Posts Tagged ‘MINDFULNESS’

Reflections

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My daughter says I try to do things heroically at times.

That stung!

Instead of just healing, I ran a mindfulness group and a blog. Does she have a point, some truth in her statement.

I am guilty, oh my.

In the chronic pain group of 15, I threw my pills away and started hiking uphill strenuously. My therapist thought that was dramatic.

Maybe so, but it worked and I helped one other quit most of his meds, the rest suffered miserably.

Wow am I a drama king?

I do not apologize for my actions there. How many chronic pain patients quit their pain killers on their own?

Not many.

When I was paralyzed from guillian beret, in pain, in rehab, I refused to pace myself. They always preached, do not overtrain.

I said no, you have no idea where overtraining was at.

Arrogant as hell, I said I am an ex pro athlete and a meditator, I am different.

That embarrasses me, such arrogance, it is how athletes compete beyond their abilities.

I did their routine and then put my legs under the biggest load they could handle.

From being told I would be paralyzed, in that wheelchair a minimum of one, maybe two years, needing special chairs and nurses, ten days later I took three steps.

They were surprised. I told them if my upper legs fired, the rest of my body would follow. It happened.

To me this was not heroic. They put me in a gym, called it physical therapy, with an important goal, my life, and nothing else to occupy my mind.

Many of my peers, pro athletes could have done the same thing. We are trained to handle a load like this.

I am excellent at physical challenges, PTSD is my kryptonite.

Our greatest challenges come from our weaknesses people.

This one is kicking my ass lately.

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Observing my mind::::::::::::Patterns

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Observing my mind during morning meditation, using that space between me and the thoughts, I saw my mind’s pattern.

Before meditating, an email bill from Comcast was double a normal month, my mind engaged automatically.

Ten minutes later focused on the breath, my mind added many trauma worries from the past, emotionally charged events, then I saw my survival mode from a distance.

Subconsciously my mind has always hunted for danger, things that would worry me. My father raised me with violent criticism, he never said a kind word.

I had to know where he was, what mood he was in and make sure I did not do anything to disappoint him.

He wanted perfection, a cold narcissist, fear was my closest companion.

This explains the depth of what I am trying to modify. I would be frustrated if Healing was expected to be easy or quick.

Meditation has allowed me to observe my mind from a distance, I watch my thoughts and patterns at times.

It is scary, depressing to admit or write it down to share.

A decade of therapy has helped me improve, but my mind has always functioned in a hybrid survival mode.

When my complex PTSD is active, survival mode is intense, spotting danger gets the highest clearance. Looking back, I lived in some form of survival mode everyday.

Even when things were going well, feeling some happiness, I was on guard, never trusting life fully. That is difficult to write and know it is true.

I strive to change this everyday.

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PTSD: Revenge or Forgiveness?

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For me, intrusive thoughts are the big issue living with PTSD.

Once a trauma memory gets rolling all the negative emotions engulf us. 

One of my weaknesses is wanting revenge, wanting my abusers to pay a price, basic human nature.

This has not worked out well, actually it has damaged me more, made me suffer.

Forgiveness has been difficult, I have many harshly held resentments for the damage done to me.

This is the essence of PTSD for me now.

My PTSD has become a hybrid form since many of my traumas have been integrated or partially healed.

How much time my intrusive thoughts spend in my consciousness determines the outcome of everyday.

For that reason my mantra, I forgive everyone for everything they have done to harm me, was shortened.

I made the acronym FEE, Forgive Everyone Everything.

When an intrusive thought invades my space, immediately the acronym FEE appears followed by forgive everyone everything. 

FORGIVE EVERYONE EVERYTHING……FORGIVE EVERYONE EVERYTHING…….FORGIVE EVERYONE EVERYTHING…..FORGIVE EVERYONE EVERYTHING.

Am I a little OCD?

Repetition till it’s reflexive and intuitive makes our acronym much more effective.

Know your mind, it’s patterns and habits intimately.

When intrusive thoughts are broken, the emotions attached do not get a chance to draw me in.

This is a war between me and my PTSD, who will dominate my thoughts is the ultimate winner.

