Posts Tagged ‘Emotions’

Value and loss or lost in thought.

Thank you Dar for this pic

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Scarcity seems to give value to things. Gold, gems and jewels are rare, valued with exorbitant price tags.

Emotionally, approval, status, power and control are highly prized possessions.

Not really possessions, however coveted on equal terms.

After basic needs, shelter, safety, sustenance and a little attachment, what is most valuable to you?

Kids, family, a mate, or BFF would be many first choices.

After those, what brings us closer to being happy, content or equanimous?

The space between my ears is the most important, most valuable possession for me.

Whatever I let percolate in this space decides my attitude, my personality, my life.

My mind has been filled with intrusive thoughts from PTSD, which brought enormous suffering.

Confusion, worry, doubt and fear link up with thought to make a misery soup for dinner.

During this pandemic, thoughts of being bored, unthinkable to imagine a meditator to be depressed, entered my head.

My next decision decides whether suffering or freedom rules. We do not decide which thoughts arrive but we do choose to engage or stay present.

My mind focused, empty of thought, observing life without judgment, experiences joy, freedom.

That is a calm, content, deep feeling of wonderment some days, mundane joy on other days.

My bad memories, childhood abuse and all the loss disappears when I let my mind empty out all its thoughts.

Life has opportunity if I let these distractions go.

Worry and doubt are judgments, negative future erroneous predictions.

Living in the moment eliminates many, many, many issues.

Remember our attention, that is where we aim it, is the most power we possess.

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We have come to call these shattering experiences trauma.

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“Sometimes we encounter experiences that so violate our sense of safety, order, predictability, and right, that we feel utterly overwhelmed—unable to integrate, and simply unable to go on as before.

Unable to bear reality.

We have come to call these shattering experiences trauma.

None of us is immune to them.”

—Stephen Cope

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My two cents: Trauma does need our approval to take over daily life.

PTSD does not improve over time, it grows stronger as it ages.

The more we think about it, the stronger our symptoms become.

Our goal is to starve trauma.

I learned to deal with chronic pain by giving it no attention.

PTSD needs the same attention to survive.

Attention is the fuel.

Starve it.

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PTSD was embarrassing, demeaning and humiliating for me

Pixabay: KELLEPICS

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I understand the mechanism of PTSD, how trauma fires the fight or flight mechanism. How my childhood trauma, activated in mid 50’s, then manifested in an embarrassing, mundane way.

Knowing my father never said a kind word, used criticism as a way of raising me, explains some of my triggers.

My fight or flight mechanism was firing over ten times a day. Cortisol levels had to be extreme as my nervous system turned upside down.

I would shake uncontrollably, hiding in my dark garage during the day. Avoiding triggers narrowed life until I was agoraphobic.

Going out in public felt live threatening. However our trauma manifests itself, even in mundane things, it feels life threatening.

My father shamed and ridiculed me, I was branded internally.

PTSD fear feels like life and death. Along with the fear, our mind freezes, we feel numb, vulnerable, helpless.

I felt at my core, I did not have the right to be alive. This is difficult to write but true.

I knew this was highly erroneous and illogically, no real danger existed.

My nervous system disagreed. I feared what my mind would put me through after a strong trigger.

At least a week of ruminating about the incident, which was surely a confused memory with the scariest emotions possible.

The what if’s proliferated. The desire to avoid becomes stronger than the desire to go out.

At its core, it feels like survival, when in truth it is the opposite.

Much of this suffering could have been avoided, I did not have the correct tools or direction.

With the knowledge I have now, healing would of been a couple months instead of five plus years.

I tried to think my way out, be the strong jock I identified as. Common sense and talk do not reach our stored trauma, implicit memories.

Learning to focus, to explore my body sensations instead of traumas storyline, calmed my nervous system.

I simplified my entire approach.

I worked on one symptom, Dissociation. That meant letting all thoughts go.

All my effort was invested in being mindful, present, feeling every body sensation as I explored the inner world.

This post was hard to write, hard to admit how mundane my triggers were. Embarrassed at how they controlled my life and brought suffering.

