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My friend and colleague, Sue Sharp, taught me a wonderful expression. She talked about leaning in and leaning out. And that often, when we detect there’s a problem with someone, we lean out. When what we actually need to do is lean in.

In March, I attended a systemic coaching workshop on dealing with trauma. I’ve had a number of clients recently where I’ve felt I needed a better toolkit for trauma. Put simply, trauma is a significant interruption to contact with the here and now. It limits our ability to choose, and it’s dynamics are beyond our willpower. It can be created by a vast number of events, such as a shock which overhwhelms us (too big, too fast, too soon), bigger forces (war, famine, immigration, pandemics) and so on. Thank you to the team at Coaching Constellations for this definition.

As you know if you’ve read my blogs before, I’m often very inspired by a quote. And this time it’s from someone called Gabor Mate: “Safety is not the absence of threat, it is the presence of connection.”

When we don’t feel safe, our natural inclination is to lean out. When what we actually need is to lean in or towards. To explore and engage someone to help us release the trauma from our nervous systems.

I’ve always thought trauma was a big word, to describe something significant. And in reality, that’s a relative term. One person’s insignificant is another’s bomb. And in myself, I recognised more than one event which I need help to release from my nervous system so I stop repeatedly being triggered by it.

If you aren’t sure how trauma can show up in your behaviour, here’s a neat summary from Coaching Constellations:

I encourage you to seek out connection. Connection with another, connection with someone like me, but connection in service of helping you to move through and release any trauma so that you are able to move forward with your life.

Lean in. Thanks Sue 🙂