BIO: Ashley Judd‘s humanitarian work has revolved around AIDS. Judd has travelled with YouthAIDS to places affected by illness and poverty such as Cambodia, Kenya, and Rwanda. She is an advocate for preventing poverty and promoting awareness internationally. She has met with political and religious leaders about political and social change. Ashley Judd has also narrated three documentaries for YouthAIDS that aired on the Discovery Channel, in National Geographic, and on VH1.
In 2011, she joined the Leadership Council of the International Center for Research on Women. Also Judd has been involved with Women for Women International and Equality Now.
Ashley Judd has supported the following charities and foundations:
The Ashley Judd (Ted-Talk video) is being posted here for NO COMMERCIAL PURPOSES. Ashely Judd speaks about: How online abuse of women has spiraled out of control.
Enough with online hate speech, sexual harassment and threats of violence against women and marginalized groups. It’s time to take the global crisis of online abuse seriously. In this searching, powerful talk, Ashley Judd recounts her ongoing experience of being terrorized on social media for her unwavering activism and calls on citizens of the internet, the tech community, law enforcement and legislators to recognize the offline harm of online harassment.
Roya Marsh’s performance poem “Blk Grl Puns” (WoWPS May 2016) is a Button Poetry Video
Button Poetry is committed to developing a coherent and effective system of production, distribution, promotion and fundraising for spoken word and performance poetry.
We seek to showcase the power and diversity of voices in our community. By encouraging and broadcasting the best and brightest performance poets of today, we hope to broaden poetry’s audience, to expand its reach and develop a greater level of cultural appreciation for the art form. Subscribe to Button! New video daily:http://bit.ly/buttonpoetry
WE do NOT agree to shake hands with ANY of Donald Trump’s “entitled” pussy-grabbing sexual predators,
For those of you Deplorable Trump “winners” who will not look back, there can be NO common ground for us as you offer NO way to heal.
Not facing RAPE, and denying the RAPE, and ALLOWING the dehumanization of the RAPE survivors, will never make RAPE go away. There can NOT and will be NO healing between us. Ignoring Rape is inhumane. Saying “let it go” is not a constructive approach to healing trauma. What you are suggesting is suppression and submission, not healing.
This is YOUR fault(s). NOT mine.
For those of you Deplorable Trump “winners” who have had your Carrier Furnace jobs saved, so that Trump is your Santa President, you are SELFISH. You mean, as long as you’ve got yours, you’re happy? This is GREED. This has NOTHING to do with the Spirit of Christmas. Carrier is under United Technologies which is a parent company that feeds the Military Industrial complex. You are essentially selling arms for Christmas. Carrier is still sending jobs to Mexico. Trump didn’t “save” everyone’s jobs. He bribed Carrier to keep the 730 jobs as a tax incentive for Governor Pence’s state and 1,200 are still being outsourced to Mexico, as originally planned. Trump’s business deal benefits the Hosiers of Indiana due to the evangelical Governor Mike Pence’s connections. This is NOT the party of the “working man.” Trump is the party of the working man’s “Bosses.” These are PRIVATE interests and the workers being used in this “masterful” showmanship are cogs in the corporate machine. The President of the United Steel Workers Local 1999, Chuck Jones, (Union leader for Carrier) is actively calling out Donald Trump as a LIAR.
To Bernie Sanders who is agreeing to work with Trump, your revolution is a sham. Have fun selling your tired, old books.
To President Barack Obama who shook the hand of the pussy-grabber and branded him “pragmatic,” for the sake of a “peaceful transition,” your wife has been photographed on her back, without a face, stretched across the steps from part of the white house by a celebrity fashion photographer who helped “shape” female body image since before I was born.
Mr. President, Michelle looks vulnerable and ready to be walked on, as you prepare to leave office. Annie Leibovitz’s Vogue spreads and Vanity Fair fantasies have primarily helped girls and women feel self-shame and competitive. Being reduced to classic poses, draped or featured as ornaments to be gazed at, but not truly considered is Annie Leibovitz’s agenda. What she has helped peddle for the beauty industry is not “girl power.” Leibovitz can not begin to compensate now with her inaccessible women’s empowerment gallery housed in a former women’s prison. We know it’s mostly for Gloria Steinem who says she takes pleasure in how the inmates used sledge hammers to participate in the new construction. Obviously, Gloria is an emancipated woman, and she can not “give” this to the former inmates. She can only show and tell. The Massive Incarceration system is the New Jim Crowe, as Michelle Alexander wrote in her book the about the age of colorblindness. Is it not ironic that as these former inmates who suffered some of the worst sexual harassment and rape in a prison system, are using sledge hammers to elevate a white woman’s art show but still have not gotten their chance to shatter a symbolic glass ceiling?
ADVICE TO those of you who feel Donald Trump is NOT your President:
Don’t EVER make it easy for them. Fight the Power. Fight against the rape legitimizers. History knows who the tyrants are. History remembers who went along with them and lied by calling it peace. The “best revenge” is not living a good life despite “them.” This is NOT about revenge. Trump did NOT understand the working people better. He understood how to manipulate them better. Donald Trump did NOT win the popular vote. Three million more citizens voted for Hillary Rodham Clinton. WE the People have been delivered the very tyrant that the constitution was meant to keep out. The electoral college, designed in the 1700’s was meant to protect slave owners. The electoral college should be purged from our system of governing and recognized for the racists they represent, which do not reflect the American values of Equality and Justice for all.