Hope they give insight into your battle with PTSD.

Finally, I improved and have peace of mind and self worth and so can you.

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Responding to a follower, how monumental is our task?

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Part of a response from a follower: “Almost all of the traumatic thoughts are hardwired to the nerves that it is almost beyond control.”

Consciously, it is almost beyond our control, our trauma is stored in the Amygdala on the right side of the brain. No access consciously to this side of our mind.

Mindfulness/Meditation reaches our right hemisphere.

This is the reason Cognitive Behavioral Therapy was combined with meditation/mindfulness.

The path to healing does not have to be a monumental struggle.

Those hard wired traumatic thoughts can be integrated, one at a time, using ten, slow, focused breaths.

I have helped people, triggered and ready to avoid, use their focus practice to integrate their trauma.

If we can stay present, focused on the breath intently, for ten breaths, our nervous system will calm.

These ten slow, focused breaths, activate our parasympathetic nervous system. Like applying the brakes at a stop light.

Cortisol dissipates in two ways, aerobic exercise and meditation.

Using this technique, our nervous system calms, our symptoms and fears start to recede.

In time our nervous system will calm and not react to these triggers.

Make friends with your nervous system and half the battle is accomplished.

When I finally had success staying present, focused when triggers exploded, life changed.

I had found something more powerful than my trauma.

With this new found power, I hunted down my triggers.

I would visit places where I was triggered, situation and people.

Now I became the hunter.

Become the hunter, master ten, focused, slow breaths.

Remember we are trying to describe an action with words, an action in a place where no words exist.

You have to sit and experience what I am describing.

It seems mundane and weak on the surface but holds our greatest power.

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My relationship with my mind

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For sufferers of PTSD, the mind becomes an adversary. Its behavior drastically changes.

Out of my conscious influence, imminent danger proliferates, igniting my defense system, the fight or flight mechanism.

Fear dominated my life.

Symptoms complicate and confuse us. We avoid, deal with flashbacks, intrusive thoughts and memories. We are hyper vigilant, on the look out for emotional triggers.

Now, my relationship with my mind has changed.

I made friends with my nervous system. Staying focused and present when my fight or flight mechanism fired, exposed the mirage of trauma.

My nervous system calmed.

Next the thoughts and patterns were an issue.

The solution was quite simple.

I watch my thoughts now.

Unworthy or negative thoughts fade.

If I choose to give attention to any thought, it will be constructive or at least interesting.

My mind has changed its habits.

I have learned to keep my mind focused in this moment.

I have found that, this moment is all that exists, whether it is mundane, exhilarating or scary.

I have only experienced happiness in the present moment.

I have worried and doubted in the present moment, but it was about the past or a prediction.

You improve by not thinking, not ruminating!

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Updated: Mindfulness from Breath by Breath

Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

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Mindfulness is unbiased. It is not for or against anything, just like a mirror, which does not judge what it reflects. 

 

Mindfulness has no goal other than the seeing itself. 

 

It doesn’t try to add to what’s happening or subtract from it, to improve it in any way. 

 

It isn’t detached, like a person standing on a hill far away from an experience, observing it with binoculars. 

 

It is a form of participation—you are fully living out your life, but you are awake in the midst of it—and it is not limited to the meditation hall. 

 

It can be used on a simple process like the breathing, or on highly charged and unpleasant emotions like fear or loneliness. 

 

It can also follow us into the ordinary life situations that make up our day.

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My two cents: When I meditate, there are no goals, no exertion of Influence, we observe and explore our inner world.

Like a mirror, it does not change the image it reflects.

When the image moves away, the mirror does not keep a copy.

Can we be that mirror in daily life when needed?

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Where are the peacemakers in our midst?

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We are on this journey together, in harmony, granted a short period of time on this planet.

We all die, you can be pharaoh, build a pyramid for the afterlife, but these possessions stay on earth.

All those possessions we have attained have no impact after we die. You may have a giant headstone, but that is to impress the living, who will be dead soon enough.

Our goal of being happy, is not a life of chasing pleasure or avoiding the unpleasant.

