Posts Tagged ‘Gratitude’

Looking back, assessing the arduous journey

https://pixabay.com/users/Free-Photos-242387/

.

.

For some of us abuse started around five, way before a little mind had developed. I did not have the skills to even discern it was abuse. Criticism replaced encouragement, achievement was expected not rewarded.

I thought everyone was raised like me. Perfection was demanded of all kids and met with harsh physical punishment when it was not attained.

Fear, anxiety and a stomach that ached and was prone to vomiting often followed me. Never figured out, it was my abuse that was the culprit. My nervous system was in survival mode quite often.

Everyday life had real danger, verbal threats, physical harm and suffering.

I was shocked to find other kids had a much different experience.

They could not relate to me and I sure as hell had no idea what love, support and kindness looked like. I did not fit in at home or school.

Looking back, it seemed I needed to suffer a tremendous amount in my life before death would grace my door.

One of the biggest joys of my life was healing (improving) the first time.

For two years life was free of intense anxiety and suffering.

At 68, I see I fought a lifetime to earn two short years. But those two years meant everything to me, a magnificent triumph.

Now another trauma has returned and upset the delicate balance between suffering and being free.

In spite of my plight, I meditate and practice as hard as ever.

For my life, I had to find some peace of mind, some happiness in my ability to endure my suffering and not slack off my effort.

That was happiness for me.

Happiness is much different for me than normal kids.

I have gratitude because I know other kids had it much worse than me.

Self pity is something I loathe and rarely practice.

This recent trauma has clarified why I am like I am.

It was not easy to sit and accept everything about myself.

How about your journey and challenges?

Never give up, never give in.

.

.

A viewer asks a great question. I reference Top Gun and the Danger Zone

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=siwpn14IE7E

.

.

“I do a lot to avoid seeing my trauma in my head. I turn away from thoughts and images. However what I can’t drop are the body sensations. They come on like a steam roller and leave me exhausted and sometimes frozen. When the therapy session is too much & I’m outside my WOT (window of tolerance) it’s not good. There’s too much suffering and not enough healing.”

.

.

My two cents: There is a fine line between letting go and avoiding trauma thoughts.

Avoiding is a symptom of PTSD, I ended up agoraphobic for six months. I was really good at avoiding my trauma.

Suffering intensified, my body sensations became unbearable, so I avoided even more. It is a vicious cycle

We dissociate (leave this present moment) continually in this dysfunctional circle.

I lived outside my window of tolerance for years because of dissociating and avoiding my triggers, life.

Solution: We must experience our trauma thoughts, observe our body sensations (trauma) without judgment or cognition.

I had to feel my emotional trauma in its entirety before it would release and fade away.

No way around our trauma exists, only suffering down that road.

A pill, a therapist, distraction or avoidance powers PTSD.

Our symptoms increase as does the time we spend outside our window of tolerance.

This is important: What we do when PTSD is at its apex, it’s most powerful and scariest point, decides if we heal.

Until I built the courage and focus skills to sit quietly and observe my body sensations when my fight or flight mechanism fired, I had no chance of healing.

PTSD powers itself when we are out of our window of tolerance.

Think of the movie Top Gun and the song Danger Zone.

We are in the danger zone when our ptsd is out of control, outside our window of tolerance.

We can not run or avoid our trauma and heal, bottom line.

Each time we avoid, PTSD becomes a little more unknown and scary to us. The unknown can haunts us.

PTSD does not need to be any more power or fear, especially because we avoided it.

Our fear grows. Our priority is to decrease our fear so we can do the work of healing.

Takes daily practice, takes trying and failing many times without giving up.

That was my experience anyway.

Hope this helps. I was the king of avoidance and suffered.

Learn from my mistakes.

.

.

Looking back, my improvements always involved some extra pain that needed to be endured to move forward.

https://pixabay.com/users/manfredrichter-4055600/

.

.

Affirmation: In this moment right now, I feel my body overflowing with approval, safety and kindness

Record, repeat, use it to replace thoughts and unrest.

When intrusive thoughts arrive substitute saying your mantra.

Our mind can only handle one of these thoughts, the trauma one or our affirmation.

Change your self image this way.

I sat in a chair at the bathroom mirror, as I repeated that mantra, outloud over and over.

Awkward and uncomfortable does not approach my feelings in front of that mirror.

I persisted though knowing a reward would be waiting for my effort.

