Sunday, January 31, 2010

Startle Reflex

How many times have you been sitting there minding your own business when some sound brings you up out of your chair? Or maybe some quick movement past you stops you dead in your tracks. Even a sound such as an explosion or fireworks or a moment in a song could ignite something deep within you. It could be a flash of light or about anything but whatever it is, you stop and try to determine what is going on.

What Is The Startle Reflex / Startle Response
The startle reflex is something everyone knows about. We've all felt it at one time or another. It is the response of our mind and our body from a sudden unexpected stimulus. It could be a sound, a flash of light, some event, a touch or a quick movement around us. There are many ways we are startled.

When started, our bodies go through many physical changes including contraction of muscles of the arm and leg, blinking, increase in blood pressure, respiration and breathing rate. While the muscles contraction responses generally resolve themselves in a matter of seconds, it often takes our breathing, respiration and blood pressure much more time to normalize.

Startle Response and PTSD

If there is an exaggerated startle response, it is called hyperplexia and is often seen in people with PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder).

Startle Response Video

Here's a great video depicting what happens in a person when a startle response is encountered. The video is about self protection but the beginning of it really shows in a simplistic way, just what the startle response does.

My Startle Reflex Experience
One of the things I am learning through the Evolutionary Healing Institute with Dr. Paul Canali is just how important the "startle reflex" is to the healing of trauma. Through pendulation of the autonomic nervous system, one is able to begin moving through trauma that is stored in the body without becoming overwhelmed and shutting down. The startle reflex is one of the ways used to do this because the startle reflex kicks the system up into sympathetic mode and once dissipation has been allowed to complete, the body can then come back down into a more relaxed or resting mode (parasympathetic). By doing short bursts of stimulation and rest, the person is able to move through much more than if they were just brought into the trauma stimulus full force. Of course, it greatly helps the person going through this to be safely supported by someone that is able to be there in a grounded way without judgment.

One good way to measure the state of the nervous system is by use of a pulse meter. I use the one pictured to the left. There are times that a person feels one way but when you measure the pulse, you can quickly see if the person is in sympathetic or parasympathetic mode. If the pulse is going high and not dropping down, you are still in sympathetic and there is still arousal or stimuli within the body. Until that arousal or stimuli is released, the body will not be able to go completely into parasympathetic mode. This of course may not happen all at once and may take time to go further and further into it. With the pulse meter, there is no guess work as to what is going on in the body. The pulse of the body is real where what one may experience may not be truly what is going on.

Other Sources of Information

1) Wikipedia - Startle Reaction

2) Evolutionary Healing Institute: Autonomic Nervous System

3) US National Library Of Medicine - National Institutes Of Health: Fear Appears Fast

4) How Stuff Works: Startle Response

5) Trauma, Biology And Hyperarousal

6) Hope And Possibility Through Trauma

*For more articles, check out the Mind Body Thoughts Blog

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Not A Life Sentence

It is part of our journey not a life sentence!

How many times do we go through life struggling and feeling like we're never going to get "there"? Of course, I'm not sure if I have figured out and understood where "there" is at but we all try to aim towards it. Sometimes "there" seems to be like a moving target. When we are in the midst of the struggle, it seems like there is no end.

Yet, I'm reminded again (I think this makes like reminder one million and some)that all the difficulties and struggles I face, they are just part of my journey. As long as I don't stop for good on my journey, I will get through them. It is ok to pause and rest awhile, but as I know, we must keep moving along our journey.

Even when we feel like there is not one single person that is there for us or wants to be around us and we feel so all alone, we can take solace in knowing that this is not a life sentence but it just part of the journey.

I'm not saying it will be easy or quick or magically it will get better at the push of a button but things do improve. Sometimes you have to walk through the valley of the shadow of death to get to the beauty that lies beyond it. Sometimes you have to walk through this without people that fully understand what the valley looks like.

In all things though, realize just like I am that this is part of the journey, not a life sentence.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Omega 3 Fish Oils

After my recent physical situation with a rash and itching, Dr. Canali had me start taking Omega 3 Fish Oils. The brand I take are Arctic Oils. Part of the situation I was facing after we addressed the psychological, emotional and nervous system issues was that my skin was not moisturizing itself. After taking these, I could tell the difference in my skin as it was not as dried out as it had been. I believe the fish oils really helped me recover from the rash and itching that was going on in addition to the other nervous system issues that we addressed. It was a dual approach that made a big difference for me.


Omega-3 fatty acids benefit the heart of healthy people, and those at high risk of — or who have — cardiovascular disease. Research has shown that omega-3 fatty acids decrease risk of arrhythmias (abnormal heartbeats), which can lead to sudden death. Omega-3 fatty acids also decrease triglyceride levels, slow growth rate of atherosclerotic plaque, and lower blood pressure (slightly). American Heart Association

There is evidence from multiple studies supporting intake of recommended amounts of DHA and EPA in the form of dietary fish or fish oil supplements lowers triglycerides, reduces the risk of death, heart attack, dangerous abnormal heart rhythms, and strokes in people with known cardiovascular disease, slows the buildup of atherosclerotic plaques ("hardening of the arteries"), and lowers blood pressure slightly. - Mayo Clinic


Omega 3 Oils give almost immediate relief from joint pain, migraines, depression, autoimmune diseases and many other conditions. And, by improving brain development and memory functioning, from conception through old age, certain Omega-3 oils also provide the perfect brain food. Omega-3.Us


Q: I’ve heard that fish oil supplements with their omega-3 fatty acids are good for the skin. Is that true?

