Posts Tagged ‘Focus’

“Let it in” ………….from the Deep Heart

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When we open ourselves to heart wisdom, we open our conditioned body-mind to the light of awareness.

When this happens, it often feels as if separate and driven compartments within our body are being touched by warmth and light.

As we open to a deeper truth, we can often feel an interior softening and melting—the inner armor is softening; the inner ice melting.

The individual body-mind—-what we ordinarily take to be our self—has been under the effect of powerful conditioning for many years.

This conditioning leaves its imprint on the way we consciously and subconsciously think, feel, sense, and act.

We have been innocently dividing, freezing, numbing, armoring, coiling, ignoring and attacking ourselves from an early age, and this divisive and self-protective process has tremendous momentum.

It takes time for it to undo itself.

The stronger the conditioning, both in terms of intensity and duration, the longer this unwinding process takes.

While this conditioning can substantially diminish, I doubt if it ever ends.
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Updated: Adult survivors are often isolated, lacking the ability or courage to trust

From https://www.vetmed.wsu.edu/docs/librariesprovider16/default-document-library/the-long-shadow-adult-survivors-of-childhood-abuse.pdf?sfvrsn=0

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Interpersonal Problems

Adult survivors of past abuse may also experience difficulties in relationships with others. These difficulties can influence your relationships with partners, friends, members of your family of origin, and your children.

Evvie Becker-Lausen and Sharon Mallon-Kraft describe two dysfunctional interpersonal styles that they characterize as “pandemic” outcomes of past abuse. Adult survivors may adopt an avoidant style, which includes low interdependency, self-disclosure and warmth, leading to few interpersonal ties. ( I have lived with few deep attachments and enjoy the security of my bedroom over any social gathering)

Or they may adopt an intrusive style, which includes extremely high needs for closeness, excessive self-disclosure and being smotheringly warm. We could call the intrusive style “codependent.”

The intrusive style is overly demanding and controlling. Interestingly, both styles result in loneliness. (You’ll also notice that the two styles are very similar to those of depressed mothers.)

Past abuse influences adult relationships. In a sample of incest survivors, those not in stable or secure relationships as adults were more likely to be depressed (Alexander, Anderson, Brand, Schaeffer, Grelling & Kretz. 1998).

Past abuse can influence your ability to trust others, make friends, and have relationships that are not exploitive. ( I have never trusted a woman in a relationship after the public humiliation in college. (Fear was the driving subconscious force that enabled me to not need people)

Adult survivors are often isolated and are less satisfied with their relationships than adults who were never abused. (I Isolated, had few deep connections, never joined groups, and became suspicious of others motives, people were not safe in my world)

If you are an abuse survivor, you may find it difficult to find an adequate support network to help you cope with the stresses of parenting. ( Abused kids have few resources and are oblivious that we need therapy)

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PTSD: Pleasure and Pain

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We have to know when to take a step back and recoup from the emotional strain.

Five straight days of practice or a ballgame had drained me emotionally.

It takes energy preparing to enter the crowd, energy to ignore my triggers, and energy to focus on the game.

Sometimes a battle is waging inside my head.

My cognitive side wants to judge, analyze and think its way through the danger.

Half of me is present the other half is subconsciously at war.

It is hard to concentrate and enjoy.

Yesterday, I had to hide and soothe my nerve endings.

Taking stock, I have gratitude for being able to mingle for five straight days.

Life is not easy, taking risks brings turmoil, and each situation has both pleasure and pain.

How do you navigate your PTSD pain?
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Our Inner Condition


Matthew Ricard from “Happiness”

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“We willingly spend a dozen years in school, then go on to college or professional training for several more; we work out at the gym to stay healthy;

we spend a lot of time enhancing our comfort, our wealth, and our social status.

We put a great deal into all this, and yet we do so little to improve the inner condition that determines the very quality of our lives.

What strange hesitancy, fear, or apathy stops us from looking within ourselves, from trying to grasp the true essence of joy and sadness, desire and hatred?”

Fear of the unknown prevails, and the courage to explore that inner world fails at the frontier of our mind.
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My two cents: What an ominous phrase, at the frontier of our mind. That means our mind is massive.

Talking with my grandson’s soccer and baseball coach, he said confidence, the attitude of the mind means everything even at 9.

Can we have a good attitude living with PTSD?

Our mental attitude means everything when dealing with PTSD.

What does your scoreboard look like, time of day with good versus bad attitude?

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How can PTSD sufferers ignore their PTSD then choose to be happy?

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Yesterday during a conversation, a friend told me they choose to be happy.

I think I need to choose to be healed first. Which is easiest, to be healed or be happy?

That hit a nerve, I knew the implication was aimed at me, my PTSD.

Is our problem with PTSD the inability to choose happiness?

I can say the words, my PTSD pays no attention.

My symptoms come from a place where words can not reach.

How can PTSD sufferers ignore their PTSD then choose to be happy?

How do you accomplish this?

This means symptoms disappear, anxiety, unworthiness, fight or flight firing, depression, hypervigilance, and intrusive thoughts.

I know words do not heal PTSD.

From my vantage point, PTSD has to recede to a level few of us reach to be happy.

I would settle for being out of suffering.

Me, not healing, angers some of my friends.

They need easy solutions to all life problems.

I frustrate them.
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PTSD: our inner world is a Battlefield

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Being aware of my internal world, spotting the negative undercurrent, the danger, exposes some of my daily battles.

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Worry arrives early in the morning, before the sun is up my consciousness is greeted by perceived danger.

During my morning meditation, the unrest enters my consciousness.

When you slow down, focus on the breath, letting thought evaporate, the undercurrent is exposed and inflamed.

It takes special tools to let it go, to be able to come back to now, to my focus.

