Posts Tagged ‘MEDITATION’

Sense awareness and focusing inward

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Awareness is ever present in its purest form, our observer senses now, this present moment, unencumbered by judgment or thought.

Awareness always starts change, a healing journey, impossible to fix that which is hidden. Narcissists rarely change, they never become aware of their weaknesses. It’s like a peacock totally focused on spreading those feathers, pumping up that ego, at all costs.

Reflection never starts, behavior never modified.

Examples of awareness: hearing, listening. We fine tune our listening skills, deepening our capabilities. I sit quietly listening for the lowest decibel sound in my environment.

Then I travel beneath it, noticing the sound of my inhales and exhales first. With this accomplished, I move on to listening for my heartbeat. After that I turn my hearing inward, I listen inside my head, exploring my inner world.

All healing happens inside, this is excellent practice for integrating trauma, later on.

I have heard a symphony playing inside my head on high focus days. It was startling the first time it played.

We have an entire world inside our mind and body, this inside wellbeing impacts our external wellbeing.

If we can quiet down this much, thoughts fade away, the mind steadies and starts repairing itself.

For extra credit visualize a scenario: Sitting in a chair, back to the edge of a dense jungle, it has not rained in six months, listening like your life depended on it.

Something is coming at you from deep inside that jungle.

Instead of trying to listen far out into the jungle, quiet down inside your ears.

Be so quiet internally that the tiniest sound will ring out.

We can use our senses to ground us quickly, in a second, bringing us back to now.

Future posts about our visual awareness, smell and tactile senses to follow.

Please add your awareness insights and practices.

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Repairing Childhood Traumas impact on the 🧠 brain

https://irishroversbooks.wordpress.com/2012/02/23/lest-we-forget/

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What changes occur in the brain in childhood trauma? What are their effects?

• Reduced activity in Broca’s area (this is the area for speech). This can make it difficult to talk about trauma and describe it with detail (Hull, 2002). This is additional to trauma which is pre-verbal.

I have trauma that is pre verbal, it has a ghostly feel. It took years of meditating to be able to share my trauma with others.

• The hippocampus becomes smaller and its structure is interrupted (Wilson et al., 2011; McCrory et al, 2010). This can affect attention, learning and memory (Hedges and Woon, 2011; Pechtel and Pizzagalli, 2011).

Nothing has brought my memory back intact, many trauma memories are unfinished and confusing, incomplete and choppy.

• The corpus collosum which connects the left and right sides of the brain, is reduced. This prevents the two sides of the brain working in a coordinated way (Wilson et al., 2011)

Experienced meditators have a wider and thicker corpus collosum.

• Changes to amygdala function (Wilson et al., 2011; Pechtel and Pizzagalli, 2011). This can make a person more likely to react to triggers, especially emotional ones. People can experience emotional extremes and struggle to regulate their emotions.

My meditation practice calmed my amygdala and brought some balance. I could take the cortisol and adrenaline away with long deep,focused breaths.

• Reduced activity in different parts of the cortex- frontal lobes (McCrory et al, 2012). This can mean a survival response/s is triggered in absence of danger (Ali, et al., 2011).

Neuroscientists say meditation repairs the damage trauma does to the left prefrontal cortex.

• Changes in ‘reward pathways’. This can mean that survivors anticipate less pleasure from different activities, and may appear less motivated (Pechtel and Pizzagalli,)

I have been extremely motivated to heal. It’s just not an appearance of less pleasure, we serious abused kids suffer throughout life. Childhood trauma never totally leaves our being..

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Our mind does not work the same when PTSD is active.

https://themighty.com/u/mrpositive/

I was force fed Lima beans once a week, I puked them, then got beat with a big paddle he drilled holes in to hurt me more.

Never have touched a Lima bean since childhood.

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Our mind does not work the same when PTSD is active.

Anxiety and fear switch the minds mode of operation.

A calm, safe environment has our mind relaxed, open and maybe looking for opportunity, we can think quickly and clearly.

A PTSD mind can spot imminent danger in a second, activating our defense mechanism.

A PTSD sufferer has practiced over and over his/her reaction to trauma, paved a highway to survival mode, becoming best friends with avoidance.

Our mind becomes confused, pressured by anxiety drugs as fear spikes, trying to escape at all costs.

