole body walls it off like a tumour, and says, "We'll lose this little bit of ground here." It's like one of those sections of land that, where some massacre took place, or where there's land mines. It's just like, we just don't go there. At an individual level, we don't go there. I couldn't integrate that. We don't talk about rape. We don't go to my childhood. We don't [inaudible 00:23:21] the parents, whatever the thing is.
Jimi Wollumbin: (23:23)
But then, it festers. It festers and breeds in a strange way. And individuals who have had challenge, and we all are like this, that has been resulted in trauma, and it's not integrated, and it's festered. Then what happens is that, despite the attempt to fragment and disown that, there's a superficial functionality. Because this part's not... It's just like, oh, it's just in the mammary tissue, the adiposity of my left breast. But the rest of me works just fine, so I can talk to you and do all these things. But soon enough, when that's the case, psychologically, it comes out, it bursts to the surface in times when we don't expect it.
Jimi Wollumbin: (24:03)
... surface in times when we don't expect it. And then what happens is our trauma, my trauma of my childhood schoolyard thing, and it's just there. Mostly I'm the functional guy, right. But then you, Mason, come along and in some particular moment you ask me onto your show and then you can't do it because you've got to go and see a man about a horse. And when you cancel that on me, you press on my childhood trauma, schoolyard bullying thing, and in response to that, I get to this thing and I'm just like... And then I hurl all this abuse at you and the trauma breeds and spreads. It erupts. And maybe that lands on you in a way that stays like an infectious way. Maybe I'm good enough with my words that I actually say things. Pointed and insightful things about the nature of your moustache that really cuts to your core and hurts you. And I'm assuming the moustache wouldn't be it, but then the trauma spreads like Fukushima. It spreads.
Jimi Wollumbin: (25:06)
And so traumatised people... Now, think of your parents or your grandparents here. Then traumatised people then can't help, but become vectors for trauma. It's not integrated. They're carrying it inside them in the same way that someone can carry COVID unawares, but you're not a bad person, but you're carrying trauma. And we are all carrying trauma. And at times, we spread that trauma. We spread it down the generations to our children. As a parent, I've watched the ways in which my parents have stopped a whole bunch of trauma coming through from their parents' generation. I've experienced the ways in which a bunch of it leaked through to me. I've experienced the ways in which I said, "That's not going to my kids." And I've experienced the ways in which I passed it down to my kids.
Jimi Wollumbin: (25:58)
Despite everything, trauma moves. It moves and spreads. It moves around. If it's not integrated and digested, we pass it along, right. And so, it's really important that we see the nature of trauma like that. And it's very helpful this concept of that wounds beget wounds like violence begets violence and trauma begets trauma inside of a cancel culture of today, which is about victims and perpetrators because in a larger lens, there's no... It's not to say that you are not held responsible for your actions, right. But when we see the whole unfolding of "Yeah, my dad beat me, so he's the perpetrator, but his dad beat him, so my dad's the victim. And his mom beat him, so he's the victim and he's the perpetrator." But the Romans did the thing to the Christians, so that they're the victims to the perpetrator. You just keep going back. And you're like, "They're not the victim. They're the perpetrator. They're not the victim. They're the perpetrator." Until you go back and you say, "Listen, it's just tragic. It's the tragic unfolding of trauma throughout history."
Jimi Wollumbin: (27:05)
Were the English that came to this country that committed some of those horrendous things... Many horrendous things against indigenous people who had all sorts of horrendous things afflicted upon them in their other country and exiled, at what point do we call them perpetrators? At what point can we call them victims? And then can we leave both of those terms aside for a little while and talk about trauma and how it spreads and seeps, and how it moves around? And if we can talk about trauma in that way and how it moves, and then how we can integrate and heal it, then I think we have a more useful lens than good guys, bad guys; your fault, his fault; victim, perpetrator. Perpetrator, perpetrator. It's like trying to end wars with violence. The perpetrator model is not... It's legally helpful and morally [inaudible 00:28:02] of things. I'm talking about healing now though. I'm talking about healing. In the end, I think we need to see it in the context of a larger tragedy, right. That's what enables us to integrate it. To say that's a part of me. It's a part of my line, part of my culture, I can integrate that. We come around together. Integration.
I'm curious... I love this. I love when you're getting to the core of... I assume we're getting to the core of your intentions and the heartbeat of what you think about, especially if you're addressing a natural disaster crisis. Perhaps it's not just about actually getting in there and helping with a natural disaster that is coming through your own web of what you are aware of. And perhaps you've been drawn whatever... As a practitioner, as a human, you're getting drawn to the point we're like, "Wow. There's a real rupturing of trauma right now. Let's get there." Especially with the awareness that I have that when there is a huge trauma, there's the potential for that to stick around a big time. A lot of people need support right now through that process, so it can be integrated. I'm putting words in your mouth there, but in...
Jimi Wollumbin: (29:16)
Or we could turn our back on it and just go, [inaudible 00:29:18]. That's awful. Makes me feel uncomfortable like a homeless person on the street. Let me focus on something else. Click onto YouTube because I just feel hopeless, and I feel survivors guilt, and I feel icky. And I sent them 20 bucks and now let's look somewhere else. Fragmentation, right. Wall it off. We can do both... We all do all of those things. None of us stay in constant contact with our trauma of the way in which the earth is being raped. We wall it off again and again. We have to. To go about our lives and then we open it up.
Jimi Wollumbin: (29:55)
So, both of those things are things that we do. We all do those things and we do them in response to our own traumas, very personal ones. And when something happens in our community, a traumatic... Firstly, a challenge. A stimulus, a stress awe, right. Which could be like, "I'm going to stay with COVID because it's the most recent one, but we could put 911 in there." A stress or 911 happens. COVID happens. The floods happen. That could be a catalyst that cause... Let's use 911. For Americans to say, "Why would anyone want to bomb us? Have we been doing anything? Let's have a good hard look at ourselves and how our international affairs and economic policies have been for the last four decades." 911 could have been a process where there just like was such introspection and such a driver towards universal or international reconciliation and peace. But what happened? They invaded and went off and it was punched and fought and kicked in a thing that didn't seem just, right. What happened with COVID is there's a lot of fragmentation. A lot of fragmentation that happened.
Jimi Wollumbin: (31:12)
What happened with the floods that have just happened recently in our communities right now in 2022 is that people are physically isolated through the floods, and all that sort of stuff, there's a stress awe that is looking like a trauma. And instead of 911 or COVID, the exact thing that we want to happen happens instead. It's not a fragmenting, but immediately you see this community [rhizomatic 00:31:38] web. Humanity's immune system coming and everyone coming in around and trying to get in around that wound in their different ways and saying coming along and holding those that are closest to the epicentre of that trauma, right.
