Saturday, December 26, 2009

Rough Patches

Right now, I'm facing some pretty rough moments in life. It is all things that are hitting me physically and are connected to some things that I really am not strong enough to discuss with anyone right now. I thought going through the paralysis was hard in 1991 but what is happening to me at this moment makes that look like child's play.

Please keep me in your positive, healing thoughts and prayers if you can. I can use all the support I can get right now to see me through this and to find the courage to get through this. Wish I could say more about what it is but I'm just not at that point. I am keeping a journal though of all that is going on.

We're headed to Miami on Sunday so I can work intensively with Dr. Canali and hope to push past some of these things.

I know there is hope and I'm clinging to that right now. I know I have a lot of support around me and that helps me greatly to even face this.





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Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Itchy Skin and Oatmeal Bath


Lately, I have been going through some rough emotional times and of course, they are showing up physically as a rash and as itching. While it is showing up as a physical manifestation, the underlying cause is abuse memories that are trying to find a way to the surface. With the help of Dr. Paul Canali at Evolutionary Healing Institute, I am going through treatment to help release these things at the core. We've been able to produce all the symptoms on the table in a session and then watch them dissipate right before our eyes.

However, in between the sessions, I'm still dealing with all that is coming up and trying to process it as quickly as I can. In the meantime though, I still get the itching and rashes. In fact, this morning when I woke up, I had a red rash over much of my entire body and itchy little bumps on my skin. In order to get some temporary relief, I researched online about oatmeal baths and then did this for myself.

How Do You Make Colloidal Oatmeal?
Everything I read, stated to use colloidal oatmeal and from my understanding, you can make this from regular oatmeal. I used Quaker Oats (1 minute oats) without any flavorings or additional ingredients. It was just straight oatmeal like you would use to cook with. Since we have a high powered Blend Tec Blender, I dumped the oatmeal in it and ground it to a fine dust. That is supposedly the same thing as Colloidal Oatmeal from what I am reading. If that is not true, please feel free to comment and help me understand this.

How Much Do You Add To The Bath?
After I had the oatmeal ground to a fine dust, I put about 1 to 1.5 cups of it in the bath. I'm not sure if that was too much or not the right amount because I saw so many different recommendations being from 1/3 cup to several cups. I have a big garden style tub and this amount seemed to work. Most of it mixed up fine in the water but there was a small amount that did not.

What Should The Water Temperature Be?
Another thing I was reading was to not make the bath water very hot because this actually opens up the pores on the skin to much and sort of draws the moisture out of your body. It leaves the skin dried out which of course leads to more itching. I can't prove if this is true or not but just in case, I made the bath water warm instead of hot.

What Was The Result Of The Oatmeal Bath?
I soaked in it for probably 30 minutes and it was soothing to me. The itchiness did go away but then water tends to do that for me. I wasn't exactly sure though if the oatmeal would live up to the expectations I read about until after I got out of the tub and dried off. By the way, when you dry off, blot dry - don't rub because you don't want the friction to irritate the skin.

After getting out of the oatmeal bath, I noticed that my skin and body felt very warm. As I sat there for a few minutes, I began to feel very tired and sleepy. This led me to laying down which I fell into a very deep sleep for a couple of hours. It was some of the best sleep I've gotten lately.

While the itching is not completely gone, it helped drastically and give me some temporary relief that I have not had in many days. I noticed though that my skin was not as red as it was earlier in the day and the tiny little bumps had somewhat disappeared. I just got to a point where I could take no more and when the rash covered my entire body, I was desperate to try anything. If you are suffering from this, give it a try. Do a Google search online to how others do this as well but hopefully what I've shared here will help take some of the guess work and questions out of it.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

I Am Stronger Than You

I am stronger than you - I really am.

Maybe right now, you're kicking my butt -

Soon, however,

I hope to reverse the tide.


- - Don Shetterly

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Symptoms Of Anxiety


In my internet searching, I ran across a site about anxiety and in it was symptoms of anxiety. It looks like their website is a very good resource for people suffering from anxiety. While I am no endorsing their site, I encourage any who are reading this to check it out. I have only included a few brief symptoms of anxiety from their long list. The entire list can be found at http://www.anxietycentre.com/anxiety-symptoms.shtml

I myself have suffered from anxiety for much of my life with it becoming very intense and debilitating after I was recovering from the conversion disorder in 1991. At the time, I required Xanax to manage in life but have since found much more long lasting help through the work of Dr. Canali at Evolutionary Healing Institute. His methods work and I can make that claim because they have helped me tremendously. My life have traveled through hell and back a few times and so any healing from anxiety is a wonderful thing to me. As I continue to heal, it allows for deeper levels of healing to emerge so that they to will no longer rob me of so much in my life. As I have learned, true healing comes in through the body and the connection of the body to the mind. Without both parts, it is only partial healing and healing is a process, not just a one time event.

