To survive and learn fully how to tip-toe our way through recovery, we must learn the art of intimately living with ourselves. I needed this. I know, I can't speak for everyone's needs. Our trauma and experience of it. Our upbringings. All of our life-experience, has led us towards a full rich appreciation of our circumstances common to us all. Along with all we've uniquely lived. Our very common challenge remains. To overcome the adversity of trauma and PTSD in our lives.
Trauma, is an adventure of sorts. Overcoming it, a slashing through the forest of overgrown brambles in our psyche. The precious gold ring we seek in this adventure. Is to find the one true love of our life. Not the love that will be our hopeful partner along the way. The man or wife we may choose to die with in the end.
I'm speaking of, The One True Love, Living Already Inside Of Us. The truest part of ourselves tasked with taking in this adventure and walking it through to completion. All the way through it. With our earthly view of sometimes very frightening landscapes. The soul of our spirit, living right under our own skin. This is the truest love I know we are seeking with so much worldly labour to ultimately find.
'Know thyself and Heal thy Flaws. Gently, With Self-Compassion, With Grace and Self-Forgiveness.'
For, in recovery we learn. The most important person in our lives. The one that will see us through it all. To the bitter end of unexpected, untimely death. Is our true-self. The spirit, living behind the outer mask we wear. A mask of self-protection from the world we don't fully trust. A mime's disguise we've developed, unwittingly over time.
With this knowledge now deeply entrenched within my own being in terms of self-awareness. With my truest self now focused, alive and well from within. Through remission of my mental health issues, today writing these words. I actually know them to be true.
Carl Jung, when asked in an interview once, "Do you believe in God?" To this Jung replied:
"Well, I have a certain bit of problem with such things. I don't believe. Either I know a thing or I don't know a thing. It's rather childish of me to think any longer in terms of beliefs. When I know a thing. There isn't any need for belief. When it comes to KNOWING God. Yes. I know God. I know this thing called God."
I've paraphrased my mentors words. Expanded on them some to share my own strong knowing that has fully developed from it's roots in Christian life experience. Psychologically now into my human animal mind, I too know God. Therefore I too have no longer any need for childishness, arguing over His existence or non-existence within myself. That long-fought battle in my life. Like so many that ended these past nine months. I'm ready too, to walk away from this battlefield against God as well.
With tender care along the way of my healing journey. With the direct intervention of many shamans in my life. The best helpers I found along the way. They were each one of them, students in their own practice. Of Dr. Carl Gustav Jung.
He is, as you can likely tell with my writing. A hero in my life. A man, long dead whom I owe my life to. My very survival is due in most part psychologically to this man I now revere as a hero to me. Jung, started his own career as a shaman-of-sorts. Under the tutelage of his own mentor, Dr. Sigmund Freud.
At some point along the way, the two men had a falling out. I won't get into the details here. The story of the two men and their conflicting approaches to psychiatric and psychological care are already brilliantly publicized by many crafted writers. I'd rather encourage readers to seek this story out for themselves. With the level of my current writing skills. I humbly bow the telling of the story of Jung and Freud. To other craftsmen who have so wonderfully already completed and shared their own incredible works on the subject.
To get back to the intent in this writing. I'll share what Dr. Jung taught me in terms of psychological reconciliation with my spirit. A journey of coming to peace inside my own mind with my Creator. I know this, to follow my mentor's lead. As human-beings, animals on this earth. Living physically in the here and now. We ourselves, are not gods. Biologically, underneath this skin of ours. We remain, very much, simply flesh. Very much, simply blood and bone.
We remain male and female animals throughout our human life. Animals by nature, biologically. Although our spirit, the soul of our true self is connected to this unimaginable, immeasurable existence in the Universe. We are not the Creator.
We could do ourselves possible immeasurable psychic damage. Should we set out on our journey to find ourselves with the intent even to try to be gods.
