When Restimulation Is Widely Shared

In my last teachers’ and leaders’ class we put attention to the feelings that come up for us living in a world full of irrationality and injustice. Nobody was eager to do it, but after we’d each had a turn in front of the group, it was clear that we all needed more discharge on this and it got me thinking:

I was struck by a similarity to what I had witnessed in Northern Uganda in 2007, at the end of a twenty-year brutal civil war. Since everybody had had similar experiences of the atrocities, they hadn’t seen much point in telling their own story to each other. On the one hand, they’d desperately needed opportunities to tell their story. On the other hand, it had been part of the same story everybody already knew. I had noticed how useful it was to come in as an outsider and offer the perspective that the stories were important to share.

When we’re having common distress experiences in the present, it may take extra effort to set up the conditions for good discharge. (In the class we did a lot of laughing in between people’s sessions.)

People in the class had so many feelings on top that they found it hard to work on the early distress. But it helped to remind them that the feelings were not all about the present. It’s true that bad things are happening that we don’t have the power to change by ourselves and they restimulate early experiences of powerlessness and defeat, but we are always able to choose our perspective in the present. Surviving hard times in the grip of constant restimulation is not our only option.

Several people noted that those who have gotten our societies and economies into the messes they’re in are mostly men. Coincidentally I’d just been reading about a group of women in Zimbabwe who had decided that their nation needed some tough mother love. They had gone into the streets to speak about what needed to change, from the perspective of clear-eyed, loving mothers and in the face of guys in power who had lost their way and were not behaving well.

I was reminded that our ally work is seriously underdeveloped in the area of being allies to men. Male training is heavy, and our beloved brothers need all the help they can get to become free from its damaging effects. If they don’t get free, they can easily respond to it by unawarely wielding damaging power over others.

I hadn’t expected that a round of discharge on restimulations about current events would yield so many insights. Everyone ended up finding it very helpful.

Pamela Haines

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA

Reprinted from the RC e-mail discussion list for leaders of wide world change

(Present Time 193, October 2018)

Last modified: 2022-12-25 10:17:04+00