Trauma Podcast Interview~

Crystal Arber

keep going…….. through the cave, the abyss, the belly of the whale..

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The Hero’s Journey explained

It is by going down into the abyss that we recover the treasures of life. Where you stumble, there lies your treasure.

Joseph Campbell

Stumbling through the forest on a dark night, one hears rustling in the leaves, wind blowing, an owl howling. Should I go on? Should I move forward or turn around and run out?

In the hero’s journey, the hero on his path to enlightenment, always finds herself either in the belly of the whale, the inner cave, or the abyss. In this place a person can feel alone, fearful, weak, and powerless. However, if the hero chooses to keep going, there is most definitely a treasure, award, or tool that will take one out of the abyss, forest, belly of the whale. Counselling can sometimes feel like this. One enters the cave to face the scary monsters that a person has spent most of their life running from.

The monsters within ( the trauma’s of our past) seem insurmountable until we make a decision to keep going through the abyss or inner cave. Sometimes counselling can feel like  – its too much, ” I can’t do it.” The decision to commit to counselling, group, or any other way of life that will release that monster, or monster’s leads to your treasure.

The treasure can be a tool, an awareness that re-frames your understanding of yourself, or the view of the world. It can be a sense of freedom, or wholeness that perhaps you never had before you began your journey.

Remember when things seem like they are falling apart you are exactly where you are supposed to be in order to gain your treasure. If you don’t believe me just watch Finding Joe ( a documentary that explains The Hero’s Journey). Remember that if you keep going ,  the way out of that cave will present itself.

Calming Your Nervous System with Kitty~

If you don’t have a pet or you want to experiment with calming your nervous system simply turn on this app. Sit or lay down and listen to the purring. After a few minutes notice how you feel? Do you feel calm? You may even fall asleep.

Click here for the app. Enjoy!

http://mynoise.net/NoiseMachines/catPurrNoiseGenerator.php

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mindfulness

 

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Practising mindfulness daily can literally change your brain.  With each mindful activity or meditation that you practice you are re wiring your neuro pathways. Neurons that wire together fire together.  This is true for both negative and positive experiences.  Practising mindfulness moves one into the optimal range of their nervous system, therefore, calming their nervous system. When our nervous system is calm our brain is working well. We are able to make good decisions, accept pain, grief, loss as well as become comfortable with the present moment. Here are some free mindfulness meditation sites. http://www.mindfulness-solution.com/DownloadMeditations. http://sittingtogether.com/meditations.php

the rose that grew from concrete

 

 

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Did u hear about the Rose that grew from a crack

in the concrete

Proving natures laws wrong it learned 2 walk

without having feet

Funny it seems but by keeping its dreams

it learned 2 breathe fresh air

Long live the rose that grew from concrete

when no one else even cared!

 

Tupac  Shakur

 

As we grow through the concrete (work through the trauma) the end result is beautiful….

 

 

 

Internal Sensations~ From Foe to Friend~

MAC-Wonder-Woman-Collection-3For many of us, internal sensations are the enemy~ We spend most of our time doing anything and everything to avoid sensations.  A heart flutter, butterflies in the stomach, hot or cold flashes, chills, burning in the abdomen can send us straight to panic or worse a panic attack.  When the sympathetic nervous system has been activated enough that we fight or flight, it is in this state that we are not in touch with our sensations because we are busy abandoning the threat in our environment.  The same is true for our reptilian response of freeze. In the freeze state our heart is racing, our ears are tuned for the predator and our body is in a frozen state waiting for the right moment to wake up and run or in the very worst case scenario die.  Repeated episodes of attacks on our nervous system can reap havoc in our lives and on our nervous system making the baseline state nearly impossible. It’s no wonder then, that our internal sensations become a foreign and sometimes terrifying experience.

The techniques that are helpful in gently bringing us back into the body are mindfulness strategies. Mindfulness means = Doing one thing at a time un purpose without judgement.  The most famous exercise that exemplifies this is eating a raisin mind fully.

