Playing With Dolls, India Part 8

I have spent a lot of time studying trauma this year. Enough to know that I don't know hardly anything. This is a complex field of study and the science has started to move quickly. Part of the reason for the complexity is that there are so many varied factors in creating trauma. Why do two people experience the same event and yet one is traumatized and the other seems to take it in stride? Trauma is not just something that happens to someone, it is very much more than that.

We do know that one factor in the level of trauma sustained by a victim of sexual violence, is the reaction of people who receive her afterwards. If her people overreact the trauma is deeper--this includes overreactions on both sides of the spectrum. We would expect that rejection by her people would be traumatic, but so is excessive sympathy. And what would excessive sympathy even look like? Well, that's another thing that varies from person to person.

Enter entrainment. Here is a short video to illustrate the concept:

In physics, entrainment is associated with conservation of energy. When two objects of like vibration are in close proximity, they will begin to move together in synchronicity. Two objects moving together use less energy than two objects moving in opposite directions.  

When we dance or sing to music we use entrainment to play together. Music therapists have used this concept for decades to teach muscles to work again, to help brains of stroke victims to make connections again.

We see this in nature as well. Biorhythms synchronize. Fireflies blink on and off together. And, when we sit next to one another and do art or craft, we breathe together. And you know what happens when we breathe together? We don't feel alone anymore. We feel accepted without feeling smothered. We just exist together, breathing together. 

Another thing we know is that having permission and space to tell our stories in our own way, rewires us. It gives us power over the story instead of the story dominating us. Before I left for India, my daughter and I talked about the many ways that dolls had given her personal stories voice throughout her childhood. She put together a doll-making kit for me to take to India. There in the House of Light, a truly safe space, our team sat with the girls and care-givers and crafted dolls together. Breathed together. Relaxed into rhythm together.

And girls who had missed out on childhood played with dolls. By the next day breathing became laughter and they were creating bouquets of pipe cleaner flowers and gifting them to one another.

Synchronicity. Moving together. It's good for healing.

And it's less lonely that way too.

Take Me Deeper: Transform Faithfully

And now for something completely different:

This is Petal. She is needle felted from Shetland and Merino (but we don't talk about it because she is a little bit afraid of sheep). She was super excited to begin the Transform Bible Study because she really does want to grow closer to her Lord . . . until she realized that transformation meant change.

She began to shiver and shake. Change is scarey!

But then she remembered that God has always been faithful, in her own life and throughout the Bible. She thought, "God's Faithfulness makes me feel brave."


She took a deep breath, put on her very best muck boots,






her favorite tutu,







and asked me to make her a special item. She wanted to wrap herself in God's Word to remember that He is faithful. We settled on a cape in her favorite color with her favorite chapter from John.




She is ready now for this adventure!
Whatever that means.
Whatever God brings,
she knows He will be there too.

  Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful       ~Hebrews 10:23.

Just a word or two on process: My sweet daughter loves to make dolls. Olivia really is the doll expert around here, and I think I see the powerful potential for metaphor in them. They sort of stand in for "us." This week I was feeling vulnerable and I wanted someone to stand in for my "shivering and shaking" who could also stand in courage. Olivia kindly walked me through the steps to needle-felting and let me choose wool roving from her stash. She offered lots of encouraging words and was suitably delighted with each success. Everyone should have an Olivia to cheer them on.

Hand sewing is comforting to me, and so I wanted very much to sew Petal some nice clothes. Unfortunately, Petal was very opinionated on this topic. She was already wooly and warm. All she wanted were muck boots, a tutu and a cape. So, I had to content myself with just hand sewing the boots. The tutu is knotted tulle over ribbon. For the cape, I afixed a piece of fabric to an ordinary sheet of paper with 505 temporary spray. I taped the leading edge with ordinary Scotch tape and ran it through my printer. I have never had a problem with printing this way on fabric.

Olivia and I have long talked about collaborating on a doll project and I would really love to pursue that. I think it could make a fascinating study to read through the verses that describe us through God's eyes and make a doll for each one. And it would be a lovely excuse to spend lots of time with my favorite daughter.