Humans have a higher level cognitive mind and an immense capacity and need for empathy and connection. We also have the primitive brain survival system that developed during hunter/gatherer days when we lived in small groups and competed with other
Thirty years ago today my dad died suddenly after hernia surgery. He was 67, a year younger than I am now. I was 38 and working at AIDS Calgary. My son was in first year music at university. What Dad
What are the conditions to feel like we belong to ourselves, with each other, and in broader community? Safety comes first. We cannot be in a state of trust and connect when we are activated in fight/ flight/ freeze. Our
Can I trust you with my body? Will you hurt me? Will I be safe? Can I trust you with my heart? Are you mean at times, or are you reliably kind? Can I trust you to not betray my
How old were you when you began to feel like an adult? I was about fifty, and I find that sense of being a grown up is still deepening. I feel more ease. I belong in my life and it
What niggles at us, and what we worry about, points to what needs our unconditional kind attention. I can’t take it anymore. I’ve had enough. I hate that people act the way they do. I just want to be happy
“I doThe Work that Reconnects so that when things fall apart, we won’t turn on each other. ” Joanna Macy “The central question is not how we avoid uncertainty and fear but how we relate to discomfort. Every day we
We carry the history of our fear and anxiety in our body through our nervous system. This is how our past shapes the present. The relative calm or hypervigilance in our nervous system determines our health and happiness, what’s going
If I were completely free to be authentically me, I would … If you were completely free, what would you bring in and what would you release? Let yourself visualize what that would be like. What is your felt sense
“You are a light. You are the light. Never let anyone — any person or any force — dampen, dim or diminish your light … Release the need to hate, to harbor division, and the enticement of revenge. Release all bitterness. Hold
In neuroscience they’re called neural networks. In yoga they’re called samskaras and vasanas. In everyday life, we know them as ruts or deep grooves of habit. “Neurons that fire together, wire together.” Dr Rick Hanson In our healing work, we
We are conditioned to believe Hallmark channel ideas about romantic love. We are vulnerable to them because humans are hardwired to seek connection. This contrasts our own direct experience which is that people can let us down and hurt us.
As we heal, at some point we see and know in our guts and bones what we lost due to childhood trauma. Our primitive brain and nervous system do their best to protect us through fight/flight/freeze/fawn. What is the cost
Heidi Green believes everyone has the power to be truly happy and to have a loving relationship with our younger selves. “I have to be able to love little Heidi. Until you can see your own young self like other
“The greatest gift you can give the world is a peaceful mind.” ~my meditation teacher Swami Veda Bharati Guiding a daily online practice has changed my life in so many ways and it is a favorite part of my day.
If you celebrated when the US election results were called last week, you may have noticed a change in your body this week. Many of us are talking about it. The tight grip in our stomach loosening a bit. Our
What would happen if you had no rules about being a good person, a nice person, or a valuable person? Would you naturally care about people? Would you want to be decent and kind? What would you do with your
When we have been hurt by people, we are understandably wary of giving them another go at us. Our nervous system remembers the pain and puts up barriers to protect us. The problem with letting our survival mechanisms and primitive
What are the conditions for happiness for you? How many of them are present right now? In this inquiry practice, be firm with your mind so you don’t entertain negative thoughts. We’re not suppressing them, we’re just taking a break.
What happens to the environment in our mind when we feel hate toward people greedily using their power for their own benefit, causing harm and destruction to others and the environment? Stress sky rockets. Our body tightens up. We are
Dr. Martin Seligman is a pioneer in the new (1998) field of positive psychology. Until then, western psychology was primarily focused on fixing what was wrong. My meditation teacher encouraged us to “enjoy what there is to enjoy, not suffer
Compassion arises naturally when we acknowledge truth. There is much joy and beauty in a human life and much hardship and pain. Our culture creates pressure to manage life in a certain way, to be successful, and to maintain a
The truth we both fear and hate is that we don’t know what is going to happen. We long for love and authentic, deep connection with other people AND it is with our loved ones that we are at our
We figure it out in our heads long before we feel comfortable with the energy in our body. We are adults now and have the capacity to understand the sequence of events from childhood through to present day. We know
We have 3 brains: head, heart and gut. 80% of messages flow upward to the brain in the head. Only when we quiet the cacophony of internal noise from stress and anxiety can we hear our own intuition and wisdom.
We notice what moves. This is part of the negativity bias in the brain. Being vigilant for potential danger helps keep us safe. Are you held hostage by your primitive brain? This can be dramatic when there is a sudden
Look into your eyes in a mirror and say “I love you”. Many people tell me they can’t do that. “That might work for someone else. Not me.” Loving yourself unconditionally might not be fully available to you right now.