There is good reason to not consider ourselves gods. Part of the Creator's majesty? Yes, I sincerely know we are a huge part of the magic in life. This is healthy knowledge of self. As far as I'm concerned, I personally need a sense of a higher power in my own life to keep going. In order to not feel alone in this world. It's better for me to accept there is a power in the Universe, much Greater than ourselves. All appropriate and healthy psychological recovery programs state this need emphatically. Humility is a character trait I learned the hard way I needed to find. I leave it to all readers here to decide for yourselves. Where it is you personally stand.
Here and now. Our spirits, know this God. Here on Earth as animals, we simply are not able to be all knowing and powerful. I do know, however. That it is part of our very nature as spirits to do our utmost, human best. Give it our all. In a sincere effort to try being, as best we possibly can, Just Like Him.
We are tasked on this human journey to find this source of our own power inside. The source of power our spirit knew about, coming here to earth. I know, for me. I made a choice as a spirit to live this often frightening, human experience. I like to think of the true self, the spirit inside of me, as a child of God. As a child of God, venturing out into the Universe. Deciding for itself that Planet Earth is our best teaching ground for this adventure.
I quote the words of many others when I share:
"We are not, human beings on Earth. Seeking a spiritual experience of life. We are Spiritual Beings on Earth. Seeking a Human Experience of Life."
Finding this understanding for myself. Now knowing, it is true to me. This Is True Recovery. True Healing. In recovery's most sacred and divine form. For me, discovering ultimately my own life as a myth. As a story of adventure. I now know, each and every one of us. Are a Hero, From Among the Many Thousands of Faces, Here Living On This Earth. This, my second greatest animal mentor in human life taught me. This mentor's name, is Joseph Campbell.
Inside of me, my spirit is connected directly now to the other most important mentor in my life. My inner spiritual hero remains, Jesus. My psychological heroes include the life and teachings of the Buddha. I also know my journey genetically through heredity. This part of who I am inside, includes many human faces all part of my own DNA.
My parents. My Grand-parents. My father's mother, suffered mental health issues herself when my father was an infant. She ended up dieing in Riverview Hospital on BC's West Coast. Her medical file revealing she was institutionalized for postpartum depression. Such an issue would never be treated that way in this day and age. But, I needed this history. To ensure no genetic connections to what felt very much with PTSD like insanity.
A very welcome bit of genetic history came to me through family history study. I discovered a very deep connection to Canadian History through this. Uncovering my heritage had First Nations roots. Dating all the way back to the first explorations of Canada. My Greatest Grandfather it turned out was a mapmaker. During the time of colonial expansion connected to the Hudson's Bay Company.
This truth, Peter Fidler shared in a journal he kept while mapping for the company through the Rocky Mountains. I've since misplaced my copy. Thankfully references are now appearing on the Internet to keep me connected to the myths and stories of this man in my life. These are my roots. Of which I am completely proud.
Another genetic hero of mine, is his wife. Mary Mackegone. A Swampy Cree First Nations Princess, in my mind and soul. Alive and well in my heart today. Our family, meets still regularly on Facebook. I have cousins in a group called, Descendents of Peter Fidler. Sandy Fidler, Louise Crane &Tara Bruce. To name only but a few of my cousins who visit there.
These genetic pieces of my spirit's life-puzzle. All of this information I needed to find. In order to reconcile the sins in my own father's pasts. Sins and traumas the generations imposed upon me. Like it or not, the lives of the generations before us do seep into the very fabric of our own human DNA.
With this ancestral discovery in my journeyman's seeking. I am today a Metis Citizen of Canada. Our bridge, between two races of Canadian man. I am a man who now considers myself Free and Only Answerable, to God. A Metis Man on this Planet. I have a tattoo on my right arm to act as a symbol of this inner spiritual commitment. A guide-post, so-to-speak. To remind me in future times of who I am. When I will (like all humans do) inevitably again perhaps lose my way.
I will one day here, expand a story with what I know through my research into my own life of Canadian History. As it truthfully is a story that needs to be shared. We've learned many things from the constructions within our history books, that I discovered, were misrepresentations. Some things that we've learned, in fact. Are outright, manifested lies.
For now, I'll go back to the purpose of this piece. However I'll end this section with a taste of the inner- myth of my parting spiritually as an infant, from heaven. I know, when my spirit chose to enter Earth University. Now over fifty years ago. I imagine I was given these words to guide me. Instructions, I simply as a human-being can't recall. So, I constructed my own myth. To help guide me in my own way.
These remain, the words I use to keep me focused on the journey. Parts of the walk ahead, so unknown and still perhaps plagued with dangers and disappointments. To understand my now sold faith relationship with my guide inside. This is why I continue to imagine and visualize inside myself, this friend.
My friend, Jesus who lives inside of me. As the best part, the light inside myself. This light, now that I'm in remission from mental illness. Is alive against the animal darkness that too, lives inside the soul of all living man. These are the words I use that were shared with my infant spirit, Joshua. A myth, I've created for my own mind. If he hadn't shared these words? I doubt, in retrospect. I'd been courageous enough about this adventure on earth with trauma to consider taking any risk at all of leaving heaven. To actually leave heaven for earth to live all this pain? I've shared before. There were many times along the way. I simply wanted to turn tail and run back home.
"Be Well, little one. Blessings to you, Spirit Joshua. Venture forth into the unknown. Step out into this frightening place. Go. Find your way. When you are through? Come back home, to me. Fill me in, on all you've learned. I will welcome you back, with open arms. There are lessons for you on this Planet of Mine. Walk Softly. Mind How You Go."
We can live intimately with ourselves, should we choose to. Once we learn to choose to live this way. The greater our willingness is to becoming fully self-aware. The more self-aware we can become, the easier the life journey can be.
Our trauma and experience of it. Our upbringings. Our vocation. Some of us here choosing the military and battles as part of our own journey through life's way. All of our life's experiences led us towards a full, rich appreciation and challenging of the person in our lives, living right under our own skin. This challenge came to us all, through trauma.
So, I remind us all again. Please, live well a long and courageous journey in life. The goal of this Earth University, is as I stated in the beginning:
'Know thyself and Heal the Flaws. Gently. With Self-Compassion. With Grace and Self-Forgiveness.
This is true recovery. True Healing. In Recovery's Most Sacred And Divine Form. Through all the pain and hardship of fighting off the demons of trauma. We are never alone in such suffering. Know, many are here on this earth, walking a very similar path to your own. We are your companions. Your guides, should you need our flashlights to perhaps light your path for a minute or two. Shining hopeful light within the darkness of your way. From wherever in your own life your trauma may have come to you. We are your peers now. Trust us, when you can. We will never leave you alone in your suffering. Alone to die empty on this battlefield called life.
You have my personal prayers and blessings, each and every day. And, whether or not you believe in a God. The Universe knows you. Better than you might know yourself. Or are now perhaps, simply not able to yet appreciate or understand.
Like our old friend common to all our childhoods, Dorothy in the Wizard Of Oz. Once you've found the truth of your own inner spirit. Your own truest self. You will simply tap your combat or running-shoe heels together and proudly and gratefully proclaim:
'Without a doubt. There Is No Place Like Home."
Venture forth. with courage. The answer, I trust for you all will come. We are all in various stages of what we now know as, Post Traumatic Growth. I trust one day for all of us. Our healing will become more clear. "Blessings, on your journey. Dear Friends. Please. Mind, how you go. Be Well."
Darren Michael Gregory. August, 17th, 2014. Darren is a Community and Workplace Traumatologist. Currently residing in Creston, British Columbia, Canada.
Be sure to watch the Videos. At the End Of The Reading List.
Ancient Theories of Soul: Stanford Encyclopedia Of Philosophy Online: 2009.
An Introduction To The Book Of Job: Philosophy 101 Online: Viewed 2014
C.G. Jung in the Humanities, Taking the Soul's Path: Susan Rowland: Goodreads Online: Viewed 2014.
Concepts Of God: Stanford Encyclopedia Of Philosophy Online: 2012.
Cree: The Canadian Encyclopedia Online: Viewed 2014
Death: Shelly Kagan: Open Yale Courses Online: Viewed 2014.
Early Surveying and Mapping: Association of Manitoba Land Surveyors Online: Viewed 2014.
Einstein Photo: Antral, Bridging The Gap Online: Viewed and Retrieved: 2014.
Emotional and Psychological Trauma: Symptoms, Treatment, and Recovery: HelpGuide.Org Online: Viewed 2014.
Evil Deeds: Messiahs of Evil (Part One): Stephen Diamond, PhD.: Psychology Today Online: 2008.
Excerpt From Fidler's Journal: OurHeritage.Net Onlne: Viewed 2014.
Exhibition Highlights Shamanism In Arts of the Americas: Cantor Arts Center, Stanford University Online: 2004.
Finding Joe: The Movie, A Film By Patrick Takaya Solomon: The Trauma Recovery Blog: Viewed 2014.
How Human Are You: National Geographic Online: Viewed 2014.
How to Tell the Difference Between Your True Self and Your Everyday Self: Deepak Chopra & Leigh Newman: Oprah LifeClass Online: Viewed 2014.
In The Eyes Of A Child, The World Is Perfect: Recruiterpoet Blog Online: 2012.
It Wasn't His Child: Sawyer Brown: YouTube Video Remix: Steve McCranie: Viewed 2014.
Jesus The Man (Book): Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia: Viewed 2014.
Jung Meets Freud: Carl Jung Resourses: Jung & Freud: Carl Jung Resources For Home Study & Practice Online: Viewed 2014.
Ktunaxa First Nations: Internet Resource: Viewed 2014
Life Experience School: Internet Resource: Online: Viewed 2014.
Metis Nation British Columbia: Internet Resource: Viewed 2014.
Métis Spiritualism: Darren R. Préfontaine: Todd Paquin and Patrick Young: Metis Museum Online: Viewed 2014.
Monotheism: Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy Online: 2013.
Our History, The Fur Trade: Hudson's Bay Company Online: Viewed 2014
Oral Tradition: The Beginning Of The Cree World: Saskatchewan Indian Cultural Centre Online: Viewed 2014.
Origins Of The Universe, An Expanding World: National Geographic Online: Viewed 2014.
Overcoming Codependency: Reclaiming Yourself in Relationships: Terry Gaspard: HuffPost Divorce: 2013.
Peter Fidler: Peter Fidler.Com: Internet Resource: Viewed 2014.
Peter Fidler and the Métis: Donna Lee Dumont: ISBN-13: 978-1926795089: 2012.
Pierre Teilhard de Chardin: WikiQuote Online: Viewed 2014.
Philosophy and Christian Theology: Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy Online: 2012.
Planet Earth: Discovery.Com: Internet Resource: Viewed 2014.
Postpartum Depression: Canadian Mental Health Associaiton Online: Viewed 2014.
Posttraumatic Growth: Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia: Viewed 2014.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, A Primer: Darren Gregory: 2014.
Quote: Carl Jung: I Know God Exists: YouTube Video: Viewed 2014.
Redefining Remission in Mental Health: GoodTherapy.Org Online: 2013.
Riverview Hospital Grounds Tour: Paul Builema: YouTube Video: 2012.
Sigmund Freud (1856-1939): BBC History Online: Viewed 2014.
The Buddha, A Film by David Grubin: PBS Online: Viewed 2014.
The Hero's Journey Ouline: The Writer's Journey Online: Viewed 2014.
The Hero with a Thousand Faces: Joseph Campbell: New World Library; 3rd Edition: July 28 2008.
The Hero's Journey - Star Wars, Harry Potter & Wizard of Oz: YouTube Video: Viewed 2014.
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey: Peter Jackson, Director: Internet Movie Database Online: 2012.
The Joseph Campbell Foundation: Internet Resource: Viewed 2014.
Upon An Anniversary: Five…wait…SIX Lessons On Living Life Freely: Writer, Wizard, Sensei, Boy Online: Viewed 2014.
What Is Mime: Innovateus Online: Viewed 2014.
What Is Self-Awareness: Kendra Cherry: About.Com, Psychology Online. Viewed 2014.
What's The Difference Between a Psychologist and a Psychiatrist: Kendra Cherry: About.Com, Psychology: Viewed 2014.
Who Was Carl Jung: Reflections On Psychology, Culture and Life Online: The Jung Page: Viewed 2014.
Who Was Jesus, the Man: Heather Whipps: LiveScience Online: 2009
Yaqan Nuki Heritage: Listing: Kootenay Rockies, British Columbia's Mountain Playground: 2014
Yeshua (Name): Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia: Viewed 2014.
Disclaimer: These materials and resources are presented for educational purposes only. They are not a substitute for informed medical advice or training. Do not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem without consulting a qualified health or mental health care provider. If you have concerns, contact your health care provider, mental health professional, or your community health center. www.traumarecoverybc.com
Darren Gregory © 2014: All Rights Reserved
We all know the cliche, if at first you don't succeed, try-try-again. This is the heart of The Sweet Spot, a chapter title of a book, The Talent Code, written by author Daniel Coyle. Here, Coyle discusses learning and touches on the value of insight through disciplined trial and error. His writing, weaves together stories of various learning experiences across a diverse pool of individuals, reflecting on various efforts of others in skill development. In this entry into the nature versus nurture debate, Coyle uses his own experiences to clarify his point of view and challenges us to accept the concept of deep practice. (Coyle, Page 16).
His definition of the concept is quite easy to follow. Coyle says that in learning experiences where individuals are taught to push themselves to points of discomfort and failure, students learn to achieve at a very high level. He goes on to say that by teaching students to diligently tackle a problem area through trial, reason, and reflection on error, such insight learning can make all the difference in terms of nurturing talent in human beings, especially in young people.
The author shares his visits to what his friend calls, Chicken-Wire Harvards. This means that the places Coyle visited to find subjects for his query resided in some rather impoverished living and training circumstances. Over fourteen months, Coyle's journey, takes him from: a ramshackle tennis court in Moscow, to a soccer field in Sao Palo, Brazil, a vocal studio in Dallas Texas, an inner-city school in San Jose, California, a run-down music academy in New York's Adirondacks, a base-ball mad island in the Caribbean, and to a handful of other places (he further describes as) small, humble, and titanically accomplished. The most compelling of Coyle's subjects are a group of young soccer students in Sao Paulo, Brazil. (Coyle, Page 11).
In Sao Paulo, soccer is a life-line in the hearts of these impoverished young souls. The game for them is a ticket to a better life. Coyle describes these children as having an almost eye of the tiger mentality when it comes to passion and diligence towards learning the finer aspects of the game. The movie, Rocky**, comes to mind rather easily in reflecting through the words of Daniel Coyle. The children of Sao Palo, do come across as hungry to achieve.
The soccer stars in Coyle's visit to Sao Paulo, demonstrate to Coyle an admirable focus of attention to detail. The strategies employed by the coaching team restricts the play area, reminiscent again of Rocky's trainer, Mick, isolating his boxer to a chicken-run to play a game of catch-the-hen to improve foot-work and stamina. Or, the wax-on wax-off strategy used in the Karate Kid.*
The deep practice process Coyle shares, is an almost mirror description of the practice of mindfulness. When we are mindful, we are living in the here and now. We are focused by choice on all that we might choose to do. When we are mindful, for instance, simply washing dishes can be a step-by-step process in which we choose to perform dish-washing in the best way we can, not missing a single scrap left behind from the meal.
In mindfulness, we look for beauty in the details. In mindful practice we are tasked with gentle observance, not only of our actions, but in practicing mindfulness towards our thoughts, we can learn to choose the best thoughts to maintain our focus on. This is an incredible experience to improve our sense of consciousness in living. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mindfulness_%28psychology%29).
In this work, Coyle convinces us that deep practice holds merit. One might argue that we live in a world wrought with practices of self-judgement when it comes to skill development. It seems that success, specifically in North America, is a prize we must achieve to be valued in our society. The process of learning isn't as intrinsically valued as Coyle describes. It is the achievement itself that seems to matter most.
It wasn't fully evident, in Coyle's argument, whether or not the people he studied were judgemental of their performance. The sense was, however, that the process of deep practice was expectant of error as a means for the learner to self-diagnose her skill. Thereby, the student works systematically towards improving from any step in which she may have stumbled.
Coyle's view of deep practice, set's a tone in understanding learning that is important for us to consider. It is an attitude towards learning that breaks down a goal into smaller, more manageable steps. In deep practice there really isn't any right or wrong. Learning is described as sweet, each step along the way. The achievement is described as ah-ha moments of enlightened bliss.
The Sweet Spot Coyle describes, is that perfect moment, internally and intuitively felt, that acts as the true measure of personal satisfaction and success for the students in his study. We all could learn something from Daniel Coyle. If we could abandon judgements of our individual accomplishments, it would seem we might find more peaceful and graceful experiences in acquiring the knowledge we seek, through whatever skill we wish to develop. If at first effort we don't succeed, we simply try-try-again to find the sweet spot. Doesn't seem like such a bad away to go. Perhaps, the phrase isn't so cliche after all.
Coyle, Daniel: The Talent Code: Greatness Isn't Born, It's Grown, Here's How: Chapter 1: The Sweet Spot: Bantam: 2009
*Hiller, B.B.: The Karate Kid: Scholastic Books: 1984
**Stallone, Sylvester: Rocky: Ballantine Books: 1976
Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia: Mindfulness (Psychology): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mindfulness_%28psychology%29
One of the most helpful stepping-stones in recovery is breath- work. Learning to breathe effectively forms a foundation for all future work we may choose to engage in. Breathing through our anxiety, for instance, can help reduce our symptoms, quickly and dramatically.
Breath-work also forms a foundation for developing meditation practices should we choose to pursue adding meditation to our recovery toolbox. Mindfulness (learning to live in the present moment) is a practice that is revolutionizing recovery in mental health.
Breath-work is a first step in learning mindfulness concepts.
A second key concept is Grounding.
In my own recovery practice, Grounding translates to simply using techniques that help me to restore my direct connection with reality. I still find myself in states of self-protective dissociation, from time to time. Dissociation protects us emotionally. The state allows for detachment from our surroundings when the senses start taking in too much of the action.
Numbing out for a time acts to silence things inside, for those days when our mind is dealing already with far too much in terms of trauma memories.
Dissociation only really becomes a problem for us when the activation of the process creates enough of a loop in memory that activation of dissociation quickens and makes more reactive the dissociative response.
The response is quite normal for us otherwise.
When a feedback loop occurs in the filing system in our brain: This creates a problematic issue as the process causing the action of checking out of reality for a time, and with this looping in play, dissociation comes at us more often than is helpful.
For some of us with PTSD, this dissociation then shows up for us when we'd rather it didn't.
What does dissociation feel like?
Do you recall, for instance, losing touch with reality for a time while driving? Feeling as though you've missed, mile upon mile of highway? Then, seemingly suddenly, you sort-or 'wake-up' to realize where you actually are on the road your travelling?
This is what the dissociative response feels like in action to me.
The symptom can become quite problematic for us in the long-term, should we end up with this state looping in the brain leading us deeply into a more debilitating situation of absolute withdrawal from life.
Grounding techniques can help significantly in regaining our connection with reality. Or, grounding can assist us through a process we can us as a means for coming back into the real world following a dissociative episode:
One that perhaps kicked in to calm the input of the environment for us to physiologically protect us from adding insult to the injury of an already far too busy, hyper-vigilant mind.
Trauma, with anxiety active, gets us thinking incessantly sometimes. Focusing too much about the past or transporting our imagination too far into the unknown future. This can leave us in a state of inner-flux and can leave us highly symptomatic.