Donald Trump is a Human Rights Abuser. Do NOT normalize his behavior.
To those of you who feel Donald Trump is NOT your President, YOU are NOT the ones disturbing the peace. Do not allow them to say you are lacking grace. What is required now is NOT grace.
The Public Enemy “Fight the Power” (music video) is being Posted Here for NO COMMERCIAL PURPOSES.
Public Enemy “Fight the Power” Lyrics: 1989 the number another summer, get down Sound of the funky drummer Music hittin? your heart, ’cause I know you got soul Brothers and sisters
Listen if you’re missin? why?all Swingin? while I’m singin? Givin? whatcha gettin? Knowin? what I know and
While the black bands sweatin? And the rhythm rhymes rollin? Got to give us what we want Gotta give us what we need
Our freedom of speech is freedom or death We’ve got to fight the powers that be
Lemme hear you say Fight the power Lemme hear you say Fight the power
Lemme hear you say Fight the power Lemme hear you say Fight the power
Lemme hear you say Fight the power Lemme hear you say Fight the power We’ve got to fight the powers that be
As the rhythm designed to bounce What counts is that the rhymes designed to fill your mind Now that you’ve realized the prides arrived We got to pump the stuff to make us tough
From the heart, it?s a start, a work of art To revolutionize, make a change, nothin?s strange People, people, we are the same No, we’re not the same, ’cause we don’t know the game
What we need is awareness, we can’t get careless You say what is this? My beloved, let’s get down to business Mental self defensive fitness
Yo, bum rush the show You gotta go for what you know To make everybody see In order to fight the powers that be
Lemme hear you say Fight the power Lemme hear you Fight the power
Lemme hear you say Fight the power Lemme hear you Fight the power
Lemme hear you say Fight the power Lemme hear you Fight the power
Lemme hear you say Fight the power We’ve got to fight the powers that be
Lemme hear you say Fight the power Lemme hear you Lemme hear you say Fight the power
Lemme hear you say Fight the power Lemme hear you say Fight the power
Lemme hear you Fight the power Lemme hear you say Fight the power We’ve got to fight the powers that be
Elvis was a hero to most But he never meant shit to me you see Straight up racist that sucker was Simple and plain
Mother fuck him and John Wayne ‘Cause I’m black and I’m proud I’m ready and hyped plus I’m amped Most of my heroes don’t appear on no stamps
Sample a look back you look and find Nothing but rednecks for four hundred years if you check Don’t worry be happy was a number one jam Damn, if I say it you can slap me right here
Let’s get this party started right Right on, c’mon, what we got to say Power to the people, no delay Make everybody see in order to fight the powers that be
Fight the power Fight the power Fight the power Fight the power We’ve got to fight the powers that be
If you don’t like long reads or if you want to defend the right to your short attention span, you should stop reading NOW and just admit you are deplorable. Wear those self-loathing T-shirts that boast of your deplorableness and eagerness to remain so.
During the housing discrimination lawsuit against Donald Trump, where he refused black people into his buildings, he had a mentor and lawyer named Roy Cohn.
During the “Red Scare” when the United States government placed Hollywood actors, writers, homosexuals, Jewish people, and United States citizens on trial as “suspected” communists, leading fear-monger Senator Joe McCarthy had a lawyer named Roy Cohn.
Roy Cohn was a closeted gay Jewish man who put homosexuals and Jews in jail to deflect from his own homosexuality, which he failed to stand up for due to deplorable self-hatred.
Deplorable People Here’s Your President Elect Trump:
It was the fall of 1984, Trump Tower was new, and this was unusual territory for the 38-year-old real estate developer. He was three years away from his first semi-serious dalliance with presidential politics, more than 30 years before the beginning of his current campaign—but he had gotten the idea to bring this up, he said, from his attorney, his good friend and his closest adviser, Roy Cohn. That Roy Cohn. Roy Cohn, the lurking legal hit man for red-baiting Sen. Joe McCarthy, whose reign of televised intimidation in the 1950s has become synonymous withdemagoguery, fear-mongering and character assassination. In the formative years of Donald Trump’s career, when he went from a rich kid working for his real estate-developing father to a top-line dealmaker in his own right, Cohn was one of the most powerful influences and helpful contacts in Trump’s life. Over a 13-year-period, ending shortly before Cohn’s death in 1986, Cohn brought his say-anything, win-at-all-costs style to all of Trump’s most notable legal and business deals. Interviews with people who knew both men at the time say the relationship ran deeper than that—that Cohn’s philosophy shaped the real estate mogul’s worldview and the belligerent public persona visible in Trump’s presidential campaign. “Something Cohn had, Donald liked,” Susan Bell, Cohn’s longtime secretary, said this week when I asked her about the relationship between her old boss and Trump. By the 1970s, when Trump was looking to establish his reputation in Manhattan, the elder Cohn had long before remade himself as the ultimate New York power lawyer, whose clientele included politicians, financiers and mob bosses. Cohn engineered the combative response to the Department of Justice’s suit alleging racial discrimination at the Trumps’ many rental properties in Brooklyn and Queens. He brokered the gargantuan tax abatements and the mob-tied concrete work that made the Grand Hyatt hotel and Trump Tower projects. He wrote the cold-hearted prenuptial agreement before the first of his three marriages and filed the headline-generating antitrust suit against the National Football League. To all of these deals, Cohn brought his political connections, his public posturing and a simple credo: Always attack, never apologize. “Cohn just pushed through things—if he wanted something, he got it. I think Donald had a lot of that in him, but he picked up a lot of that from Cohn,” Bell said.