Jimi Wollumbin: (31:52)
And so, we've got... So I want to now continue this language that we've got and the imagery to say, "When trauma happens at a community level, at an international level, at a social level, then it's a similar dynamic, a fractal of what happens to us as individuals." And if we remember and integrate our own trauma, then we are better equipped to be able to, and it's a sort of a precursor to actually working with traumatised people and populations is that you are engaged with recovering your own soul. Not that you've finished it, but that you're engaged in the process of integrating and doing that for yourself. So that then when you go out into the world and your stuff gets triggered by the Nepalese earthquake or whatever someone else says, you are able to not just become a part of the problem, but you can take that in a way that's conscious. So, perhaps... Is now a good time to start to bleed into the conversation about social trauma, larger scale trauma?
Jimi Wollumbin: (32:58)
So then let's have that image then of there's a wound like the flood or the 911, or whatever the thing is, right. The epicentre. The people that were there at the... The survivors, the ones that saw the 911. They got the dust that had their houses demolished, right. There's those people and they are at the absolute hub of the trauma, right. They're in the gaping wound of that particular [inaudible 00:33:28] earthquake that pulled it all open there. They're the ones affected. They were the Jews, they were the... Whoever it was, they're there, right.
Jimi Wollumbin: (33:37)
And so, what can happen is what I told you is the fragmentation like cracks in ice. [inaudible 00:33:49]. What can happen is that society will attempt to wall off that trauma and say [inaudible 00:33:58]. Icky, homeless people or the sexually abused or the immigrants or these [inaudible 00:34:08]. Oh, let's put a committee on it and put it on the other channel. Wall it off somehow. Just enough to assuage our guilt and put it over here. But then it festers. And since that's a part of us, we're in the same social body. This is the microcosm where it's a part of us. Even if it's only over in Kenya or the Amazon or if it's an indigenous community that you don't belong to, it festers and it leaks out. Those cracks, [inaudible 00:34:37], can't be contained throughout the organism. So you can't wall off trauma of anyone, any place, or anything, any being. You can't just put that into a little box and have it not come back to us.
Jimi Wollumbin: (34:53)
The trauma of Fukushima. The trauma of the areas where we've had mass indigenous slaughter, right. They become these hot beds and they leak out in different ways, right. That trauma continues through the ages sometimes. Across generation after generation, the cracks come out. And so, there's the traumatised population, and that moves through time. The children of children of the children of the original trauma are traumatised through epigenetic triggers and all of these things. The babies in the womb who mother saw 911, we can measure that they were 911 babies through cortisol profiling. Their genes get switched, epigenetic switching. We know this whole piece. We could do a piece about epigenetic switching. The trauma [inaudible 00:35:41] switches their genes. It moves through time. It's trans-generational then. The trauma is there. It exists. It's not going to die out when the survivors of the Holocaust die out. It's still there. It's moving through time.
Jimi Wollumbin: (35:55)
But on top of it, and I'm trying to switch models and examples here, so we don't trigger anyone's particular pet thing, right. On top of it, those traumatised individuals... Let's go back to homeless people. Those traumatised individuals that have been locked off and they're the children of the children of the traumatised homeless individuals. There's some sort of displaced community. Then because they have been fragmented like that, then at times like I do when you press on my childhood wound, at times they spread the trauma.
Jimi Wollumbin: (36:28)
You come into contact with them and then they spread it. And they beat you up because you pressed on their thing, and they abuse you. And then they do all these things. The trauma bounces around. It's a hot potato with trauma. It's a crack of trauma. It's a pandemic of trauma. It's leaking through time, but now it leaks to you. And you say, "Oh, it wasn't anything to do with the Holocaust. But here I am, I came over to Israel and then somebody beat me up and hostaged me because I've got no hair and now I've got trauma and I go home and I take that to my children." Right. So trauma leaks. You can't contain it. You can't wall it off. You can't ignore it. You have to integrate it, right.
Jimi Wollumbin: (37:09)
So the first part is I'm saying that fragmenting, the fracturing and the attempts to look the other way and to just wall it off somewhere, doesn't work, and it moves through time, through generations and then seeps out through communities. Trauma seeps out. The trauma of black ghettos is seeping across the world. Black ghettos in the states is seeping across the world, right. It's not like Black Lives Matter just for their sake. It's where one being, one community, one mob, one planet of like... Of course, it matters. With all cells in the one being and their trauma, they are the Fukushima and that moment will come to me in the same way that my trauma is going to them, right. Is that making sense about the way in which we have to deal with this?
It is. I'm just going to keep on going along the ride with you.
Jimi Wollumbin: (38:08)
Awesome. Fantastic. Well, I can keep on talking then until I get to this particular [crosstalk 00:38:14]. Yes. Let me say this is like... So there's the trauma of the floods of the 911, and then in the response to it, then all these people come around that wound with good intent to try and heal it, right. And they come around and they flood and they fly into Nepal following the earthquake. So they fly into the Philippines following the cyclones. And they fly into the Northern rivers following the floods. And they come around and it's like, "Ah." And they come up to the people that are traumatised and they come around like cells, like immune cells, like a wound healing cascade. And they line that wound. And they may do that by shovelling silts. They may do that by handing out food. That doesn't matter what they're doing. They're right in there with... They're the first responders, right. So you've got the first responders that are right up against the people that were at the ground zero of the traumatic challenge, right.
Jimi Wollumbin: (39:17)
But then because trauma leaks and is contagious, then vicarious trauma, the hot potato of trauma, those first responders are these little cells that come up and hold those traumatised cells. But it's like heat. They absorb it until at some point, the first responders are not sleeping. The first responders have dark circles under their eyes. The first responders are snapping and hitting their children when they would never normally do that. Why? Because they're cortisol. Empathically and through all these other things, has changed and they are mirroring, as mammals do, the trauma of those that they've been holding. They've absorbed it. Vicarious trauma is the technical term. Not your trauma, but the trauma of someone else's trauma, right. You absorb it, right. Ah.
Jimi Wollumbin: (40:07)
And then with the survivor's guilt, what you say is just like, "Ah, I'm fine." People say, "How are you?" You've been working 14 days straight here, and you've had 11 hours sleep over the last week. And you've been right at the front line of all of this stuff and heard all of these stories. "How are you doing?" And you say, "Ah, well, compared to the people that got caught in the landslide and had the baby with the thing, I'm fine." You're not fine. That's where if I'm the person in that instance, the organisation that's supporting this, I have to say, "Listen, it's really important that we debrief you and that the hot potato of trauma, the way it leaks out has to continue to move. Otherwise, you just become an increased edge of the fragment." There's the trauma people and then the first responders. And we bury them all in the mass grave because they're just all a mess down there, right. They're all a mess down there.