I healed the first time by not thinking about my father or my abuse.

So far it has helped clear my day of some of traumas turmoil.

Anything we can do to stay present, to stop dissociating, leaving this moment to ruminate, bodes well for us.

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Forgiveness: fertile ground for healing

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The zoom kundalini groups focus this next 40 days is forgiveness.

My long held trauma wants to punish or take revenge on offenders in my life. Do we not want some to pay, to suffer for betrayals or damage done to us?

So this mantra, I forgive everyone for everything they have done to harm me, startled my inner world. Forgiveness is my most fertile ground, ready for healing.

Forgiving everyone first for harming us, then asking for forgiveness and receiving from anyone we have harmed, followed by forgiving ourselves for all we have done to harm ourselves.

I was taught my Zen meditation practice was better than all others, my Ego relished that feeling of superiority.

Now, I have stumbled on another form of meditation, that is better at healing trauma and much easier to practice for beginners or experienced meditators.

The lesson: Always be open to new ideas and paths, life offers a myriad of new choices.

Healing has only happened when I was able to take action.

I had to be humble and vulnerable to heal.

It is not like we are riding on a white horse conquering the vile enemy, it is being scared to death, vulnerable but still exhibiting the courage to lean into what scares us the most that brings the soothing touch of healing.

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Size of Brain’s Hippocampus Affects Response to PTSD Treatment

Pinterest: Cereal Killer vintage recycled silverware hand stamped… $16.95 · In stock

My small hippocampus thought this was funny.

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https://www.publichealth.columbia.edu/public-health-now/news/size-brain’s-hippocampus-affects-response-ptsd-treatment , MENTAL HEALTH May 28 2016

The size of a person’s hippocampus, the part of the brain responsible for differentiating between safety and danger, is directly related to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and its treatment, according to researchers at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University Medical Center, and the New York State Psychiatric Institute.

While a smaller hippocampus has been linked to a higher risk for post-traumatic stress disorder, the latest study shows that a larger hippocampus increases the likelihood that treatment will have a positive effect. Findings are published online in the journal Psychiatry Research: Neuroimaging.

The study continues to strengthen theories that the hippocampus plays a large role in PTSD, including that size can indicate both severity of the condition and how effectively it can be treated, according to Yuval Neria, PhD, professor of Medical Psychology at the Mailman School of Public Health and director of the PTSD Program at the New York State Psychiatric Institute.

“If replicated, these findings have important implications for screening and treating patients who have been exposed to trauma,” said Dr. Neria, who led this study, and is also a professor of Medical Psychology at Columbia University Department of Psychiatry.

“For example, new recruits for military service may be scanned before an assignment to determine whether they are capable of dealing with the expected stress and trauma. Having a smaller hippocampus may be a contraindication for prolonged exposure to trauma.”

For the study, researchers recruited 76 people — 40 with PTSD and 36 trauma-exposed but healthy, resilient people — to undergo clinical assessments and MRI, and then go through 10 weeks of prolonged exposure treatment.

Among the participants, the healthy people and 23 PTSD patients who responded to treatment had larger hippocampal volume at the start of the study than the 17 PTSD patients who did not respond to the treatment.

While the researchers say the study supports ideas that hippocampal size is important both to the development of PTSD and response to treatment, more research is needed to confirm the connection and find more effective treatment.

Future research may also help to determine if PTSD patients with a smaller hippocampus respond better to medication, either alone or in combination with psychotherapy.

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Is Meditation The Reason Why This Monk’s Brain Is 8 Years Younger Than His Body? By Natasha Ishak Published March 18, 2020

Edward Wong/South China Morning Post via Getty ImagesYongey Mingyur Rinpoche (left) and Richard Davidson (right), who runs the Laboratory for Affective Neuroscience at the University of Wisconsin.

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Over the course of 14 years, a group of scientists from the Center for Healthy Minds at the University of Wisconsin-Madison followed the brain development of Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche, a Buddhist monk and meditation teacher who has been practicing since he was nine. 

According to Live Science, the study discovered that Mingyur Rinpoche’s brain appeared to slow in its aging over the course of a decade. Mingyur Rinpoche is 41 years old but researchers found that his brain matter seems to be eight years younger than what it should be. 