Looking back, my improvements all involved some extra pain that needed to be endured to move forward.

Limit the amount of time you spend in thought, in the past, in the center of worry and doubt.

When we are aware of what our mind focuses on, an opportunity, a choice appears for us.

We choose to get lost in thought or stay present with our developed skills.

We start to heal at this base level by choosing to recite our mantra, or concentrating on an object or distracting the mind to healthier places.

Choose to spend your time in the present moment doing something you are aware of.

Enter into the mundane chores. Discover the purpoas for doing something and then surrender to the good in the action.

I healed or improved not only from sitting in meditation for many hours, but from the application of being present with an awareness where my mind focused.

We can direct where the mind focuses its attention, maybe we could use this power to be happy.

.

.

Living in the past with PTSD

https://pixabay.com/users/geralt-9301/

.

From Coping with Trauma Related dissociation.

” While the part of the personality that copes with daily life is avoidant, at least one other and usually more than one other part remain stuck in traumatic memories and think, feel, and behave as though these events are still happening (at least to a degree) or about to happen again.

These parts are usually stuck in repeating behaviors that are protective during threat, even when they are not appropriate.

For example, some parts fight to protect even when you do not need such protection in the present, others want to avoid or run away even though you are safe, some freeze in fear, and others completely collapse.

These parts are often highly emotional, not very rational, limited in their thinking and perceptions, not oriented to the present time, and are overwhelmed.

They primarily live in trauma time, that is, they continue to experience the traumatic past as the resent, and hold emotions, beliefs, sensations, and so forth that are related to traumatic experiences.”

.

My two cents: This was the final piece that explained what was happening to me.

It took many meditative sits to uncover what parts were stuck.

It is like living in a big rowboat with few oars not in sync or rowing the opposite direction.

These stuck parts were sabotaging my recovery.

..

Meditation is a matter not of theory

Pixabay:Pexel

This is a very healing action!

.

.

“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 Richard

.

.

My two cents: Meditation is not an intellectual property, reading a book or taking a class helps little.

Our healing will happen internally by our own action.

This action for me was meditating and integrating.

If this does not work for you, then find an action.

As one therapist told me, if you have to limp, get out on the dance floor.

The conditions for those of us with ptsd are never going to be perfect.

Each trigger, I forced myself to stay present for one breath before I avoided, denied or froze. In time that one breath grew to two, then five and eventually ten.

By that time panic had calmed and I guess I ate the elephant a bite at a time. Small actions work.

I could of labeled those stepping stones failures instead they were valued as successes.

We need Little Successes and that happens with daily activity and direction.

.

.

Responding to a follower, how monumental is our task?

https://pixabay.com/users/PixxlTeufel-117549/

.

.

Part of a response from a follower: “Almost all of the traumatic thoughts are hardwired to the nerves that it is almost beyond control.”

Consciously, it is almost beyond our control, our trauma is stored in the Amygdala on the right side of the brain. No access consciously to this side of our mind.

Mindfulness/Meditation reaches our right hemisphere.

This is the reason Cognitive Behavioral Therapy was combined with meditation/mindfulness.

The path to healing does not have to be a monumental struggle.

Those hard wired traumatic thoughts can be integrated, one at a time, using ten, slow, focused breaths.

I have helped people, triggered and ready to avoid, use their focus practice to integrate their trauma.

If we can stay present, focused on the breath intently, for ten breaths, our nervous system will calm.

These ten slow, focused breaths, activate our parasympathetic nervous system. Like applying the brakes at a stop light.

Cortisol dissipates in two ways, aerobic exercise and meditation.

Using this technique, our nervous system calms, our symptoms and fears start to recede.

In time our nervous system will calm and not react to these triggers.

Make friends with your nervous system and half the battle is accomplished.

When I finally had success staying present, focused when triggers exploded, life changed.

I had found something more powerful than my trauma.

With this new found power, I hunted down my triggers.

I would visit places where I was triggered, situation and people.

Now I became the hunter.

Become the hunter, master ten, focused, slow breaths.

Remember we are trying to describe an action with words, an action in a place where no words exist.

You have to sit and experience what I am describing.

It seems mundane and weak on the surface but holds our greatest power.

.

.

We need to help others

Doug Williams: First black quarterback to win a Super bowl.

.

.

As a white guy, a professional athlete who had many black friends, I have no idea what growing up in the black ghetto is like.

