My trauma-informed collaboration journey

Ashish Arora
Greaterthan
Published in
3 min readMay 2, 2023

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For quite some time now, I have been struggling to find out why I am not able to stick to certain routines or create certain habits. In spite of being associated with meditation practices for more than 10 years, it has been difficult for me to keep a daily meditation routine and deal with a few patterns that were strong enough for me to lose my calm or self-awareness. Quite often, I have found that when I am not able to deal with these patterns, I go into feeling shame, guilt or frustration while my thinking mind tries to come up with all sorts of justifications.

This was the context in which I chose to join Greaterthan’s Trauma-informed collaboration foundation course hosted by Lucia, Melinda and Anna.

The very word trauma was quite new to me. Even though I have had a gut feeling that the solutions to my problems lie in my overall systemic analysis, I was far away from what was about to reveal itself to me through this course.

The journey started with the ‘Wisdom of Trauma’ featuring Gabor Maté, a renowned addiction expert, speaker and author. I learned how I have carried unresolved patterns of my past, mainly from my childhood and seemingly trivial events from the last 20+ years of my life.

Let me share an example with you.

When I was in the fifth grade of elementary school, I stood second in my class, while the person who came first barely used to pass his exams. This hit me so hard that throughout the next five grades, I made sure to not only come first but also find tactics to distract this competitor so that he couldn’t find time to study! By the end of my tenth grade, I was successful from the outside but extremely competitive and envious from the inside.

And this pattern caused me deep harm in the years to come. The years of study that followed were filled with depression, stress, sleepless nights, unfair comparisons, health issues and whatnot. Even when I chose an unconventional career path in my late 20s and started living in the countryside while practising farming, the seeds of comparison and competition continued to cause me restlessness.

Through the Trauma informed collaboration course, I realized how I am still carrying this unresolved pattern. By becoming aware of it, I have been able to simply drop the thoughts of comparison when they come up in my workplace. Now I know that comparing myself to others or trying to look like others will not do me any good. I carry my own gifts, and I must bring them to my workplace.

This is only one of the learnings I have had during two months of the course. There are so many others related to how I can now also realize when my colleagues are coming from the space of their traumas. Moreover, the best part of the course is to know how I can handle these situations.

This course is not about therapy but about trauma-informed collaboration. It gave me the knowledge to understand when trauma is in the room and how I can support the process of trauma recognition if asked to do so. Consent is very important in this work.

Lastly, I loved the insight of ‘dignifying or blending’ with the trauma response and not ridiculing or disowning it when it shows up. It is such a respectful way of dealing with human beings. Knowing that we all have traumas, we all seek short-term relief from it by sometimes taking refuge in the intoxicants, our coping mechanisms are intelligent responses, and we all wish to come back to our healthy whole selves is so empowering.

Thank you so much for this incredible journey!

PS: If you choose to participate in the upcoming trauma informed collaboration foundation course, please do not dismiss the opportunity to engage in bi-weekly pods with your colleagues. That’s where most of my insights related to my childhood patterns came from. Also, going through the extra content provided in Notion has been very valuable.

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