“Roy was a powerful force, recognized as a person with deep and varied contacts, politically as well as legally,” Michael Rosen, who worked as an attorney in Cohn’s firm for 17 years, told me. “The movers and shakers of New York, he was very tight with these people—they admired him, they sought his advice. His persona, going back to McCarthy … and his battles with the government certainly attracted clients.” It was a long, formidable list that included the executives of media empires, the Archbishop of New York and mafia kingpin Fat Tony Salerno, and there, too, near the top, was budding, grasping Donald John Trump. “He considered Cohn a mentor,” Mike Gentile, the lead prosecutor who got Cohn disbarred for fraud and deceit not long before he died, said in a recent interview. People who knew Cohn and know Trump—people who have watched and studied both men—say they see in Trump today unmistakable signs of the enduring influence of Cohn. The frank belligerence. The undisguised disregard for niceties and convention. The media manipulation clotted with an abiding belief in the potent currency of celebrity.
Trump did not respond to a request from Politico to talk about Cohn. In the past, though, when he has talked about Cohn, Trump has been clear about why he collaborated with him, and admired him. “If you need someone to get vicious toward an opponent, you get Roy,” he told Newsweek in 1979.
A year later, pressed by a reporter from New York magazine to justify his association with Cohn, he was characteristically blunt: “All I can tell you is he’s been vicious to others in his protection of me.” He elaborated in an interview in 2005. “Roy was brutal, but he was a very loyal guy,” Trump told author Tim O’Brien. “He brutalized for you.” Trump, in the end, turned some of that cold calculation on his teacher, severing his professional ties to Cohn when he learned his lawyer was dying of AIDS. *** Cohn and Trump, according to Trump, met in 1973 at Le Club, a members-only East Side hangout for social-scene somebodies and those who weren’t but wanted to be. By then Cohn had been in the public eye for 20 years. As chief counsel to McCarthy, he led secretive investigations of people inside and outside the federal government whom he and McCarthy suspected of Communist sympathies, homosexuality or espionage. Over a period of several years, McCarthy’s crusade destroyed dozens of careers before a final 36-day, televised hearing brought his and Cohn’s often unsubstantiated allegations into the open, leading to McCarthy’s censure in the Senate. Cohn, disgraced by association, retreated to his native New York. There, through the ‘60s and into the ‘70s, Cohn embraced an unabashedly conspicuous lifestyle. He had a Rolls-Royce with his initials on a vanity plate and a yacht called Defiance. He was a singular nexus of New York power, trafficking in influence and reveling in gossip. He hung on the walls of the East 68th Street townhouse, that doubled as the office of his law firm, pictures of himself with politicians, entertainers and other bold-face names. He was a tangle of contradictions, a Jewish anti-Semite and a homosexual homophobe, vehemently closeted but insatiably promiscuous. In 1964, ’69 and ’71, he had been tried and acquitted of federal charges of conspiracy, bribery and fraud, giving him—at least in the eyes of a certain sort—an aura of battle-tested toughness, the perception of invincibility. “If you can get Machiavelli as a lawyer,” he would write in The Autobiography of Roy Cohn, “you’re certainly no fool of a client.”
Trump was 27. He had just moved to Manhattan but was still driving back to his father’s company offices in Brooklyn for work. He hadn’t bought anything. He hadn’t built anything. But he had badgered the owners of Le Club to let him join, precisely to get to know older, connected, power-wielding men like Cohn. He knew who he was. And now he wanted to talk.
He and his father had just been slapped with Department of Justice charges that they weren’t renting to blacks because of racial discrimination. Attorneys had urged them to settle. Trump didn’t want to do that. He quizzed Cohn at Le Club. What should they do? He became Donald’s mentor, his constant adviser on every significant aspect of his business and personal life.”
“Tell them to go to hell,” Cohn told Trump, according to Trump’s account in his book The Art of the Deal, “and fight the thing in court.” That December, representing the Trumps in United States v. Fred C. Trump, Donald Trump and Trump Management, Inc., Cohn filed a $100-million countersuit against the federal government, deriding the charges as “irresponsible” and “baseless.”
The judge dismissed it quickly as “wasting time and paper.” The back-and-forth launched more than a year and a half of bluster and stalling and bullying—and ultimately settling. But in affidavits, motions and hearings in court, Cohn accused the DOJ and the assisting FBI of “Gestapo-like tactics.” He labeled their investigators “undercover agents” and “storm troopers.” Cohn called the head of DOJ down in Washington and attempted to get him to censure one of the lead staffers.
The judge called all of it “totally unfounded.”
