Hello Santa Fe!

and neighboring areas :)

Check out this upcoming workshop series, facilitated by me and hosted by Santa Fe Community Yoga. Contact me with any questions ( I hope to see you there!

Register here (

Event details below.

Workshop details

This workshop series will explore how we can join with the global movement to heal trauma as a collective-social phenomenon. In recent decades, major insights from the life-mind sciences (psychology, cognitive/neuroscience, neurophysiology, ecology, sociology, social justice education, de-colonial education, biology, etc.) have revolutionized our understanding and treatment of trauma. Trauma is not something that happens only to a few unfortunate souls...everyone is traumatized in life at some point, to some degree, in some way. Indeed, as the world-renowned neurophysiologist and trauma specialist Stephen Porges, PhD reminds us: "We have to acknowledge that human beings are a traumatized species."

The reality is that our very sociocultural-political ecology is traumatized and traumatizing: simply to exist within civilizational-industrial culture today is to experience the profound dis-ease characteristic of our cultural system. Given this global and pervasive pandemic of trauma, we must learn how to collectively confront this challenge rather than shying away from it or pretending that we can just let some other people, somewhere (who? where? when? how?), make change for us. As Joy Harjo admonishes: "Let us not shame our eyes for seeing. Instead, thank them for their bravery."

As I explain elsewhere on this website, I view trauma not as something scary, difficult, or shameful to talk about, but as a repressed strength, an untapped potential, and therefore as a significant opportunity to heal, grow, expand, create, and equip ourselves, one another, and our communities to more compassionately, sustainably, and effectively support a global movement of human and beyond-human healing and ecological restoration. For in the end, human health and the health of the wild natural Earth are inextricably connected. When we come together in shared concern to heal -- not just in individual isolation, but in dynamic community -- all forms of life benefit.

These workshops will dive into the paradigm shift occurring in the life-mind sciences, the recent revolution in trauma understanding and trauma resolution, and together we will explore how we can integrate with the global movement to confront and redress the conditions of collective-social-ecological-ancestral trauma in which we all exist. Experts and laypersons alike are working together to create trauma-informed communities. Being "trauma-informed" isn't just for licensed professional experts anymore. We all experience and are challenged by trauma daily. Yet, we can all contribute to the collective and shared uprising of grassroots/emergent movements to heal and collaborate in the creation of more compassionate, equitable, sustainable, and supportive communities.

For just one example of this movement, check out the free Collective Trauma Summit, live-streaming September 28th-October 6th ( 

Workshop sessions:

  • Session 1: What is Trauma? From Neuro-Reductionism to Eco-Holism (Oct. 23rd, 2-4pm)
  • Session 2: Integrating Professional and Communal Support: De-pathologizing Trauma & Collectivizing Healing (Oct. 30th, 2-4pm)
  • Session 3: Embodied Cognition and Emergent Self-Healing: Everything You Need to Heal from Trauma is Already Within You (Nov. 6th, 2-4pm)
  • Session 4: Social-Relational Healing: How Relationships and "Withnessing" can be Medicine (Nov. 13th, 2-4pm)
You may attend any one session individually, or all four in sequence. At the beginning of each workshop, I will summarize the content of the other sessions so that there is continuity across and within each workshop. The series forms a unified whole, but each session itself will integrate insights from the other sessions, so each workshop session will be valuable in its own right. 

Workshop details

Session 1: What is Trauma? From Neuro-Reductionism to Eco-Holism

For generations, experts have fundamentally misunderstood and mistreated "trauma" because they have tried to study it through a reductionistic perspective that "breaks down" human experience into isolated components and processes such as neurological activity within the brain and nervous system. While such insight can be helpful, it can also ironically inhibit the process of resolving trauma, which ultimately is a matter of moving from a condition of fragmentation, disconnection, and separation to a condition of holistic connection and functional unity. Crucially, such integrating experience entails relational-ecological dynamics as much as individual-internal dynamics. Indeed, in the new paradigm of life-mind science, what we call "inner" or "internal" to any given individual organism is inextricably connected with, partly constituted by, and deeply affected by what we conceptually designate "external" or "outer" experience.

