The place would need to have a welcoming smell. Real estate agents say that the smell that sells the most houses is the smell of freshly baked buns. For that I think we would need a cozy cafeteria with a menu of buns – perhaps cinnamon buns.
This could be combined with the sense of taste by offering tasty gourmet, healthy nourishing foods. Then to top it all off in the middle, there would be a fountain of chocolate with strawberries perhaps – the ultimate symbol of love. We might need a fragrance room for those who have aroma trauma triggers.
Then the place would need sounds to satisfy the sense of hearing. For the trauma body there would be nothing better than a voice of another human being. For this I think we might need listeners trained in the art of evocative listening available in little booths placed strategically on that first floor for anyone traumatized to access - probably a little like those confessional booths the churches used to have. These listeners would softly give words of encouragement as they skillfully reflect the emotions and experiences of the battered victim and thereby releasing the soul.
The place would need something for the weary eyes - the sense of sight. I can think of nothing better than an indoor garden something like the Leo Mol Sculpture Gardens here in Winnipeg. But instead of colorful flowers it would be decorated with the soothing colors of white flowers – again research says that the reptilian brain of the trauma body needs the color of white to find peace. There would of course be art pieces hidden in the greenery – and why not Cliff’s sculptures that tell visceral stories as they model resilience in a real way.
For the need for physical expression and touch there would need to be a spa that offers massages, perhaps a whirl pool hot tub. But mainly, there would be a fitness center with trainers and coaches who aren't only trained to help achieve physical goals, but also trained to be listeners and encouragers in the art of evocative empathy.
But knowing the nature of trauma – this entire floor might be just too much "goodness" for those who are raw in their trauma. For these there would need to be break out rooms, perhaps a boxing room with blaring loud angry music for the angry, a library type room for those who need to escape into a good movie, and easy chairs for those who need to sit in silence and pout. For the frenzied soul – there might need to be a disco room where they can dance out their energy. There would need to be a timer on these rooms.
For those who have no means of supporting themselves because of the crippling losses there would need to be some transitional/career counselling and perhaps other financial resources available to tide them over.
And last but not least – there would need to be an opportunity to symbolically turn something dreadful into something beautiful. For this there would be a studio dedicated to the painting of white-on-white art. It could also serve as a wonderful exercise in self-forgiveness, by first writing out the anger and then painting over the words with white. The possibilities are endless. I would have needed the White-on-White room!
Oh yes -- to ensure a sense of safety - there would need to be a pervasive presence of pastor-type bouncers. Guards in soft colored uniforms would mingle with smiles on their faces while holding everyone accountable. No physical violence would be tolerated. The body needs to feel safe and free of any obvious threat.
Remember this would only be the first floor – the body quadrant. There are three more to go.
Did I offer peace today? Did I bring a smile to someone's face? Did I say words of healing? Did I let go of my anger and resentment? Did I forgive? Did I love? These are the real questions. I must trust that the little bit of love that I sow now will bear many fruits, here in this world and the life to come. - Henri Nouwen