Thank you to Mary McAlister of the Base Healing Community for organizing and facilitating the recent Gabor Maté presentation and workshop (The Wounded Healer and Compassionate Inquiry). Mary was supported by many volunteers and contributors to make the weekend something to remember. The people of the Songhees Wellness Centre provided hospitality that was over and above expectations. Sessions began with thoughtful contributions by participants such as grounding into the moment with breathing exercises, drumming, singing, and Kundalini Yoga; bringing all participants vividly into the here and now.
The content of the weekend highlighted the far-reaching consequences of trauma-induced behaviour in its various manifestations. Maté could have quickly provided his teachings in a series of PowerPoint slides but chose to demonstrate the skills of the compassionate inquiry process through mindful questioning leading people to an understanding of their personal situation, how it developed and how it continues to be triggered. Participants were invited to join Maté on stage to share their experiences. This format permitted workshop participants to experience first-hand the efficacy of the inquiry process and the need for the compassion required to understand individual trauma and its various outcomes. This occurred over and over throughout the weekend.
A big thank you to all the brave participants who publicly shared their intimate experiences, feelings and current life situations.
Maté presented as a sensitive and very human authority sharing feedback from the audience and personal comments from his family and others who watched via the live-stream broadcast.
My main take-aways from the weekend included the notions that much self-harming behaviour is a result of coping with trauma-induced pain, whether realized or not, and recognition that people long to be heard and seen. The process of compassionate inquiry facilitates this validation. Another take-away was my realization that when I am angry, it is not likely the target of my anger that is the issue, but more likely something that has triggered a long-held but unacknowledged response or belief about my self that is the issue.
While I have read two of his books and watched several of his YouTube presentations, this was my first face-to-face encounter with Gabor Maté. It proved to be instructive: I felt a strong need to spend time alone in order to understand all that was offered....and then an intense need to have conversations with my immediate family.
A bonus to the weekend of Maté's work was the sense of kinship that quickly formed with various participants: a special thanks to those sharing rides to the event and to those making up our table.
Thank you again to Mary and the Base Healing Community.