Posts Tagged ‘Focus’

Part one, healing from PTSD, my plan

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Healing has so many avenues, so many different therapies, so many confusing symptoms, ideas and mind functions, that navigating toward the best solution seems daunting. I have faced this dilemma, wasted my time, got lost, using the hit and miss method.

Each therapist will have a different way, depending on their schooling, life experience, personal beliefs and successes. Nothing is standardized except maybe the DSM manual for insurance purposes. No statistics can I find, that say this works better, or this combination is best. There is no effort to even educate what we can do, to just be mentally healthy.

I have tried EFT, TFT, EMDR, hypnosis, cranial sacral, acupuncture, CBT, ACT, EDIT, holistic, two intuitives etc. Everyone except a proctologist and maybe that would have helped. Maybe I should have tried a comedian.

My long journey educated me on what works, what is available and all the gaps facing us. When you discover that you have PTSD, it can be months of trying to figure out what it is and what to do. The symptoms can keep us from seeking help.

This is how my specific program developed, as I was healing, and then as I was obsessed with finding a better way out. My evaluation included the latest brain science, the cutting edge therapies, the exploration of survivor traits, the mindfulness (meditation) connection, the lack of focus on the body (exercise), the absence of daily support, and the never mentioned urgency that was missing entirely.

My goal was to assemble just the needed parts, the basics, the bare minimal action needed and eliminate the rest. Streamlining the journey, let me place all my energy in a small area. This was the secret to collapsing traumas grasp.

So here goes with my simple plan. Let me preface with a few major ideas we will adopt going forward. Failure is impossible. We are responsible for one thing, our total effort. Results are far beyond our control and miles above our pay grade. We have plenty to stop worrying about without adding thoughts about past things.

From Rick Hanson in his game changing book Buddhas Brain, he proves we construct the ego out of random past memories, woven into a believable narrative. The question of “Who am I” has no subject. We make the person so we have identity, not to serve him/her. The ego is not who we are. The ego in comparison to the mind is similar to a golf ball floating in a swimming pool. We are perfect without anyones approval or disapproval. Words, thoughts or ideas, even actions do not change this fact. Our self worth is untouchable, we are perfect all of us.

The power of our organism is the true self. Thoughts do not have any power. The adrenal stress response or the fight or flight mechanism supplies the drugs that we feel exploding. The large jolt that rocks our world from time to time is cortisol mixed with adrenaline, a pain killer and increased respiratory, BP heart rate escalations of defense or offenses. No defenses for us, we avoid and dissociate not attack.

Okay, here we go. First, let us correct our self talk. I did not realize the power this has. Alex, would have this small little snide put down of himself, when he would leave. Finally, he agreed to drop that negative hit on himself. It was immediate, the next day, something had shifted. For the first time, the whole mind body had all the oars in the water, as a complete unit. He stopped going sideways and his practice blossomed from there.

Daily short recitals of positive supportive affirmations felt strange, uncomfortable for me. I did not believe these glowing things about myself. I felt like an ass doing this, but healing was a million times the desire for me, so I recorded mine. It was easier to play them back. In time, I somehow started to believe some of those damn things. I was amazed. That computer left brain could be programmed, maybe it feels awkward but undeniable it had worked. Within a month, my self image turned more and more positive.

I strive with my entire being to accept all of me and my situation in this current moment. I let go, accept and surrender to my fears.

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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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Judgment: Some healthy parameters

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Refrain from judging others, give up gossiping, accept yourself unconditionally.

Judging ourselves is never done with good parameters. Feeling exhilarated by a job promotion may feel good momentarily, but what happens if we get demoted.

Judge yourself by your actions, your giving, your kindness, not by accomplishments or possessions.

If you need to judge pick breakfast, a movie, a sporting event, never compare yourself to anyone else.

Release guilt, resentment, jealousy and anger.

Be kind to yourself.

Shower yourself with praise.

If you give all out effort, no need to judge, you have done your best, that is all we can do.

Can you feel content?

You can increase effort and have a better attitude, if needed.

We only have limited amount of waking time, judging is such a horrible way to waste this precious Life.