Our mind panics, cognitive functions almost stop, fine motor skills are gone, tunnel vision ensues.

Severe cases mimic near death experiences.

PTSD fear is the worst fear we can imagine, it has the ability to fire our fight or flight mechanism 15 times a day.

The drugs are real, the PTSD is abstract and subjective to us and lives only inside our mind.

The drugs stopped secreting the first time I healed.

Now instead of my fight or flight exploding, my mood changes, spotted and pointed out by those close to me.

My abuse, now at 69, still impacts my daily existence.

It is humbling, frustrating and full of guilt when my PTSD upsets those closest to me.

Hard to not hold anger at our abusers.

There is no wand or pill or quick solution for violent childhood abuse.

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PTSD was a Submarine, out of site, stealthy

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PTSD was a submarine for me until my mid 50’s, stealthy, out of sight, right below the surface of consciousness.

There were no flashbacks, triggers firing, or any visible confirmation I was suffering from PTSD.

Oh a trained therapist would have spotted my PTSD easily!

The sad thing about my trauma being hidden, it grew in power, unnoticed as it impacted critical parts of my wellbeing.

Vital parts of my wellbeing were severely damaged and not working for decades.

One of my major deficiencies was my ability to trust and feel good enough, worthy.

In childhood, my narcissistic father tried to take over my being, live through me, since I came into his life unexpectedly when he was 16.

I took his childhood so he repaid the favor, he never said a kind word to me, never letting me feel comfortable was his goal.

He thought it would make me a better baseball player, his ultimate goal.

So that narcissist owned me, treated me as an it, I was his pit bull he took in a cage to the fight.

My value was totally contained in my performance, showing his peers his coaching talent.

Some would call this conditioned love, that is a misnomer, there was no love, only a narcissist cold ownership of his first male child.

How do you explain love to an abused child like this?

Love is something I do not pine for, being able to trust would be nice.

I wonder if my father has any remorse being dead now, looking down or up at me.

Lots of thoughts haunt us, what is real and what is trauma?

Is there love, trust and loyalty out there?

I was birthed into violent abuse and criticism.

Love and trust are strangers to me.

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PTSD fears: avoid or face?

27 Deep Dark Fears That Will Make Your Skin Crawl

Animator Fran Krause

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We can not be afraid of our pain, of our triggers, of our thoughts, unless we can still take action and face them.

In the beginning I was petrified of triggers firing violently, albeit I was frozen, paralyzed with the biggest jolt of cortisol ever experienced.

Showing very little courage describes the first couple of months when trauma exploded. Hell, I did not understand anything about PTSD or how it worked.

It took time to face my fears, but my meditation practice headed directly at the center of my abuse. My meditation practice worked like a big auger, whatever sludge trapped inside was going to come up in due time.

Exposure therapy became one of the bravest things I repeatedly practiced every week.

Real courage is taking action in the face of our PTSD fears. Have you ever faced your PTSD fears?

I was scared to death, the monster inside is powerful and invisible to others, so my words fall on ears that do not understand.

You have to face these PTSD fears to get better.

No pill is going to do it.

I would run into a person suffering from PTSD who was desperate.

They had hit bottom, the decision to take action had been made.

Their current life was unacceptable, all they needed were tools and direction.

Please be desperate, everyday PTSD rules your life, it grows more powerful.

You can take action in the face of your fears.

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Intrusive thoughts tend to be experienced with a sense of “now-ness”

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Attention, Memory, Intrusive Thoughts, and Acceptance in PTSD: An Update on the Empirical Literature for Clinicians:

Jillian C. Shipherd and Kristalyn Salters-Pedneault

Excerpt:

“Additionally, intrusive thoughts tend to be experienced with a sense of “now-ness” (although the individual usually does not lose awareness of other aspects of the present moment, as in a flashback), and are regarded as separate from intrusive ruminatory or evaluative thoughts about the trauma (Hackmann et al., 2004).

In fact, the “now-ness” of intrusive thoughts is more intense in trauma survivors with PTSD as compared to those without (Schonfeld & Ehlers, 2006). As discussed previously, this is hypothesized to be related to the poorly elaborated memory and disjointed way that trauma memories are stored (see Ehlers, Hackmann, & Michael, 2004).

