In this second entry of the two-part podcast on trauma (first entry #27) we, Dave Dunlap and Polly Banerjee Gallagher, along with the moderator, Chuck Knapp, delve into personal examples and experiences of working with trauma. As Dave expressed in his introduction to our first podcast, “the discussion we engaged in captures only a small part of the story. We are not pointing to a single way to treat trauma, or even the idea that trauma is something that can be treated away.” With that understanding we continue our discussion recognizing that trauma is a vast and deep topic that is difficult to articulate cohesively without getting lost in a fog and missing the heart of what we mean. To our wonder, what came out of this discussion was our genuine connection to our shared experiences as human beings.
The topic of trauma is daunting to speak about in any kind of sweeping, all-encompassing way. Our intention is not to make such a claim as to assert that we have the solution to how to work with trauma. Our hope is that in hearing our contemplations on our personal experiences you may develop a view that trauma doesn’t have to break us, it can be integrated and transcended. This is exemplified in the themes of Basic Goodness presented by Trungpa Rinpoche and Tsewa introduced by Kongtrul Rinpoche which we speak to as ways to understand working through trauma. Tsewa is Tibetan word that describes the natural warm energy and openness of heart we feel for ourselves and our loved ones. It has the capacity to be open into boundless love and care for others through genuine empathy. Both are shared human potentials waiting to be accessed to help us integrate experiences of all kinds, especially trauma. These potentials allow us to go against our tendency to shut down in the face of challenges and remind us to open to the natural warmth that we all possess. In the process, we find a path toward potential healing of trauma. At the core of our being we all have access to Basic Goodness and Tsewa, our conversation reminds us of these precious resources.
We hope you enjoy our offering and may it be of benefit.
Polly Banerjee Gallagher
Polly Banerjee Gallagher Polly is the Executive Director at Windhorse Community Services. She has been a part of the WCS community since 1998 as a Housemate and Basic Attender, Team Leader, and Psychotherapist. Besides her clinical roles, Polly was also the Assistant Director of Admissions.
She holds an undergraduate degree in Psychology and a MA in Counseling from the University of Colorado. Polly comes from a multicultural background as she was born in Burma and has lived in India.
Dave Dunlap joined the Marine Corps upon graduation from high school. He served as an Infantry Rifleman from 96-00. Earning the rank of Corporal and serving as a squad leader. While serving he was introduced to the notion of living according to a set of values. After completing his service, he returned home to Pennsylvania and attended the National Outdoor Leadership School for a 31 day mountaineering course. He then moved to Leadville Colorado to attend the Colorado Mountain College and graduated with an associates degree in Outdoor Education. After graduation, he worked with Colorado Outward Bound School for almost a decade. While working at COBS, he also continued his education and attended CU Boulder to complete a bachelors degree in psychology.
“When I set out on my adventures in Colorado I did it to teach technical skills. What I discovered in myself was a deeper passion for helping others find meaning and purpose in their lives.”– Dave Dunlap
COBS was granted funds to offer free courses for Veterans. Working these courses reconnected him with a family he hadn’t realized he had missed; and inspired him to pursue his masters. He moved to the front range of Colorado and attended graduate school at Argosy University in Denver. During this time he also joined Americorps and served as a VISTA volunteer with a community Veterans organization in Boulder county. Dave is Currently a Team Leader at Windhorse Community Services.