“The big finding is that the brain of this Tibetan monk, who has spent more than 60,000 hours of his life in formal meditation, ages more slowly than the brains of controls,” said Richard Davidson, a senior researcher on the study and a professor of psychology and psychiatry at the university.

Believed to be the seventh incarnation of Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche, the meditation guru has been practicing since he was nine.

But how can you tell how old a brain is? Davidson said that it’s all in the brain’s grey matter.

“Grey matter is the neural machinery of the brain,” Davidson, who is also the founder and director of the Center for Healthy Minds, explained. “When the brain atrophies, there is a decline in grey matter.”

The study, published last month in the journal Neurocase, examined the changes in Mingyur Rinpoche’s brain over 10 years beginning when the monk was 27 years old.

Mingyur Rinpoche was the perfect subject to test the long-term effects of meditation on the human brain because of his remarkable life.

Believed to be the seventh incarnation of Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche, master of the Karma Kagyu and Nyingma lineages of Tibetan Buddhism, Mingyur Rinpoche has guided other senior Buddhist practitioners in the methods of Buddhist meditation since he was a teenager.

As such, his brain experienced routine — even intense — exposure to meditation. Other past studies have suggested that there is some connection between routine meditation and the slowing of biological aging and the discovery by Davidson and his team seems to add to the growing evidence. 

During the course of the study, researchers scanned Mingyur Rinpoche’s brain four times using structural magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to scan the changes in his brain over time. The brain scans of a group of 105 adults sharing the same age as the Buddhist monk were also monitored and routinely compared to Mingyur Rinpoche’s test results. 

Then, using a machine learning tool called the Brain Age Gap Estimation (BrainAGE) framework, researchers were able to take the brain scans to estimate the age of the brain through its grey matter.

When they scanned Mingyur Rinpoche’s brain at 41 years old, his brain tested as if it belonged to a 33-year-old. In addition, the BrainAGE analysis found that the meditation guru’s brain had also “matured” early. Researchers are still trying to figure out what this maturing means but they do have a working theory.

There are areas of the brain that come online in the mid to late 20s, for example, regulatory regions of the brain that play an important role in self-regulation, in regulating our attention,” Davidson said. “It may be that these areas are maturing earlier in the meditators, and that would make sense, because we believe that meditation can strengthen these areas and these kinds of functions [in the brain].”

While these findings are certainly remarkable, there’s still a lot of possibilities that could explain Mingyur Rinpoche’s “young” brain. For one, researchers have yet to definitively determine whether it was solely his meditation practice that caused his brain to age slower. 

Some researchers think it’s possible that the brains of those who were born in the high altitudes of Tibet like Mingyur Rinpoche might naturally age slower due to the environment. There’s also the possibility that his Buddhist lifestyle — practicing a healthy diet and living in the low-pollution area of the Tibetan mountains — could have contributed to his “young” brain.

Nevertheless, the study does reveal that meditation provides some sort of health benefit for the body.

It kind of makes sense biologically, because stress is a thing that causes aging,” said Kiran Rajneesh, a neurologist who was not involved in the study. “Not just psychological stress, which is definitely a part of it, but also stress happening at the cellular level.”

Until scientists know for sure we’ll just have to be content with our “old” brains for now.

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Narayan Maharjan/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty ImagesBelieved to be the seventh incarnation of Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche, the meditation guru has been practicing since he was nine. 

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My take: Codependent

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The previous codependency post is painful to read, every molecule wants to deny all of it.

Many things about boundaries, love and pain, unworthiness, shame and guilt plus the desire for approval ring so true.

I entered adulthood without a clear autonomy, few boundaries and a ton of anxiety.

This is how childhood trauma impacts our brains, this is the area we need to heal, to integrate and work to change.

Remember, awareness is always first, take stock and identify what codependent traits you own.

I have changed some of these symptoms but stress will bring my old behavior out to play.

My meditation practice, spiritual journey allowed me to step back and observe my behavior without being part of that behavior.

We believe we are what we think or what we do.

That could not be farther from the truth.

