TRAUMA RELEASE PROCESS – 03.12.15 (Learning to “Suck It Up”)

We all experience trauma.  The level and degree of our trauma is individual to us.  The world can rate our experiences and compare our experiences to others, but a system of measurement does not do us justice.  Our physical bodies are wonderfully different and, in turn, experience trauma differently.  There is something that we can all do.  Talk.

The video above is an example of the effects of trauma.  The men and women of our armed forces put their bodies and minds at risk for a truly noble cause.  Our freedom.  The statistics of the number of men and women both in the armed forces and civilian that suffer from PTSD is staggering.  We are all holding on to trauma mentally and physically.  To say that the trauma you and I experience is any less is not to slight any of what they sacrifice for us.  It is to say that we all need to talk.

When we carry something, it puts pressure on our physical body.  When we carry something emotional, psychological, and traumatic, it puts pressure on our physical body.  Our physical bodies are effected regardless of the origin on the stimulus.  The only difference is that one can sometimes be seen by others (a cast around a broken arm, scrapes and cuts from a dog attack, or the lose of an appendage) and the other may never be known to the world.  A physical cut may be followed by the phrase “suck it up.”  An emotional turmoil over the lose of a loved one can sometimes be met with that phrase as well.  Love is not the ability to cause physical harm to someone, physically, psychologically or emotionally.  So when we tell someone to “suck it up” then we are telling them to live with the pain.  And the pain grows.  

“We cannot selectively numb emotions, when we numb the painful emotions, we also numb the positive emotions.”  This quote comes from Brene Brown.  She is famous for her stand on vulnerability and shame.  As we go through life, we will all continue to encounter trauma.  It is part of the human life experience.  What we have choice over is how we choose to deal with the past in the Now.  Will we talk and start the healing?  

Yoga provides a means to talk, but not necessarily with others.  Our ability to feel safe in giving parts of us comes from first talking to ourselves.  In the moments of meditation where the eyes are closed and we are left to our own mind, the ability to feel and talk to ourselves is healing.  We love ourselves and we talk to those we care about.  Take a moment to let our eyes close and have a conversation with the one we love.  Us.

Learning to “Suck It Up”

Psycho-emotional trauma – the kind of trauma caused primarily by social conditioning.  Situations that threaten our social self such as rejection, shame, fear of failure, and negative judgment by others cause us to react in the same manner as if we were being threatened physically.  The body takes up a position of submission and withdrawal, slumping forward with the head down – the precise posture it assumes when threatened by physical trauma.

A case in point.  When an African American girl turned eleven, her parents decided to send her across town to a junior high school in a culturally different neighborhood.  Her experience up to that point had mostly involved middle class African American and Japanese American families.  So when she was put on a bus to attend a school in an all-white affluent neighborhood, she wasn’t prepared for the culture clash she was about to experience.

Her first traumatic experience came when, because her stop was one of the last stops of an already overcrowded school bus, no one wanted her to sit next to them.  Since she was perceived as “shy and nerdy,” they didn’t care to scoot over and allow her to share their seat.  Each day, the bus driver ordered one of the students to move over, and even then the young girl found herself with one three inches of seat.

Each day, for fifteen miles, she balanced herself on the edge of the seat so she wouldn’t fall into the aisle.  Next to her sat a resentful student who had yielded almost no space, but who enjoyed taking advantage of the African American student because she was meek, mild, and non-confrontational.

Unfortunately, kids can be cruel to each other at certain times in their lives.  For the one who is being shunned, it’s a stressful, anxiety-ridden, traumatic experience.  Most days, this young girl cried silently all the way to school.

At school, the culture clash didn’t turn out to be as bad as the girl had imagined.  She found she had much in common with one of the local girls, and they became friends.  The kids in her own neighborhood began whispering and laughing as she walked by.  Soon, they were taunting her, telling her she was a traitor, calling her hateful names that stabbed her heart.

It’s stressful growing up in our schools.  Most of our kids exist in a state of high anxiety.  All they can do is “suck it up.”

BOOK – “The Revolutionary Trauma Release Process” by David Berceli (BUY IT!)