A: Absolutely. Fish oil contains two main types of omega-3 fatty acids: docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). DHA keeps the brain functioning properly. And EPA greatly benefits skin by regulating oil production to boost hydration and prevent acne, and by delaying the skin’s aging process to stave off wrinkles. A 2005 study in the Journal of Lipid Research discovered that EPA can help block the release of the UV-induced enzymes that eat away at our collagen, causing lines and sagging skin. Because EPA is both an antioxidant and an anti-inflammatory agent, it can protect against sun damage and help repair it.


Omega-3 fatty acids are a class of essential polyunsaturated fatty acids with the double bond in the third carbon position from the methyl terminal (hence the use of "3" in their description). Foods high in omega-3-fatty acids include salmon, halibut, sardines, albacore, trout, herring, walnut, flaxseed oil, and canola oil. Other foods that contain omega-3-fatty acids include shrimp, clams, light chunk tuna, catfish, cod, and spinach. MedicineNet


It's also important to know the differences between the types of omega-3s. EPA (eicosapentaenoic acids) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acids) are long-chain fatty acids with 20 and 22 carbon atoms respectively. ALAs (alpha-linoleic acids) are short-chain with 18 carbon atoms each. We find ALAs in flaxseed oil, and vegetarians often prefer it for their omega-3 needs. The only use of ALA is that it can be converted by our bodies into the other two kinds. However, the amount of it that gets converted is between 0.2% and 15% – hardly enough to make it worthwhile — and what doesn't get converted instead becomes inflammatory! For the best results, the EPAs and DHAs found in fish oil are the way to go.


In a letter published October 31, 2000,[58] the United States Food and Drug Administration Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, Office of Nutritional Products, Labeling, and Dietary Supplements noted that known or suspected risks of EPA and DHA n−3 fatty acids may include the possibility of:

--Increased bleeding if overused (normally over 3 grams per day) by a patient who is also taking aspirin or warfarin. However, this is disputed.

--Hemorrhagic stroke (only in case of very large doses).

--Reduced glycemic control among diabetics in the FDA 1991-1993 Scientific Review. Wikipedia.Org


Always consult appropriate medical practitioners and be informed before taking any supplements.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Note From The Universe - The Finish Line

The trick is learning to maintain an unwavering focus upon your desired end result, your completed dream, the "finish line," without insisting upon, or even contemplating, its means of attainment, no matter how logical, obvious, or tempting it may seem. - - The Universe

Source: Daily Emails - A Note From The Universe

My comments:
I love this daily email quote, especially this particular one. Sometimes, when I look ahead at my life and see the things that I dream to accomplish, I try to fill in all the details. It is as if I want to know everything and anything that will take place as I move to my dreams. However, I realize that I'm robbing myself of the experience if my only focus on the means of attainment rather than the dream itself. Why should I have to worry about the details? They will unfold as they will.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Ways To Release Anger

I know I'm not the only one that has a rough time dealing with anger in their lives. In fact, if you don't have enough anger about things from your past, I'm sure there is enough current stuff to create anger in your life. For some people, they seem to get angry all the time at the smallest things while other are very adept at hiding it and not even aware that they are doing this. Regardless, of what type of person you are and how you deal with anger, it is prevalent in our society and in our lives. One just has to stop and take a moment to look and see it.

For me, I was never allowed to get angry growing up. God knows I had plenty of reasons to be angry. But in our family, the only one that was allowed to get angry was my father and when he did, it was an explosive situation that you hoped you were somehow absent for the unveiling. You never knew when it was going to hit but you did know that without a doubt, it would strike at some point. If we did cross the line and show anger around my house to anyone, you were often shamed into a point of feeling pretty low for even thinking you could be angry.

Even though I learned to bottle the anger up and stuff it down inside of me, sometimes it would boil over. I liked to spend time outdoors away from my family because it was peaceful and well, it was just better that way. When I really got angry, I would venture outside to get away from my family and then I would find objects to hit myself with. It may have been a rock, a stick, or board, a rope or whatever I could find and then I would hit myself until it hurt or I bruised myself or until I could see and feel the evidence of it. Of course, by the time the pain hit me, I wasn't aware I was angry anymore and then it would turn into self hatred and self condemnation for doing this to myself. I would vow never to do this again to myself only to fail time and time again. It was a battle I could not win, yet I continually tried to go on full scale attack.

Now, many years later, I'm still dealing with how to let the anger out that resides within myself. It seems there is no shortage of it and while I try to put a happy face on myself, I know it is there waiting for me. It is waiting to erupt. There's no shortage of people who have felt the influence of the anger within me. After all the work I've done on myself, it is more manageable and controllable but it still is there. I've taken some big strides to overcome it but I still feel as if there is no end to the source of my anger. That makes me sad beyond measure and I hope one day, I'll be able to state this differently.

For now, here are a couple of things that I do to help let the anger out in a safe way without hurting anyone. I never want to hurt anything around me and I'm glad I'm so sensitive to prevent me from ever doing that. I witnessed too much of this growing up and there is no way I'm going to inflict anything upon anyone. Most of these anger release methods I have learned were with the help of Dr. Paul Canali.

1) If I can get in a swimming pool, I go to the end of the pool that isn't too deep like around 3 feet deep. I began to move my arms around in circular fashions to the side making deep and strong waves. All the time, I'm connecting my mind to the body and trying to feel everything that is coming up. Often, I think about a recent situation in my life that is really pushing the anger up and I put the full force of this into the waves I'm making in the pool. When I'm nearing the point of feeling exhausted from this, I take a deep breath and put my mouth under water and scream as loud and as long as I can (so no one can hear me of course). When I'm out of breath, I find a comfortable place next to the pool that I can just rest and relax on and let my breathing slow down. Sometimes I do this more than once but you'll be amazed at just how much anger you can release and how much you release from your body.