By June of 1975, the judge had had it with the Trumps’ attorney. “I must say, Mr. Cohn,” he said in a hearing, “that this case seems to be plagued with unnecessary problems, and I think the time has come when we have to bite the bullet.” They hashed out the details of a consent decree. The Trumps were going to have to rent to more blacks and other minorities and they were going to have to put ads in newspapers—including those targeted specifically to minority communities—saying they were an “equal housing opportunity” company. Trump and his father, emboldened by Cohn, bristled at the implication of wrongdoing—even, too, at the cost of the ads. “It is really onerous,” Trump complained. At one point, flouting the formality of the court, Trump addressed one of the opposing attorneys by her first name: “Will you pay for the expense, Donna?” Trump and Cohn seemed most concerned with managing the media. They squabbled with the government attorneys over the press release about the disposition. First they wanted no release. Impossible, said the government. Then they wanted “a joint release.” A what? A public agency, it was explained to them, had a public information office, on account of the public’s right to know. Cohn didn’t want to hear it. “They will say what they want,” he told the judge, and everybody else in the courtroom, “and we will say what we want.” The government called the consent decree “one of the most far reaching ever negotiated.” Cohn and Trump? They called it a victory. Case 73 C 1529 was over. The relationship between Cohn and Trump had just begun. “Though Cohn had ostensibly been retained by Donald to handle a single piece of litigation,” Wayne Barrett, an investigative journalist for New York’s Village Voice, would write in his 1992 book about Trump, “he began in the mid-‘70s to assume a role in Donald’s life far transcending that of a lawyer. He became Donald’s mentor, his constant adviser on every significant aspect of his business and personal life.”
Are you still confused why you are deplorable? Need more reasons than being anti-semitic, anti-islam, anti-immigrant, homophobic, vicious, brutal, racist, white supremacist, tolerant of rape culture, complacent and GREEDY?
OK . . .
PUTIN can flatter and Puppet a weak, pandering United States, mafia-dealing, PIMP like Donald Trump.
Do you recall when former President George W. Bush held up the plastic turkey for a picture with the troops during a Thanksgiving “visit” where he didn’t even stay to dine with them? Laura Bush defended her husband’s shameless selfie as: but that’s what politicians do, they “present.” It’s “acting.”
Well, Donald Trump is in FACT qualified to be Putin’s “Top Dawg.” He’ll be serving Putin his red meat. At best you will be Putin’s meat packers.
So hey you bitches, stop asking why PUTIN would be interested in hacking the democratic elections of the United States.
When Rudy Guilliani says Trump is best for President, he’s just saying to vote for the NRA. He’s an arms dealer.He’s just saying vote for the gun-packing-super-pac. And you know this does not make you safer. You know the “Law and Order” president is just another word for KKK sponsored Police Brutality. Rudy likes to minimize and dismiss rape-culture because he wants to keep using rape as a form of torture. He knows rape is profitable.
What makes YOU part of the Deplorable Category you ask, fearing your own unredeemable glance into the mirror of truth?
YOU are a bigoted, racist, homophobic, sexist, misogynistic, climate-change denying, greedy, bullying, spin-doctoring, hate-speaking, white supremacist, slandering, dumbed-down and proud of it, hater.
Wait, I don’t sound warm and forgiving enough to the racists? Really? Awww… I’m not being inclusive enough to the bigots? You think deplorable people deserve a chance at redemption?
If you don’t believe you fall into this category or if you don’t want to be Deplorable ANY longer or help play a part in sending the world into worse Hell, get the fuck out of the DEPLORABLE basket and demand that the Emoluments Clause prohibit Donald Trump the tyrant from taking office.
It’s not time to make peace with YOU Deplorables. It’s time to let you know you are corrupt.
The Pussy Riot “Make America Great Again” (music video) is being posted here for NO COMMERCIAL PURPOSES. Oct 27, 2016 #PussyGrabsBack #NastyWoman (!) Because YOU decide elections and if we get together, we could blow this shit up, take action and reverse this erosion of rights. Because fuck it.
– – – – Written passionately by Ricky Reed, Nadya, Tom Peyton
– – – – Music video is directed by Jonas Akerlund Style: B Akerlund Make up : Ozzy Salvatierra Hair : Patricia Morales Special effects make up : Jerry Constantine
– – – -LYRICS- – – – What do you want your world to look like? What do you want it to be? Do you know that a wall has two sides? And nobody is free? Did your mama come from Mexico Papa come from Palestine Sneaking all through Syria Crossing all the border lines
Let other people in Listen to your women Stop killing black children Make America Great Again
Could you imagine a politician calling a woman a dog? Do you wanna stay in the kitchen? Is that where you belong? How do you picture the perfect leader Who do you want him to be Has he promoted the use of torture and killing families
Let other people in Listen to your women Stop killing black children Make America Great Again
The Pussy Riot “I Can’t Breathe” (music video) is being posted here for NO COMMERCIAL PURPOSES. (Feb 18, 2015) Pussy Riot’s first song in English is dedicated to Eric Garner and the words he repeated eleven times before his death. This song is for Eric and for all those from Russia to America and around the globe who suffer from state terror – killed, choked, perished because of war and state sponsored violence of all kinds – for political prisoners and those on the streets fighting for change. We stand in solidarity.
