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Trauma 101: Meditation

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Trauma 101: Meditation

Ah, to sit in stillness, cultivating peace! Doesn’t that sound just wonderful. Maybe you’ve even gone to the expense of creating a space, buying one of those special pillows, getting a sound bowl, burning incense. And it’s fantastic…for about four seconds. Then your mind kicks in…and the battle is ON!!! Your back starts hurting, your left knee act up, you can’t stop thinking about the LIST that everybody’s got: what to get done today, what should have gotten done yesterday. Or that jerk that cut us off, or claims we cut them off. Some of us as well simply were not born to sit...

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Trauma 101: Boundaries, Part 2

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Trauma 101: Boundaries, Part 2

In the previous blog, I gave you a challenge: how do you define your boundaries? In this, I’m going to show you.  Below, there’s a brief video of a friend of mine, Margaret, and I doing a simple standing exercise, with me slowly approaching until she senses me–what we call the ‘alert’. At that point, I’ll back off, and we’ll discuss her experience. It is the ‘alert’ that is significant here, because it will be different for those with healthy systems than with traumatized ones.With healthy systems, what usually happens, about three feet out, is a heightened...

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Trauma 101: Boundaries, Part 1

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Trauma 101: Boundaries, Part 1

Boundaries. I love how the therapeutic community throws words like “boundaries” around, without a clear explanation. Before you read on, in fact, go ahead and test this (and for those of you who’ve had therapy, or at least read a multitude of self-help books, this should be especially fun). How would you describe boundaries? Are they: A concept of mental health determining, cognitively, what is appropriate and what is not. A “wall” that keeps out all those but whom you, very selectively, let in. A “wetsuit” that you can physically sense, that blocks energy. None of the...

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Trauma 101: Resourcing…Finding the Lip of the Pool Before You Dive Deep

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Trauma 101: Resourcing…Finding the Lip of the Pool Before You Dive Deep

It was an awful day. I was young, barely employed as a door-to-door salesperson for cable (and really, who can’t sell cable! me!!!), and had just gotten my umpteenth rejection. The world reeked of malaise and despair… then I looked up, at the most wonderful evening sky. The skies in New Mexico are special, of a blue not seen elsewhere, and as evenings will, that blue was multihued, deepening towards the horizon, backdrop to the faintest wisp of cloud, reflecting the setting sun. The despair melted, I could feel my heart warming, my chest expanding…and I reminded myself that this, too,...

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Trauma 101: Redeeming Stress

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Trauma 101: Redeeming Stress

I was a weird kid. Big surprise. When my friends and I played house, my favorite moment was nap time. In fact, I come from a proud lineage of nappers.  My mother’s favorite mantra was, why stand when you can sit, why sit when you can lie. So, as you can imagine, movement was not my friend, and I ended up a little chubby as well as asthmatic. ANY movement felt like “too much;” in elementary school, I could always be counted on to hold the rope, not jump it, and I WANTED to be the last one chosen for kick-ball, just in case being odd I needed to sit the game out. So the complaint of too...

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Trauma 101 Essentials: Grounding

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Trauma 101 Essentials:  Grounding

Before we do anything else in our sessions, we ground. I’ve been doing it so long and for so many years, that I’ve forgotten it is a new or poorly understood concept for many. Rina, one of my intellectual clients, head working overtime and body nowhere to be found (sound familiar?), reminded me when she spent the majority of one of our sessions trying to understand the concept. You can’t think grounding, you’ve got to feel it.  Imagine that your body is a live wire, downed by some horrible Nor’easter.  Sparks flying all over the place!  Trauma has that effect, so much...

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