2) Another method I've used is I have an elastic band (exercise band) that I can lay on my massage table (or bed or floor) and put my hands through. (see picture above). I begin to pull out on the band while I think of the situations that are really making me upset. As I do this, I sometimes put a big exercise ball between my knees and then I begin taking the force of the my hands in the exercise band and pounding my fists on the exercise ball. If I can get myself to do it, I allow myself to scream during this time. If not, I try to make any type of sound. The sound really does help push things through. Usually it doesn't take much before the anger has decreased in me and my body. I always make sure I give myself time to rest, and come down from what I just did. That rest and relaxation moment is just as powerful as the expenditure of energy.

3) Since I live close to the beach, I have sometimes went to the beach in an unpopulated area. Once there, I've written a word that describes what is behind the anger coming up, into the sand. After I have written the word, I then begin to jump up and down on the word trying to obliterate it and screaming as loud as I can (if i can). Of course, making sure no one is around helps me to do this.

There are many other ways that people use from various sports to various activities. There is no set limit on how you can do this and no shortage of ways to do this. The important thing is to connect your mind and your body to the feelings that are coming up within you and just allow everything to come out that does. It may be screaming and it could be crying. You might feel pains and body issues that you have never felt before. There are many things that you might experience. Keep letting all of that flow through you and out of you. Don't hold any of it in. This is not easy to do sometimes and sometimes it takes me a lot to get to this point and to allow it to happen. When I do allow it, there is usually a moment of transformation in me. At this point, I try to record in my journal all that went on, all that I felt and anything that I connected with.

Anger isn't easy for me to connect with at times. It is very frightening because of my past and learning how to be with it, is just as frightening. I remember at one time in the not so distant past wondering if it was ok to acknowledge or go into the anger. Finding safe ways to do this is a good thing but letting it build up to the point where you strike out at others is taking you into dangerous territory. Once you let go of the anger in a safe way, you'll be amazed at just how much different your body and your mind feels. It is liberating! The more you can connect your entire body and mind to the emotions coming out, the more you'll find you are able to release.

*For more articles, check out the Mind Body Thoughts Blog

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Mind OVER Body Power

As a child, I learned early on in a very conscious way how to increase my core body temperature so I could get out of Physical Education (PE) class. I hated PE class for many reasons because most of the sports did not interest me and I was not coordinated enough to do them well. Because of this, I would often be picked last when we had to divide up in teams. Most of my classmates did not want me on their team and they would often yell at me when I missed catching a ball or some other mistake. On top of that, I hated the fact that I had to undress and shower in front of all these other people. There was humiliating reasons that caused embarrassment but for me, it was a very unsafe environment. And so, I would often use my mind consciously to raise my body temperature so that I could go to the nurse and get out of PE. She would of course take my temperature and then declare I was sick and send me home. If they ever caught on to what I was doing, they didn’t say anything and I was smart enough to not do it every time but to only use this when I just could not deal with attending PE class.

For a long time, I never thought anything about it. Then when I got into bodywork and I started to see just how powerful the mind was over the body, I realized that I had actually overridden my normal body controls just with the power of thinking that I wanted my body temperature to increase. It wasn’t like my body temperature went very high but it was just high enough to be outside of the normal body temperature range. Of course I would have to play sick and make it sound to the nurse and my mom that I was truly not feeling good. It had to be convincing or they wouldn’t believe you. It was nothing for me to make my stomach hurt and in fact it hurt most of the time, so that was the convenient symptoms to put with the story. It was believable every time I did it and I didn’t even have to work at it that hard.

Now, another situation has arose where I have seen this in a first hand way. I went to a trade day with some fellow massage therapists. My body was already in a place where I wasn’t sure if I could be touched but I felt safe with these people due to past experiences with them and thought this would be a good thing. Being one of the first ones on the table, I was worked on one by one for a few minutes each by several people. Not giving thought to just how much that was probably not a good thing for me in this moment, I of course obliged the group and received the touch. After all, I didn’t want to upset anyone by not allowing them to work on me. I was stronger than that I thought and I could take this. Why does that not sound good now? I get a chuckle out of what I did not see that day.

So the first person worked on me for a few minutes and it felt good. My body dropped down and I just enjoyed being touched without jumping out of my skin. It was a good feeling. Than the next person came and worked on me and while I proclaimed to them what I needed and wanted and even thanked them at the end, there was a part of me that was wishing the touch would stop. However, I could not bring myself to say NO, please don’t touch me. The third person came along and the same scenario played out. In fact, by the time the third person got done with me, I felt like I had really relaxed and gone out on the table. It was as if time had stopped and I was in a deep place. Most people doing bodywork or receiving bodywork would perceive this state as a good thing. However, in my case, it was anything but good.

When I saw that my pulse had went from the 90’s before the touch began to almost 115 after the table work was over, I was puzzled by this. In my mind, I had relaxed and my body had let go from this light form of touch. Yet, my pulse was showing something completely different. It made no sense at the time. The two perceptions were completely at odds with each other. I didn’t say anything to anyone of course as I didn’t want anyone to think less of me as a result. So I just traveled back home. However, I noticed that as the time went, I became very angry at the people that worked on me. How could they not do better and how could they not do this or that to me? I just didn’t understand.