Pussy Riot’s Masha and Nadya are being buried alive in the Russian riot police uniforms that are worn during the violent clashes of police and the protesters fighting for change in Russia. A pack of “Russian Spring” brand cigarettes is on the ground at the beginning. “Russian Spring” is a term used by those who are in love with Russia’s aggressive militant actions in Ukraine, and the cigarettes are a real thing.
“I Can’t Breathe” was recorded in New York in December 2014 during the protests against police brutality together with Pussy Riot, Richard Hell, Nick Zinner, Andrew Wyatt, Shahzad Ismaily (The Ceramic Dog) and Russian bands Jack Wood and Scofferlane.
MUSIC VIDEO: Concept, directed and produced: Pussy Riot Video directors – Gogol Wives Director of Photography and editor: Mikhail Vikhrov.
MUSIC: Concept, produced: Pussy Riot Vocals: Sasha Klokova (Jack Wood), Matt Kulakov (Scofferlane), Richard Hell Lyrics: Matt Kulakov (Scofferlane) Monologe of Eric Garner: Richard Hell Bit: Andrew Wyatt Piano, Bass: Nick Zinner Drums: Shahzad Ismaily Engineered and mixed by Philip Weinrobe at Figure Eight Studios in Brooklyn, NY
– – – – LYRICS- – – – He’s become his death The spark of the riots That’s the way he’s blessed To stay alive.
It never leads to an end It’s never getting quiet If it’s unfair, my friend, Make up your mind
It’s getting dark in New York city It’s getting dark in New York city It’s getting tight in New York city I need to catch my breath
You know this world of hate You know this stubborn light They’re in the prayers you pray Late at night
We’re only half way down Who dares to take a breath? Some fairness might be found From ashes of his death. Eric Garner’s last words (read by Richard Hell):
Get away [garbled] for what? Every time you see me, you want to mess with me. I’m tired of it. It stops today. Why would you…? Everyone standing here will tell you I didn’t do nothing. I did not sell nothing. Because everytime you see me, you want to harass me. You want to stop me [garbled] Selling cigarettes. I’m minding my business, officer, I’m minding my business. Please just leave me alone. I told you the last time, please just leave me alone. please please, don’t touch me. Do not touch me. [garbled] I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe.
Pussy Riot is a Russian feminist punk rock protest group based in Moscow. Founded in August 2011, it had a variable membership of approximately 11 women ranging in age from about 20 to 33 (as of 2012). The group staged unauthorised provocative guerrilla performances in public places, which were made into music videos and posted on the Internet. The collective’s lyrical themes included feminism, LGBT rights, and opposition to Russian President Vladimir Putin, the dictator. These themes also encompassed Putin’s links to the leadership of the Russian Orthodox Church.
On February 21, 2012, five members of the group staged a performance in Moscow’s Cathedral of Christ the Savior. The group’s actions were eventually stopped by church security officials. The women said their protest was directed at the Orthodox Church leaders’ support for Putin during his election campaign. On March 3, 2012, two of the group members, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina, were arrested and charged with hooliganism. A third member, Yekaterina Samutsevich, was arrested on March 16. Denied bail, they were held in custody until their trial began in late July. On August 17, 2012, the three members were convicted of “hooliganism motivated by religious hatred”, and each was sentenced to two years’ imprisonment. On October 10, following an appeal, Samutsevich was freed on probation and her sentence suspended. The sentences of the other two women were upheld.
The trial and sentence attracted considerable criticism, particularly in the West. The case was adopted by human-rights groups, including Amnesty International, which designated the women as prisoners of conscience, and by a number of prominent entertainers. Public opinion in Russia was generally less sympathetic towards the women. Having served 21 months, Tolokonnikova and Alyokhina were released on December 23, 2013, after the State Duma approved an amnesty.
In February 2014, a statement was made anonymously on behalf of some Pussy Riot members that both Alyokhina and Tolokonnikova were no longer members. However, both were among the group that performed as Pussy Riot during the Winter Olympics in Sochi, where group members were attacked with whips and pepper spray by Cossacks who were employed as security guards. On 6 March 2014, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina were assaulted and sprayed with green paint by local youths in Nizhny Novgorod. (sourced and paraphrased from wikipedia December 2016)
Thank you readers and followers for your sensitivity surrounding the following subject of Trauma.
Compassion is not a relationship between the healer and the wounded. It’s a relationship between equals. Only when we know our own darkness well can we be present with the darkness of others. Compassion becomes real when we recognize our shared humanity.” (quote from Pema Chodron)
In the darkness (not light) of the recent shootings, from Ferguson (can you believe that was two years ago? Seems like yesterday… Do you remember Mike Brown?) to Orlando to Louisiana to Dallas and all the people and places I’m failing to mention, I heard Mike Brown’s mom say that after a while all of the “I’m sorries” blurred into one and how nothing changed. She can’t get away from the social media images, the corporate media images, and she is being forced to relive the trauma of her son’s murder. She can say only to the families suffering the loss of their loved ones at the hands of gun violence and police brutality, this is what you’re all going to know one day. Now you will all know how it feels.