How to practice mindfulness to prevent panic or anxiety attacks

Mindfulness is helpful in preventing anxiety when a body sensation triggers anxiety or panic.  When a body sensation triggers panic, simply engage fully in what you are doing without allowing your thoughts to dominate. For example if you are cooking when you experience a body sensation and begin to feel anxiety, engage fully in the cooking activity while noticing the anxiety but not allowing the feeling to dominate by staying fully present and engaged in the activity of cooking. You might verbally say  out loud what you are doing. ” Right now I am stirring the soup in this steel pot. ” “I am noticing the hot steam on my hand and I am smelling the spices in the soup,” I am feeling anxiety and at the same time I am stirring this soup, and feeling the heat on my hand and noticing this pot on the stove.”

When a negative thought comes in, just notice the thought and immediately return to the activity participating fully in the activity without getting distracted in another activity. This mindfulness practice usually dissipates anxiety. You may have to return to the activity over and over again but eventually the anxiety will pass. As you get better at practicing mindfulness you will find this to be a very powerful strategy for grounding all distressing body sensations and emotions.

Example of eating a raisin mind fully. 

First put the raisin in your mouth and see how the raisin feels, the texture, shape, and taste. Observe how the raisin feels in your mouth to suck, and chew. Observe the amount of times you chew the raisin.  When a thought comes in that judges this experience such as ” oh this is delicious, or ” this is sour,” just notice that thought  and let it go, remembering the object of mindfulness is to just notice, staying fully present in the activity without judgement about the activity. No matter how many times a thought comes in to your mind, return to chewing the raisin, participating fully in the experience of chewing the raisin until it is swallowed.

What Mindfulness is not.

There are  many spiritual practices that incorporate mindfulness activities, and what is called mindfulness meditation. In the Buddhist philosophy mindfulness meditating is simply focusing on your breath and when your mind wanders, without judgement, noticing the thought and bringing the mind back to your breath.  This kind of mindfulness practice is considered an advanced strategy. Unfortunately mindfulness practice is also confused with religious meditations and other spiritual practices which can make it confusing for people.  Mindfulness sometimes gets put in the same class as meditation practices.

Mindfulness is  not chanting, closing your eyes and meditating until you leave your body. It is not a religious practice. While mindfulness is borrowed from Buddhist practice, Buddhism is not a religion, rather is it a philosophy.

Regardless,  mindfulness has been backed up by science and has proven to be very effective for integrating both the right and left side of our brain. Daniel Siegel in his book,  Mindsight,  speaks to this and his research that he has done at Harvard on how mindful practice affects the brain.  The exciting facts are that mindful practice can not only help integrate the brain, hence helping the nervous system achieve a calm state, but such practice has shown to change brain function in positive ways.  Neurons that fire together (for better or worse)  also wire together. We can actually grow our brain through mindfulness practice!

Pets – PTSD

PTSD – Pets

Pets can and will heal your nervous system, spirit and attachment wounds. Through their unconditional and devoted love they role model peace, and calmness. Many times I had the pleasure of listening to my kitty purr away while I was grieving or feeling overwhelmed. The responsibility of caring for her helped me grow, stay still long enough to feel (without running from self) as well as gave me confidence to conquer the big scary world out there. My kitty  certainly taught me how to calm down, stay grounded and persevere one day at a time. I did not know what a home was until I created one for her then I slowly learned how to create a home for me. It’s these small things that are actually so terribly important in healing. Consistency, structure, are key principles in healing from trauma. Pets force us to be consistent. We need to consistently return to our home base to feed them, love them, take care of them. We create structure for their safety and inevitably benefit from structure and consistency in our own lives. What ever attachment wounds from our past somehow are healed in the relationship with our pet because we understand that they will always be there, at least until the end of their life. Even then, we learn how to let go with gratitude. 4271_105879746600_4961359_n

 

Rest in Peace Oriella~

may you rest with your sister who for some reason greeted you with a sock in the nose.

I bet she doesn’t do that now .. now that there is no need for jealousy.