As I went through the night, the anger was continuous. It grew and grew until I began to question where it was coming from. Here all the time, I had missed the obvious. Much had been kicked up in me emotionally but it had not been allowed to discharge or dissipate. So I was left with everything being kicked up to the surface when in all reality, it needed to be pushed out of my body. Without that part, I could not go into complete relaxation because it is like an overflowing closet in your house. If the closet has too much stuff in it, you can’t put anything else in it until you remove something from the closet or clean it out. Much like our bodies, until you dissipate or remove the excess stuck energy, you can bring in the relaxation and true peace.

In my case though, I was able to numb out completely what was going on and bring my entire body into a state of what appeared to be total relaxation because that was what the objective of the work was. My body did this unconsciously without any thought to what was going on. So even though my body showed all the signs that one would look for, without the pulse meter indicating that my pulse was still in the sympathetic mode, I was not in a place of peace and relaxation.

Just think though how powerful the mind is that it can present one set of conditions to the world and yet inside, it is completely full of chaos. For me, this was my survival technique that helped me make it through some difficult times growing up. Now, however, it is not necessarily something that is a positive reaction in me that I still need to hang on to. Without a feeling of true safeness though, my body is going to automatically revert back to old patterns that are based in fear. Without the pulse meter showing my pulse at 115, I would have never realized this was going on. In fact, I felt so good while lying on the table. My mind and body were not connected together.

I learned firsthand through my own experience, that a feeling of peace and ease was not necessarily the way my body experienced it. And without dissipation, my body can only come down so far. It really changes how I look at myself and how I am able to sense that within myself. Just the realization and awareness of this has caused a major shift within me.

If you’re a body worker or even just someone that wants to become more aware of yourself and monitor your own body, get a pulse meter and see just what is going on. I’ve got a feeling you will be surprised as you learn to work with the pulse. The pulse is a good indicator of what is happening in the body. Even though you might feel like you have the ability to sense and see what is happening, the pulse meter will show you in truth and reality what is going on. The mind and the body may try to trick you but the pulse doesn’t lie.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The Invitation

From “The Invitation” by Oriah Mountain Dreamer

It doesn’t interest me what you do for a living. I want to know what you ache for, and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart’s longing.

It doesn’t interest me how old you are. I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool for love, for your dream, for the adventure of being alive.

It doesn’t interest me what planets are squaring your moon. I want to know if you have touched the center of your own sorrow, if you have been opened by life’s betrayals or have become shriveled and closed from fear of further pain. I want to know if you can sit with pain, mine or your own, without moving to hide it or fade it or fix it.

I want to know if you can be with joy, mine or your own, if you can dance with wildness and let the ecstasy fill you to the tips of your fingers and toes without cautioning us to be careful, to be realistic, to remember the limitations of being human. (READ REMAINDER OF POEM)

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

A Drop Of Water

I saw a video on YouTube about a drop of water being dropped on water. It was interesting to see it in slow motion and to see exactly what happens. It doesn't just get absorbed into the water as one might think. I won't give away the content of the video but you will be pleasantly surprised. To think of the impact that a single drop of water has is very powerful.

Monday, January 18, 2010

How Awake Are We?

How awake are we?
This is an important question to ask one's self. I'm not referring to hitting the alarm clock and pulling ourselves out of bed to start our day. I'm not referring to being asleep in the night time or awake as in the day time. This is the basic question of our lives that is philosophical, yet very real.

Through The Media:
If you watch the news and follow the accounts of what is happening in the world according to the different media outlets, there is a good chance that being asleep is normal routine for your life. Most of what is reported in the media is not balanced, not factual and not fair and balanced as some outlets would suggest. There is no more balance in the far left reporting than there is in the far right reporting. CNN, MSNBC, and FOX NEWS all have their biases and their own pools of thought that yield to their agendas. Yet, many millions of Americans take the news to be the authority on what is happening in the world. We even have pundit after pundit now analyzing the way we should look at news.

It is not a world that allows us to wake up no matter how much we may think it is. Try turning the news off for a month and only reading some headlines if you feel the need to know what is going on. If you tune out all the extra stuff and just focus on the main thoughts in a headline, you'll be surprised at how your view changes to the news. Try turning off the TV news and you'll begin to breathe much easier and find more enjoyment and peace in life. If you don't believe me - try it and see if you can prove me wrong!

Our Daily Activities
Another major area where we tend to "sleep in life" is that of what we choose to do in our day. Time and time again, I see people who are running to and from all kinds of activities for their children, all kinds of events and various other things as well as all the running in high speed that they do in their jobs. There is never a moments rest. All is about getting to this place and doing this or that, having this day filled up and that weekend booked with things. Granted, some of these things are good things but when they get to the point where you have no down time and no rest in a day or even in a week, they become interference and noise in our lives.

Our bodies need the down time and the rest. We were not meat to multitask forever and ever in our lives. The brain and the body can not rest and repair itself when we're running in high gear. Try taking a look at your schedule for a week and see if you cannot cut in half all the things you do. Give yourself some down time where you might just go for a walk, or sit in a park or maybe read a book, take a bath or some other restful activity. One that does not involve the TV would be very important in these down times. And at the end of the week, see how you feel and see how life seems to you. I'm willing to bet that you'll see a difference in your life and things that you thought were helpful and important may appear differently.

Health Care
Another area where virtually most of us are asleep is in the area of our health. We tune into the media and health care ads to see what it is that we should do to keep our lives healthy. Some of us might consider the route of exercise as being the way we keep our self healthy. While this does help, health is much more than that. Some of us might be looking for a drug that helps some infliction that we face in our life or maybe a term that describes a condition we face. We feel that is healthy. Some of us feel that test after test prescribed by the medical community gives us the edge on preventive measures while in some ways, they are masking the true source of what may be going on.