Jimi Wollumbin: (41:07)
And that happens in the community sector. I've seen it again and again. The trauma just... And it spreads out. The first responders, like I said, the trauma spreads through them and through their families, and it goes out. And the trauma of not being able to help, the trauma of surviving, the trauma of not being [inaudible 00:41:25]. You see people that have come back from a couple of years on an indigenous community trying to work through trans-generational trauma there. Privileged white fellows in Australia and they're hollow-wide and harrowed by the experience of coming face to face with that. And they need to share their stories. They really need to share their stories.
Jimi Wollumbin: (41:49)
So the trauma web can leak out like Fukushima, crack out like, [inaudible 00:41:55], the ice, or instead through the process of sharing stories, we can diffuse it and create a wound healing cascade, which is like a resilience rhizome. A rhizomatic community structure that comes up and it hooks up around those people. There's the core thing, then there's the first responders. Then there's the people that are caring for the carers. That have got the volunteer tents so that the volunteers can sleep after that before they go back and shovel more silts. And then there's the people behind them. We get this. It takes a village. It takes a community and the whole community, in order for that wound to be healed, Jimi's wound here on his pectoral muscle, my whole organism needs to be on board. All my [inaudible 00:42:44], all my immune system, all my resources in some ways need to be like, "Yeah. We're sending our healing, love, intent and capacity there." And we're all connected around it because we're a spider web, right.
Jimi Wollumbin: (42:56)
So the image then is just the way in which the trauma fragments like ice, And it wants to do that. But healing connects like a rhizome. It comes out like a [inaudible 00:43:07]. And so what that means for individuals, wherever you are in whatever level of concentric circle you are at ground zero, as someone that survived the trauma or as a first responder or second, third, fourth, fifth, all the way out on the other side of the world, the image that we want to have is of a web, a network coming together. And that you're all supporting the person in front of you and receiving support from the person behind you. When we spoke about this on Insta, I gave the image of a group hug with someone right in the middle who's had some awful thing, and then two people got them in between them, and then four people got the two people until you've got this massive, big humming, glowing, [inaudible 00:43:49], gorgeous group of 100 bodies, and this person in the middle of it. And the trauma is moving out, radiating through 100 hearts and minds, and that's fine. We can all take a hundredth part of that person's trauma, but it moves through us and out. And the healing is coming in, not from just two people, but from 100 people all around there, right.
Jimi Wollumbin: (44:14)
And so there's this movement like that that's happening. The healing, loving, [inaudible 00:44:21] is coming together and connecting, right. And the trauma, the heat of it all, [inaudible 00:44:26], the infection is oozing out, moving out, hot potatoing out through the web, right. The web is bringing it in like the [inaudible 00:44:34] does in the forest, the network distributing the nutrients and the resources, connecting everything up. That's healthy. It's all connected. When it's disconnected and [inaudible 00:44:46] like fragmented. The system is not in balance because the system is about relationship always. That's why the native Americans say all my relations, I think. Emphasises that. It's not about the discrete things and the parts. It's about the relationships, the threads that connect. We've focused on the wrong thing. And so, we come into relationship in some way without trauma. And so, in this instance, let's try and make it... Maybe you can make it practical here. Talk about one of the traumas like the flood trauma that you've just experienced, and tell me about how some of these images fit with some of your experiences or not.
It's all relatable. I mean, where my mind is going and, I guess, the questioning of my mind there is... And I think maybe my contribution will come forward a little bit more naturally through asking this question is in, I guess, a societal response to know a social response to a crisis, especially when the self organisation that you've spoken about is something we've seen in the flood response that was inspiring. And you constantly see in society. It's constantly the thing that makes people go, "Oh, faith in humanity restored." And it's it was always there. It's just... Perhaps we got a little bit out of balance and... [inaudible 00:46:14] now we're going, "But where is our bureaucratic organisation and our mass institution structure in order to respond to this, which perhaps was deficient?" But the question was asking nonetheless. The thing that does restore humanity on at least as super Uber mobile way was that organisation on a societal level.
Where you've been to so many... You've been under so many ground zeros at this point and your organisation has probably more than you have as well, and you supported so many grassroots, campaigns or projects. Where's the point... Where's the breakdown normally that you see the ceasing of integration of trauma from let's keep it in this natural disaster kind of crisis or maybe in a disease outbreak crisis. What is it? Is it that we don't have enough of society engaged? Is it that we kind of just leave it? You talked about that changing the channel and the thing there. Perhaps people go, "I don't feel like I can be useful. Perhaps my offering isn't needed right now. That's their thing. And I'm not going to..." Where does that breakdown happen, so it stops permeating out in the crisis example?
Jimi Wollumbin: (47:35)
I guess the first answer I want to give is a really big answer, and then we can do a smaller answer. The first answer is that the traumas, right. The trauma of the Holocaust, right. In order for that to be integrated, I need to pass the stories on to my children, right. I need to pass some of the stories on of the-
Jimi Wollumbin: (48:03)
Right. I need to pass some of the stories on of this thing happened, because it's still echoing. It's echoing through you and it's echoing through me. And you say, "Well, listen, maybe you're not a Holocaust survivor lineage. You don't have Jewish lineage," or something like this, "and I don't have German lineage." It's a part of the world.
And it's a good example because you see humanity from many angles scrambling. Life tries to find a way, and the way is to integrate. You can see it all been a jumble at the moment, but that there's several views scrambling trying to integrate it, you can see in those holding on and honouring the stories, telling the stories, some people continuing down that road of integration, others using it as an excuse to fortify their political positions, their own trauma, or whatever it is. So it's a good [crosstalk 00:48:58]. The complexity of that is a really good example, I just want to bring it around.
Jimi Wollumbin: (49:00)
Really good example, really. So one of the ways I could not integrate the Holocaust is to say, "That happened in the past." No, no, no. It's still happening. It's moving through. Like I told you, it's not finished. Or, "I'm not German and I'm not Jewish. It's nothing to do with me." Integration ceases to happen when you deny that this story, the story of Hitler, the story of the Nazis, the story of Holocaust. Those stories, those images are alive in our culture, and so if you call someone a Nazi or if you say they're a Hitler, then it has a lot of meaning and a lot of charge because that trauma echoed through the 20th century, gave rise to the 20th century as we know it, all of psychology and Jung and Freud, no one can be understood without the Holocaust, and the human rights declarations, all of that.
Jimi Wollumbin: (49:57)
We can't understand any of it, anything without seeing the people that were right there in the '50s going, "What just happened?" Right? And the ones at that time, the best of them, when they were saying, "What just happened?" they didn't come away saying, "Those fucking Nazis." They came away saying, "Wow, the Nazis, the Germans are just like us." They're just like us. They were just like us at that time, and they're still just like us now. And so I heard this story that I've repeated a couple of times because it's the most beautiful story about a Holocaust survivor who lost all of his family to the gas chambers explaining to his angry grandchildren, saying, "Listen, the thing you have to know is that if the Nazis had picked someone else as their victim, like the gipsies, we Jews, we would've been amongst the best Nazis. We would've been there at the gas chambers for the gipsies."