Remember this is a partial list from website: http://www.anxietycentre.com. Visit this website for further explanation and for the complete list.
  • Allergy problems
  • Back, neck, shoulder pain, stiffness, tension, spasms, soreness
  • Body jolts
  • Body temperature - change as in increase/decrease
  • Burning skin - itchy and crawly feeling
  • Chest pain and tightness
  • Choking
  • Chronic Fatigue
  • Clumsiness
  • Cravings that are unusual like sugar, sweets, chocolate
  • Dizziness
  • Excess energy as in you feel like you can't relax
  • Fainting or feeling like you're going to faint
  • Feeling like you are coming down with the flu
  • Heart palpitations
  • Change in sex drive
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Night sweats
  • Lack of energy
  • Numbness and tingling
  • Shooting or stabbing pains
  • Startle easily
  • Floor feels like it is moving
  • TMJ
  • Urgency to urinate
  • Weight loss or weight gain
  • Find it hard to breathe
  • Fears become overwhelming
  • Fears about irrational things, objects, circumstances or situations
  • Need to sit near exits
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Altered state of reality
  • Desensitization
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Short term memory loss
  • Fear of impending doom
  • Nightmares, bad dreams
  • Feeling spaced out
  • Always feeling angry
  • Lack of patience
  • Depression
  • Dramatic mood swings
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Dry mouth
  • Lack of appetite or taste
  • Stomach upset, gas, belching, bloating
  • Teeth grinding
  • Skin problems, infections, rashes
  • Difficulty falling or staying asleep
  • Insomnia
  • Dry, watery or itchy eyes
  • Eyes sensitive to light
  • Pins and Needles feeling when being touched

Note: Please keep in mind that if you are experiencing any health related issues, visit your medical provider to be checked out. This post is meant as information only and is not to be construed as medical advice. Consult your physician for appropiate medical advice relating to health issues you may be facing.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Sleeping With Night Sweats and Fears


Note: Picture from Don Shetterly's, "A Journey Through Words" (used by permission)

For some time, I’ve been dealing with all kinds of physical realities at night. Almost every night when I go to bed, in spite of the room temperature being very cool, I experience an overall feeling of a very warm room. As I often say, the room feels like it is a thousand degrees even though it is not. This is something I have experienced on and off for many years and more off than on. It is a companion to me.

Most of the time, I can manage this and within a short time of going to bed, I can fall asleep with the temperature issues not affecting me to much as I go into the night. Usually by mid night time hours, I will feel somewhat cool as if the room temperature is normal. I’ve always just lived with this and sort of guessed that fear is at the cause of this condition for me.

Going to bed at night is never something I look forward to. It is a must do exercise that in order for me to function the next day, I need to get myself to sleep. Without a night light on in an adjacent room or some type of background noise like a fan, sleeping is almost out of the question. If there is any activity or noise around, there is no way I can sleep. At some points in my life, I have actually had to sleep with every light on in the house.

As I write this, I am so exhausted from lack of sleep over the past week or several days. I have lost count when the last time was that I got decent sleep. Lately, before going to bed, I have been getting dull headaches. And by the time I get ready to get in bed, I’m just wishing there was something else I could do besides subjecting myself to the activity of trying to sleep.

Sometimes I am fortunate enough to fall asleep and then an hour or two later, I am awakened with a startling force. Things such as body memories where I feel like something is being shoved up my anal region, or feeling like I am being pinned down or even feeling like I am being slapped around, hit me with full force. It feels as if there is something in the room attempting to haunt me or just watch my every move. I shake and tremble out of fear as I try to hide within my blankets. I’m on alert as I hear every sound or feel like I notice any movement even if there is nothing I can see with my eyes. I feel like prey being hunted and having to outsmart the predator at every turn. It is as if, one simple mistake would land me in a state of failure succumbing as prey to my predator. My predator is an imaginary creature but one that I seem to know very well.

Out of all of this, my eyes try to close but my mind and thoughts race as if there is no tomorrow. I’m not only constantly evaluating all that is going on around me, but I am working to solve every problem, situation or concern I am facing or may face. Even with breathing exercises or working with the enteric brain energy ball or listening to relaxing music, I am met with an incessant barrage of brain thoughts. I feel like I could compute more calculations than any computer are able to do and yet, my brain never seems to find the right solutions. It just keeps attempting to process the same information over and over as if it is stuck in a loop.

The latest in this round of wartime struggles has been the excessive sweating. From what I can read, night sweats are common in situations where stress is over the top. It can be a result of the nervous system being in a sympathetic state or a state of anxiety. The sweating may start as I go to bed or more commonly, it begins around an hour or two later. Generally, it is my low back and my groin area where it takes place. There have been times, when my bed sheets were soaked from sweat. Keep in mind the room temperature is not warm and even on the coldest of nights, I still go through this. The night sweating wakes me up with severe itching and if I try to ignore it, it attacks me with full strength until I can no longer stand it. I then end up getting into the shower and running water on my groin area with a shower massager in order to find a momentary level of comfort. Due to all of this, I have endured the moments when I begin to scratch myself and while it initially feels good and offers relief, it has become something that is now causing skin issues. Even if I could convince myself that scratching is not in my best interest, my body cries out for relief in any form that scratching becomes as normal as breathing.

