Posts Tagged ‘MEDITATION’

Father’s Day not a happy day for some

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I twinge at all the hoopla, all the examples of great father son relationships in the sporting world. Touted as key to many professional athletes success, what about the rest of us.

Maybe that is why fear of failure drives so many to perform above their skill level.

Wonder if your father was your violent abuser?

I wonder what foster kids feel as the media tells you the value, the significance of this most important attachment.

Actually, I have gratitude for having a father, narcissistic and abusive but in his way he loved me.

Took me a long time to have gratitude for having a father, flawed as he was.

As the oldest male child, we become the narcissists project.

Much later in life, some of the skills learned Surviving childhood, willpower, ability to endure pain, and the strength to take action (perform) helped me heal.

My journey to heal turned into a spiritual journey, one where my struggles with PTSD were shared to help others improve.

Unless you believe in reincarnation, where we pick our parents to learn lessons of life, how do we get over childhood abuse.

For me, helping others on this path, being a mentor, has brought great joy. Maybe you would say a purpose later in life.

No matter our challenges, accepting the circumstances, then taking action to live life fully is our reprieve.

Hard not to think about your father on Father’s Day.

Turn the negative into positive action.

Contemplating suicide when I hit bottom, I rationalized my father would win.

No way would I ever let that happen.

Even if I had to suffer each day, life would run its full course.

My childhood had built a kid with great will power and strength.

Maybe feeling unworthy but willing to fight for his existence.

Happiness looks and feels different for each one of us.

Happy Father’s Day!

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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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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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Attention is the ⛽️ fuel!

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With all the humility I can muster, I am an expert on PTSD. This was never my intent, a byproduct acquired fighting for my life, a cure, a way out.

To lend more credibility to this claim, my experience is not limited to books or knowledge, I climbed out of that dark whole in real life.

First, we have to face our trauma, stay present when our triggers erupt. Avoidance and denial cloak our trauma as a Darth Vader like character.

It takes an inner strength to stay present, focused, when trauma explodes, when imminent danger appears. Know this fear is a mirage, a bluff , however the cortisol and adrenaline are real.

Second, we starve trauma. No attention, no thought. A Simple, specific, concrete goal, that is important.

Action is needed. Practice with passion, intensity, brings results so much faster. Blend in the courage this takes and improving is on the fast track.

If you do the work, expect to improve.

We have numerous tools to assist us. Substitute our affirmation (repeat out loud), a physical action, tapping each finger to your thumb while saying release, release, release, release.

I also bring intense awareness to what I see, hear, smell, feel and sense around me.

For me, intense focus on my breath has become habit. Easy to let thoughts fade when I focus on my breath, slowing the pace, elongating my exhales.

Thoughts rarely survive ten breaths.

This tool is available anytime, anywhere.

We have to make starving trauma (thoughts) a well practiced habit.

Simplify your plan for healing, improving.

Make starving your PTSD the goal.

Practice when things are calm.

When all hell breaks lose, you will be ready.

How many ways will you develop to starve PTSD?

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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

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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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We need to help others

Doug Williams: First black quarterback to win a Super bowl.

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As a white guy, a professional athlete who had many black friends, I have no idea what growing up in the black ghetto is like.

For the most part, the black professional baseball player, had escaped the ghetto, while the majority of his friends were dead, crippled or in jail. This did not impact me then, as a young athlete, like now.

The ballpark was always a safer environment than the neighborhood where they grew up. I was glad to be on the field instead of being in the stands in some cities.

I had utmost respect for their toughness, courage and ability to perform. Baseball was the first place to integrate in America.

Stereotypical judgments were so erroneous on the black athlete. It took Doug Williams to win a super bowl to squash the myth, blacks were not smart enough to play quarterback.

That was 1988! Yes 1988.

Playing ball in the south, I have witnessed outright racism towards my friends.

A few times I felt ashamed as a white man for such ignorance, fear and hate being displayed.

Seems many things have not changed since my teens.

If you meditate, empathy grows, compassion expands, suffering is not overlooked or ignored any longer.

The color of our skin causing one to hate another saddens me.

Laws can not fix that hate.

Caring for the wellbeing of the less fortunate is part of the path.

Taking action to help can be a rewarding part of our journey.

For me, being part of others healing as a mentor, overflows my chalice (mug, goblet). It is the giving, taking action, to help others lessen their load, suffering, that makes me feel happy.

Displaying hate, fear or racism is so far from being happy, so far away.

Giving, helping, caring is needed by the majority of us.

Maybe opportunity and resources are needed before more arrests.

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