Jimi Wollumbin: (51:03)
A Holocaust survivor said that, a man who was there, who lost his mother, sister, and everything. That's what integration looks like. That man has been to hell, and he has he come out oozing trauma? No. What is that man oozing at that point? He's oozing love and connectivity, saying, "It's not us and them. There's no bad guys there. That was inexcusable what they did, but we have to understand it. We have to integrate that there's a Jew inside every one of us, there's a Hitler inside every one of us, and there's a gas chamber guard inside every single one of us." Integration means that we've really looked at that rather than just saying, "Hitler, bad guy, did bad thing." I would never do that.
It does keep you fractured, and it is, I guess, like you bringing that up, it's kind of like, and of course, this is the point where we break down from our integration or our healing, coming to harmony, repairing whatever it is. And we've spoken about the many steps right in the beginning of that chat. You kind of spoken about like what's the roadmap of healing. What is healing, like healing, you can get stuck in... If this is just a perpetual pattern, you can see why we kind of get stuck in like a, "I'm sick," or, "I'm traumatised," constant pattern as well if we don't just treat this as just a normal aspect of reality that should be something taught to people as they mature.
But you can see... Well, I'm going to bring it into like those extreme example. Of course, I don't even need to say that, but looking at the floods to see where's the fracturing remaining. I kind of didn't get a great feeling when I saw... I'm sure beautiful people in the community probably have met a few of them who drove down and delivered all that flood waves in front of the PM's house. I was kind of like, "Yeah, I can kind of get where you are at in a stage of the trauma." I'm not even going to say like, "Oh, I don't condone this or that." I'm just like, "I can see it. I'm not condoning, saying I don't agree, not saying anything, or that I do agree."
But I'm saying you can see that's where now, the fracturing starts to come about, because in the conversation, the amount of decades of nuanced conversation and storytelling around, say, the Holocaust has led to this gentleman and many other I've heard integrating the process and being wisdom about shen. We talk about Shen and Taoism being like... I joke about it doing all the herb stuff, so we don't have assholes, like we don't have 80-year-old assholes running around. But what it really is about is having the strength, the capacity, and the resilience to go through those initiation of integration processes so you end up being like a badass, like you've just spoken about in terms of that survivor.
Jimi Wollumbin: (54:15)
What those badass survivors are integrating is their own shadow. That's what Jung would say, right? Like if we bring this about the healing map instead of the fractured, the sole retrieval of the shamans, right? Which is a bit distant to us and most people now. When we say, "Integrating your shadow," that's the connecting rhizomatic part at an individual level, integrating your own Hitler, integrating your own dictator, integrating your own apathy, integrating your own cowardice. Like which one of us doesn't have those things in our heart? They're all there. So how can we come into relationship with those parts, even though the totality of us is none of those things? I'm not saying I'm Hitler, but the integration of the shadow is that part of just that we go down and that's really hard to do around our parts of trauma, which is like, "No, but that bully did that thing," or, "My dad, my mom..."
Jimi Wollumbin: (55:19)
It's very hard for us to do, but then the integration that happens at an individual level, how we come and connect that, is that it becomes owned because we see that there is a continuity between whom we thought was the perpetrator of our wound and ourselves, and we see in that, that the victim perpetrator dance, when we're at our deepest and most transcendental place of healing, we see, "Oh, mom, you told me I was worthless and no good and neglected me because your mother told you were worth..." And now, I can see the way in which I am not doing that but doing the opposite of it, becoming a helicopter father to my parents and my children, and the trauma moves up. "I see myself in you, mom. I see myself in you, Hitler. I see myself in you, Germans, government," fill in the blanks. "White people, Black, I see myself in you."
Corporation, all of that, yeah.
Jimi Wollumbin: (56:21)
Oh, the multiple integration is recognising that we are part of this whole organism. That's the integration that happens at an individual level.
And again, I'm kind of thinking of the utility of that, especially in, say, like in a crisis response. And it really is then, you see the weaving because fracturing happens, and so fracturing is going to occur within a crisis. And I'm not taking away from... I think it's really clear to stay for someone listening to this full acknowledgement if someone is in a trauma response, and it's really useful for someone to be pointing the finger right now. I think that's a really useful stage, and I would-
Jimi Wollumbin: (57:01)
It is a useful stage, an essential stage. I'm honouring that as well. I just thank you for saying it.
Yeah. I mean, there's so many things to say as well, so yeah, we've got each other's back in covering it all.
Jimi Wollumbin: (57:13)
And yet, that's where a full societal, a full community rushing in is going to bring a nuance of approaches and a nuance of someone who can go in and has the capacity to go and indulge that stage or engage with that. Like yeah, there's so many fracturing. There's the anger being thrown at, I guess, the collective fossil fuels and what is a banner term of climate change right now. That's a big sect all around the world in here, and then there's those that are really fracturing off into a conspiratorial, that this is weather modification, cloud seeding, and it goes on and the directions of maybe being angry at ourselves that we ignored indigenous wisdom and built in flood plains. There's-
Jimi Wollumbin: (58:17)
The inflammation of blame. The inflammation of blame that can be a part of the healing process or can just become toxic and antithetical to healing if you stay in it, the blame part.
You keep on talking about that, then there's another layer, and then another layer of response.
Jimi Wollumbin: (58:35)
I kind of see that's been where I see a lot of real positives in this response at the moment in terms of there's been a lot of that fracturing and a respecting of that moment for those people who needed to go through that process of maybe going and dumping that stuff in front of the PM's place. But then there's a real mature, natural community response of people who are maybe a little bit fresher and have the capacity to be understanding of how this trauma needs to integrate back in with real life, and having those interconnecting conversations of going, there is a lot of nuance here. Well, what can we control? What we can control our response to this situation. Are you going to let that derail you? Are we going to let assholes go into hysteria or being full on, or are we going to stay strong and allow this to make us more resilient?
And it's healers, it's counsellors, and it's just people who are showing that they have an incredible amount of resilience and already had that shen. Perhaps that's been activated for some, and for some people, it's their turn to be really traumatised and be supported by the community and, hopefully, not fall through the cracks. But it really is, like I've been really curious as to why this and then other crises as they come up and we can have greater maturity and awareness of how we ensure that that doesn't rupture and rupture and rupture and become another big dividing event.
