Learning from other cultures about healing and resilience


Unlike a gunshot wound, trauma can manifest invisibly in the body for years. A body can be brought home intact, but the mind and soul can still function as if they were still in combat. And while a soldier undergoes years of training to go into battle, there is no special preparation for the soldier who returns home.

Edward Tick, psychotherapist, poet and author of “Return of the Warrior: Restoring the Soul After War“, says there are no “reverse training camps to take the war away from them and bring healing”. Instead, he says, there are all kinds of signs, from domestic violence to criminal behavior and substance abuse, indicating that “a soul is hurt, anxious and unable to return home”.

Jonathan Bastian chats with Tick, who recently wrote the collection of poems “Coming home to Vietnamon ancient and modern traditions of healing the invisible wounds of war. From the ancient Greeks to Native Americans to the Vietnamese, other cultures have understood and cultivated rituals to deny the impacts of war trauma.

As we try to make sense of the horrific and tragic images and consequences of the war in Ukraine, how can we better understand the necessity of war? If true evil exists, how should we confront it? What can we do to alleviate impotence?

The conversation continues with Rabbi Steve Leder, chief rabbi of the Wilshire Boulevard Temple in Los Angeles and author of “The beauty of what remains: how our greatest fear becomes our greatest gift“, which says that there are many things we can do individually: send money, stay engaged and “stand up for innocence, democracy and against demagoguery”.

Leder explains that “we all tremble before a Goliath” at some point in our lives, whether globally or individually, and “when such a person or such a nation says they want to destroy you, you really don’t have You need to muster up the courage and reach out to your friends and fight back.


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