Happy people are givers with a highly developed gratitude practice, people who are kind and caring of others.

In this time of turmoil, where violence, hate and fear dominate our country, how do we heal and live a worthwhile life?

Politics are so divisive, journalists have taken sides as media becomes as biased as democrats and republicans.

One side hates the other side, believing they are evil.

No one wins in a society like this, especially the needy.

Where are the peacemakers in our midst?

Do no harm has changed to, do the most harm possible, eviscerate your enemy.

Disrespect and intolerance are the norm these days.

How do we change our present condition?

Thoughts?

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“Dopamine is the neurotransmitter of pleasure and reward.

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Linda Graham: “Bouncing Back”

With the release of dopamine in the brain stem we feel good, we feel alive and energized, and we want more.

Dopamine is actually partly responsible for the way we get into ruts, doing what makes us feel comfortable, getting better at what we’ve always been good at.

The neurochemical reward we get from repeating successful patterns of behavior can hold us back from trying new strategies, from discovering new ways of being and coping.

The release of dopamine can lead to addictive behaviors, too: wanting more of what made us feel good before, even if it’s not good for us.

Maybe shopping makes us feel happier, so we run up charges on our credit card until our debt is out of control, or we try to relieve our stress with too much social drinking.

Mindfulness is the key here — awareness that always involves discernment of the wholesome from the unwholesome and the effect of our choices on our resilience.

Dopamine operates on the basis of expectation.

When the brain experiences what it expects to experience — when we turn on the kitchen faucet and water comes out — dopamine levels stay steady.

If something unexpected happens — we turn on the faucet and no water comes out — the expectation is disrupted.

The disruption switches off the dopamine and generates a slight unease in the body.

A mistake has been detected.

The brain directs us to stop moving forward until we know things are okay.”

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Erasing Shame: Self-Compassion for the Past .

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“The Self Compassion Skills Workbook”:

“We all carry around pain from the past within ourselves.

Some call it emotional baggage or unresolved issues.

My teacher, Thich Nhat Hanh, calls it the seeds of suffering that have been planted in the garden of our minds.

In my experience, self-compassion can be a tremendously powerful practice for healing pain from the past so that it will no longer burden us in the present.”

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My two cents: My shame from childhood is called Complex PTSD.

My seeds of suffering have been faced during meditation, integrated to current time.

Now, healed or greatly improved, I do not think about my trauma.

It is like my chronic pain, it gets no energy, no attention, none!

It is a moment to moment awareness of my mind, guarding against ruminating in my past.

After a while practice becomes habit, thoughts fade and only visit with external stimulus.

Pay attention, refuse to grasp trauma thoughts.

Breathe, observe, focus and let the noise go.

We need to learn to be totally present, without thought for short periods of time.

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PTSD: Can we ever be happy?

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Being abused in childhood, impacted my mind permanently. I am not saying this abuse rules my mind but it will at least lay dormant until I die.

Happiness was impossible, imminent danger lived inside my home and I was his only target.

Survival and shame dominated my thoughts, helped formulate my unworthy self image and destroyed my nervous system.

I always knew something was wrong, like I was flawed, unworthy, not like other people.

Then one day in my 50’s a family crisis ignited my childhood trauma. It was alive, bringing that terrifying jolt to my solar plexus, cortisol and adrenaline, PTSD’s scare drugs.

Took me 6 years to heal or improve, for the suffering to curtail and life to have a little lightness, some contentment.

When I improved or healed, the suffering dissipated, the intrusive thoughts lost power without attention.

For 60 years I enjoyed momentary joy from accomplishments, however happiness was a stranger.

To heal or improve, I had dedicated five hours a day to meditating and healing.

On this journey, while entering into mundane tasks, (a mindful practice) I found happy moments.

Moments free of any deadline or time apparatus, where thought had curtailed, where things unfolded naturally.

These moments calmed my being beyond any prior feeling.

Looking at nature one day, I saw perfection, was it out of body or was I just one with it?

I believe if I can find some happiness, then you can also.

It is not easy, it takes courage and daily action.

Thoughts?

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