The areas affected have changed as the days wear on. What first seemed to be the hot area has not changed and moved on for the most part. Although there are times when the scratching and itchy feeling revert back to where things were in previous days, generally it has moved on to other locations within my groin area. Sometimes in addition to the groin area, I feel an overall itching across my body like little electrical impulses that bounce from one area to the next.

Even though I drink plenty of water throughout my day, I have found myself extremely thirsty at nights when all of this happens. I don’t drink much caffeine at all but if I do, this situation is much worse. After two glasses of water tonight, I am still thirsty which is very strange and odd for me. It is not normal behavior that I experience.

The past few nights, the only thing I could do, in addition to getting in the shower, was to get out of bed and come downstairs. I have found a comforting place in our family room. It provides me some calmness and almost an escape from the predators of the night. The itching usually stops for the most part or reduces down to such a low level that I barely notice it. The sweating stop and I almost feel somewhat cool from the room temperature. If however, I decide to go back upstairs into the dark bedroom, the symptoms come back very quickly.

I feel like I’m at the end of my proverbial rope. I’m not sure how much more of this I can take because these symptoms are draining and exhausting. They have robbed me of precious hours of sleep while leaving me to feel as if I am a zombie. I fear there is some medical condition that gives rise to my early death but that too is fear and anxiety more so than anything founded in reality. Reality is difficult to understand these days because there does not seem to be any relevant reason for the progression of these things to take place. I feel as if my mind is losing the last remnants of sanity or enjoying playing one of the all time greatest tricks on me. I feel as if there is no end in sight, only the torment I feel each and every night. I try to tell myself that this too shall pass and things will get better but the skepticism at hearing this grows exponentially.

Yet, I know that body memories, nightmares and all types of unexplained events have plagued my life in one form or another. They seem more abundant than anything I know. While I know these rough periods of life have moved on and I’ve experienced profound moments of healing, going through these things are beyond the concept of difficult. I know that many of these things are part of a nervous system dysregulation, yet my mind fails to convince my body of that as it is experiencing all of these things. So I am faced once again, with a night of torment, a lack of sleep and unexplainable events. I long for true relief but I long for just a moment of comfort, peace and just some plain sleep.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

We Impose Limitations Upon Ourselves


Our fear of making mistakes, our belief that we have no talent, and our comparisons with others all keep us from engaging any creative activity, and they do so without our realizing that the terms of engagement are ours to impose. - On Becoming An Artist by Ellen Langer, Pg 210

How many times do we sit there and wish we could do something about our situation only to draw the conclusion that there are a hundred zillion reasons why this cannot happen? Have you ever done this? I'm sure if you are like most other humans, you probably have at some point in your life. Yet, do we even notice that we do this or has it just become common place for us?

When we were born, we were given all the tools we needed to do whatever it is that our lives were meant to do. With time and through the influence of our caregivers, we began to doubt many of these abilities. As we carried on in life, we began to let these limitations build up on one another, preventing us from living our full potential in life.

Many times we go through our day, not even aware that we are placing these limits on ourselves. It can be through self talk, or even the activities that we allow ourselves to participate in. It could be in the choices we make that keeps us extremely busy from morning to night so that we inadvertently limit our choices of what we really want to do. Sometimes these things that limit us are beyond our visible comprehension and even if someone points it out to us, we do not have the frame of reference to fully understand that which we cannot see.

My challenge to each person reading this and to myself is that we begin to become acquainted with all the limitations we put on ourselves. Once we become aware of them, than it is up to us to choose to let these limitations go and embrace something greater within ourselves.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Our Language Limits Our Control

"Language has the interesting property of being able to increase and decrease our perceptions of control. We aren't very aware of how language limits our control." - Ellen Langer, On Becoming An Artist (Page 205).

All too often, our mouths are engaged at a high rate of speed as we fail to stop and listen to what is either being said to us or what we are saying to others. My mother used to have a good saying that we have two ears and one mouth. We should use them appropriately. Yet, as humans, we feel it is our necessity and our right to expound to everyone what we think the situation should be of whatever we are addressing. We fail to stop and consider all facets of the equation.

The internet has brought us further into the deep recesses of communication that is not helping to advance the cause of humanity. For it is too easy for people to just read something the screen and begin typing a response without even taking a moment to think about it. If you don't follow me, just take any news article posted on the internet and see the comments that immediately follow. It doesn't take but a minute to begin seeing the behavior I am talking about. And how many times do we do this in our own lives? We may feel proud that we do not do the same as others do in this regards but I'll be willing to bet that at some point during your day, you do the same through emails or other ways. Regardless if you agree or disagree, try to monitor a day in your life and see just how much this rings true. If you have to, monitor it for a week.

