Nurse Wisdom from the ICU at OHSU (4.24.19)
Rev. Dr. Steven Koski
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“If you’re not careful trauma and fear will occupy every room of your house. You need to make some space for goodness, joy and laughter. When everything seems wrong you need to look for what’s right. Look for, pause and take in goodness today. You might even find it in unexpected places.”
There must be a reason ICU’s prohibit flowers. Fear and trauma seek to fill every nook and cranny. I wonder about the difference it might make if those sterile rooms with scary machines were filled with beautiful paintings, bright colors, music and flowers.
Negativity is Velcro. Positivity is Teflon.
Neuroscience has proven the mind attaches like Velcro to anything negative, fearful or traumatic. Fear and trauma makes itself at home in every room of the house refusing to budge.
Anything positive, good, joyful and beautiful is like Teflon and doesn’t stick.
Neuroscience has shown that if you have a moment of goodness and beauty, you have to pause and savor this positive experience for a minimum of 15 seconds or it doesn’t imprint on the brain. Negativity, fear and trauma are like Velcro making an imprint neurologically instantly.
Ah…that explains why when I receive 100 emails the 99 that are affirming don’t register. Yet, the 1 that is critical I remember and ruminate over all night long.
It explains why you can look at a beautiful work of art and not be changed because you didn’t pause to savor the beauty. At the same time, you can hold on to trauma for years.
Trauma and fear will occupy every room of the house. It is essential for the health of your soul to mindfully take in and savor love, beauty, goodness and those things that call forth joy.
In this world saturated in fear and trauma, give yourself the gift of a daily practice of: listening to music, losing yourself in art, playing with children or just playing, mindfully savoring the beauty of nature, keeping a gratitude journal, noticing beauty in unexpected places, looking for moments of goodness and kindness, and laughing as much and as long as possible.
It would seem our souls need space for joy the most when fear and trauma are trying to occupy every room.