Posts Tagged ‘breath’

Quickest way to improve from PTSD!

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My healing lacked direction, wasted precious time everyday. Confusion, fear and intense anxiety placed me in survival mode again and again.

Now I would approach healing entirely different. The sequence of what to address first, would be changed.

I looked for help inside and outside the box. Intuitive, holistic healers were used along with many therapies.

The one constant that I relied on was aerobic exercise. Pushing myself to near exhaustion brought exhilaration to my body and mind. This practice would stay.

Next, all effort would be invested in calming the nervous system. Stop the fight or flight mechanism from firing erroneously.

Our triggers firing give PTSD the mirage of power, potency, the ability to cause harm. That huge jolt in the solar plexus (cortisol) can freeze us, numb our bodies in terrifying fear.

This is survival mode, we need to fix this, our broken nervous system first. Yes, our adrenal stress response is out of whack, spotting danger everywhere, even in mundane situations.

Meditation/Mindfulness can be simplified, the big connotation and complexity dropped.

If I were helping someone improve from PTSD today, all effort would be directed at mastering focus on ten breaths.

Ten slow, focused breaths, where thought has faded, can calm that trigger exploding.

Ten breaths can Escort us out of survival mode, relieve the biggest fear PTSD brings us.

Avoidance, hyoervigilance, flash backs, anxiety and fear lose massive power. Symptoms weaken, PTSD loosens it’s grip when we calm down.

If our triggers fail to ignite the fight or flight mechanism, not much left to fear.

In my opinion this is the fastest way to heal and quickest way of having some peace of mind.

Ten slow, focused breaths can change your life.

Simple, specific, concrete and bulletproof.

I have done this, have helped others sit still and focus when triggered.

It is scary and having a mentor to encourage and reassure your safety are very helpful.

Can you master ten breaths?

You can practice anytime, anywhere.

What stands in your way?

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It takes a different kind of courage to heal. .

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Being courageous athletically meant enduring pain, overcoming psychological challenges and competing fiercely.

Playing professional baseball was like a battle every night, competing for a prize, sacrificing my body for success.

Being courageous with PTSD is completely different.

The battle is non action, passive acceptance and surrender.

I learned to wage war with PTSD by surrendering completely to the storyline as an observer.

I learned to focus on my breath, staying present as my fight or flight mechanism exploded.

My personality was the opposite. Professional Competitive sports is about skill, hard work and intimidation.

In golf most of the field can shoot 62 on a given day. The six inches between their ears is what separates the champions.

Surrendering felt weak, a place of weakness.

I was terrified to surrender when feeling so vulnerable. My heart would pound, that cortisol jolt rocked my being, my nervous system shocked me with electrical impulses and my amygdala spotted imminent danger.

Summoning the courage while meditating one day, I gave up all resistance to my adrenal stress mechanism firing.

I opened my arms wide, exposing my heart, visualizing it as a butterfly net, gently catching my fears, observing, then releasing.

Their was ultimate power in surrendering in the face of the scariest moments, when our nervous system erupts violently.

Staying present, intently aware of my body secreting cortisol and adrenaline, revealed the reality of my triggers.

Observing my trauma from a distance, surrendering to their virtual power, integrated some of my trauma.

Surrendering felt unnatural at first, I was an avid overachiever, a doer.

Well that is how I viewed my creation, my “Ego” at the time.

I had to let go of that mirage of the fighting overachiever.

Funny how PTSD led me on a spiritual journey.

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The contents of our conscious mind (Bandwidth)

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In the TV series “Elementary” Holmes decries, resist filling your mind with unimportant data. It works much better using less bandwidth.

For some reason we try to fill our mind constantly, avoiding being alone with our mind empty at all costs.

We will binge on TV, a hobby, constant worry or anything else than be alone with our mind.

Why?

Worthless trivia clogs the mind, think what trauma thoughts do to the minds ability to focus.

We can only focus on a finite amount of data at one time (bandwidth).

Think of our conscious ability at any moment as the contents of a glass container.

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Some basic functions are always present during waking hours, our defense mechanism, balance, motor skills, breathing and bodily functions, there to keep us alive and safe.

From here our choices decide how our life unfolds.

Anxiety, worry, doubt, resentment and fear take up valuable space.

These emotions can attract enormous amounts of thought and judgment filling our glass to capacity.

I know, my childhood PTSD filled my mind with constant worry and irrational fear.

