Episode 6

Published on:

11th Aug 2022

TT Cherry Blossoms, Epigenetics, & the Legacy of Trauma -06

Welcome to Thursday Thoughts on The Grit Show. This week, we are chatting about something you would see as innocuous under most circumstances: cherry blossoms. However, the science of epigenetics and the inheritable intergenerational effects of trauma are quite intriguing and may have you looking at these lovely markers of spring in a whole new way. Epigenetics is something Shawna has long been interested in and although this field is young, and full of room for debate, Shawna feels there are a lot of interesting facts and things we can learn from it.

Her takeaways may not be the ones that are discussed in the mainstream, but will definitely give you some food for thought. She touches on a couple of studies that are referenced below, but will also talk about the lenses that this research can give us as we move through our days and interact with those around us. If you have thoughts on this, we would love to hear them.

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Shawna Rodrigues is the founder of The Grit Show (www.TheGritShow.com), a podcast that creates a community around purpose, alignment, and growth. Where scrappy survivors come together as seekers and thrivers.

Article on study of the Epigenetic effects of the Dutch Famine: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/31/science/dutch-famine-genes.html

Study by Brian Dias and Kerry Ressler 

Parental olfactory experience influences behavior and neural structure in subsequent generations https://www.nature.com/articles/nn.3594

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Shawna Rodrigues 0:00

w. It's actually related to a:

Shawna Rodrigues 0:31

Welcome to The Grit Show. Growth on purpose. I'm grateful you found us. We are a community growing together as seekers and thrivers. I'm your host, Shawna Rodrigues, and you are joining us for Thursday thoughts. As part of our goal to create a community, each Thursday, there are shorter episodes, closer to 10 minutes, where I get to talk to you one on one. The topics will vary. Sometimes it'll be a bit of storytelling, other times I'll be packed to long, interesting information. Like today. The common theme is things I've been thinking about. There's times go on things you've been thinking about that you brought to my attention. And then the end, we'll think about together.

Shawna Rodrigues 1:14

The science of epigenetics and the inheritable intergenerational effects trauma, is yell. Which means, it is still generating debate. The process of epigenetics is where the readability of expression of genes is modified without changing the DNA code itself. Epigenetics isn't specific to trauma. A study that came out when I'm starting to pay attention to epigenetics was around cherry blossoms. It was a study around male mice. They were exposed to a traumatic event having their foot zapped with an electrical current. At the same time, they were exposed to the scent of cherry blossoms.

Shawna Rodrigues 1:52

Because this experiment was done with animals, and want to be sure that they corrected for all of the components that were harder to look at when looking at human experiments. So they used IVF to impregnate the female mice, they were never in contact with the males, who have been exposed to the traumatic event and the cherry blossoms scent therefore assuring there was no socialization or environmental component to their relationship. They also had the pups raised by other mice. They found not only in the first generation, but also in the second generation, the grand pups of the mice who had been exposed to both the cherry blossom and the traumatic event that they had a heightened sensitivity to the scent of the cherry blossoms. There was influence on both the structure and function in the nervous system, the subsequent generations. And neither the generations showed a greater sensitivity to smell other than cherry blossom, indicating that inheritance is specific to that scent. There's also epigenetic markers on the sperm, a bulk generation of males, that could be the basis for this inheritance.

Shawna Rodrigues 3:01

their lives. In September of:

Shawna Rodrigues 4:43

achel Yehuda also conducted a:

Shawna Rodrigues 5:38

For me, learning about these studies and others, learning about the potential effect of the scent of cherry blossoms, and putting them on my logo is a reminder that there are things that can haunt us, from generations before us that we are not able to put our finger on. In my previous work, I visited the homes of children and families, and sat in classrooms with young children trying to help support children whose behaviors they didn't quite understand. We can't always know what's happened yesterday, last week, last month, while a child was in utero, what happened two generations ago to a specific family. But all of those things can leave a faint scent, that can have an effect that we can't see. So it just leaves more room to have an immense amount of patience, empathy, and understanding for things that we can't know. To leave room for the validation of experiences, we can have a really bad day and not understand where it's coming from. We could have two generations ago, a scent of cherry blossom rising up in our wheat, the wheat can't understand where it's coming from, we have no knowledge of how that might be sewn in as a genetic marker. Sewn into our history in ways we can't see or can't tell. And we just need to respond to how we're feeling and be gentle with that. We need to legitimize how someone in our life is feeling when they're having that bad day and they don't know why. When a child is falling apart of the scenes, and they don't understand why, we had to lose space for things we can't understand. And that's okay to have emotions that we can't explain. And that we have to sit with those and work with those and have patience with those. And that's why self care becomes so important. And being in those moments, and not just pushing through but trying to work with those emotions, experience those emotions and getting to the other side of those emotions, because they're legitimate, even if we don't know where they're coming from and why they're happening and what they're about.