I avoid things that carry danger and worry as much as possible, now.

Other times it can be white knuckle exposure therapy, tiptoeing into perceived danger, feeling about to explode, or faint.

Some things are just too painful to be worthwhile, crowds and people ignite my distrust, and it is a arduous ordeal that leads to more isolation.

We avoid it differently as PTSD ages, as we slowly heal certain areas.

My fight or flight does not erupt for triggers but my intrusive negative thoughts have taken over carrying my danger.

The time and energy spent dealing with all this turmoil are enormous.

My internal world as you can see is a battlefield.

It is a war created by childhood abuse.

Old age has either weakened me or PTSD has gained power or a combination of both.

There are many pitfalls to combating this mental illness, the chance of self-medicating to stop the pain, the chance of becoming a victim, or the chance of self-harm.

Giving up brings real danger, real consequences.

Be strong, discount the noise, and keep swimming upstream.

Life has always arrived at a fervent pace for us, always too quick and with way too much danger.
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It takes action, practice, hard work and guts to heal

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First class menu

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“Meditation is a matter not of theory but of practice, just as it does not satisfy your hunger to read a restaurant menu if you are not going to eat something from it.”

Matthew Ricard from “Happiness”

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My two cents: Healing is not a spectators sport, reading heals nothing, it takes daily action.

We PTSDers avoid and isolate, go numb and sedentary.

Taking action in the face of fear and anxiety is a necessity.

It takes great desire, focus and persistence, besides courage to heal.

It is a moment-to-moment battle with our thoughts, anxiety, and fear.

Know the playing field, be prepared, have an attack plan, and finally develop your tools.

Healing is not for the faint of heart, victims find it difficult if not nearly impossible to take action.

We must prepare and accept PTSD’s suffering, then take healing action in the face of this fear.

We start with small actions and small incremental gains with daily work.

Sedentary is closer to death, action closer to life.

Your decision, your life.

happy Healing!


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Third class menu not so elegant!

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Sunday: Week in Review

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It has been a stellar week, PTSD has receded back into the cracks of darkness.

Less symptom activity, more letting go is happening, a big break in the action with neutral and positive emotions flowing.

I am still guarded but optimistic.

Mornings are happier, life has opportunities and some joy at times.

I see this more as PTSD receding, opportunity is always there just covered up by active trauma.

PTSD is a dark cloud that follows us, our personal bad weather machine.

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PTSD is abstract, confusing but powerfully charged with partial control of our nervous system (defense mechanism).

Healing happens at optimum rates when we can stay calm over longer periods.

Being triggered, full of cortisol and adrenaline, this upset confuses and damages our chances of well-being.

The ability to dissipate cortisol and adrenaline becomes a soothing skill for recovery.

Learn to use your breath to calm the nervous system.

I hope this period of relief holds.

Happy Healing!
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Shaila Catherine: Mental Absorption (jhana states)

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“When the mind abandons its contact with the senses, including discursive thinking, the concentrated absorption of jhana begins.

The mind is utterly still and focused on its object.

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The specific object of focus becomes progressively refined in the development of concentration, from the physical sensations of breathing, to a perception of light.

Rapture, pleasure, and equanimity may accompany the bright radiant mind, while attention is continually directed toward the place where the breath is known.

As these perceptions grow increasingly subtle, attention remains connected and the subtle perception of breath is recognized as a perception of stable brightness in mind.

In jhana, attention is virtually merged into its object, creating an impression of complete unification.

Even if there is sensory impact from sounds and sensations, the mind remains completely unmoved.

Sensory contact—even strong pain or loud noise—does not disturb the tranquillity or affect the unification of the mind with its object of concentration.

It is as though you don’t hear anything, yet the capacity of hearing is not impaired.

It is as if you don’t feel pain, and yet the bodily processes are functioning.

There may or may not be subtle awareness of the impact of a sound or physical contact, but the mind lets go so automatically that there can be no sensory residue to disturb the concentration.

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Updated: 3 tools for calming the nervous system

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I know of three ways of depleting cortisol and adrenaline.

First is our diet, what we eat and how much body fat around our belly is influenced by our cortisol levels. Certain foods help deplete cortisol.

Second tool is Slowing the breath, focusing intently, activates our parasympathetic nervous system, applies the brakes.

This calms us, settles us down and lowers cortisol and adrenaline. It’s called meditation, it has many variations.

The third way is purely physical, aerobic exercise works like a charm.

Aerobic exercise to near failure works like a miracle. Start slow and adapt, then build up so you can exert maximum energy.

We have to want to heal more than any desire we entertain. I have never read that in any psychology book.

Therapy and my two therapists, one in San Diego then another in Eugene , helped me on my journey. I was encouraged to explore and try new things outside therapy.

Aerobic exercise and meditation were my two most valuable skills. Being a former pro jock, aerobic exercise was easy for me.

All my friends doubted I could ever meditate, I was always amped up, excitable and kind of high strung.

Do not let other people’s judgments rule our behavior. We get lost and run over by others because we are different, stay strong and try like hell in the face of worry and doubt.

I laughed at my friends, you think focusing on the spin of a baseball while hitting with 25,000 screaming fans can not be turned internally.

For a jock, being told we can not do something, is not something you want to bet against.

When my mind was frozen from trauma, my legs could still move and my willpower drove me to exhaustion.

Mechanically I can calm my body completely down.

We can not separate our mind from our body, they work as one.

There are many skills or tools we can learn to improve.

Yesterday, I started hiking to exhaustion again.

It’s half mental and half physical. It builds willpower.

How bad do you want to heal?

What is your level of commitment, are you in a little, a medium involvement or are you all in.

Intensity is a necessity for optimum results.

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