The one thing I find so disturbing in our world and culture is that everyone feels their opinion and view is valid no matter what. They will defend that to the end. It is great to have beliefs and view points and to state these but so many times, we just need to stop and listen. Imagine for a moment, that the news stations with all the talking pundits would go silent? How would that change our day, our lives and our world, or would it? Have you ever stopped to consider just how much these talking pundits (regardless of political beliefs) are influencing each person's life through a medium that has us mindlessly engaged rather than mindfully engaged? Think about that for a minute and see if you can connect with it.

Our language is powerful. We have so many inflections for the same word in our language. How we use those words can either better us as individuals and as a culture, or it can continue to degrade us into the depths we are traveling towards. It is our choice of course in what direction we choose to travel. Yet, our choice impacts the greater good of humanity it ways that seem so insignificant.

May our words bring about the highest good for everyone we meet, including ourselves.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Body Memory And Trauma - Part 3 of 3

Note: This is Part 3 of 3. Please click here for PART 1, and Part 2 to read this in sequence.


As I write this, I can feel the intense anger, pain, hurt, betrayal and heat in my body. It is as if I want to lash out and hit a punching bag. I want to scream out at this moment and just go, “Stop – I’ve had enough! What part of that don’t you understand?” Yet, the words seem to have no influence or power for me. They seem to be merely sound uttered with no result.

Part of the entire ordeal lately has left me not wanting to be physically close to anyone (not even myself). Imagine going through the roughest moment of your life and then repeating it every day. If you can picture yourself not wanting to be connected with relationships or others, than you’re beginning to get the picture. How I didn’t just give up during this time, I do not understand. This is far more than any person should ever have to face in their life and recover through.

So as the day wore on, I grew tired and the body memories came at me with a full force of vengeance. They would not let up and so I knew I had to find a way to help move through this. I decided to take a bath that night with some sea salt and peppermint essential oil that I had. It just seemed like the thing to do. The warm water felt soothing to me, and so I just soaked in the tub for some time while trying to notice how my breath felt in the water. I could sense my body move in the water as my breath went in and went out. Each inhalation and exhalation was a safe and comforting feeling to me. As I continued to soak in the warm water, I just kept connecting myself to my breath, and I could feel tiny little trembling in my arms as they were submerged. I knew that the trembling was connected to my nervous system discharging stored up energy as it looked for a way out. I stayed with my breath until I was able to extend the inhalations and exhalations, trying to allow the issues I was facing an opportunity to exit. As I stayed with this, I noticed that a lot of the tension in my body had dissipated and there was a greater calmness to my body. At that point, I just felt much more relaxed than I had all day long.

As I went to bed that night, I laid down wondering what the night was going to be like. Up until that point, I had several weeks of very little sleep and the exhaustion was wearing on me very hard. Little did I realize just how powerful my bath had been, for when I laid down to sleep, my eyes went shut easily and I think I slept the entire night without waking up once. It was the first night in many where I actually could sleep.

Waking up the next morning, I still felt somewhat tired but felt more refreshed than I had in quite some time. My body felt more relaxed and a lot less tense. Throughout the day, I noticed that the itching on my skin had dramatically reduced and overall I felt much more at peace. It was then that I realized something had shifted in me. I began to understand at that moment that the Yoga had just pushed the fears and sympathetic nervous system up into arousal, but the bath and breathing had allowed the full pendulation of my nervous system into the parasympathetic mode so that my body could heal itself and nourish itself in the way that it needed to. This was the resolution to what got kicked up in Yoga.

My next Yoga class was with a different instructor that was very low level, and while my body needed the relaxation, I wish it would have been kicked up a little than given more rest. However, the Yoga class did allow me to focus more in on my body and my breath, which of course helped take me deeper into the healing that was going on.

Tonight was my next Yoga class with the main instructor I usually go to. It is a respectful, honoring state of Yoga that we practice. The instructor is good about inviting us to do as much as we can, while listening to our bodies and remembering to breathe. Before Yoga, my resting pulse rate was again in the low to mid 90’s. However after Yoga, I once again used the Finger Pulse Meter to check my pulse and surprisingly it was 54. That is one of the lowest readings I have ever had since I’ve been checking it.

My body feels at peace tonight and not as tense. I can feel the shift and I can feel like maybe it is ok to once again inhabit my body. There are still the body issues and memories that are surfacing but for now, I’ve just chipped a major chunk away from them. The itching and pain is not completely gone but it is not as intense as it has been.