Jimi Wollumbin: (01:00:04)
That moves through time. Think about slavery in the States. The Fukushima of that trauma, 300 or however many years ago you want to start to date that, is continuing to erupt today. It's moved through. It's a long time ago, but it's still happening, and it's moving through not just the Black community in that area. It's moving through because it can't. It's not like, "Oh, just the muscular tissue on my chest will be inflamed." No. There's bloodstream where one being, it's a fractal thing. We're all connected to that trauma and that it comes back to us. It comes through, I mean, simplistic versions, you can say. It influences us through the stories we hear in music, movies, and all sorts of different things, but it ripples out, right?
Jimi Wollumbin: (01:00:55)
And so we definitely need that process where we need to heal those scars. Otherwise, I personally believe that we have scars in the West that are thousands of years old, right? Thousands, and the trauma of my people, my culture, and my line, there's trauma upon trauma upon trauma about how the Romans took the Celts and the British Isles, how what happened 5th century BC Greece, with the particular splits. There's traumas that have not been integrated that are still informing the strange, traumatised, modern culture that we have today.
Jimi Wollumbin: (01:01:43)
And so when I look around at the world that is increasingly siloed, increasingly fragmented, that feels like the economy, the ecology, the politics, the health, all this sort of thing, like, "Oh, how do you put it all back together?" For me, I end up looking deep back at the roots of some of our oldest traumas of our history of my people, at least, of the line that I come from and see these things weren't properly integrated. We didn't have a sorry day or a reconciliation day for the Inquisition or the witch hunts. And the witch hunts are still hurting us today. And some people say, "Give me a break." They're like, "Oh, well." Some people say, "Yes, it is," and some people won't understand, but even the people that don't understand, it's affecting them, too. They just don't realise it. So we definitely need to integrate.
[crosstalk 01:02:38] other modalities. I like the conversation. Perhaps that's considered woo-woo, but there are other modalities and say more grounded, maybe psychological ways of approaching it. If someone doesn't enjoy talking about the witch hunts and the Inquisition not being integrated, then it's like cool, there's so many different ways to talk about it and relate to it.
Jimi Wollumbin: (01:02:56)
Absolutely, yes. Or embodied ways to resolve trauma. It's all necessary, right? One of the things that came up for me when you were speaking about the floods and how we go about this, which is the same for any traumatic event, is that if these images, these metaphors, and these symbols that we're talking about here today of the web, the cracking, the trauma, and the connecting are shared, right? And people have a sense. Whether you have deep experience in the community sector and working with traumatised communities or inside the crisis care and crisis response or not, if you have that image and you got a PhD in shovelling, then if you just have the PhD in shovelling, you're going to go and you're like, "I've got my shovel, I've got my shovel. Let me shovel the silt out, shovel the silt out. Because the problem is, there's the silt from the floods. I'm going to do the silt shovelling."
Jimi Wollumbin: (01:03:55)
We do need silt shovelling, but not at the expense of remembering that you're also a part of a web. "I can't hear your story about how you got traumatised or how you lost your job, because I got to get the silt out." You're not responsive at that moment, and you won't be able to pause and pass on the stories back to you. So one of the things we need to remember when we're doing this process is one, pick up your shovel, whatever that is, and your shovel could be baking cakes, your shovel could be driving things around, your shovel could be sitting at home on the computer, right? You pick up your shovel, because you're a special little cell. So you give the gifts that you can, right? Doesn't necessarily mean that it's your deepest, but you can. "I can shovel, so here I go."
Jimi Wollumbin: (01:04:39)
At the same time, you remember that the primary process is not about shovelling, putting out fires, driving things around, or delivering soup. It's not primarily about ecological restoration, economic equality, or political equality. It's primarily around community, integration, and connection. The most important thing we're doing is not the shovelling. That's never the most important thing. If we make it the most important thing, it can be a part of the trauma. If it's the vehicle through which we find our place in the web and the wound healing cascade, one, it needs to be done. We need to shunt out those metabolic wastes, and you're a little shovelling cell that's doing its thing, bringing the healing.
Jimi Wollumbin: (01:05:28)
But you remember that you are part of a cascade and a web, and so you connect onto the people around. You know that spending time connecting is important, you know that you must be connected behind, that you're in the group hug, and you know that connection, connecting is one of the central, central tasks. The trauma fragments and outside of shovelling or any other things, we must connect. We must connect. Right? And so we must connect on the other side of Auschwitz. We must connect on the other side of COVID.
Jimi Wollumbin: (01:06:07)
And for me, COVID is a wonderful example because unlike the floods, which quickly, in the Northern rivers in our community, resulted in a wound-healing cascade that brought everyone together. My experience of COVID was that it was very fragmented, and the longer it went, the more fragmenting it was, and the more those cracks went through marriages, families, businesses, and everyone, so everyone was on the other side of some cracks, divide of, "I'm on this side of ideology, and you're on this side." It just continued and continued, and it wasn't stopping until the floods came along and washed it all away. For me, that was my experience.
Yeah. For our area, and then you can... I mean, it's a clear part of the process, and you can see the overidentification happening with like the... I'm just thinking just how fracturing it's been in the last few years in identity politics and-
Jimi Wollumbin: (01:06:59)
... COVID side of the fence. It's almost nice. It's really nice to kind of like sit back and watch how... Let's put it into this terminology, like watch your trauma get triggered and want to go in to bat for one team or the other team, and then you hear one side's two cents and you're like, "Actually, they're making a little bit of sense. I'm going to start coming over here," and then rather than just keeping on going on the journey, pick up the bat on that side and start going and feeding at the liberal side of things now because you've decided, actually, the right wing in America is making sense.
I think that's been a process or vice versa, and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. And to be able to sit back and, to an extent, engage what's, in a way, that's in your control, which is your body and your psychology, et cetera, your community, while just having a little bit of trust that there's a bit of a roadmap of reintegration going on in the West right now and within the world right now, and it's just a part of the journey. I mean, the amount of people who you can see in that... I mean, it happens in the Byron area a lot, where people will be at a particular part of their trauma response or their healing, on the other side of it, and all of a sudden, they'll start branding themselves in being a public figure or just getting the tattoo. It's the same with dietary ideology, and it's like, "Oh, just maybe hold on a little bit more and just going to go your process and keep on going until you feel fully integrated and you're not formulating your identity through being against something, being against that bad person or that bad guy." Again, people really need it in this fuzz for some people to turn around and blame the fact that the army wasn't coming in, blame the PM, and blame up, and it's a good... But then if you hold onto that identity, that I point the finger at others, my goodness, it is like that analogy of the elephant, that elephant that's... It's-
Jimi Wollumbin: (01:09:07)
In the dark room.
Jimi Wollumbin: (01:09:10)
That you've got a different candle on the blind man, yes.
And really, you're keeping yourself pegged down to where you are at right now. You really couldn't. But then it's a community effort and it's a community responsibility to support you on that journey as well.