Yes, some medical procedures are warranted and one should always make informed decisions but so many of us follow the medical establishment blindly because a Doctor makes some statement, or a internet site makes a claim or there is some "research trial" that suggests it is so. Do you know just how much research is done that is not being truthfully and honestly reported? Some of us might think that taking a flu shot is the best way to stay healthy when in fact, it is in all reality introducing the toxin into our system. I'm not advocating that all shots and vaccines are necessarily bad but I am urging people to open their eyes and be 100 times more informed than they are.

If you think I've fallen off my rocker, try to consider this? Listen to all the side effects of the drug commercials and in fact list them on a piece of paper. Now, take some time to ponder what these are. I'm sure you'll begin to see that some of these drugs can be more harmful than good. Realize to that with each drug that helps to alleviate some symptom in your body, it means that some other part of you is being turned off which of course leads to an imbalance in your body that will require further drugs or treatments. That's a mind blowing thought if you think about it.

One other big way people are asleep is through their spirituality. Yes, as spiritual as people want to be to themselves and the world, they are often asleep. Whether it is one church denomination or another or some spiritual self help group or even some new age/spiritualism thought pattern, they are all acquainted with being asleep to some degree. I'm often amazed at how one church feels they have more figured out than the next and they are the ones going to heaven while the others are going to be lost in Hell. I've even seen churches where clapping, instruments and certain activities are ok while it being considered wrong and sinful in others. Oh how I remember one church we went to that the church split up because some people liked to clap in a worship service while others thought it was immoral.

I'm more amazed at just how the new age spiritual movement tries to flee some of the teachings of the mainline churches. In it, they think that they have reached a higher enlightenment because they don't do things like the main denominational churches do. Yet, if they truly looked at what they did, they would quickly notice that their vocabulary and customs mirror that which is in the churches. Yes, there may be differences but if you look at the root of these things, you'll see the same elements in the churches.

Again, I ask you to take a look at yourself and see what is similar and what is different. Don't just follow someone's teachings or some book's teachings and treat it as the entire basis for life. That is being asleep. Question everything that is being taught and realize that much of what is being said, is nothing more than that person's own interpretation of what spirituality is all about. Spirituality is much more then following dogma or church teachings. Most of us limit spirituality though to something that has been regurgitated over and over throughout the ages without giving a thought to what is the true meaning behind our spirituality. I've got a feeling that there are going to be many surprised people one of these days when heaven and hell don't appear in the form they were taught.

All too often, we as humans look to others for our source of inspiration, knowledge and answers. We feel that the answers we seek to the conscious and unconscious questions of life, lie in what others tell us. In fact, the answers we all seek to life are within ourselves. This involves the spiritual, the physical and the mental. We all have the power within us to do much more than we realize and to understand much more than we allow ourselves to. Instead, we take the easy road and wait for someone out there to show us the way, to take us out of pain and to make up for our own insecurities. However, in doing so, we have given up the most basic part of our human nature. We have made ourselves powerless when in fact we are powerful.

Stepped On Toes
I realize that I've probably stepped on many toes here and I'm sure to those that read this, many are saying - yeah right - I don't do that or this writer is just not aware of what I know. You can take whatever road you want to take after you read this but at least consider how your life matches up to some of the things I've written about. I'm not asking you to take my word for this. I'm just hoping that you'll think about these things in an honest and truthful way to see if there is something within these words that sparks something in your brain. If you're not able to get to that place, than just hold this in the back of your mind for a future time in life where it will become more valuable to you.

It's In The Body
Many things that I now know in my life came to me many years ago. When I first heard them, I scoffed at them and tried to distance my life from them. I thought, how crazy can someone be to even think about these things. Yet, I have been shown things through very physical ways in my body that I could never understand before. When you see things through your own physical body and not as just some "unknown concept", you can know for sure that there is something to it. Too many follow too many unknowns when in all reality, the answers for most of what we need lies within us. That's all the further we have to go. If you can experience it in your body, than it is real.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Good Touch Gone Bad

One of the things I struggle the hardest with is saying NO in regards to "bodywork" pressure, touch and areas of my body where I'm having difficulties. Bodywork being massage, light touch modalities, and derivatives there of. I've experienced it in all forms of bodywork even the ones that are meant to be light and supportive safe touch. It even occurs in those modalities that are "energetic touches".

Especially in regular massage, whether it is on the table or in a seated chair, many massage therapists think that "more pressure and deeper pressure" is better. I don't know how many times I've asked for light pressure only to receive anything but light pressure. Most massage therapists do not know how to do this no matter how much they claim they do. The lightest of touches can be more healing for me than the deepest of touches.

So why am I making all the fuss about this? Here's the reason and if you are a body worker, pay close attention because I know I'm not the only client that would ever come across your path with this situation. There are many more like me.

You see, when the deep pressure is applied to my body, it generates a connection to the past I have experienced. This results in deep anger that springs up from me. Now, I may not show the anger to you in a normal way on the table and in fact, it may represent itself as me being very quiet, giving comments possibly that it feels good and it could also be represented by my body appearing to relax. While all of those things might be desired results in bodywork and they may sound positive, it is my body's way of "disappearing" and "disassociating" with what is really going on. That means, even though it may appear that I'm present, I have done left the building.