Although intrusive thoughts are an expected and normative part of trauma recovery, trauma survivors often report that the thoughts are disturbing, and are an indication that they are “going crazy” (Shipherd, Beck, Hamblen, & Freeman, 2000).

When an intrusive thought occurs, it can be associated with emotional distress, physiological arousal, and interference with concentration or task completion, lasting anywhere from minutes to hours.

It is understandable that survivors would want to avoid this experience (e.g., Lazarus, 1983).”

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My two cents: Psychological définitions do not describe my intrusive thoughts.

They are prolific in volume, but hold little fear, mostly unworthiness and shame mixed with anger.

The emotions of harm feel real. My intrusive thoughts are accurate, public sexual humiliation came from a real betrayal.

I can not reframe that in to anything good, after a childhood of abuse, this trauma destroyed trust.

Realize at 69 the damage between childhood and this betrayal is massive, I am still haunted, suffering to this day.

I have accepted it and surrendered to it, but that storyline continues.

I have done the work with therapists and this intrusive thought lives on.

Now, they say avoidance or trying to squash these intrusive thoughts does more harm.

So what does someone do, whose intrusive thoughts run constantly like mine at times?

How would you like the worst day of your life to play over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over?

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The Pauses……… are the weak points of the breath cycle.

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Meditation seems to scare many away, crazy connotations of monks in a cave, others find it extremely boring in the beginning.

So here is a crazy way my mind describes it.

Meditation for me, is just focusing on the four parts of the breath intently, as my listening skill becomes super sensitive to the tiniest sound, inside or exterior.

We are using at least two senses, ever present without thought needed.

Now let’s make it simpler to start. We will only use five breaths, easier to focus on small time frames as we get better.

It is easier to follow the the inhales and exhales inside our nostrils. The inhales are cooler than the warm exhales, the body is in motion, the chest expands or contracts.

The pauses are everyone’s weaknesses. They are like suspended animation, nothing is in motion. With practice these pauses can be the vehicle to the other side.

So here goes. Get an timer app, make the pauses 5 seconds. As long as we focus intently, the time frame can vary, maybe 10 second pauses feel more natural to you.

During the inhales and exhales, prepare for the upcoming five seconds, the key, the pauses. Anticipate the pauses like your finding buried treasure, this silence is golden for us.

So meditation has come down to us being able to focus for two five second periods on the pauses, during a full breath cycle. Inhale, pause, exhale, pause.

Five breaths, then take a break, assess and adapt and try again.

If you can can focus for five breaths like this, you are meditating. You will improve with daily practice.

In due time you can meditate for longer periods or use the focus you have built to unplug anxiety and panic during the day.

It’s not that complex, but your Ego will want to deter you from getting better, he/she never wants to give up any control.

Be aware of your inner critic, he /she is a pain in the ass.

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Sounds like PTSD to me

Breaking Barriers Australia (@breakingbarriersau)

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Sounds like PTSD to me.

Go visit a PTSD discussion board and you will see many self destructive behaviors.

Handling our trauma, dissociating into the middle of the storyline is jet fuel for PTSD.

Be aware, trauma thoughts are dangerous for us.

A technique using a large Circle, a big Zero 0

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Find a quiet spot, focus on the breath intently, slow way down, calm your being.

After the body calms, Visualize an enormous circle in front of you.

Bring all awareness to your body sensations, be extremely sensitive, explore the inner world.

Now let your trauma thoughts and feelings have an audience.

We are just observing them from a short distance. Next start filling the big circle, that zero with your trauma.

Every exhale, shovel some more inside the ⭕️ circle, all the worry, doubt, humiliation, loss and unworthiness we carry like an anchor.

When you have shoveled all you can, every exhale moves the circle farther away as it begins to shrink.

In a couple of minutes the circle is so far away, it looks like a period.

Do you notice any change?

We are trying to build some space, some distance between us and our trauma, between stimulus and response in waking life.

Remember, it takes repetition to handle trauma, to enjoy wellbeing.

My Wednesday meditation group leader, Cam, introduced this technique today.

I adapted it to trauma, fill that ⭕️ circle, it is like a door, an opening to jettison our PTSD.

Being able to focus on the breath and visualize things has helped me get better.

As usual, new things are awkward and we are not very good at it in the beginning.

You can do all this in private, avoidance is a big symptom.

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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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