TRAUMA RELEASE PROCESS – 02.19.15 (When Life Turns Up the Heat)

Stress and anxiety can cause us to miss out on so much in our lives.  One dwells in the past while the other makes us fearful of the future.  It appears like a never-ending battle attacking us from both sides.  Both are overwhelming, both slowly destroy our physical body, both cause our mental body to distort fiction and nonfiction and both are capable of being lessened by focusing on something.  The something is …

NOW!  🙂  Okay, that was a little too enthusiastic for 6:50am … but it is exciting!  The Now provides us an opportunity to ask a question.  Why are we here?  This isn’t a call to discuss our reasons for humanity on Earth, but rather an opportunity for us to look at our lives as they are … now.  Here asks us to look at the present moment and not stray back into the past or too far into the future.  The focus on the past can bring stress (even from positive memories) and the future can bring anxiety (again, even from pleasurable thoughts).  Both of which have negative effects on us.  Living for the moment and consistently asking ourselves, “why am I here?”

It could be as simple as … “I’m here to do the best dang job of cleaning this dishes in the history of now.”  Yeah, a bit of a stretch, but think about it.  No comparison to the past and no thinking about doing the dishes for the millionth time.  Alleviate stress.  Alleviate anxiety.

It could be as complicated as … “I’m here because I am making a difference in the lives of others right now.”  The difference could be as a parent, as a friend, as a concerned stranger … the possibilities are limitless.  

So … why are you here? 🙂

When Life Turns Up the Heat

Stress and anxiety are not the same, although they are close companions and often trigger each other.

1.  Stress comes from the feeling that a certain set of circumstances should not be happening.

When we believe something in our life shouldn’t be the way it is, we go into a mindset of resistance.  We mentally oppose what’s happening.  This is the feeling we identify as stress.  Something has come up, and we want to get it over with, get past it, get it out of the way.  In other words, we are in flight from the way our life is right now.

2.  Anxiety stems from from the feeling that something should be happening that clearly isn’t.

When we believe something ought to be happening, we yearn for it, ache for it, often to the point that our longing eclipses our ability to enjoy what’s presently happening in our lives.  Longing for something that isn’t happening causes us to be dissatisfied with our life as it is right now.  The effect upon our mental wellbeing and our health is the same as that of stress.

In both stress and anxiety, our inner experience is that we want to be somewhere other than where we are.

BOOK – “The Revolutionary Trauma Release Process” by David Berceli (BUY IT!)

TRAUMA RELEASE PROCESS – 02.05.15 (A Really Different Approach)

I recently saw the movie “Big Hero Six” and was really amazed by the main themes of dealing with the trauma of loss and the ability to look at life from a different view.  If you haven’t had a moment to see it, then I strongly suggest that you do :).  We all need to smile and feel.

And the long-haired character that shouts out “We’re being attacked by a Super Villain people!” … yeah, his name is Fred! 🙂

What I am getting at is that we all deal with loss and hardship, but will we choose to react in anger and rage or will we reach out in love?  The main character and the villain in the movie both suffer loss.  Each reacts in a very interesting way that is easy.  Hate is easy.  Revenge is easy.  We want back what someone took from us.  We have to question … did what was lost truly belong to us?  How many will we hurt in the wake of our hate and revenge?  Will we run away or stay and face ourselves?  The movie asks these questions  and asks us to “take a different approach.”  

In class last week, we looked at four significant individuals in world history and how they took a different approach.  How can we look at our lives in this present moment from a different perspective?

** Oh yeah … and friends are awesome! 🙂

A Really Different Approach

I realized that the way they dealt with their truly tough times was different from the way many of us handle such times.  These people actually plunged into their most trying experiences, exploring the depths of what had befallen them, feeling the pain of their situation in its immensity, and staying with the difficult time they were going through instead of running from it.

1.  Mahatma Ghandi.  How did this profound insight come out of such intense suffering?  How did imprisonment produce a message that invited humans to rise to a new level of consciousness?

2.  Martin Luther King, Jr.  How did these two simple yet powerful words (“civil disobedience”) – words that were to change the consciousness of a nation – arise from such suffering?

3.  Mother Teresa.  Why would she embrace such a difficult lifestyle?  Of what benefit was this to her?  What did she expect to receive from such sacrifice?

4.  Nelson Mandela.  Why didn’t he leave prison bitter, angry, and even more in conflict with the government of his nation than when he was first incarcerated?