Another thing I experience is when I ask people doing bodywork to not touch certain areas or do certain things and yet, they still do that. Even my cat has figured out at times to not rub up against certain areas without me even communicating that to her in a verbal way. One could say, well, you need to remind them. However, here is what happens within me. My body feels it and senses that someone may be touching in that area where I said was off limits. However, by the time that message from the area getting touched, gets to my brain and goes through the filters of all my past trauma, it comes out as silence. Believe me, I struggle to say what is going on. I struggle to physically speak the words. Even in one case, where the heat of the person's hand might be perceived as non-touch, my body picked it up as touch. It was the same as if the person was physically touching me. So as a result, I then "blank out" about what happened until some time after the bodywork session is done. When the "blank out" feeling wears off, that is when things become very difficult for me. For the anger comes up full force in me as it wants to be angry at the person who didn't respect my wishes and it is also anger that is directed at me because I didn't stop this. What a direct repeat back to some trauma filled days that I experienced in my life.

I actually saw this with evidence in a recent bodywork session that I received. I was able to check my pulse with a pulse meter I have and it was in the 90's before we started and when we got done, it was around 115. That's not the desired effect of bodywork that one is attempting to achieve. Yet, (get this), my body felt relaxed to me and I had actually enjoyed the work that had been done on the table. The only thing is, because of these situations that were done, it kicked the connections to the past trauma up and there was no way to dissipate it. In addition, I did not fully connect the dots until several hours later. I'm now left with a feeling of anger, frustration and overall just a weak, despair type of feeling. It isn't a fun place to be.

So what can a bodyworker do? First of all, they have to be very present in their own body because without that, my body isn't going to trust them very far. They need to be grounded and with their actions coming from their heart because my body will pick that up quicker than they will. The next thing is that a bodyworker truly needs to listen when someone on the table says, please honor this area or whatever it is. If you don't, the trust of the person on the table to your touch may be lost and not regained without a lot of work. While that may sound alarming, for me and my body, it is true.

In addition, if you still feel you must go in deep or touch in areas that maybe are off limits, you need to be prepared to take that person through what will come up within them. You need to be able to see it and understand it even if it is almost hidden from view because for that person lying on the table, a part of them will most likely be connecting to something that is not pleasant. In some manner, you will need to engage the person constantly to make sure they have not checked out or gone down that road that seems so familiar to them. They will have a difficult time doing this because most of these things that are going on are not conscious in their mind. You need to find a way to empower them and help them to understand that they are in control, not being manipulated or forced to undergo the actions being performed upon them.

I know this sounds like almost an impossible order to do with someone on the table but there have been so many times that I've struggled with this. It isn't fun for me, to have to deal with the anger and all of the other stuff that comes up in situations like this. It doesn't go away quickly or easily. My body in turn says, I don't really want to trust another person to touch me now and that is another issue that I have to then face and deal with. Granted, not everyone out there is an extreme case like my body is but everyone out there that has been through trauma of one form or another, experiences these same things to some degree.

You might have great intentions and you might be a compassionate, safe and supportive person, but without recognizing these things taking place before your eyes and hands, the person ends up with an experience of "hell" on the table instead of healing. They most likely will not even be able to acknowledge it in that moment or the next but their body will feel many of these things. They will be left to deal with stuff that is not only unpleasant but full of terror, pain, and connections to a not so nice time in their life.

On the positive side, if you can respect their requests and touch in a way that keeps them connected to the process while making sure you are able to not get frightened by all of these things, than you most likely could help that person in a big way. You would be able to help them walk along this frightening and scary journey in ways that many people can't. It isn't easy dealing with someone that has been very traumatized in their life but the right person, with the right touch and being connected to all that is going on, is a true and gifted healer.

Friday, January 15, 2010

The Hope Of Possibility

Have you ever looked at your day and your life and said "that's not possible", "there's no way, I can ever do that"? If you haven't, I would be surprised as I think this is a pretty common thing for most humans to face at some point or another in their life.

Yet, throughout the history of the world, we've seen ordinary people do extraordinary things and accomplish tasks that were nothing short of impossible at the time. There are so many examples of this.

So, if we view something as impossible, how do we go from impossible to possible?

We might conclude that one would need to believe that what we want to do is possible and that having the right mindset is the key to beginning the journey. However, I know there have been many times in my life that I could not see the possibility of something to get myself started. In those times, I relied on hope that there was a hope of possibility to get where I was going and that's about all I could muster the strength up to do. Even in these moments, this was almost too difficult to do.

So what if we took a moment to acknowledge something in our life that we view as impossible today and maybe hold for just a moment that there is a hope that it may be possible. Just holding that thought in our mind gives us a different energy and potential than viewing something as impossible. Whether, what lies before us can be accomplished, we will only find out as we travel the journey that lies before us.

We don't know have to know all the answers in that moment or be able to see things with vivid clarity. All we have to do is offer ourselves that the hope of possibility exists and allow our journey to unfold before us. That's it! That's all! Yes, we may have our doubts and we may have our pains, inflictions and boulders standing in our way but those don't concern us at this moment. The only thing we need to stay focused on is that the hope of possibility exists within us. The rest will find its way.

So my challenge to you today is to not just accept what I'm saying as gospel truth but to test it within yourself. See if this works or if it doesn't. Test it. Try it and challenge it. Find that part within your mind that says, this is not possible and then replace it with I have hope that it is possible. Let the rest unfold as it will on its own and in its own time. There is no need to control or manipulate the events but to just allow them to happen.

I celebrate the hope of possibility to each person that reads this.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Your Security Blanket

While this may be a comic and seem quite cute, the message in this Peanuts Cartoon Strip is very accurate and true. View the cartoon strip as the "security blanket" is a symbol for feeling safe from fear. Then the rest of it speaks volumes about what fear does in our lives. While fear can be overwhelming, its purpose is to help us move forward in our lives and to grow and become more consciously aware of ourselves.