This is the holiday season and it usually pushes things up for me, so I am trying hard to take care of myself and give myself things that will help reregulate my nervous system. While the body issues are still there, they have greatly subsided since that major shift in me. For the first time since they flared up several weeks ago, I feel like maybe it is true, that this too shall pass and that I will once again regain my power over my body. Part of me says that this is still a dream but deep down, I know it is possible and hold that intention along with my courage and strength to continue on through another day.



NOTE: Due to the length of the article, this is the end of Part 3 of 3.





Definitions:
1. Somatoform Disorder/Body Memory: The presence of physical symptoms that suggest there is a underlying medical condition, when in fact the situation cannot be explained. These situations most likely represent an unconscious reaction of psychological situations and show up as a medical condition with or without any physical manifestation.

2. Body Memory (Somatic Memory): Sensations in the body that often link to some portion or aspect of trauma that the individual has been through. Body memories may occur in many ways.

Definition Source: http://www.sidran.org/

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Body Memory And Trauma - Part 2 of 3

Note: This is Part 2 of 3. Please click here PART 1, to read this in sequence.


Over the past few weeks, I had been diligent about going to Yoga. I knew that this would help resolve the issues that I was facing. To remember some things that I have recently been taught has helped me to stay grounded in my life. One such concept is Pendulation. Pendulation of the autonomic nervous system between the sympathetic and parasympathetic allows us to communicate through the language of the subconscious. It is through this communication that allows the amygdale (low brain) and the prefrontal cortex (high brain) to resolve their differences. Yoga is one way that does this, by connecting the mind and body through breath and movement to help us become more conscious and aware while giving us the power to heal our bodies. Our bodies know exactly what they need to heal, but often our fears and misperceptions get in the way of allowing them to do as they need to. We are often our own worst enemy. Pendulation of the autonomic nervous system is a natural healing process to our bodies that can be accessed if we know how to go in and do this.

A couple of weeks ago, I went to Yoga even though my body did not feel like it. Life had gotten very intense for me, and I found myself just trying to hang on in spite of all the body memories coming up. That night in Yoga, we went through some pretty intense moves that I had never experienced before. Most of the moves that were involving the hip/pelvic region were extremely difficult, challenging, and almost to the point of being too painful. However, I allowed myself to go as far as I could knowing that if I honored and respected my body as I pushed into the pain, that there would be the possibility of freedom on the other side. I was not expecting miracles or anything spectacular but I was allowing myself the opportunity of staying in the moment.

Before Yoga, I had taken my pulse and saw that it was in the mid to high 90’s, which is high, but lately that is where my pulse seemed to find a resting state. Through the use of the Finger Pulse Oximeter OctiveTech 300PRO, I have been monitoring my pulse in hopes of understanding my body to a greater degree, and helping move myself to a higher state of calmness, awareness, and healing. After this particular Yoga session, I checked my pulse and it was actually at 112. It had gone up instead of coming down, and this was even directly at the end of final relaxation time. I felt the agitation in my body and so it was no surprise to me. I could have panicked but I realize that this is evidence that my autonomic nervous system had been kicked up into arousal (the fear state) and so I just allowed myself to be there. It wasn’t easy, because I was discouraged that it had gone up instead of down, but I knew deep within me how the principles of the nervous system work, and that helped me to just allow myself to stay in this state.

That night, I could barely sleep. I was beyond restless and could not find a way to stay calm or still or even find a moment’s peace. I tossed and turned that entire night as I watched the clock tick by like no other night ever in my life. I have had some pretty rough nights throughout my life, but this one was intense. The body pains would come and go; the itching would get intense and then go away as quickly as it came on this particular night. I tried so hard to shut my eyes, but the fears of a predator trying to hunt me down were as big as the tallest building in the world. It seemed like the room was over a thousand degrees and I wished for more air just to breathe. The darkness seemed like a blanket that was smothering me as the predator continued his hunt. I wanted to hide in the blanket, but the room was too hot. The only thing that I took solace in was that soon it would be morning and the daylight would fill the room. For as I had been finding out, daylight was my friend in order for me to get anything close to the resemblance of sleep. The predator and the fears did not like the daytime hours and the daylight.

Morning came and I finally was able to fall asleep. I felt much safer because the predator had once again hidden. The predator never comes out during the day, but if he is going to show up, it will be at night. I slept as long as I could but soon it became necessary for me to arise and go about my day. The last thing I wanted was to face the world or anyone in any way. I did not even want to face myself. I pretty much hated every part of myself at that moment.



NOTE: Due to the length of the article, this is the end of Part 2. Please come back tomorrow for Part 3.




Definitions:
1. Somatoform Disorder/Body Memory: The presence of physical symptoms that suggest there is a underlying medical condition, when in fact the situation cannot be explained. These situations most likely represent an unconscious reaction of psychological situations and show up as a medical condition with or without any physical manifestation.

2. Body Memory (Somatic Memory): Sensations in the body that often link to some portion or aspect of trauma that the individual has been through. Body memories may occur in many ways.