There are the speeches by politicians and religious leaders I am supposed to be motivated or moved by, about it being a time for grieving and building bridges and for healing. There is a call for calm. There is a weary cheer for love. It’s a numbed collective from the repeated shocks, lacking leadership, insisting on pointing out the everyday heroes so we can still believe in angels.
But for me… Mike Brown’s mom had the clearest message.
In my personal life (at the same time as the Dallas police department was being shot up) I had relapsed into a Posttraumatic Stress episode due to a predator from my past who raped me and began contacting me again. I didn’t realize how ill equipped I would be to handle his transgressions and I became suicidal.
This post is about Trauma. I am not giving anyone professional advice about how to overcome and heal from experiences that kill soul. I am offering what is currently helping me hold on and develop coping skills so that anyone else who finds themselves blocked by or locked into a fight or flight response might not feel so alone. I believe it is possible to transform and renegotiate trauma. That is my goal.
Many traditional approaches to therapy actually re-traumatize the victims and make it impossible for them to get help. What I have discovered for my own best course is a non-tradtional approach. It’s not the only way so if it doesn’t work for you, keep seeking your right guides and healers.
This is only partial information and hopefully is of some help to others for what I have selected and yet it is still a semi-long read because the matter of life and death doesn’t fit neatly into a box even when there are a lot of coffins around.
Peter Levine: Yes, the tiger image. At that time, I was taking a graduate seminar, and some brief mention was made of a phenomenon called tonic immobility. If animals were physically restrained and frightened, they would go into a profoundly altered state of consciousness where they were frozen and immobilized, unable to move. And it turns out that this is one of the key survival features that animals use to protect themselves from threat—in this case from extreme threat. Actually there are three basic neural energy subsystems. These three systems underpin the overall state of the nervous system as well as the correlative behaviors and emotions, leading to three defensive strategies to threat. MY: That’s the polyvagal theory developed by Stephen Porges? Peter Levine: Yes. These systems are orchestrated by the primitive structures in our brainstem—the upper part of the brainstem. They’re instinctive and they’re almost reflexive. The tonic immobility is the most primitive system, and it spans probably over 500 million years. It is a combination of freezing and collapsing—the muscles go limp, the person is left without any energy. The next in evolutionary development is the sympathetic nervous system, the fight-or-flight response. And this system evolved from the reptilian period which was about 300 million years ago. And its function is enhanced action, and, as I said, fight-or-flight. Finally the third and most recent system is the social engagement system, and this occurs only in mammals. Its purpose is to drive social engagement—making friends—in order to defuse the aggression or tension. VY: So this is when we’re feeling threatened or stressed we want to talk to our friends and family? Peter Levine: Yeah, exactly. Or if somebody’s really angry at us, we want to explain what happened so they don’t strike out at us. Obviously most people won’t strike out, but we’re still hardwired for those kinds of expectations. VY: Most people have a general sense of the fight-or-flight, but would you just say a few words on it? Peter Levine: Basically, in the fight-or-flight response, the objective is to get away from the source of threat. All of our muscles prepare for this escape by increasing their tension level, our heart rate and respiration increase, and our whole basic metabolic system is flooded with adrenaline. Blood is diverted to the muscles, away from the viscera. The goal is to run away, or if we feel that we can’t escape or if we perceive that the individual that’s trying to attack us is less strong than we are, to attack them. Or if we’re cornered by a predator—in other words, if there’s no way to escape—then we’ll fight back. Now, if none of those procedures are effective, and it looks like we’re going to be killed, we go into the shock state, the tonic immobility. Now the key is that when people get into this immobility state, they do it in a state of fear. And as they come out of the immobility state, they also enter a state of fear, and actually a state in which they are prepared for what sometimes is called rage counterattack. MY: Can you say more about that? Peter Levine: For example, you see a cat chasing a mouse. The cat catches the mouse and has it in its paws, and the mouse goes into this immobility response. And sometimes you’ll actually see the cat bat the mouse around a little bit until it comes out of the immobility, because it wants the chase to go on. Now, what can happen is that the mouse, when it comes out of the immobility state, goes into what is called nondirective flight. It doesn’t even look for where it can run. It just runs as fast as it can in any direction. Sometimes that’s right into the cat. Other times, it will actually attack, in a counterattack of rage. I’ve actually seen a mouse who was captured by a cat come out of the immobility and attack the cat’s nose. The cat was so startled it remained there in that state while the mouse scurried away. When people come out of this immobility response, their potential for rage is so strong and the associated sensations are so intense that they are afraid of their own impulse to strike out and to defend themselves by killing the predator. Again, this all goes back to our animal heritage. So the key I found was in helping people come out of this immobility response without fear. Now, with Nancy, I was lucky. If it were not for that image, I could just as easily have retraumatized her. As a matter of fact, some of the therapies that were being developed around that time frequently retraumatized people. I think particularly of Arthur Janov’s Primal Therapy, where people would be yelling and screaming out, supposedly getting out all of their locked-in emotions, but a lot of times they were actually terrorizing themselves with the rage and then they would go back into a shutdown, and then be encouraged to “relive” another memory, and then this cycle would continue. MY: It becomes addictive sometimes, right?