(Click on the cartoon strip to see the entire piece)


Monday, January 11, 2010

High Tolerance To Pain OR Numbing Out

At one time in my life, I could endure a lot of pain. It had to get to the level that was so high before I would really pay attention to it. Usually in those situations, the situation was so dire that it would require going to the emergency room or a doctor for muscle relaxants and pain pills. I remember a few times that I was barely able to drive myself to the emergency room to get medical attention. Can you imagine that?

Not too long ago, I would have thought this was all a normal and standard part of living in life. Everyone gets pain, right? Everyone learns that you just have to suck it up and move on, right? After all, our jobs, families and other responsibilities don't allow us to be down with pain and physical problems. How many times have you heard someone tell you to just "buck up" or "suck it up" and move on? I bet if we were given a nickel for every time we heard that, we'd all be rich and wealthy.

Now I'm learning in life that there is another way. Of course, it took me going to the point of paralysis before I woke up a little. Yes, you heard me correctly. I was paralyzed from a Conversion Disorder, which is where you take various traumatic events in your life and just stuff them deep down inside until you can't function any more. It is rare to be in this psychological state, but unfortunately I'm living proof that it does happen. And if you want a wakeup call in life, trying being paralyzed and almost seeing your life end before your eyes. If that doesn't wake you up, not much will!

I suppose you're sitting here reading this and thinking, "what is this guy suggesting"? I'm glad you're asking that question. Then I'm assuming you're probably thinking - what's next, he's going to tell me to feel the pain? Wow, how did you hit the nail on the head so quickly? You're exactly right! And now I'm sure you're most likely sitting there reading this and probably uttering under your breath that I'm just plain nuts. Nope, this is first hand experience I am writing from here, and it isn't just a pie in the sky concept.

See, our bodies have a built in mechanism to help get our attention, and help us evolve or work through things in our lives to move us forward in life. That mechanism is "pain", "discomfort" and various other things. So often though, when the pain comes along, we say "we don't want to feel this", and we look for ways to numb it out, attempt to get rid of the pain, do surgeries to eliminate the pain and so on and so forth. However, in the end, we really didn't get rid of the pain, we just put a Band-aid on a gushing wound and thought we solved the problem. The source of the pain (the message) is still there in the body. All we've done is tried to silence the pain by applying Band-aids to it.

I know, I know - this concept may be totally foreign to you and you may be laughing so hard at me, but like I've said, I've experienced this concept over and over in my own life. If you think you have a high tolerance to pain, I would suggest that it is most likely your ability to numb out the pain - to not feel it, to act as if it doesn't exist. However, as I have learned in my own life and that of others, the more you try to numb it out or act as if it doesn't exist - the more the body says "I'll Get Your Attention". And the body will get your attention in some way or another. It doesn't give up. It keeps trying to say "hello, pay attention to me, I've got a message for you".

Most medical procedures, drugs, supplements, and many of the "feel good holistic therapies" out there just work to numb the pain. I get some information all the time in the mail about massage training that emphasizes “we get rid of pain or we eliminate pain”! I'm sorry, but that's not what is going to help anyone heal. It is by going into the pain, that we allow ourselves to heal. Yes, that is not easy to do and no, it is not comfortable, but when you connect the mind and body together as one without the fear, you can then go into the pain and find healing at the source level.

I'm not suggesting that you can do this on your own in the beginning, but I am merely trying to raise the bar of possibilities within our human culture. You may need someone that has already walked down the road, you are traveling to help show you the way. Ultimately, each of us has the ability to go past the fear, into the pain, and find healing for our lives. Healing doesn't come in some therapy, or some new age philosophy or a drug, doctor or surgery. Healing comes from within us. It is part of us and we are a part of it.

For legal purposes, please don't go stop what you are doing that was medically prescribed by your doctor after reading this. Check things out and take care of yourself in the proper way before you make a major change. There is a time and place for doctors, medications, surgeries and alternative treatments, but there is also a time and place for each of us to learn just how powerful the fears are in our lives and how much they prevent us from listening to our own bodies and our own internal health.

Learning to listen to your body and learning to go into the pain is one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself. It is the gift that keeps on giving. We were not put on this earth to exist in our human form. We were put on this earth to reach our full potential and to grow, learn and experience all that life has for us. Yes, many of us have been beaten down pretty bad in life. I am one of those, but the rewards of learning to be at one with your body are so much greater than the struggle through the process.

If you only remember one thing from what I’ve written, I hope you will remember that true healing comes from within - not from outside sources!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Grandmother Tree

A very good friend of mine, Juanita Mazzarella, wrote this poem and with the help of some of her friends put this to beautiful music and images. It is a very deep poem with such a deep message.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Body Memories, Abuse Memories & Trauma Recovery

I know I've been quite vague about what is going on and I'm not sure I'm at the point of writing too much yet. But I'll try to write a little so at least I'm not leaving everyone in the dark.

For the past few months, I have been going through intense itching on my body which of course led to a rash. It included a lot of body memory pains, night terrors, night sweats, and eye sight that was failing me. I have struggled to sleep in the past two months because either I could not shut my eyes for the terror that would hit me or if I got to sleep, I was waking up around 2am or 4 am. Many nights I sat up reading a book until daylight came where I could finally go back to sleep a little. However, the quality of sleep was lacking and so I was walking around as I was half asleep. It got to the point that I was crying at anything, everything and nothing all through the day. I felt an overwhelming sense of sadness that I couldn't shake and it was unlike anything I had ever dealt with before. I was struggling to get myself to eat as I had no appetite. Anxiety was through the roof and my anger levels were in the "rage" category. My mind would not stop racing no matter what I tried to do. I saw deformities in very personal areas of my body and I saw things change on my skin from moment to moment. At one point, I wondered if I had truly gone crazy. Believe me, I tried many things that I know work for me to get through this and nothing seemed to do anything.