Shawna Rodrigues 8:00

I know that personally, one of the times that I had a really rough time that when I decoded it, I realized it was an anniversary of something or it was the first time I've gone through something since I'd lost someone. And sometimes you can, you can untangle the threads and figure out why you're having such a hard time. And other days, there are just days where you just are having a hard time and you don't know why. And for all you know, it could be the scent of cherry blossoms in the air that's related to something that happened in two generations ago that you do not know anything about and may not know anything about. Instead of push through and push yourself till you break, you just need to step back and give yourself that space and take care of yourself when that happens. And give room for your kids, give room for your partner, give room for that person at the desk next to yours. Give room for the person behind you in line at the supermarket, give room to the people around you that they're battling ghosts they don't even know exist. They're battling scents that they've never even experienced. And we all need that grace and we all need that space for those things.

Shawna Rodrigues 9:09

So for me, that's the lesson in this. That's the reason why I keep in mind the cherry blossoms. I keep in mind that something beautiful, something amazing for me can be something that's triggering for someone else, and they don't even know why it's a trigger. And to always be patient with that and know I can't always know why it's a trigger for them. But when I see someone's triggered, to just give them the space because they might not even know why they're triggered. For me, that's a lesson in epigenetics. And that's the lesson in the cherry blossom.

Shawna Rodrigues 9:41

e. I did find an article from:

Shawna Rodrigues:

So, with proper treatment, we are able to eliminate the effect on future generations, which is what I ultimately hope for all of us. So if you have traumatic events that have occurred to you, and things that are associated and tangled up with that, that are then triggers for you that those are triggers that you can be desensitized to, and you can get to the other side, it's great to know that treatment does work, and that those things do dissipate. And that is something that can be done to combat this. That is a positive note. In the meantime, I'm going to keep the lesson I've always gotten. We can't always know where things come from. And we need to honor what we and others are experiencing and be in the moment and work to move to the other side.

Shawna Rodrigues:

Thank you for spending time with me today. If you haven't already, get on over to Instagram and follow us @The.Grit.Show and then visit our website, www.thegritshow.com to join our mailing list as we are kicking off our giveaway next week and the first place to learn about it will be from that list. As we close out your summer with the final travel plans, you should have grabbed one of our coloring books to take with you. It's a great little way to fit in some self care. They're easy to find on Amazon store by searching the Color of Grit and they are still at the introductory price of only 11.97. You can also find the link in our show notes.

Shawna Rodrigues:

I hope your week ends well and I look forward seeing you again on Tuesday. Until then, take good care of yourself. In case I haven't said it often enough, you are the only one of you that this world has got and that really does mean something.

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Growth on Purpose
Are you a giver and a doer? Are you someone who has shown your grit and powered through, and now you're ready for the other side? Now you re looking for the conversations that remind you about self care, that bring to mind grace and understanding, and give you space to reflect on purpose. Do you want more room to breathe and to live life with a little more ease? Each week, we discover tools and ways of thinking that support alignment, build stronger connections, help us find better questions, and live our best life. Most weeks we laugh, some weeks the topics touch close to home, but ultimately; this is where we grow together as seekers and thrivers. The Grit Show - growth on purpose. https://podcast.TheGritShow.com

About your host

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Shawna Rodrigues

Shawna Rodrigues, Podcast Strategist and Founder of Authentic Connections Podcast Network, Host of The Grit Show (https://podcast.thegritshow.com), co-host of Author Express (https://bit.ly/AuthorExpressPod), and coming in 2024- Authenticity Amplified. Shawna is passionate about increasing the number of podcasts hosted by women, an internationally best-selling author (www.shawnarodrigues.com), and a sought after speaker & consultant.
Find her on Instagram @ShawnaPodcasts.