Peter Levine: That’s correct. It literally becomes addictive. And one of the reasons is that when you do these kinds of relivings, there’s a tremendous release of adrenaline. There’s also a release of endorphins, which is the brain’s internal opiate system. In animals, these endorphins allow the prey to go into a state of shock-analgesia and not feel the pain of being torn apart. When people relive the trauma, they recreate a similar neurochemical system that occurred at the time of the trauma, the release of adrenaline and endorphins. Now, adrenaline is addictive, it is like getting a speed high. [section;And they get addicted not only to the adrenaline but to the endorphins; it’s like having a drug cocktail of amphetamines and morphine.] So when I was at Esalen I actually noticed that people would come to these groups, they would yell and scream, tear a pillow apart that was their mother or their father, and they would feel high. They would feel really great. But then when they would come back a few weeks later, they would go through exactly the same thing again. And that’s what gave me a clue to the fact that this might be addictive.
“Recently, a young Iraq veteran took issue with calling his combat anguish PTSD and, instead, poignantly referred to his pain and suffering as PTSI- the “I” designating “injury.” What he wisely discerned is trauma is an injury, not a disorder like diabetes, which can be managed but not healed. In contrast posttraumatic stress injury is an emotional wound, amenable to healing attention and transformation.
Nonetheless, the medical model persists. It (arguably) functions fairly effectively with diseases like diabetes and cancer, where the doctor holds all of the knowledge and dictates the necessary interventions for a sick patient. This is not, however, a useful paradigm for trauma healing. Rather than being a disease in the classical sense, trauma is instead a profound experience of “dis-ease” or “dis-order.” What is called for here is a cooperative and restorative process with the doctor as an assisting guide and midwife. A doctor who insists on retaining his or her protected role as “healthy healer” remains separate, defending him- or herself against the ultimate helplessness that lurks, phantom-like, in all of our lives. Cut off from his or her own feelings, such a doctor will not be able to join with the sufferer. Missing will be the crucial collaboration in containing, processing and integrating the patient’s horrible sensations, imagess and emotions. The sufferer will remain starkly alone, holding the very horrors that have overwhelmed him or her and broken down his or her capacity to self-regulate and grow.
In a common therapy resulting from this isolating orientation, the therapist instructs the PTSD victim to assert control over his or her feelings, to manage his or her aberrant behaviors and to alter his or her dysfunctional thoughts. Contrast this alignment to that of shamanistic traditions, where the healer and the sufferer join together to reexperience the terror while calling on cosmic forces to release the grip of the demons. The shaman is always first initiated, via a profound encounter with his own helplessness and feeling of being shattered, prior to assuming the mantle of healer. Such preparation might suggest a model whereby contemporary therapists must first recognize and engage with their own traumas and emotional wounds.”(excerpts from chapter 3: The Changing Face of Trauma, pages 34-35)
The MEDUSA – Benjamin Millepied ART + MUSIC MOCAtv (music and art film) is an artistic collaboration between Director Choreographer Benjamin Millepied, Rodarte Costumes, and the LA Dance Project in a Caravaggio aesthetic. It is being posted here for reasons of art and healing and for NO COMMERCIAL PURPOSES.
Music: performed by Renee Fleming featuring Christoph Eschenbach “Schubert: Du bist die Ruh‘, D.776 (Op.59/3)”
LA Dance Project Dancers: Charlie Hodges, Amanda Wells, Nathan Makolandra, Morgan Lugo, Julia Eichten, Frances Chiaverini. Director of Photography: Cat Deakins. Costumes: Kate and Laura Mulleavy of Rodarte.
Mythology teaches us about courageously meeting challenges. Myths are archetypal stories that simply and directly touch the core of our being. They remind us about our deepest longings, and reveal to us our hidden strengths and resources. They are also maps of our essential nature, pathways that connect us to each other, to nature and to the cosmos. The Greek myth of Medusa captures the very essence of trauma and describes its pathway to transformation.
In the Greek myth, those who looked directly into Medusa’s eyes were promptly turned into stone. . .frozen in time. Before setting out to vanquish this snake-haired demon, Perseus sought counsel from Athena, the goddess of knowldege and strategy. Her advice to him was simple: under no circumstances should he look directly at the Gorgon. Taking Athena’s advice to heart, Perseus used the protective shield fastened on his arm to reflect the image of Medusa. This way he was able to cut off her head without looking directly at her, and thus avoided being turned to stone.
If trauma is to be transformed, we must learn not to confront it directly. If we make the mistake of confronting trauma head on, then Medusa will, true to her nature, turn us to stone. Like the Chinese finger traps we all played with as kids, the more we struggle with trauma, the greater its grip upon us. When it comes to trauma, I believe the “equivalent” of Perseus’s reflecting shield is how our body responds to trauma and how the “living body personifies resilience and feelings of goodness.
There is more to this myth:
Out of Medusa’s wound, two mythical entities emerged: Pegasus the winged horse and the one-eyed giant Chrysaor, the warrior with the golden sword. The golden sword represents the penetrating truth and clarity. The horse is the symbol of the body and instinctual knowledge; the wings symbolize transcendence. Together, these aspects form the archetypal qualities and resources that a human being must mobilize in order to heal the Medusa (fright paralysis) called trauma. The ability to perceive and respond to the reflection of Medusa is mirrored in our instinctual natures.