Jimi Wollumbin: (01:09:25)
So what I want to add to that that I feel like you were speaking to is when you speak about identity politics and other things that are having this wonderful aspect to them of attempting to increase political and social equality and awareness around minority groups is all this goodness. In the same way that communism was just like, "Let's share," and Christianity is, "Love thy neighbour." It's just like, "Yes." And science is just like, "[crosstalk 01:09:56] truth."
What could go wrong?
Jimi Wollumbin: (01:09:58)
All of those things are great. But Christianity also burnt a lot of weird... Like women, and did a lot of torture and all these other... So despite what it says in the flag of identity politics, we have to be careful of the mob that's holding it. And the same with communism. This is like, "Let's share." It's like, "Yeah, cool, but you guys killed more people than the Nazis, a lot more." So in this sense of the fragmenting nature of a range of our institutions and movements, in fact, potentially all of them once they're institutionalised, right? Is it brings me back to saying that I think that not only does trauma fragment, but that where we've arrived at now is that our lens, the modern lens that we see the world through is cracked, right? It's like a bifocal lens but not that well. It's just cracked.
Jimi Wollumbin: (01:10:50)
And everything that we look at looks like two things. It always puts a cause on one side, an effect on the other side, a good guy on one side, a bad guy on the other side, a victim on one side, a perpetrator on the other side. We see all these things constantly, and we're just like, "Well, fair." Obviously, there's nature and there's culture, and those are different. There's the economy and there's the ecology, and that's different. There's science and there's religion, and that's different. There's reason and there's reverence, and those are different, right? There's matter and there's energy, and those are different. There's time and there's space, and those are different. There's magnetism and electricity. Those are different. None of those things are different. None of them. They look different through a cracked lens only. This is the thumbnail I want for this whole talk we've got. That's the thumbnail. Click. We got it? Awesome. Freeze. We'll get that one. So looking through the cracked lens, which gets cracked through trauma, because trauma cracks, then once our lens is cracked, then there's an arsenal then. There's a good...
Jimi Wollumbin: (01:12:03)
... Is cracked. Then there's an us and a them, there's a good and a bad, there's a right and a wrong. Rather than a more nuanced shade of web that places us that does not create us and them.
Jimi Wollumbin: (01:12:15)
And so the primary healing, the healing of all healings; not the healing of the Holocaust, or the healing of the environment, or the healing of our economic policies, or the healing of the Northern Rivers after floods. Not the healing of gender or the healing of anything else. The healing of healings, for the 21st century and beyond, is the healing of our cracked lens, the broken shard-filled story through which we see the veil, through which we see the world that constantly allows us to see the trees but never the forest, right? Never the forest. And that which is most pathological, that which is most traumatised, that where we can see our historical traumas of our culture, of our young culture, over the last few thousand years, as a European. Where we can see those traumas, accruing is in the way in which our story and we see the world is so fractured.
Jimi Wollumbin: (01:13:17)
And so that comes up in communism, that comes up in gender politics, that comes up in identity politics, that comes up in ecology, that comes up in medicine, it comes up in education. You can't point to an institution to me today that has not got those cracks through it because our culture is wounded at a very deep level.
Jimi Wollumbin: (01:13:41)
And it's like wearing the opposite of rose-coloured goggles when you're in love, and everything looks rosie. Everything looks fractured, and we can no longer see the connections. We see parts. We can't see holes. We don't see all those relations, we don't see the web. And so because we don't see the web, we see a perpetrator when we're hurt, rather than we see our brother, we see a cell inside. And we see our sister, we see the strand of the thread of the web of life.
Jimi Wollumbin: (01:14:12)
We see it rippling through time. And because we see it as, "Ah," it hurts that much more because other did it, bad guy did it, perpetrator did it. Why would you do that? It's the wrong lens and it makes it worse and the lens... So traumatised people, their lens gets more cracked. And that's one of the things that I see that's poor about identity politics is there's a lot of traumatised people.
Jimi Wollumbin: (01:14:38)
And then the narrative that emerges from that is a traumatised narrative that creates, unfortunately, a whole bunch of the time to me, despite sharing the beliefs of equity of minority groups, I don't want to be associated with that. Despite sharing the beliefs of communist sharing or Christian turn the other cheek, don't put me in those camps. Because those guys, I don't want to be associated with them.
Jimi Wollumbin: (01:15:04)
The gender politics and those other things are the same because the trauma in those groups and the communities that have gathered has now institutionalised cracked stories and cracked lenses that increase division amongst us, just like COVID did. Increases fracturing in our communities.
And you can see it right now. It's the potential for the fracturing to come about after the rupture of the floods. There's Telstra sponsoring their post on Facebook showing that someone despicable has come and vandalised the 5G tower and lit it on fire in the middle of the floods, and how awful and, "We're here for you and we're part of the community."
And then people in the community come forward and go, "That's absolutely disgusting. I've got an old neighbour who now has no connection to the outside world and it was hard enough." And then got other people coming and going, "Well, hang on. They came and used the opportunity of the floods to install something they know we're not for," and bang.
And then there's people going, "This is climate change." And then there's other people in the community going, "I can't believe you fall for that side." And then there's other people going, "This is all weather modification," and people going, "I can't believe you are bringing a bad reputation to my beautiful Northern Rivers, bringing that extra paranoid shit." And it's like-
Jimi Wollumbin: (01:16:34)
... Yeah. Any of those things invalid? No. All of them are valid. And I think it's really putting the onus... I know we've riffed on quite a bit and I really want to just commend you on just going, "This macro." I think it really helps me. But this macro... But then relevant, that just brings the onus of responsibility crashing down on me in a really inviting way that has a roadmap that isn't just some rule.
Because I'm a part of the healing cult of fire and bane that says no. I have to say this is a beautiful opportunity. It's like, "All right, maybe it is. And maybe that comes about naturally, but let's look at what part are we at along our path."
But yeah, some really nice lighthouses here. But again there's a feeling. I don't want to try and insult everything that's been said by trying to summate it. But coming back to that example of the floods there and that maintaining that community integrity and unification, allowing that maybe those that are wanting to point fingers internally in the community, outside of the community, so on and so forth, looking for a victim, or looking to be a victim, or looking to find perpetrators in government or inside the hippy conspiracy community.
Whatever it is, if you can recognise what kind of response that you're in, and it's one that's perpetuating the rupture rather than bringing about the repair, far out, we're onto something. And being the awareness that yeah, there needs to be a lot of unpacking in conversation around all of these things.
And it can seem boring and benign and not exciting to be that person that holds that. There is a role for the... What is it that I'm thinking? The diplomatic person. But you can be convicted and passionate while maintaining that desire and intention to be that rhizomal force at the same time.
