Increasing Our Capacity to Heal Intergenerational Traumas

There is so much up now in the world: the pandemic, police brutality, and the Black Lives Matter movement. Nerves are fried individually and collectively across the globe.

What’s getting us to this place of tremendous stress are the events we’re witnessing right now and what these events are triggering in our system. So much intergenerational and collective trauma is activated. And a lot of the stress we’re experiencing right now is not even our own.

It is the stress stemming from generations that have experienced the trauma of oppression.

White bodies and black bodies have been experiencing oppression differently; white female bodies have been experiencing oppression differently from black female bodies.


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We have different histories.

Making the Invisible Visible

It’s essential that we unpack our own history so that we can share it with others. It’s also vital to tend to our nervous systems so that we can be present for these conversations, as this allows us to witness one another’s experiences. By witnessing one another’s experiences, once again, we are making the invisible, visible.

We may know things intellectually, but it’s quite a different thing to witness them emotionally. Witnessing things emotionally requires capacity, and that’s what I want to talk about today.

Trauma and Trauma Adaptations

Capacity is a fundamental notion. Trauma is created in our systems when we experience an event that makes us feel unsafe, physically, or emotionally, and it exceeds our capacity to handle it. This then leads to creating trauma adaptations to keep us safe going forward.

Many traumas stem from childhood because significant events are happening when we’re little, and we have little capacity to process them.

What’s required to help children process challenging experiences, are healthy, regulated, adult nervous systems. And very few of our parents had those because their parents didn’t have those either.

We have been carrying intergenerational trauma for a very, very long time, and we are now the first generation to have access to trauma-healing tools. Science has taught us about the intergenerational transmission of trauma and how it gets transmitted through genetic expression.

Furthermore, we know from neuroscience about how it operates and what we can do to heal it.

The Tolerable Is Now Intolerable

We are at a historical juncture of unprecedented importance, with so much being catalyzed in the world right now. What we used to be able to tolerate, culturally and individually, has become intolerable. This is a good thing (a great thing!) because since it has become intolerable, we have motivation and momentum to heal and change things.

When things become intolerable, we get to change them.

The second fold of this unprecedented leverage that we now have is, of course, that we get to heal trauma. We get to be the generation that interrupts the intergenerational transmission of trauma.

This is HUGE. It’s a huge responsibility, and it’s a huge opportunity too!

Today, I will speak to capacity and how this applies to our lives right now. I hope that it helps you because unless we have capacity, we cannot show up for change.

This is not something to blame ourselves for or to feel guilty about, but something to see with clarity:

Oh, I need to increase my capacity. I need to understand my capacity, to assess it and see where I am with it. Then, I need to learn how to increase my capacity so that I can show up for my own life, my inner circle, and my larger circles.

Change Through Healing

That’s how we’re changing the world – through healing.

When you begin to heal your own intergenerational, collective, and personal traumas, you become the change you want to see in the world.

Your change has magnificent, profound ripple effects.

When your nervous system is regulated, you can be that regulated nervous system that shows up for another, helps them regulate, and helps them show up in their lives.

This is a great service and non-negotiable right now; in fact, it is required.

We are being awakened in powerful ways, and I sure do hope that we don’t go back to sleep. We can’t, as there are things to learn as we’re waking up.


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Demands Are Higher

A lot of women I work with are moms. I’m a mom too. What we’ve been experiencing, collectively and individually, now that we are quarantined with the kids, and our support systems are no longer available (remember babysitting and schools?!), is that the demands on us are higher. 

The demands for processing our own emotions, working, adjusting to the world, and processing what’s going on without the usual stress management and stress relief tools available. For example:

  • Going to the gym,

  • Going to the movies,

  • Traveling,

  • Hanging out with friends.

Remember how we could rely on these stress relief tools?

Today we need them more than ever as the demands are higher. However, for many of us, they’re not available at the moment.

As women, we hold emotional space and do the emotional labor for everyone.

That’s just what we do.

As a result, and what we’ve been observing as moms, our fuses are shorter and shorter. We either get angry, or we feel disconnected. We feel overwhelmed. We’re irritable.

Then we feel guilty.

We feel like bad mothers. We feel like we’re failing. This, of course, consumes our capacity even more. Here is an invitation to consider this from a different perspective: getting irritable and angry, feeling disconnected, these are the attempts of your nervous system to restore our capacity.

Not only are you not broken, but your nervous system is actually working very hard and doing all the right things to restore capacity. It’s telling you: “Honey, you need to rest. You need your space. You need your time. You need your boundaries!”

This is a harder negotiation because this is where PSD comes in. Remember Patriarchy Stress Disorder? Remember the prison guards who keep us in this condition by rushing in to inform us that we don’t get to rest because we must work and we must be there for everyone?

One of my clients recently had this glorious, jailbreak moment that she shared on this week’s call, in our program: The Thriving Circle. What she shared was that she checked herself into a hotel for a day and a night. This doesn’t seem like a big deal, right? Well, this woman had been on pretty much 24/7 with two small kids, her husband and her business. And given the little support available right now, things had been pretty intense for her.

She recognized that by getting in touch with her capacity, she was way out of battery, and she needed to restore it. When she connected with her desire – our Northstar – she recognized that she had not been in her own space for a long time and that she desired to be in her personal space.

So, she had a conversation with her husband, and they arranged for her to get away, not far away, but far enough for her to satisfy her desire to have some alone time. When she returned, she was happy. She was restored. She was able to show up, and most importantly, she had capacity!

Where Are You In Your Scale?

This is not to say that you need to check yourself into a hotel too. No. But you do need to check into your capacity and see where you are on the scale of positive one to 10 and negative zero to negative 10.

Where are you on that scale?

Are you in deficit?

Are you low?

If so, what are you doing to restore your capacity? Are you:

  • Going to bed an hour earlier?

  • Waking up and moving your body?

  • Taking cat naps during the day?

  • Taking a bath?

  • Stretching?

  • Bringing in some more live foods into your diet?

  • Drinking more water?

  • More cuddles?

  • More smiles and giggles?

  • Dance breaks?

The Simple Things

These don’t have to be extravagant things. They can be simple, everyday things.

Skin to skin contact is an excellent way to restore capacity as it produces oxytocin – even if the skin to skin contact is your own, it creates the same effect as being touched tenderly by a loved one.

There are many marvelous and beautiful ways to start restoring capacity, but here is where we run into trouble.

PSD – Patriarchy Stress Disorder

We run into trouble when PSD kicks in and tells us: “We don’t get to do that because it would be selfish, and people need you.” I call those voices’ prison guards’. Those voices that derail us from going after what we truly need and truly desire.

And I’m no stranger to that. I am on the same healing journey. I’m working in my inner lab day in and day out discovering new PSD layers and then turning around and teaching them as fast as I can in our programs:

  1. The Thriving Solution, and

  2. The Thriving Circle.

The Thriving Experience

By the way, we have an event coming up on August 14 to 16.

A virtual retreat, and it is free to attend. You can learn more by going to:


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During this retreat, we will be working and playing together; we’ll be connecting and learning the tools needed to restore our capacity, regain our power, and restore our nervous system.

These are all the tools needed to begin our jailbreak journey – the journey of healing intergenerational, collective, and personal traumas.

You can also register for The Thriving Experience directly by clicking here.

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