In another version of this same myth, Perseus collects a drop from the blood of Medusa’s wound in two vials. The drop from one vial has the power to kill; the drop in the other vial has the power to raise the dead and restore life. What is revealed here is the dual nature of trauma: the first its destructive ability to rob victims of their capacity to live and enjoy life. The paradox of trauma is that it both has the power to destroy and the power to transform and resurrect. Whether trauma will be a cruel punishing Gorgon, or a vehicle for soaring to the heights of transformation and mastery, depends upon how much we approach it. (excerpts from chapter 3: The Changing Face of Trauma, pages 35-37)
until the person has dealt with and sufficiently resolved the physiological shock, they really can’t deal with the emotions
Peter Levine: Many therapists are doing something different from what they think they’re doing. And if you’re working with emotions in a very titrated way, then you can actually go from the emotions to the sensation, and begin to resolve things at a sensation level. But therapies that really work to provoke emotions or the exposure therapies… I know that they do get some results, but I think that they can easily lead to retraumatization. VY: How so? Peter Levine: One of the things that Bessel van der Kolk showed when he first started to do trauma research with functional MRIs is that when people are in the trauma state, they actually shut down the frontal parts of their brain and particularly the area on the left cortex called Broca’s area, which is responsible for speech. When the person is in the traumatic state, those brain regions are literally shut down, they’re taken offline. When the therapist encourages the client to talk about their trauma, asking questions such as, “Okay, so this is what happened to you. Now, let’s talk about it,” or, “What are you feeling about that?” The client tries to talk about it. And if they try to talk about it, they become more activated. Their brainstem and limbic system go into a hyperaroused state, which in turns shuts down Broca’s area, so they really can’t express in words what’s going on. They feel more frustrated. Sometimes the therapist is pushing them more and more into the frustration. Eventually the person may have some kind of catharsis, but that kind of catharsis is due frequently to being overloaded and not being able to talk about it, being extremely frustrated. So in a sense, trauma precludes rationality. MY: So what do you think is the hardest thing for traditional talk therapists to learn when dealing with trauma patients?
Experiencing the Body
Peter Levine: I think the most alien is to be able to work with body sensations. And again, because the overwhelm and the fight-or-flight are things that happen in the body, what I would say is the golden route is to be able to help people have experiences in the body that contradict those of the overwhelming helplessness. And my method is not the only way to do that. It’s certainly one of the most significant. But many therapists, for example, will recommend that their clients do things like yoga or martial arts.
MY: Or meditation? Peter Levine: The thing about meditation, though…. With some kinds of trauma, meditation is helpful. But the problem is when people go into their inner landscape and they’re not prepared and they’re not guided, sooner or later they encounter the trauma, and then what do they do? They could be overwhelmed with it, or they find a way to go away from the trauma. And they go sometimes into something that resembles a bliss state. But it’s really an ungrounded bliss state. I call that the bliss bypass. It’s a way of avoiding the trauma. It was very common in the ‘60s when people were taking all of these drugs, and a lot of these people were traumatized from their childhood. And what they would do is they would go into these kinds of dissociated states of bliss and different hallucinatory imageries, but in a way it was avoiding the trauma. So in a way the trauma became even a greater effect, and then often people would then wind up having bad trips in which they would go into the trauma but without the resources to work them through. MY: I guess that’s what I find inspiring about your approach. Ultimately you really want to enable the traumatized person to regain their autonomy, not just find palliative methods of dealing with their trauma. Peter Levine: Yes. One thing therapists are really good at, I think, is they’re good at helping people calm. We set up our offices so they’re conducive, so they’re friendly, they’re cheerful, there are things in the room that would evoke interest and curiosity. And many therapists can actually help calm the traumatized person. This is something that’s a necessary first step, but if it’s the only thing that happens, the clients become more and more dependent on the therapist to give them some sense of refuge, some sense of okayness. But when therapists are helping the clients get mastery of their sensations, of their power in their body, than they are truly helping them develop an authentic autonomy. And from the very beginning, the client is beginning to separate.
So this is a gradual process, where the client really becomes authentically autonomous, authentically self-empowered. And if we don’t do this, the client tends to become more and more dependent on the therapist, and this is when you see these transferences where all of a sudden the client depends on the therapist for everything. At this point the therapist can go from being the god or the goddess up on this pedestal to being thrown down and the client having rage about the therapist for not helping them enough. So the key out of these conundrums is through self-empowerment, and I know of no more direct and effective way of doing this than through the body.
Peter Levine: The shaking and trembling has to do with the resetting of the autonomic nervous system. I was so curious about this that I interviewed a number of people who work with capturing animals and releasing them into the wild. And they described to me very much the kinds of shaking and trembling that I see with my clients and that happened to me. A number of these folks said that they knew that if the animals didn’t go through this kind of shaking and trembling when they were captured and put in cages, they were less likely to survive when released into the wild. So it appears to be a way in which the physiological autonomic nervous system resets itself.
(*note: I know the above post barely covers what I’m trying to say and so might not be easily grasped or readily helpful so I highly recommend you read the book for yourselves by Peter A. Levine, PhD In An Unspoken Voice; How the Body Releases Trauma and Restores Goodness BUT do not try to heal alone or think you have to. Find a guide and don’t give up.)