Definition Source: http://www.sidran.org/

Friday, December 11, 2009

Body Memory And Trauma - Part 1 of 3


Over the past several weeks, I have been experiencing “body memories” (somatic memory). This is not the first time I have been through these things and as usual, they are difficult to go through. Anyone that has been through them, knows exactly what I’m talking about. This time, it has been something totally different for me. Most of it involves intense itching all over my skin (itchy skin) and especially in the groin region. Sorry, but that’s as informative as I’m going to be because it isn’t easy to talk about. However, this is not all-the-time itching, but it just happens when you’re least expecting it and when there is no apparent reason for it. It comes and goes almost as quickly as rain starts and stops.

More importantly, there are moments when the pain starts in (not to be confused with the itching) and the pain gets so intense, I just want to cry and scream out. Keep in mind that this is not pain from some injury or other physical abnormality. If you viewed my skin and my body, you would see nothing that would lend itself to these types of reactions. However, they feel as real as if some pain or some condition was being inflicted upon my body in that moment.

These moments have seemed to focus more on the night time hours than the daytime, yet sometimes the time of day makes no difference. Usually, when these times hit, my anxiety level is through the roof and it feels as if it is 1000 degrees in the room, when the temperature is actually on the chilly side. In addition, there is a feeling of despair and anger that accompanies these times that is unexplainable. No, it is not because of the body issues going on, although that adds to it. These are things that seem to appear as entities with their own existence.

I’ve had several nights when I was awakened from a deep sleep with itching that would make me want to remove every body part I could. Fortunately a knife was not in close proximity. The pain would start coming from somewhere deep within me and pushing me to the brink of feeling like I could not take any more. It left me tired from the nights of hardly any sleep while I would struggle to shut my eyes. Even though I was tired, my eyes would almost have to be forced to close so I could sleep. It was as if they were watching out for a predator that was hunting me down.

While this may sound intense, it has gone on for several weeks. At the moment, the duration feels like an eternity. It has pushed me to the point of really wondering whether I wanted to keep going at times. Between the lack of sleep, exhaustion and the physical realities, it seemed as if there was no way through this. Even though I’ve been through body memories in the past, it still does not prepare you for when you come up against new ones. There is nothing that I have found to this point that puts me in control. It is as if this entity must run its course, and I have no say in it.

While I know that these things will pass and that there is more going on which is trying to find a place of resolution, it still takes determination, courage and strength. The body sometimes plays these past events in a continuous flow until it finds an exit route. No matter what, until these things are released from the body in such a way that the past events no longer loop in a continuous circuit, they will continue. That does not mean that we are able to get through these events in some easy fix it event, but that they often take time. Many of these body memories are well rooted and fixed within our bodies, our minds and our consciousness. So to take them on, a small piece of them is sometimes all we can handle at any one given moment. As long as we allow ourselves to go into these things and be with them, we are taking back the power from them and giving ourselves the much needed power we so deserve. It isn’t about just releasing some emotions or bringing emotions up, but it is about chipping away at these body memories one piece at a time. These are the things I remind myself of right now as I progress through these difficult times.



NOTE: Due to the length of the article, this is the end of Part 1. For Part 2 of 3, click here Part 2




Definitions:
1. Somatoform Disorder/Body Memory: The presence of physical symptoms that suggest there is a underlying medical condition, when in fact the situation cannot be explained. These situations most likely represent an unconscious reaction of psychological situations and show up as a medical condition with or without any physical manifestation.

2. Body Memory (Somatic Memory): Sensations in the body that often link to some portion or aspect of trauma that the individual has been through. Body memories may occur in many ways.

Definition Source: http://www.sidran.org/

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Post-traumatic stress may harm kids' brains


This is an excellent article from CNN.com about a study led by Dr. Victor Carrion and the senior author was Dr. Allan Reiss, both at the Center for Interdisciplinary Brain Sciences Research at Stanford University School Of Medicine.


Article Link: Post-Traumatic Stress May Harm Kids' brains

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Mike Lew - Upcoming 2010 Events

I've had the pleasure of getting to know Mike Lew through a workshop and an interview I did for an organization a few years ago called Voices In Action. There are many out there that could benefit from one of his workshops and so I am posting this message I received from from his email list in hopes that if it helps one person, than it is worth it. For more information, please check out Mike Lew's website at http://www.nextstepcounseling.org

Mike Lew is also the author of the books "Victim No Longer" and "Leaping Upon The Mountains" They are excellent resources, help and encouragement especially for male survivors of child abuse. I am actually quoted on Page 199 of Leaping Upon The Mountains.



Dear Friends and Colleagues,

We have many interesting events on the 2010 calendar. For more information, please visit our Web site at http://www.nextstepcounseling.org

This email contains a quick rundown of currently scheduled events. We hope to see you at one or more of them.

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There will be 2 weekend workshops at Kirkridge Retreat and Study Center in Bangor, Pennsylvania.