No room was left for anything else.

Good emotions, joy and then happiness have no room to visit.

This described my suffering for decades.

Now, I have room, my glass rarely overflows.

My happiest time during the day is when I am focused, empty of thought and emotion, just observing what me eyes see.

Funny, a cool breeze, a perfect flower or a massive tree can bring a big grin and a peaceful feeling.

I like to think, but only when I am aware and directing where my thoughts go.

I refuse to ruminate or judge and am quick to let go of any judgment that happens automatically.

With my mind empty and focused in this present moment, I have an opportunity to be happy.

What fills your glass today?

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Little Things

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One of the tiniest things is a simple breath, a couple of seconds in time.

At times almost imperceptible by to the human eye.

Our Breath happens without thought, automatic like a reflex.

The breath is taken for granted, ignored, its power invisible to the masses.

The happiest humans on this planet use it to reach stages of the mind where rapture has been experienced.

Such a divide, such a contrast in how we value the breath.

If you want to enhance your life, following your breath has the most power of our organism.

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Failure is impossible.

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Failure is impossible.

We control two things, effort and attitude. Effort and Attitude can be enormous anchors in life.

Results are far beyond our control and miles above our pay grade. Life happens, suffering will visit your doorstep, happiness will arrive as a choice.

Remember failure is impossible if we give all out effort with a good attitude. My PTSD melts away when I am present, focused and living fully.

We can not change the past, my childhood abuse sabotaged my life until I reached 60.

In my mind, I decided that was enough, “No more” was my mantra.

In this moment, my past has died, unlimited opportunity is available.

Rick Hanson in “Buddha’s Brain” shares this: “The number of possible combinations of 100 billion neurons firing or not is approximately 10 to the millionth power, or 1 followed by a million zeros, in principle; this is the number of possible states of your brain.”

Sounds like at the cellular level we have unlimited opportunity available.

I can be sad for the suffering of others, along with being able to experience happiness within my inner world.

Death is inevitable, our journey is where we get to choose suffering or thriving under any circumstance.

We all have bad moments, weak moments, the trick is to limit their duration.

I give intention before meditating for all sentient beings, those suffering.

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Can we not worry, not think?

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Similar to not thinking, trying to not worry is near impossible.

An example: On the tee at a short par three, one of my buddies shouts out, don’t worry about that water.

It is impossible to not think about that water. During my backswing or right before I hit the ball, the anxiety about the water impacts me.

We can not, not think, not worry, or not doubt, but we can focus and take action. Back to that tee box, I visualize my fight path and landing zone.

Now I can do that, focus and absorp the current moment. That water gets no attention when I focus intently on something else.

Look at how professional athletes stay focused and calm under extreme pressure with millions watching.

Put a superstar athlete under tremendous pressure and you will see a gem.

Place Michael Jordan, Tom Brady or a Lionel Messi under extreme scrutiny and you will see a transformational performance.

They thrive when you force them to focus more intently.

Their minds are calm, like they see things in slow motion from their intensity.

They also have supreme confidence and trust they will prevail.

Doubt does not exist when you get enthralled in the present moment, whether competing for a Super Bowl or just meditating alone at home.

We do not have to be superstars to focus and eliminate negative thought and emotion.

We only need to focus on our breath, on our purpose and our actions.

Live in the moment, do not entertain thoughts like, can I do this for a month. Suffering follows negative thought and judgment.

Just be ok right now and leave it alone.

We need to use our minds to help not hinder us.

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What our mind conjures up during times like this… ….”Focused and Fearless

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“Look into the stories, fantasies, fabrications, desires, aversions, reactions, and doubts that periodically occupy your thoughts.

Notice what your mind conjures up in the first moments after waking up in the morning—that period between waking and breakfast is a fascinating window into your habitual thought patterns.

Where does your mind go when you sit down for a few moments to rest without the distractions of radio or TV?

Take ten minutes now and lie down on your bed watching the mind without falling asleep.

What patterns of thought dominate?

Where does your mind wander when it is not directed by the structure of a task?

Can you identify your habitual thinking pattern?

Is it blame? memory? fantasies of success? complaining? worry? insecurities about finances, relationships, opinions, self-image? are you planning your next activity?”

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Can you Concentrate during this Pandemic???

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Focused and Fearless by Shaila Catherine:

“Concentration brings with it a natural joy that arises as the mind settles and is absent of distraction.