We have moved through the longest night, the December winter solstice and now add a few minutes of light each day. The cold here this time of year combined with the small incremental change in daylight hides this from view.
I love you. I support you. I’m on your side. What gets in the way of connecting with yourself? Of being your own supporter and friend? It feels sad to me when we can’t be our own biggest fan, when
There are many things in life for which we are responsible. Fixing our parents is NOT one of them! It is an impossible task, especially for a child. Yet over and over we step up and try. We fail because
Do you remember that scene in The Bodyguard where Whitney Houston is swept into Kevin Costner’s arms and carried to safety? Adrenaline is pumping. The danger is extreme and Kevin Costner is on high alert. Due to his action, the
The energy, sensations and feelings in our body are a rich source of information on what has not yet been resolved and healed. Welcoming and attending to our experience, turning towards instead of away from our feelings, is the key
Forests and ocean. Stillness and movement. Space to breathe. I feel part of the network of leaves and roots, fresh air, the simple reality of nature. I was in California last week for the Science and Nonduality Conference, south of
I left home when I was 17. I crashed with a friend for a few months, hitchhiked halfway across Canada and partied in a quest for connection and oblivion. Looking back, it hits hard just how much danger I was
Reconnect and Fall in Love With Yourself, a women’s healing trauma retreat. What happens at a retreat like this? 7 women arrived Friday late afternoon and settled in at a classic old farmhouse. People are nervous before something like this.
I came across this writing today about my meditation teacher Swami Veda Bharati. I feel such deep love and gratitude to have been connected with him for so many years. I am sure I heard him say this many times
Listen on iTunes episode #304 or The Trauma Therapist Website I was interviewed by Guy MacPherson for the Trauma Therapist Podcast and it went live this week. Guy is experienced and asked good questions (I’m episode #304!). He asked about the
Is this the right time to make a big commitment to yourself? You may be interested in my six month program Find Your Stillpoint I believe in basic goodness We all reflexively avoid pain You are resilient, strong and courageous
We have a nervous system and primitive brain ideally suited for human conditions over the last hundreds of thousands of years. We avoid pain and seek pleasure. We instinctively pull back from fire. We avoid life threats. We evolved this
As we heal from trauma, we develop strength and resilience. Our mind and system settles and we become calmer. We now know that we can’t emotionally self-regulate on our own. We co-regulate, which means we need to be around people
This week in our daily practice, we have been inquiring into resilience and strength. How does that show up in your body? Is there a toughness or shielding in your neck, shoulders and upper back? See if it feels okay
I offer a free daily online guided practice of meditation, relaxation, breathing and being with ourselves. We get to know ourselves in this small community of like-minded individuals. Why offer this every day? Because I know the importance of consistency.
I always thought of myself as quite calm. I was actually frozen. It is how I got through my traumatic teen years and I realize now that the protective freeze took many decades to completely thaw. This makes sense. Children
As if feeling lonely and alone isn’t bad enough, now researchers are saying it’s bad for our health and longevity! This can feel like a rock and hard place. Rock Our primitive brain is evidence based, has a negativity bias
A few years ago journalist Johann Hari began speaking about the root cause of addiction being a lack of connection. Trauma expert Dr Gabor Maté speaks about unresolved intergenerational and personal trauma at the root of disconnection from ourselves and
When we water plants in dry soil, it helps to pour in just a bit of water, let it sink in a bit to soften the soil then pour in the rest. If we don’t soften up the dry soil
“A fundamental goal of human development is the emergence of a self-sustaining, self-regulated human being who can live in concert with fellow human beings in a social context. Vital for this healthy development is a relationship with a parent who
How do you support yourself? How do you create more ease in your body? We have reflexive responses in our body, like our shoulders coming up to our ears and tightness in the back of our neck. When we really
How do we move about in the world when the fear abates? When the drive to compete disappears? When we validate and value ourselves internally? We can accomplish a lot driven by fear. And what a price we pay! Fire
Bring to mind someone you love: child, grandchild, parent, close friend, intimate partner; someone in your life now or perhaps no longer with you in person. Focus on the look on their face when they see you and smile. Bring
Allowing everyone to be exactly as they are. Just the words can create a flurry of activity in the mind. The principle makes sense to us and it is also something we mightily resist! The intensity of our response is
There is a pervasive and incorrect belief that shaming is an effective way to inspire change and improvement. Psychological studies and research in the past ten years have proven conclusively that this is untrue. The effects of shaming are that