Jimi Wollumbin: (01:18:32)
That you're not separating yourself and separating the [crosstalk 01:18:36].
Jimi Wollumbin: (01:18:36)
Absolutely. Those cells that set off the alarm that say, "Hey, hey, hey, hey, hey. There's a burn here. Take it seriously." To get the immune system in, some of those cells need to do that. And they produce pain and inflammation and swelling.
Jimi Wollumbin: (01:18:49)
"Nothing can move, nothing can move. There's a burn here. Ding, ding, ding, ding, ding, ding, ding." Sometimes we can compassionately hold that for the people that are that. Their trauma is erupting from them, their cells where the trauma is... As a whole, if we've got these models, then we can be like, "Okay, cool. Let's come around. We're one mob here. We're one mob, we're one being, we're one organism, we're one cosmos. The atoms flying around between us all, electrons."
Jimi Wollumbin: (01:19:22)
So if that's the case and we're a part of the web of life, how do I respond to the slightly off-putting accusatory person that is down there that actually has a good point, but is doing it in a way that feels ouchy and icky and I want to run the other way?
Jimi Wollumbin: (01:19:42)
Understanding that we're one mob and that this is my community and my planet and we're all a part of this "how." Not what do I do? How do I respond now? Not what do I do? How? And so the "what," yeah, it matters. But the "how" in the community sector, in healing and in trauma, "how" is so important. And the "how" is guided by the stories that we live by.
Jimi Wollumbin: (01:20:14)
It's guided by our myths and our images and our symbols. And so the symbol that I've been giving here again and again to tie it back, because we've said a lot of highfalutin things, is that trauma cracks and shards and healing is a rhizomatic resilience web. It connects. And so when we are doing the stuff, we're a part of networking and connecting. And that's always important.
Jimi Wollumbin: (01:20:39)
It doesn't seem important. You're like, "Oh, I want to go and shovel, but I'm talking to the old lady right now on the street and she's telling me about how the water comes back even though it didn't get to her house." That's important. Talk to the lady who the water didn't get to her house, hear her story. You're connecting. It's really important. Don't forget that. That allows the "how" to come through so that we connect.
Jimi Wollumbin: (01:21:04)
And as we look around the world today, it's not just floods and earthquakes, there's the trauma and the crisis, the crisitunity, or the crisis across our globe at present. There's not a sector you can't look at that's not in crisis. And so the opportunity for all of us to be able to practise this is not just an opportunity, it's a necessity. We're inside a fracture, we're on a ice crack in so many ways.
Jimi Wollumbin: (01:21:35)
I really felt that personally in COVID. And I think the next five or 10 years, there's going to be more things like floods and bushfires and COVIDs and economic problems and political problems and wars and invasions. Personally, I suspect there's going to be a bunch of those. I don't know, but I suspect.
Jimi Wollumbin: (01:21:53)
And these stories of like, "What do we do?" either that just cracks and fragments and cracks and fragments, and we all take ourselves to hell as we crack it and further crack it and we further crack it because as we're looking at the cracks, we see more cracks and all that, or we knit together.
Jimi Wollumbin: (01:22:10)
We come back together and we say, "Yeah, you panda. Yeah, you ocean. Yeah, you Chinese person. Yeah, you rich person. We're one mob. We are. We're one mob here. And so let's find the way, as a little cell, to reach out to some little tendril like a mycelium. Not that many, maybe just that many with you, because you're a little weird and we're connected. And over there with you, easy, Mason. A little bumpy, but there we are. We connect.
I know a lot of people, it can be very overwhelming when you tune into collective trauma and collective trauma events, and then even going back thousands of years. I think being that person in the community that you are talking about in your own life and community to have that kind of response that is connecting.
Recently, I got my own little distinction because I'm seemingly a bleeding heart, which is a part of my trauma response and compensating for wanting all kinds of things by going and being the good guy out there in the community. Maybe overcompensating a little bit. Part of the CEO training is they're like, "Look, part of your job is just going to be repeating shit again and again. You're never going to be stopping repeating the vision and what the virtues of the business are."
Jimi Wollumbin: (01:23:34)
And you'll do a whole two-day seminar on something with your managers and then you'll repeat it a bunch of times. And then a year later, they'll completely revert back and you'll go back to repeating and figure out and blah, blah.
And then I just like the resilience factor. This is why we talk a lot about making sure you've got your routine and your prioritisation around your mind and your body and your immune system and your family dialled. It's so important because it's such a long road and if you become increasingly aware of these things, which you see people dive into the shamanic world maybe a little bit, go a little bit too hard, and then all of a sudden become aware of collective trauma and be like, "Holy hit. How do I ground it down?"
It's like, "It's not your responsibility, mate." But that's why just basic gene-cultivating, good kidney lifestyle. That's why the whole nice diet, a good diet, good seasonal living, taking some herbs every now and then, being in nature. It maintains your capacity to go about and be that person and be [crosstalk 01:24:43].
Jimi Wollumbin: (01:24:42)
And the "how." Whatever you do. You sell envelopes and you're the envelope person and that's how you pay your bills and all that sort of stuff. You don't have to stop doing envelopes and start digging wells. It's the "how" as well, obviously. And so if we have this sense of either we're contributing to the fracturing of the world or in our every little interactions, we have this opportunity for communion in these small little ways with the other business, that's the web of life.
Jimi Wollumbin: (01:25:15)
The web. That we're coming back to this image, it's all connected. This is what we're coming back to. We forgot. We got parts and cogs and wheels. And so if you're in overwhelm, you're focused on the "what," not the "how." So if someone's in overwhelm about the world today and all of these things, I get you, I'm there at various points.
Jimi Wollumbin: (01:25:33)
In this moment, I'm not there. I want to tell you, it's not about the "what." It's not what you do. It's the how you do it. And another thing that my apprentice, Miriam Latif, summarised after conversations like this. She said, "So what you're saying, Jimi, is that the world is crying out to be healed through us, not by us?"
Jimi Wollumbin: (01:25:57)
And I was just like, "Yeah, that's what I meant." She said it so beautifully, so eloquently. And so the "how." Come back to the "how," come back to yourself, come back to your trauma and then rock up and with your little shovel, whatever that is, your little shovel and connect and connect and connect behind you, in front of you. I feel like I've said my piece for today.
Yeah. I really encourage everyone to go, especially, and follow Jimi on Facebook if you're on the booky face because I think you just have really valuable posts there. Is there anywhere [crosstalk 01:26:35]?
Jimi Wollumbin: (01:26:35)
And Insta and Patreon as well. Patreon is my favourite workplace to direct people to at present. Look for me on Patreon, or otherwise you can just look for me on Insta as well.