In reality, as profoundly social-ecological organisms, everything in our experience is simultaneously "internal" and "external." It is precisely the experience of trauma that creates a heightened awareness of this distinction and converts our relational natures from a condition of complementarity to a condition of conflict. Trauma is existing in a state of conflict-combat-contradiction rather than in a relationality of complementarity-cooperation-collaboration. To resolve trauma -- and to heal generally -- is to move from conflict to collaboration, and this entails not only purely "inner" change but necessarily involves relational-ecological changes as well. This session will explore how to re-conceptualize trauma from the narrow, reductionist view of neuroscience and neurophysiological dysregulation to seeing trauma as ecological conditions and dysregulations in which we all exist.

Session 2: Integrating Professional and Communal Support: De-pathologizing Trauma & Collectivizing Healing

Trauma is not an illness, disease (in the classic sense), or pathology: trauma is a repressed strength reflective of our powerful, innate, instinctual protective-adaptive survival abilities. Yet, we still largely view and treat trauma as an individual pathology that can only be "fixed" by highly credentialed professional experts such as doctors and psychologists. While there is an important place for such professional work, individuals going to see individual experts in isolation will not be sufficient to heal the collective-relational-ecological conditions of trauma. In addition, the divide between professional experts and laypeople has become so extreme throughout the 20th century that many people have been made to feel utterly helpless and ignorant about psychology-cognition-health, and thus dependent on expensive treatments and expert knowledge.

Many experts still treat trauma and its symptoms (such as depression, anxiety, mood swings, insomnia, compulsive behaviors, maladaptive relationship patterns, etc.) as "mental illness" or even "mental disorders." But experiences such as "depression" and "anxiety" are merely the symptomatic manifestations of the neurophysiological dysregulation definitional of trauma. To resolve trauma is to regulate our physio-cognitive systems, which -- per the first session -- are fundamentally relational phenomena. Thus, learning how to co-regulate with others in relational contexts is quite literally as medicinal as (and actually much more so) any synthetic, corporate pharma drug or proprietary expert-led clinical treatment.

This session will explore what it might mean to practically "collectivize" healing, moving it out of the restricted confines of professional expert institutional treatment and into the very fabric and structural-relational dynamics of our communities and cultures. Similar to the "citizen science" movement, this session proposes we create a "citizen healer" movement.

Session 3: Embodied Cognition and Emergent Self-Healing: Everything You Need to Heal from Trauma is Already Within You

In this session, we explore how resolving trauma is an emergent, "self-healing" process. To resolve trauma does not require complicated, expensive treatments or drugs -- it simply requires learning how to allow the innate self-regulating abilities of our nervous systems and bodies to restore a neurophysiological condition of ease/calm rather than the dis-ease experienced in/as trauma.

Research has shown that in a condition of neurophysiological dysregulation ("trauma"), the nervous system displays low/deficient vagal tone, which refers principally to the strength and activity of the ventral branch of the vagus nerve, which has been called the "vagal brake." This aspect of the vagus nerve complex is the primary regulator of the nervous state, balancing the excitatory activity of the sympathetic nervous system and the relaxation activity of the parasympathetic nervous system (specifically, the dorsal branch of the parasympathetic). In trauma, however, the activity of this "vagal brake" -- which is essential for being able to feel safe, calm, open to social connection, etc. -- is decreased. The balancing-regulating influence of the ventral branch of the parasympathetic (the "vagal brake") on the other branches of the nervous system becomes deficient, and thus we cannot feel safe and calm in a relaxed state. We become anxious (hyperactive nervous state) and/or depressed (hypoactive). We flip between extremes of excitation and relaxation (panic attack/chronic anxiety and depression/lethargy).

To "regulate" nervous system activity is to increase "vagal tone," which means to strengthen the activity of the ventral branch of the parasympathetic nervous system. I see this as "tuning" the system, much like we tune musical instruments. Musical instruments (and our voices) produce pleasing sounds when the tension in the instrument is properly balanced/distributed across, for example, the strings on a guitar, or the head of a drum. This enables instruments to resonate harmoniously -- the sonic equivalent of feeling emotionally calm, safe, regulated...a general sense of ease in the body.