For the most part, the black professional baseball player, had escaped the ghetto, while the majority of his friends were dead, crippled or in jail. This did not impact me then, as a young athlete, like now.

The ballpark was always a safer environment than the neighborhood where they grew up. I was glad to be on the field instead of being in the stands in some cities.

I had utmost respect for their toughness, courage and ability to perform. Baseball was the first place to integrate in America.

Stereotypical judgments were so erroneous on the black athlete. It took Doug Williams to win a super bowl to squash the myth, blacks were not smart enough to play quarterback.

That was 1988! Yes 1988.

Playing ball in the south, I have witnessed outright racism towards my friends.

A few times I felt ashamed as a white man for such ignorance, fear and hate being displayed.

Seems many things have not changed since my teens.

If you meditate, empathy grows, compassion expands, suffering is not overlooked or ignored any longer.

The color of our skin causing one to hate another saddens me.

Laws can not fix that hate.

Caring for the wellbeing of the less fortunate is part of the path.

Taking action to help can be a rewarding part of our journey.

For me, being part of others healing as a mentor, overflows my chalice (mug, goblet). It is the giving, taking action, to help others lessen their load, suffering, that makes me feel happy.

Displaying hate, fear or racism is so far from being happy, so far away.

Giving, helping, caring is needed by the majority of us.

Maybe opportunity and resources are needed before more arrests.

.

.

“Dopamine is the neurotransmitter of pleasure and reward.

https://pixabay.com/users/Jozefm84-10215106/

.

.

Linda Graham: “Bouncing Back”

With the release of dopamine in the brain stem we feel good, we feel alive and energized, and we want more.

Dopamine is actually partly responsible for the way we get into ruts, doing what makes us feel comfortable, getting better at what we’ve always been good at.

The neurochemical reward we get from repeating successful patterns of behavior can hold us back from trying new strategies, from discovering new ways of being and coping.

The release of dopamine can lead to addictive behaviors, too: wanting more of what made us feel good before, even if it’s not good for us.

Maybe shopping makes us feel happier, so we run up charges on our credit card until our debt is out of control, or we try to relieve our stress with too much social drinking.

Mindfulness is the key here — awareness that always involves discernment of the wholesome from the unwholesome and the effect of our choices on our resilience.

Dopamine operates on the basis of expectation.

When the brain experiences what it expects to experience — when we turn on the kitchen faucet and water comes out — dopamine levels stay steady.

If something unexpected happens — we turn on the faucet and no water comes out — the expectation is disrupted.

The disruption switches off the dopamine and generates a slight unease in the body.

A mistake has been detected.

The brain directs us to stop moving forward until we know things are okay.”

*

*

Erasing Shame: Self-Compassion for the Past .

https://pixabay.com/users/johnhain-352999/

.

.

“The Self Compassion Skills Workbook”:

“We all carry around pain from the past within ourselves.

Some call it emotional baggage or unresolved issues.

My teacher, Thich Nhat Hanh, calls it the seeds of suffering that have been planted in the garden of our minds.

In my experience, self-compassion can be a tremendously powerful practice for healing pain from the past so that it will no longer burden us in the present.”

.

.

My two cents: My shame from childhood is called Complex PTSD.

My seeds of suffering have been faced during meditation, integrated to current time.

Now, healed or greatly improved, I do not think about my trauma.

It is like my chronic pain, it gets no energy, no attention, none!

It is a moment to moment awareness of my mind, guarding against ruminating in my past.

After a while practice becomes habit, thoughts fade and only visit with external stimulus.

Pay attention, refuse to grasp trauma thoughts.

Breathe, observe, focus and let the noise go.

We need to learn to be totally present, without thought for short periods of time.

.

.

In America all kids should have Opportunity

https://pixabay.com/users/cocoparisienne-127419/

.

.

In the so-called greatest country in the world, The United States, all children should have opportunity. My opinion.

Birth is the ultimate lottery of life.

If birth has dealt you abusive parents, maybe no parents, a dark skin tone or abstract poverty, suffering ensues.

In America, every kid should have opportunity.

Opportunity consists of security, shelter, food, support, equal schools and teachers.

Mindfulness (happiness) is not about accumulating wealth and isolating from the undesirables, it is about giving to others in need.

To see kids go hungry, to suffer in abject poverty and crime, tears at my soul now.

If we truly cared, protests would not be needed.

Our energy could be used to help our kids.

Thoughts?

.

.

%d bloggers like this: