Happy and the “Ego”. Almost strangers

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First, understand the “Ego” (left side)  is never equal to another “Ego” (human being).
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He/she is superior or inferior, or somewhere in between, here in lies the crux of suffering for us.
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Now, let us explore where they spend their days.
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The “Ego” spends most of its time in the past, searching the memory banks to compare us with him/her, then project its emotional judgment for the future.
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Happy on the other hand is 100% steeped in this moment, not a smidgen of happy lives in the past or future.
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So, it seems the ”ego” is in a different time zone than happy.
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This is why Happy and the “Ego” are strangers in the night.
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Adjust your attention and time spent in the here and now.
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Our Mindset: a Vital Cog, spokes in our wheel!

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Triggers (adrenal stress response or fight or flight mechanism) seem extremely scary. When we were hunter gatherers faced with lethal danger (bears, mountain lions, the elements) our fear mechanism protected us.
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In modern society lethal danger is rare for many of us. Irrational fear abounds in modern society, anxiety, depression and PTSD proliferate.
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We need to change our relationship with our fight or flight mechanism. At first I was extremely frightened when my triggers exploded with childhood abuse.
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I was hyper vigilant, tried feverishly to escape, then avoid at all costs in the future.
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I feared my own defense mechanism. I reacted to it with great anxiety and fear.
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Now we know that certain parts of the mind are off line and the complete story of our abuse is hidden.
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I teach changing our stance, not reacting, not honoring or giving our trauma or fear power.
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Our triggers are opportunities to improve and heal.
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Healing does not avoid but navigates directly towards our panic and fear!
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There is a mirage of danger hidden in our impacted mind until we integrate, bring the abuse to present moment.
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We confront and integrate by letting go and focusing on an object, usually the breath.
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We reach this through a mindful focus, a direct observation without judgment.
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When out fight or flight fires, accept it, focus, breathe, observe, feel the body sensations.
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Smile, you are healing.
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Gratitude from a 9 year olds perspective

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Dear Future Self, so you either got amnesia and hopefully found the letter or are like 42 and remember when you did this in Girl Scouts when you were 9. So, here’s a bunch of things you were grateful for when you were 9.
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First of all color, it’s bright and adds a sense of happiness to any paper. (Besides work papers.)
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Second of all, music. It’s happy and makes everything more fun. Like imagine a dance party without music!
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And the classic friends (of course). Actually you might be a hermit. But Amelie is awesome. She told me to say that. (She’s great!)
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And safety. There’s nothing more to say about this.
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Now energy/technology. (Evil robots who are trying to turn you into zombie slaves.) But I mean really what would we do without fridges, lights, air conditioning, clocks, phones, iPads, and t.v.s?
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Let’s be serious for a minute, though they may be strict at times we have, or maybe have had amazing parents. I mean some kids have abusive parents. Think how lucky we are!
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Oregon. You may have moved by the time you read this, but I don’t see why you did/would. Oregon is beautiful! I’m happy to live here!
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Monty! My dog. I love him! I don’t know what I’d do without him! Though he may be dead by the time you read this, he belongs in this letter.
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And of course health, you and I would both be dead without this.
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Grandma. She’s awesome.
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Affirmations: daily work for our self image and self worth

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In this moment right now, I accept all of me.
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A little more involved: In this moment right now, I strive to accept all of me, the perfect and imperfect, the exciting and mundane, the good and bad. I strive with all my might to let go of judgment and thought, to embrace this present moment entirely.
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Repeat this affirmation out loud as it engages more areas of the mind.
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Record multiple affirmations for playback during the day and before bed.
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Remember the mind responds best to simple, concrete and immediate tasks best.
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Sit in front of a mirror and look yourself in the eye as you repeat your affirmation out loud.
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I thought my affirmation was a lie at first, I felt I was talking to a stranger, me!
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Within a month things had begun to change.
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Things will arrive organically, through the body not in words or thought.
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Self image, self worth is a vital condition in our pursuit of happiness.
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The Body Keeps the Score: the Insula

 

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Almost every brain-imaging study of trauma patients finds abnormal activation of the insula.
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This part of the brain integrates and interprets the input from the internal organs—including our muscles, joints, and balance (proprioceptive) system—to generate the sense of being embodied.
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The insula can transmit signals to the amygdala that trigger fight/ flight responses.
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This does not require any cognitive input or any conscious recognition that something has gone awry—you just feel on edge and unable to focus or, at worst, have a sense of imminent doom.
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These powerful feelings are generated deep inside the brain and cannot be eliminated by reason or understanding.
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Being constantly assaulted by, but consciously cut off from, the origin of bodily sensations produces alexithymia: not being able to sense and communicate what is going on with you.
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Only by getting in touch with your body, by connecting viscerally with your self, can you regain a sense of who you are, your priorities and values.
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Alexithymia, dissociation, and shutdown all involve the brain structures that enable us to focus, know what we feel, and take action to protect ourselves.
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When these essential structures are subjected to inescapable shock, the result may be confusion and agitation, or it may be emotional detachment, often accompanied by out-of-body experiences—the feeling you’re watching yourself from far away.
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In other words trauma makes people feel like either some body else, or like no body.
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In order to overcome trauma, you need help to get back in touch with your body, with your Self.
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There is no question that language is essential:
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Our sense of Self depends on being able to organize our memories into a coherent whole.
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This requires well-functioning connections between the conscious brain and the self system of the body—connections that often are damaged by trauma.
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The full story can be told only after those structures are repaired and after the groundwork has been laid:
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after no body becomes some body.
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Daily Tools, Daily Work: Gratitude

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The mind is the most complex, powerful thing on earth. Its capabilities are beyond our comprehension as neuroscience keeps documenting new discoveries.
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This small complex mind is programmed best with a simple, concrete, immediate tasks.
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What fires together wires together is the basic building block of neuroscience. Where we place our attention grows and where we withdraw our attention withers and dies.
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So simple, concrete, repetitive actions become habit over time.
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Let me emphasize this again: So simple, concrete, repetitive actions become habit over time.
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Let’s plug gratitude into this equation.
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Take inventory of your life and write down everything you are grateful for. Small things, the warmth of the sun, a beautiful flower, a sunrise, a hot shower, your health, your ability to laugh, communicate, be free or just smile.
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Record your list and listen to your own voice giving thanks.

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How does it feel to hear yourself giving thanks, being positive and grateful?
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Anytime we get distracted, feel needy, feel depressed or anxious pull out your list or play the recording. Takes no effort to press play.
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Remember simple immediate, concrete tasks become habit.
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Being grateful brings desires and needs into proper perspective.
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Real happiness is an internal way of being, a calm, present moment awareness of the mundane, not a life chasing pleasure or avoiding the awkward or unpleasant.
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After gratitude calms our needs a big opportunity arrives, our ability to give to others, to journey together on this path.
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Practice daily with constant application during the day.
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The Body Keeps the Score: DEALING WITH HYPERAROUSAL

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Over the past few decades mainstream psychiatry has focused on using drugs to change the way we feel, and this has become the accepted way to deal with hyper-and hypoarousal. I will discuss drugs later in this chapter, but first I need to stress the fact that we have a host of inbuilt skills to keep us on an even keel.
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In chapter 5 we saw how emotions are registered in the body. Some 80 percent of the fibers of the vagus nerve (which connects the brain with many internal organs) are afferent;
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that is, they run from the body into the brain.
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This means that we can directly train our arousal system by the way we breathe,
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chant,
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and move,
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a principle that has been utilized since time immemorial in places like China and India,
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and in every religious practice that I know of,

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but that is suspiciously eyed as “alternative” in mainstream culture.
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In research supported by the National Institutes of Health, my colleagues and I have shown that ten weeks of yoga practice markedly reduced the PTSD symptoms of patients who had failed to respond to any medication or to any other treatment.
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