Hell,wait til you get my age, who cares what we did at 70.

I guess high accomplishment attracts attention on the senior dating apps, but any connection to happiness is a mirage.

Healing is an inward exploration, then a clearing out of the trash, that trauma has created in our brains and bodies.

Healing is taking care of these small pieces of trauma.

Your next trigger is an opportunity to heal.

Can you take three breaths before you avoid, deny, distract or freeze.

Next time maybe we take five breaths before we scatter.

Healing happens in small increments with daily work, my opinion.

You have to take action to improve.

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Another look: 18 Characteristics of Codependents and 9 Truths to Support Recovery By Carmen Sakurai

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Excerpt:

“What Is Codependency?

Also knows as “relationship addiction,” the codependent is addicted to relationships and the validation they get from them. They will do whatever it takes, including sacrificing their own personal needs and well-being, to keep receiving this validation.

Root Cause of Codependency

Codependency is usually rooted during childhood. The child grows up in a home where their emotions are ignored or punished because the parent (or parents) suffer from mental illness, addiction, or other issues. This emotional neglect results in a child having low self-esteem, lack of self-worth, and shame.

Common Characteristics of Codependents

You are hyper-aware of other people’s needs so you become a caretaker to avoid being blamed for other people’s unhappiness and/or to feed your self-esteem by making them happy.

You believe that love and pain are synonymous. This becomes a familiar feeling so you continue to allow friends, family, and romantic relationships to behave poorly and treat you with disrespect.

Your self-esteem and self-worth are dependent on those you are trying to please. Your self-worth is based on whether or not other people are happy with what you can do for them. You over-schedule yourself with other people’s priorities to prove you are worthy.

You people-please. As a child, having a preference or speaking up resulted in being punished. You quickly learned that letting others have their way spared you from that pain.

You’re afraid to upset or disappoint others, which often leads to over-extending yourself to avoid negative feedback.

You always put others’ needs before your own. You feel guilt if you don’t follow through even if it means sacrificing your well-being. You ignore your own feelings and needs, reasoning that others are more deserving of your time and help.

You lack boundaries. You have trouble speaking up for yourself and saying NO. You allow people to take advantage of your kindness because you don’t want to be responsible for their hurt their feelings.

You feel guilty and ashamed about things you didn’t even do. You were blamed for everything as a child, so you continue to expect everyone to believe this about you now.

You’re always on edge. This is due to growing up in an environment lacking security and stability. While healthy parents protect their children from harm and danger, dysfunctional parents are the source of fear for their children and distorts their self perception.

You feel unworthy and lonely. You were always told you are not good enough and everything is your fault. The dysfunctional parent conditioned you to believe that you are of no value to anyone, leaving you with no one to turn to.

You don’t trust anyone. If you can’t even trust your own parents, who can you trust? Your unhealthy childhood conditioning lead you to believe that you do not deserve honesty or to feel safe.

You won’t let others help you. You’d rather give than receive. You try to avoid having to owe someone for the help they give you, or have the favor used against you. You’d also rather do it yourself because others can’t do it your way.

You are controlling. You were conditioned to believe that you are a “good boy/girl” if those around you are OK. So when life feels overwhelming, you try to find order by controlling others instead of fixing what needs repairs in your own life.

You have unrealistic expectations for yourself as a result of the harsh criticism you constantly received as a child.

You complain about how unhappy your life has become then quickly take it back to protect your ego, trapping you in an unending cycle of complain/deny.

You melt into others. You have difficulty separating yourself from other people’s feelings, needs, and even identities. You define your identity in relation to others, while lacking a solid sense of self.

You are a martyr. You are always giving without receiving, then feel angry, resentful and taken advantage of.

You are passive-aggressive. You feel angry and resentful and complain about “having to do everything” – while you continue doing everything on your own.

You fear criticism, rejection, and failure so you procrastinate on your own dreams and goals. Instead, you manage and control people’s plans and extract fulfillment when they succeed.

These self-destructive thoughts, emotions, and behaviors are based on distorted beliefs that developed as a result of emotional abuse during your childhood. As a helpless child, it was necessary to adapt these behaviors in order to survive.”

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

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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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