But I have become convinced that, in our avoidance, denial, and fear, we push away the very experiences that seek to stimulate the evolution of our consciousness.  In fact, we deny ourselves the opportunity to become the person we yearn to be and are ultimately destined to become.

BOOK – “The Revolutionary Trauma Release Process” by David Berceli (BUY IT!)

Trauma Release Process – 01.29.15 (Life is Traumatic)

Last week we started a new book in my Thursday night “Flow with Fred” class.  “The Revolutionary Trauma Release Process” by David Berceli.  The first few pages do a wonderful job of discussing how each one of us has been affected by trauma.  Yes, the events that have happened to me may or may not be more traumatic than the events of your life.  Trauma is completely in eye of the one affected.  Therefore, we have no business ridiculing or simple pushing to the side the stories that friends, family and complete strangers pass entrust us with.

The stress we accumulate throughout our days is unnecessary.  When we stay at war with our past and future selves, we will stay anxious and become stressful.  There are several studies that outline the effects of stress on the human body.  Where we can find comfort is in the Now.  Let go of the difficult and tense and replace those thoughts with the excitement of right now!

We will all continue to experience trauma in our lives.  Where we have power is in how we choose to respond to the events.  Will we stay rooted in fear and anxiety or will we choose to remain joyful in the moments that we have?  Life is traumatic … for us all.  Please don’t feel like you’re alone in this world … because you’re not :).

Life is Traumatic

Throughout our lives, we continually face the possibility of painful experiences.  Though some of us lead easier, less stressful lives than others, none of us escape difficult times entirely.

By resisting what we don’t like, we actually compound our discomfort.  By being at war with ourselves, we make ourselves anxious and our days stressful.  Life gets more difficult, and we become even more tense.

However, it’s not the events that cause the damage to our health.  It’s how we respond to them.

BOOK – “The Revolutionary Trauma Release Process” by David Berceli (BUY IT!)

YOGA FOR DEPRESSION – 11.13.14 (Grief in the Tissues)

My Level 5 training for YogaFit opened my eyes to myself.  It opened my eyes to myself in the Now.  The Now truly allows us the freedom of joy and possibility of so much.  It takes the frustration, inadequacy, and mistakes of the past and allows us to experience the Now in our own individual way.  Our past isn’t forgotten.  Don’t compartmentalize the frustration, inadequacy and mistakes, but rather realize that the Now offers so much amazement.

One of my favorite quotes is “become comfortable with being uncomfortable.”  Life definitely lends itself to this quote.  The moment that we feel comfortable is the moment that life will send something our way that tests us.  I have to do this daily in my classroom.  I have to challenge my scholars.  They deserve it and need it.  I also take my responsibility as a Yoga instructor extremely seriously as well.  My yogis deserve to be challenged in their physical and mental practice.  We all must “become comfortable being uncomfortable.”

I bring all of this about to help us realize why the Now is so significant to us.  It allows the trauma of the past to weigh less.  Will it remove the trauma?  No.  Will it allow us to move on to action instead of guilt, depression and anger?  Yes.  The Now calls us to action.  So take action!  Continue to build your physical practice and make space in the body.  The space we create allows a number of things to leave the body.  Continue to build your mental practice and allow the mind the time to be wild and crazy.  The mind will find calm when it is allowed to be wild and crazy.  Let the body and the mind release.  They both need this to allow you the most amazing experiences in the Now.  It is extremely hard to divorce ourselves from emotions of the past, but if we can change our perception then we will see a beautiful change in our view of the present moment.

Grief in the Tissues – Releasing Trauma

Everything that we’ve ever experienced is stored in the body.  Even when traumatic memory is repressed, the body remembers.  “Yoga is an exquisite form of body work that eliminates the residue that has become lodged in the tissue.”

“Yogic practices bring us to a state of ripeness.  They purify the energy channels for the free flow of prana (life force, energy).  In the process, the sludge is brought to the surface.  It’s like cleaning the sewers.  The psychological and emotional obstacles get flushed to the surface.”

When you practice every day, the ordinary losses you have faced in your life, losses that have become “lodged in the tissue,” begin to dissolve.  Eventually, even the most traumatic of experiences may be released.

Deep releases, be they physical, energetic, or emotional, come “when the student is ready.”

BOOK – “Yoga for Depression” by Amy Weintraub (BUY IT!)