The first, Healing Together: A Recovery Weekend for Female and Male Survivors, will be held January 22-24, co-led by Louise Kindley and Mike Lew. This is the first such event at Kirkridge.

August 13-15 2010 will mark our 20th annual LEAPING UPON THE MOUNTAINS: A MEN'S RECOVERY WEEKEND co-led by Thom Harrigan and Mike Lew.

For further information and/or registration, contact Kirkridge at http://www.kirkridge.org/welcome/homepage/kirkridge-programs-176-166.html or 610-588-1793

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March 18-21, 2010 New York, NY - MaleSurvivor Conference

Mike will be facilitating a day long workshop for male survivors on March 18th 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM as a pre-conference institute. It is open to non-offending adult male survivors. The cost of the workshop is $100.

He will also be moderating and international plenary panel on Friday, March 19th 6:15-7:45 PM, and will offer a workshop on new directions for male survivors in recovery that is open to all on Saturday, March 20th 3:30-5:00 PM. For further details about this and other conference offerings, visit: http://www.malesurvivor.org/conference-2010.html

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April-May 2010, Australia and New Zealand

Following on the successful recent events for professionals and male survivors in Australia, plans well along for Mike's return visit to "Oz" and New Zealand. Events will be co-sponsored by South East Centre Against Sexual Assault (SECASA), Adults Surviving Child Abuse (ASCA), and Male Survivors of Sexual Abuse Trust (MSSAT)

Planned events are as follows:

April 8th - Professional Training Day in Sydney

April 9th - Day long Male Survivor Workshop in Sydney

For information about the Sydney events, contact Susan Leith-Miller at susan@asca.org.au

April 15th - Professional Training Day in Melbourne

For information about the above event, contact Peter Pa'aPa'a at Peter.PaaPaa@southernhealth.org.au or Carolyn Worth at Carolyn.Worth@southernhealth.org.au

April 16-18th - Our 4th Male Survivor Residential Weekend Workshop in Maldon, Victoria

For information about the weekend, contact Max Clarke at Maxwell.Clarke@southernhealth.org.au

April 23rd - Professional Training Day in Perth/Fremantle

April 24th - Day long Male Survivor Workshop in Perth/Fremantle

For information about the events in Western Australia contact Peter Wright at pwright@asca.org.au

April 27th - Professional Training Day in Darwin

April 28th - Day long Male Survivor Workshop in Darwin

For information about the Darwin events, contact Geoff Bahnert at gbahnert@asca.org.au

April 30th-May 2nd - our 3rd Male Survivor Residential Weekend Workshop in Christchurch.

For information about the workshop, contact Ken Clearwater or John Prince at mssat@survivor.org.nz

May 5th - Professional Training Day in Hamilton.

For information about the training day contact Mike Hollway at smaffezs@xtra.co.nz



ASCA (Adults Surviving Child Abuse) in collaboration with SECASA, is pleased to announce the Mike Lew 2010 Tour Downunder. Mike Lew is a world authority in men’s recovery from childhood abuse.

In April 2010 Mike will be running several one-day workshops around the country as well as a three-day residential retreat for male survivors of child abuse in Melbourne.

Mike will also conduct a series of one-day workshops for health professionals working with male survivors of child abuse.

For more information and/or to register please visit www.asca.org.au/mikelew

For sponsorship opportunities please email Susan Leith-Miller at susan@asca.org.au

Susan Leith-Miller
Executive Officer
Adults Surviving Child Abuse
ph: 02 8920 3611
www.asca.org.au


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Events in early planning stages:

Thom Harrigan and Mike Lew will be giving a series of lectures in Japan during the Fall, 2010. Details will be posted on the Web site as they develop.

Please help spread the word about these events. I hope to see you at one or more of them.

All the best,

Mike

Monday, December 7, 2009

Piano Christmas Music

I've been working hard lately on a new website called Christmas Piano Songs . So maybe the title for this blog entry should be "Christmas Piano Songs" instead of "Christmas Piano Music". Of course, it probably does not matter for a blog because it is all Christmas music and it is all piano music. I've been running some advertisement as well to see if I can increase sales on it. This has kept me very busy trying to learn and understand how to do this. Tis the season of the year to be advertising for this. I normally do not try to advertise on here but this is the reason I have not posted much lately. I'll be resuming posting very soon.

Anyway, I plan on adding much more to the website than is already there. But here are a few things it has:

1. Downloadable Christmas Sheet Music through Virtual Sheet Music
2. Lyrics to many of my favorite Christmas carols that is in a pdf format so you can print it!
3. An iTunes imix of my favorite Christmas carols including the ones from my Christmas CD.
4. The history of many of the Christmas carols listed on the website
5. Many places to download the Christmas Songs online
6. The story of the Birth Of Jesus
7. Words to Twas The Night Before Christmas
8. Miscellaneous facts and trivia that I'll be adding to as I go.