Remaining grounded and functional in these situations can be quite difficult for us to do. Keeping our focus about living only into the reality of the present moment takes practice following traumatic experiences.
When living with PTSD, it's best for us in terms of recovery to schedule a consistent practice regime for breath-work, mindfulness, and grounding techniques. For us all, every ounce of prevention we can muster can be definitely worth it's weight in gold.
Managing our symptoms: This for many of us will be a need long-term. It's therefore better for us, in all situations that can be troublesome for us along the way, to be ahead of game and educationally prepared.
Practice, does make perfect. It keeps us on our toes and in touch with the sweet-spot of near perfection over time. Daily practice prepares us for those unexpected triggering events that are inevitable in our lives.
During our breath-work, for example, when we allow just TEN MINUTES periodically throughout the day of selfish 'me' time to work with our breathing, I personally found myself by doing so making incredible strides in my own recovery.
With breath-work alone added at intervals (like a pill we might swallow) every day, we can use those ten minutes of silence by focusing on only our breath, which will prepare us, should we so choose to explore the concepts, towards learning the deeper practices, like mindfulness, which will over time bubble up inside of us to accept the validity of this singular truth:
The Present Moments in Life are truly the only real moments we have to experience in our unique, personal surroundings, and it is within our uniquely personal inner-space that we can appreciate some near-silent, quiet moments, simply observing our thoughts, rather than allowing these thoughts to steal away our sense of peace.
Looking back at the past or fretting about what lies ahead in an unknowable future?
This activity is really, in the present moment, only about us recalling memories and imaginings we're reflecting upon. There is no reality left in either one of these states of mind.
Daily breath-work and daily grounding practice will improve our connection to reality in a preventative way, reducing the brain and body's need for dissociative self-protection, over time.
Traumatic memories can be so intrusive, this is true. They seem to constantly override our experience of the present. It is important to learn to reflect upon the trauma experiences by choice. As we might do in the safety of a counseling relationship.
To learn breath-work practices and grounding techniques we sometimes do best with a human teacher. This is the gift of therapy, actually. Finally accepting the courage we need to allow ourselves a little vulnerability can lead us into the world with a human being who just might know a thing or two about exactly where we've been.
Let's face it. We aren't supermen. To learn these techniques takes training. Help is waiting. We only need the courage to risk being vulnerable enough to ask for it sometimes.
Thus my own consistent insistence that any who might visit here consider entering into a relationship with trauma-and-violence informed, clinical care:
I hope you can use the two videos included in this blog as an introduction to developing your recovery practices. The video is courtesy of Dr. Anna Baranowsky with the Traumatology Institute.
One of the best products they offer, the Breath Trainer App, is a very inexpensive smart-phone application and is an ideal tool to get started practicing and training our bodies to respond to anxiety.
I've included here a video as well that grants 10 minutes of doing nothing else at all, which helps to train the mind in focusing solely for awhile on the breath when anxiety might take hold, or we find ourselves dissociating from reality for whatever reasons.
Learning to reduce our symptoms consciously, using our own breath and the act of our own breathing to get us there: This is what starting out in recovery was first actually all about for me.
It's a very wise decision to make, agreeing to learn these tools. In terms of adding to our lives a little prevention, follow the links below as well to find a 12-Step grounding tutorial.
Many thanks to Dr. Anna Baranowsky and The Traumatology Institute for explaining in the video for us both of these very powerful techniques.
Be Well. . . . .
Darren Michael Gregory: The Trauma Recovery Blog
Further Reading and Links
Breath Work: TI Breath Trainer App
Relax & Breathe: Do Nothing for 10 Minutes: YouTube
Disclaimer: These materials and resources are presented for educational purposes only. They are not a substitute for informed medical advice or training. Do not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem without consulting a qualified health or mental health care provider. If you have concerns, contact your health care provider, mental health professional, or your community health centre.
Darren Gregory © 2014: All Rights Reserved
Certified: Community & Workplace Trauma Educator Traumatology Institute.
Associate Member American Academy Of Experts In Traumatic Stress.