A surgeon may love surgery, not because the operating room is a pleasant place to be, but because the task demands such complete attention that the mind is filled with the delight associated with concentration.

Kayakers are often enveloped in rapture even though their bodies are cramped in little boats and splashed by frigid water.

A concentrated mind is focused, unified, and stable, regardless of whether the conditions are uncomfortable or luxurious.

In the Pali language of the early Buddhist scriptures, samadhi is the term that has most often been translated into English as “concentration,” yet samadhi describes something more than the narrow focus implied by “concentration.”

It is a calm unification that occurs when the mind is profoundly undistracted.

Samadhi is the beautiful state of an undistracted mind, described in the Pali texts as “internally steadied, composed, unified, and concentrated.

These four qualities indicate that samadhi is not merely focused on a single object.

It is a state of profound serenity that encompasses a balanced, joyful composure, expressing the natural settledness of undistracted awareness.

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My two cents: Shaila Catherine’s book seems so much more immediate and essential now.

Focus enables us to be aware and nothing changes without awareness.

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Dealing with Panic, worry and doubt

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When panic arrives surrender to it!

Avoiding triggers at all cost describes most of our behavior. Unfortunately this fuels depression, anxiety and PTSD.

Fear can grow to massive proportions inside our head.

Our panic (Fear) for the most part is irrational.

We can only quarantine ourselves and abide by the guidelines, after that more worry and doubt harms us.

We have an opportunity in this crisis to change our relationship with worry, doubt and fear.

For once my daughter asked why I am so calm during this pandemic?

I am usually the one with my mind working overtime, worrying every minute, consumed.

Practice has enabled me to let the extra worry and doubt go.

It takes no more time, in fact it creates time wasted worrying.

It is simple as possible.

Specifically we accept, then surrender to our worry and panic when it arrives.

We slow our nervous system using the breath, then focus on calming the heart, listening for the quietest sound.

Negative thoughts and emotions are the Enemy.

We battle them by withholding attention, time in our consciousness.

Unless we are aware of these negative thoughts and emotions proliferating, we suffer.

Paying attention takes no more time and costs nothing.

Awareness is always first, followed by acceptance then surrendering everything we fear and deny.

Lots of free time and opportunity.

Choices we make will determine the next few months.

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Complex Pandemic our response is Simple!

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The mind wants to go fast and handle complex thoughts. Under stress with adrenaline, cortisol and testosterone impacting our behavior, the mind races out of control.

Any of us with a trauma history, know how irrational we can be when our triggers fire. The amygdala ignites this Complex process that prepare us for a lethal threat.

Know this quarantine and pandemic isolates us and increases our chances of suffering.

Out of this complex adrenal stress response, the cure is simple.

Know your breath, it has four parts. The breath is invisible, like pain, two powerful ghosts.

Inhale: Slow it down, be with your inhale, feel the air as it passes inside your nostrils, bristling by those nose hairs. Do not anticipate the pause or the next breath or the next ten minutes.

All that exists is your inhale! Be inside your nose, visualize and feel the cool air pass through your nose. Nothing else in life exists. Relax, feel secure and let go.

Observe the thoughts and emotions, Accept, let go, then Surrender to your fear.

Pause: It is like the space between musical notes, a rhythmic balance for our inhales and exhales. We pause to let oxygen absorb into our lungs. The pauses are like suspended animation, nothing is moving. If you focus, slow down, you can hear the inhales and exhales. It takes energy to inhale and exhale, the body moves and makes noise.

Exhale: The mirror image of the inhale. We slowly let the air out of our lungs, like a balloon expelling its air slowly. Navy Seals use the extended exhales to navigate fear and use the energy for fuel. Extended exhales accelerate the activation of our parasympathetic nervous system (the brakes). Notice how much less energy it takes to exhale than inhale. No need to fill (expand) our lungs. In fact the opposite is true. Takes more action to hold the air in our lungs than to simply release the pressure.

Pause: Provides the time needed for carbon dioxide to dissipate. This ensures we inhale oxygen rich air besides balancing the breath. The breath becomes similar to a fine piece of music. The pauses balance the breath as our mind and body act as one. Rumors have it that the pauses can expand, allowing us to go below our consciousness. Focus intently on any body sensations when the body is at complete rest.

Start with a three Breath set. Perfect one breath, then expand to a few more.

Look on this as a focus exercise. Practice, then apply to every thought that arrives.

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