Correlated with vagal tone is the other primary bodily system that maintains homeostasis: the endocannabinoid system. The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is the biggest secret of medical science and healthcare. Discovered over 30 years ago, the endocannabinoid system is a pervasive, body-wide network of receptors, signaling chemicals, and enzymes that serves as our primary homeostatic regulatory and harm-reduction system. "Endo" means "internal" or "from within." Turns out, literally every function, process, and system in the body is at least indirectly modulated and regulated by the cannabinoids that our bodies natural produce. Our bodies make their own version of THC and CBD (the two primary cannabinoids of the cannabis sativa plant, pejoratively and incorrectly referred to as "weed" -- it is actually the flower of the female plant). The "runner's high"? That awesome feeling you get after enjoyable exercise, dancing, singing/playing music, etc.? That's primarily a result of our own version of THC - the cannabinoid anandamide. When we engage such feel-good activities, we are quite literally getting ourselves "high" on internally-produced cannabinoids.

Research has also confirmed that in "trauma" (neurophysiological dysregulation) and countless other conditions of bodily/psychosomatic disease and illness, there is low/deficient endocannabinoid tone. This means that ECS activity and influence on countless health-supporting processes in the body (energy regulation, metabolism, immune function, respiration, cardiovascular function, digestion, tissue repair, etc.) is insufficient to properly maintain the regulation of these vital life-supporting, health-engendering systems and processes. Indeed, a review article published in The FEBS Journal (Federation of European Biochemical Societies) summarizes the comprehensive importance of cannabinoids for health and wellbeing:

Modulating ECS activity may have therapeutic potential in almost all diseases affecting humans, including obesity/metabolic syndrome; diabetes and diabetic complications; neurodegenerative, inflammatory, cardiovascular, liver, gastrointestinal and skin diseases; pain; psychiatric disorders; cachexia; cancer; and chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting, amongst many others." (Pacher, Pal, and George Kunos. "Modulating the Endocannabinoid System in Human Health and Disease - Successes and Failures." The FEBS Journal 280 (2013): 1918-43.)

So, in conditions of disease (literally neurophysiological dis-ease, or "dysregulation"), our bodies display markedly lower vagal tone and ECS tone. Health cannot exist in a condition of deficient vagal/ECS tone, and strengthening ventral vagal/ECS activity has profound healing effects on all aspects of our being. Thus, to heal/regulate/resolve trauma is to increase vagal and ECS tone: it is to "tune" our systems from a condition of dissonance ("dis-ease") to harmony (health). This is the basis of the practice I call Somatic Attunement™.

Cannabinoids primarily function to regulate neurophysiological processes, whether by up-regulating or down-regulating, thereby re-establishing and maintaining sustainable and holistic energetic balance within the system. In this session, we explore how contemplative-mindful movement can quite literally be medicinal by strengthening and balancing activity in the endocannabinoid system and leveraging our innate abilities to energetically regulate following a triggering event that disrupts the homeodynamic balance necessary for health, calm, and enjoyment in life. With even a basic understanding of embodied cognition, we can learn how to use simple, safe, natural movement and somatic exercises to heal ourselves and support one another's healing.

Session 4: Social-Relational Healing: How Relationships and "Withnessing" can be Medicine 

This workshop will weave together all the insights from the first three sessions and explore how we can all contribute to creating communities and cultures of healing. What sort of cultural-communal dynamics would create social worlds in which health and healing were simply natural, regular occurrences? What might it mean to begin resolving the cultural trauma that burdens our social systems, institutions, and patterns of organization? How can "regular" people -- and not just highly credentialed professional experts -- engage in and cultivate relationships that are quite literally healing for themselves and others? How can we do this safely, sustainably, and simply in the face of seemingly overwhelming odds within a chaotic social reality? These and many related questions will be explored through dialogue and the collective creative intelligence that emerges through compassionate conversation.