Before Christmas, things got real rough and I was able to talk to Dr. Canali at several times which really helped. Right after Christmas, we made a trip to Miami and I had several sessions of work done on me. By the afternoon of the first day down there, I could already see an improvement. A lot came out and at least I went from feeling despair and hopelessness to possibility and hope that I could get through this. It was during one of these days, that I finally slept through a night without waking up. Of course that was short lived but it was a welcomed relief.

Right now, i'm doing better. Many of the physical symptoms have greatly reduced or are going away. Each day, I see an improvement. I'm still waking up at 2am or 4am almost every night. Usually when that happens, I go to my treatment table and do some work on myself which helps me move past it and allows me to fall back to sleep. Last night though, I slept through until 5am and then i struggled to get back to sleep until daylight hit this morning.

Today instead of just itchiness waking me up, it was a burning pain through out every inch of my body that just about drove me insane. My anxiety and anger levels were way up today and I was feeling like I was going back into that deep dark hole that I don't want to be in. So I once again, went to my treatment table and started working on myself with the tools I have to do this. It isn't easy doing it on yourself but we're too far from Miami to just get in the car and drive down at any time. After the work on the table my resting pulse rate dropped from the high 90's into the low 70's using my Finger Pulse Oximeter Octive Tech 300 Pro Pulse Meter to check this

Out of the work I did on myself today, a story emerged that is connecting the dots. I'm not ready to share that at all right now but up until now, all I had been getting was "implicit memory". Implicit memory is basically everything but the story or events - (example: kind of like feeling a car crash without knowing that you were in a car crash). I'm exhausted and wiped out at the moment but maybe now with the story that is emerging to connect the dots, I can finally begin moving beyond this. The itching and pain have already subsided from what they were earlier today. They may kick back up as I process things but I welcome any moments of relief.

I know that through all of this and healing from it, there is so much more waiting for me. I can already see and feel what those things are but right now, the pains are still pretty raw. I didn't ask to remember any of this but it sort of took me head on and I really have had no choice but to work through it (unless I wanted to remain in the physical situation I've been in). At the moment, even though I'm very tired, I can feel a big weight being lifted off of my body. And I do know, that there is a reason for all of this - that's what keeps me going.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Into The Itching, Through The Pain

Into the itching, through the pain and out comes possibility, hope and a new layer of life.

While I'm not back to 100%, things are much better now after some sessions at Evolutionary Healing Institute. While it seemed almost hopeless before going in for the session, by the end of that first day, much had changed. My body was in a hypersensitive state as the implicit memory of some past traumatic event was replaying itself over and over. At this moment, I only have bits and pieces of the traumatic event but that's about all that is in my conscious mind at this moment. The details are too sketchy to make sense of and right now, I'm fine with that.

In the few days since my sessions, my rash has gone down and is not as bothersome as it was. It does flare up but for the most part, it has greatly subsided. I have been able to sleep through most of the night rather than pacing the floors during the darkness of the night. Certain anatomical areas of my body are looking more normal and are not as swollen and deformed. The overall anxiety level has decreased greatly. Itchiness is drastically better than it was but now I'm feeling more of a burning sensation.

One of the things that was happening was that I could not sleep through the night. I would maybe make it until 2am or possibly 3am but that was about it. The night terrors, night sweats and thrashing around in the bed would get so great that I could not remain in bed. It would force me to get up and sit in a lighted room until the sun came up which then I could go back to bed and fall asleep.

Some of the things that I have done in addition to the sessions with Dr. Canali is taking oatmeal baths, using baby powder, sleeping with a night light on and some relaxing music, taking melatonin before I go to bed, taking Vitamin B for stress, using the Natural Calm product before going to bed.

If things pick up in the middle of the night which they still have, I've at least been able to go to my treatment room and do some work on myself. While it isn't easy going into the pain of this by yourself, I have found that if I can do this, than my body is able to drop back down which allows me to go back to sleep.

Through all of this, I'm learning just how much of a nervous system dysregulation itching and rashes are. Before this, I don't think I would have completely agreed and even in the midst of this, my doubts and fears sometimes win out. However, I know for a fact that on the table in my sessions, we are able to reproduce the symptoms of the rash, pain and itching and then we're able to watch it dissipate. If it was purely a physical phenomenon without any origination in the nervous system, than to create the symptoms and dissipate them on the table would not be possible. That is the part I hold on to because as I'm learning, the more I go into the pain (as uncomfortable and horrible as it may be), I am able to move beyond the itching and the pain.

The story behind this is still somewhat unclear and a mystery because right now "implicit memory" is what is showing up. In time, as this finds true healing, the story will most likely appear. But it isn't the story that matters - it is the healing through this deep layer that will give me the greatest awareness and growth in my life. Yes, there is a little boy that was traumatized very badly but as I heal these wounds, it will help me fulfill my life's contract and my life's purpose.

One of these days, I'll sit down and write about all of this in detail. I've been keep a journal of the individual moments to help me. One of the things that I have learned throughout all my healing is to write in a journal in whatever form that takes.

*For more articles, check out the Mind Body Thoughts Blog


Blog Post And Images (c) 1/01/07 by Don Shetterly
  • Permission required in writing before any part of this blog is reprinted, reworded, transmitted or used in any format.
  • Feel free to share the blog post LINK and a brief summary.

  • “Amazon, the Amazon logo, MYHABIT, and the MYHABIT logo are trademarks of, Inc. or its affiliates.”