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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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Physical and Emotional Pain: The Undeafeated Mind!

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Though the experience of physical pain and emotional pain are clearly different, functional imaging studies show that, with few exceptions, the regions of the brain that these types of pain activate are identical.

These include not only the regions responsible for giving pain its unpleasant character, but also those responsible for regulating its size, location, and intensity (perhaps partially explaining the startling finding that Tylenol, a centrally acting pain reliever, alleviates not only the pain of a smashed finger but also the pain of hurt feelings.

No wonder, then, that physical and emotional pain produce the same reaction: a strong desire to avoid the things that cause them.

“Suffer what there is to suffer. Enjoy what there is to enjoy. Regard both suffering and joy as facts of life,” wrote Nichiren Daishonin.

Yet most of us clearly don’t.

Unfortunately, the strategies we use to avoid emotional pain often cause more harm than does the experience of emotional pain itself:

more harm results, for example, from excessive drinking or drug use than from the anxiety they’re often used to anesthetize;

more harm results from relationship sabotage than from the fear of intimacy that often drives it.

Not only that, but attempting to suppress emotional pain may paradoxically increase it.

In contrast, being accepting of emotional pain, being willing to experience it without attempting to control it, has actually been found to decrease it.

In one study of patients with generalized anxiety disorder, for example, subjects who were taught to accept their anxiety reported substantial reductions in worry, reductions that persisted even beyond the duration of the study.

But such a decrease is only a happy byproduct, for the true purpose of acceptance isn’t to diminish emotional pain but rather to become more comfortable feeling it.

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Where is our power Source?

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The Heart of Meditation by Swami Durgananda (Sally Kemptom)

“The ego bears the same relationship to the Self as a lightbulb does to the electrical current that runs through it.

The bulb looks as if it gives light independently, but in fact it doesn’t.

It’s just a container.

The true source of illumination is the electrical current that runs through the bulb.”

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My two cents: That container, our created “Ego” we elevate as who we are!

The “Ego” can not exist without the the self, its power.

Our self exists just fine without an “Ego”.

In the dark of night, how useless is a ceiling light with a bright bulb without electricity.

Why honor a creation when our powerful current is available for use.

Our true self, true nature has nothing to do with that shallow “Ego” we invented for identification.

Seems our goal is to follow the source of our power, our true nature.

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Spend a little time identifying your gratitude instead of worrying

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From Source of Inspiration: Pat Cegan:

I am starting a gratitude list to help me remember this prayer: “Dear God, may we always be grateful.” I believe that gratitude is the key to serenity.

Truly gratitude is a transformer in our lives. The more I cultivate it, the more joy and serenity I find in my life. Please feel free to add to this list in the comment section…or start your own gratitude list.

909 of them

1. fresh breezes smelling of loamy ground after a gentle rain

2. little girl giggles that remind me to smile

3. sweet smell of puppies

4. ants marching in a row carrying leaves above their heads

5. raindrops that wash away tears

6. lilacs in the wind

7. friends who make me laugh

8. sweet potato pie with a hint of lemon

9. old men with hairy ears

10. red berries hidden beneath shiny green leaves

11. sweet memories of days gone by

12. mushroom prints that I make during rainy season

13. friends who call just to see how I am

14. walks in the floresta

15. page-turner books cozy quilt on a cold night

16. hic-ups from laughter

17. warm feet next to my cold feet

18. snooze alarms on cold mornings

19. spring water from a house faucet

20. little girls doing cartwheels

21. tadpoles changing

22. rain while the sun is shining

23. walking the beach at sunset

24. Grandmother’s pecan pie

25. books with woman heroes

26. blowing soap bubbles

27. coloring with my grandchildren

28. silly songs I sing for the children

29. birds taking baths in puddles

30. good books with sequels

31. reunions with old friends
32. poetry that lifts my soul

33. fragrance of fresh cut grass

34. grandmother’s rocking chair

35. kitty purrs

36. car with good gas mileage

37. spring tulips dotting my heart with color

38. socially acceptable burps and farts

39. belly laughter

40. old age’s patience

41. summer storm that cools the air

42. tea made from mint and lemongrass in the garden

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