Last week, I returned to Los Angeles from what has become a monthly pilgrimage to Tucson, Arizona. I have been blessed with a rare opportunity there.
Back in March of this year, I travelled to Peru with a group of Yogis for a Shamanic Journey in the Sacred Valley. I was there to do Somatic Experiencing sessions with each of the participants. One of the women that I worked with a couple of times was so profoundly affected by the work, she arranged for me to come to Tucson when we returned to the States.
Generally, my clientele are disparate individuals, but such is not the case in Tucson. I have stepped into a community of powerful, conscious women and, in addition, I am working with some of their children and spouses. I am looking forward to continuing to see the long-term effects of this short-term therapy to renegotiate and heal both developmental and shock traumas. I’ve always enjoyed the group dynamic of residential retreats but this is an entirely different kind of group container – one that doesn’t disband after a few days or a couple of weeks. Imagine the ripple-effect on a community of families that is building their individual understanding of what it means to be grounded, centered, boundaried, embodied, empowered, in the moment, safe and joyful!
I have come to believe that it doesn’t matter how fervently one seeks, how many books one reads, or how many workshops one attends, if there is a physiological disregulation of the autonomic nervous system and lower brain, as a result of past unresolved traumatic events, then it needs to be addressed PHYSIOLOGICALLY.
Quantum physics and mechanics teaches us, among other things, that in order to find particles, one needs a particle finder and, in order to find waves, one needs a wave finder. One can not find waves with a particle finder. Cognitive understanding and psychological perspective can help to gain distance and, seemingly, lessen the charge of the deregulation, but it is a temporary fix at best.
I like to say that there is very little difference between sex, drugs and rock and roll and prayer, meditation and yoga, when they are used as a means to self-regulate. That is not to say that there are many people out there who practice yoga for the sheer joy of it or meditate because of its benefits or pray to feel a conscious contact with a higher power. I know that for many years I practiced yoga in an (unconscious) effort to bliss out, in other words, to not feel what I was currently feeling. I would meditate (and medicate) to self-soothe. I would pray in hopes that I wasn’t left entirely on my own accord.
In simplistic terms, we are self-regulating any time that we look for resources outside of ourselves to change the way that we currently feel. It appears that the higher brain – or our conscious mind – does not want us to feel: If I feel something, then something is wrong. If I feel nothing, then everything is OK. The higher brain is a problem solver and therefor seeks out problems to solve, which keeps us in a state of all things problematic.
If I itch, I scratch it. If I’m hungry, I eat. If I’m sad, I drink. If I’m angry, I go for a run. (This is not self-disclosure, as these are not the ways in which I self-regulate. Although, I do have a tendency to scratch when I itch and eat when I’m hungry.) On a side note, did you know that many people mistake the sensation of thirst for hunger and eat when their body is dehydrated? It may be necessary for us to not only learn how to tolerate sensation in the body, but also to reeducate ourselves on the affect and meaning of those sensations.
My hypothesis is that until the organism (human animal) fully discharges the truncated or stuck survival energies from the autonomic nervous system and returns to homeostasis, then the organism remains in a literal holding-pattern of habits, cycles, and patterns, which can develop into personality traits and manifest over time into health issues, such as panic attacks, anxiety, Chronic Fatigue, Epstein-Barr, Colitis, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Fibromyalgia, Lupus, Etc.
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