Yeah. That's a whole nother journey of what's led to the Patreon. But it's pretty exciting what's been produced, and for people that resonate with this approach to offering a space for healing and being a practitioner coming from this space, rather than the overly institutionalised kind of practitioner that we're getting churned out at the moment.
There is a place of learning and apprenticeship there with Jimi, which is kind of an interesting one, because you're willing to... There's the grassroots apprenticeships and facilitating people to discover what kind of practitioner or healer or person they're going to be through whether it's herbs and diagnosis and all kinds of things.
Quite so often people are like, "Oh, gosh. How did you get to where you're at, Mason? Are there some courses or books?" And I'm like, "Book on a very, very random assortment of things." But I think what you have offered in the past, have you had apprentices as well, and what kind of direction you're moving in, is just offering a space for people to just in a little bit more structured way, go through that little own learning and initiation process and pop out the other side.
Jimi Wollumbin: (01:27:57)
And to connect. To connect to someone that's connected to the lineage. And so it's not about... It's like, "Yeah, I need to teach them cool stuff, like which herb do you use in this kind of thing? And what's the yin tonic compared to a yang tonic or what's the difference between Ayurveda concepts of Agni, as opposed to dah, dah, dah, dah.
Jimi Wollumbin: (01:28:14)
There's all these things that we can do, how to use this herb in this instance. That's not what's most important about anyone coming to study with me. Those are just the medium, like the shovel through which the larger process takes place. The larger process of initiation, the larger process is one of connecting people to the living spirit of that tradition of the lineage. Not what is written in the books. The Yellow Emperor's Classic, that's an empty shit stick, is what the Zen Buddhist would say.
Jimi Wollumbin: (01:28:46)
It's a signpost only. It points somewhere. If you get locked in it, it's like the Bible. You've got to use it, ingest it, smell it, burn it. It fumes into your marrow. You've got to burn The Yellow Emperor's Classic until its fumes go up into your marrow, if that's what you want.
Jimi Wollumbin: (01:29:06)
And that happens through connecting, through conversations like this with a living spirit because you have ingested the living spirit of those things in a non-traditional way and it's come alive in you. There's a green flame of that that's alive in your heart. And so when someone says, "Oh, well, which book should I read?" You can tell in that moment, you're like, "Ah, read lots of books." There's all sorts of good books, but you can't... I got my green flame through a lot of weird ways, right?
Jimi Wollumbin: (01:29:40)
And so if you really want that, come closer here and take a spark through this conversation. That's what you want. It's through a series of conversations with people that have come alight with that tradition. Not the dogma who can repeat the outside of it only to you, but who have been set ablaze from it.
Jimi Wollumbin: (01:29:58)
Then you come in contact with it and they set you blaze. And you blaze differently to them. And that's a living tradition. That's what we're looking for in apprenticeship, real initiation, not just transfer of data. The data is there, you can get the data on the internet if you really want to.
I'm just remembering when I came to that clinic room that I think you're in now, I think same room where we recorded the podcast for the Mason Taylor show five years ago or something like that.
Jimi Wollumbin: (01:30:31)
Ah, yes. It's the clinic just down that way.
Oh, it's the clinic down that way. Yeah. I'm going to pop that in the show notes as well, just because if anyone's going, "Oh, Jesus. I wanted you to be talking more about that." We can definitely do it again on the SuperFeast podcast.
We're going to just pop that in the show notes because that's what we did speak about five years ago. I'm sure there's a lot more nuance there now, but to an extent, once you're there, you're there. And I do implore a lot of people curious about this part, to go and... I think I will put the link in your show notes for your Patreon as well. But I assume you can just go now and search Jimi Wollumbin, Patreon. It's going to give you-
Jimi Wollumbin: (01:31:14)
... But is there another central place besides Facebook, Instagram that's good?
Jimi Wollumbin: (01:31:19)
Patreon is where you can get into the apprentice lounge for those things. So this is not just a spruik for me, which is wonderful. I love... The more Patreon, the better. But the piece that I was talking about there in terms of initiation, I'm calling it a green flame in this particular moment.
Jimi Wollumbin: (01:31:39)
But we could call it all sorts of things. We're talking about initiation but we could be talking about healing and the way in which it moves like a candle. We light one candle and we pass it onto the next. That's what's happening in the community sector. Whatever we're doing with a shovel, we need to be also in this process of connection where we're bringing in our green flame of healing and trying to rekindle that other person's green flame of healing.
Jimi Wollumbin: (01:32:09)
It's like that. And so when someone comes to me to learn more about the medicine path, like me, they will be like, "Teach me the tricks, the secret scrolls. Which herb for this, and which point for that?" And they're on the outside of it. Like, "I'll teach you those things, but you'll stay on the outside of it if that's all you've got, which point for this and which herb for that. What you want is this. This is the stuff. Let me set you on fire."
Jimi Wollumbin: (01:32:32)
How do we do this? Through the stories and images and symbols that come through our tradition. Those old stories. And so again, that's why I've been focusing on symbols through this process, and it's not so different. Healing trauma and the process of initiation into the medicine path are not fundamentally so different. Trauma moves transgenerationally through, right? A tradition, thinking inside a tradition, coming in contact with a tradition in a living and non-dogmatic way, is to connect to one's roots, the functional, healthy roots. Whereas, in trauma, we're disconnected from that. We're not connected to our roots. You don't know about who your people were 7,000 years ago.
Jimi Wollumbin: (01:33:20)
And there's this great quote, it says, "If you're not, on a daily level..." [Nietzsche 01:33:25] said it, I think. "Drawing upon at least 3,000 years of tradition, you're living from hand to mouth." And how many people today are drawing upon at least 3,000?
Jimi Wollumbin: (01:33:36)
And 3,000 is a small number if you ask an Indigenous person. 3,000, it's like, "What? That's nothing." So there's continuity between our subject matters here, I think. And it's the way in which healing and connectivity takes place. Initiation, trauma healing, it takes place through this process and it's a connecting one.
Oh, beautiful. And I think-
Jimi Wollumbin: (01:34:01)
... Yeah. You used the term reverence before. And I can feel it's such a huge distinction. In one area, the potential for reverence is there and in another, on the outside and even a deconstructed modified approach to a natural disaster can be something which lacks reverence for what we're actually drawing on that helps us organise. And it helps us care and all those kinds of things. I love it, man. Imploring everyone to go and check you out.
Jimi Wollumbin: (01:34:37)
So good to connect with you, man. Again, we're reaching out and strengthening our mycelium connection together.
Yeah, I love it. And I'm also going to put the link for our Instagram chat, which we dove a lot into the practicalities of crisis response in there as well for anyone wishing to dive in there. And yeah, lots of love to you, man.
Jimi Wollumbin: (01:34:57)
Always a pleasure, Mason. I look forward to the next one.