So anyway, if you want to check it out, the website is www.christmaspianosongs.com

Make sure you pass the website on to all your friends!

Please feel free to give me feedback as well or other things you might think of that I can include. As long as I don't run into copyright issues, I will consider adding your ideas!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Mindless Humans


Often in our day, we have so many influences that determine the course of our actions, our thoughts, our consciousness and in general just how we view our day. Yet, we fail to see the totality of these individual events as they dramatically impact our lives. We often see them as unconnected events without any significance to the higher purpose of our self or of the universe as a whole.

What events am I referring to? These events are the moments in our every day existence that we barely notice yet they account for the many tasks we do. They are things we have to do in order to take care of ourselves or family members in any given day. It may be a job that we go to, running our kids to daycare or after school events or dealing with a myriad of mundane tasks. Yes, all these tasks are important and critical to our lives. For if we stopped doing them, there would be serious repercussions for us. Even watching TV shows and news, while appearing to inform or entertain you, may actually result in you being disconnected and not conscious or mindful.

So if these mundane tasks are important than what is your point? When was the last time, you walked out the door in the morning and just listened to the birds sing with joy? When was the last time you went to lunch in your day and stopped to pause for a moment to feel the sun hitting on your face giving you a warmth and energy that felt so invigorating? When was the last time, while taking your child to daycare or an activity that you truly listened to what they were saying and not just thinking about all the things you needed to get done? When was the last time, you just stopped for a moment and noticed your breath and your body and just how good it felt to do that?

We all have our mundane tasks in sometimes our mundane life that we have to do. That is a fact of life unless you are a lottery winner and can pick and choose everything you do in life. However, even people who are wealthy have mundane tasks that they must do. All of us have to get out of bed at some point during the day and eat, groom ourselves and do whatever it is that we feel is important. No matter how fortunate or wealthy we are, these things are a given for our day. Since we can't escape these normal tasks, can we not enjoy them in a mindful way?

As stated by Ellen Langer in her book, On Becoming an Artist: Reinventing Yourself Through Mindful Creativity (page 11), "In many small ways we have learned to become mindless without questioning why we do so.". This is a powerful statement and is what I'm referring to as I talk about being mindless during our mundane tasks that we do each day. We all do it, no matter who we are or how advanced we are. Some people are better than others at bringing mindfulness into their days instead of just being mindless.

So what can we do? One of the things that each of us can do is just taking a moment out of our day and being with ourselves. We can do this by spending a few moments (30 seconds would be enough for this exercise) and noticing our breath. Feeling the rise and fall of our breath, how shallow or deep it is and even how rapid or slow it is will connect us to our breath. By connecting to our breath, we will connect our mind with our body and if you stay with this exercise for a few moments, you'll begin to feel the effects of it on your body in how centered you feel, how at home you feel and even the tension within yourself. You need not pay anyone for an experience like this because you can do it with yourself at any time of the day or night. It is simple but effective. Eckhart Tolle in his book discussions with Oprah Winfrey on A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose (Oprah's Book Club, Selection 61) did a very powerful example of this. He just had everyone sit there for 30 seconds wherever they were at and focus on their breath. It was an amazing experience for many and I once again saw the power of something that was this simple.

Another simple thing we can do is when we are walking out the door in the morning, just stop and listen to all that we can hear. Some of you may have many noises such as cars and city sounds but see if you can listen beyond that. How many different birds do you hear singing? How fast are the chirps coming from the birds? Is the wind rustling through the leaves of the trees and how does that sound? You may hear a dog barking in the background or a cat meowing. What other sounds do you pick up?

If sounds do not work for you, try picking up on the colors you see as you walk out of your house. Can you notice the different colors of the landscape around your house or your neighbors? What if you look at the trees and see all the colors on the tree? How many different colors are there and how many different shades of the color green can you see? I'm only scratching the surface with all that you can see because the same things can be applied if you just look at the sky and clouds.

There are many ways you can be mindful in your day including feeling the warmth of the sun as you step out of a building or staring at the clouds and creating cloud images in your mind. You could even take a moment when you're in the shower and feel the sensation of the hot or cold water on your skin. Giving yourself plenty of time to eat so that you can actually taste and enjoy your food without having your daily tasks flooding your conscious mind. These are a few examples and if you practice being mindful instead of mindless, you'll find many more.

Please don't stop here thinking this is all that mindfulness is for it is much more than that. Try to take all that you pick up in these exercises and see how it makes you feel within your body. Do you get a warm glow or tingle? Do you feel goosebumps on your skin? Do you feel your body sink down into a state of relaxation? Do you sense your breath slowing down and becoming fuller?

There are so many ways that we can be impacted by becoming mindful and when you feel it in your body, you have truly crossed over from being a mindless human to being mindful of your life, your day and your moments. At this point, life will be much more rewarding and abundant for you while becoming more conscious.