Monday, June 21, 2010

What is emotional maturity?

In relationships we are continuously negotiating. We are negotiating to have others respond in a preferred way to us.
Sometimes we are direct in asking another for what we would like and we respectfully accept their response whether positive or negative.
Sometimes we know the other well enough to use subtle manipulation to get what we want without them being aware of the request but responding in a habitual pattern.

The point is that we are more often than not negotiating for something, whether it is love and acceptance or affirmation or soothing.

Most of us are simply trying to manage our internal experience, specifically the subtle and not so subtle responses of our autonomic nervous system. The autonomic nervous system includes the parasympathetic relaxation restorative branch and also the sympathetic branch that initiates fight flight, and freeze responses in our bodies.

When our nervous system is responding to a threat, whether it is conscious or non-conscious, we experience to various degrees a change in our inner or body felt experience. Our body prepares to fight or flee; or in circumstances where we can neither fight nor flee successfully we can experience a freeze response.

In this modern culture we are seldom in danger of being physically harmed. Threats are perceived in the form of imagined negative future events or threats of a more personal nature. These threats are primarily relational. When my wife complains that she is tired and needs help, do I consciously or even non-consciously feel threatened? Is my core belief of not being good enough triggered and does my body go into a threat or fight flight response? Do I respond by defending myself, do I become angry and aggressive, or do I simply withdraw? This type of threat response cycle happens many times during the day for each of us as we engage in relationships.

Problems arise in our relationships because we are not aware of the primary reason we respond in a negative or less than helpful way to those around us. We have not been taught to listen to the subtle felt states of our autonomic nervous system. Instead we have been conditioned in our early relationships to ignore our internal state (or what is really true for us) and respond, hopefully, in a way that will promote the relationship. However, our capacity or desire to respond in a favorable way breaks down when we are experiencing too much stress (more than we can cope with) or when we feel resentful towards others.

In order to change the unhealthy and negative interactions we have with others we have to become emotionally mature. This means learning to be aware of the internal sensations of our autonomic nervous system and take responsibility for how we respond to our body's (and often our mind’s) response to a perceived threat. As in the example above, it is not my wife’s responsibility to ensure that my core belief of inadequacy (core beliefs exist, often below conscious awareness) is not triggered by her remarks that may stimulate a threat response in me. If I am going to be free to choose my response, I will have to learn to become aware of my inner felt experience and recognize what I am responding to. These patterns of response normally originate early in our lives and become stronger through our sensitivity to situations that support our core negative beliefs.

A ‘good’ relationship is not about teaching our partner how we would like them to respond to us. They will never get it just right and we will always be oriented toward changing their behavior rather than our own.
If we want to be free we will have to learn to be aware of our felt experience, stop thinking thoughts about how someone else (my partner) has done something wrong to me, and allow our nervous system to settle, as it will naturally do once the perceived threat no longer exists. We can focus on soothing ourselves in a healthy way by breathing consciously or walking away from what is stimulating us. When we cannot do this on our own after some practice, it is often because we are suffering from traumatic stress due to one or perhaps many overwhelming and threatening events in our life. Resolving our past traumas is not something we can do on our own. A significant component of every trauma is relational; trauma happens in relationship and is healed or resolved in relationship.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Abundant Love

Love exists, in fact, infinite Love is available to everyone.
If you are not experiencing Your Love and Bliss accept the help that is being offered by so many who have opened to the Truth. We settle for so little when so much is available to us. We settle for what we’ve been told and taught about ourselves and the nature of reality. We live in our old patterns, believing the core negative beliefs about ourselves. Believing that what is lacking within us must come from others and the material world, or by trying harder to be something we are not. We orient to the world (and our relationships) from a cognitive management position. When we are suffering we try even harder to manage our experience, which takes us even further from the Love that exists in and through each and every one of us. Let go of your heart and let go of your head. Feel the energy within. Open to whatever arises. Do not try to understand. BE.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Motor Vehicle Accident Trauma

Motor vehicle accidents can cause far reaching reactions in our bodies that disrupt our quality of life, leave us unable to work, cost thousands of dollars in treatment, and exact untold hours of chronic pain and suffering. A study in the American Journal of Psychiatry (April 1999) determined that most auto accident victims showed symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, that symptoms remain high more than nine months after the accident, and that women are more likely than men to suffer lingering symptoms.
According to a paper, “Victims of Traffic Accidents: Incidence and Prevention of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder,” (Brom, Kleber and Hofman) accident victims tend to compulsively re-experience parts of the accident or the whole event. They have a tendency not to remember what has happened, be unwilling to discuss the event, or feel emotionally numb. They experience feelings of guilt, depression, behavioral changes, feelings of anger and anxiety, and sleep disturbances that can last for months or even years.
Other symptoms include being more irritable than usual, gaining or loosing weight, having trouble sleeping, finding yourself suffering from a lack of interest or a greatly increased interest in sex, or simply not feeling like yourself.
When we are unexpectedly involved in a motor vehicle accident our nervous system is instantly aroused to mobilize us for survival. The energy available to us in that life-preserving defense is vast; it is the energy that allows a one hundred pound mother to lift a car and rescue her trapped child even when her muscles tear and bones break. When we cannot defend ourselves through the fight or flee responses, when we cannot respond purposefully, that vast survival energy gets locked into our bodies and our minds.
The energy of the event manifests as trauma symptoms. Our necks and backs brace and seize up in painful spasms. Our nervous system is so aroused that we cannot sleep or rest well. Our minds begin to fret in anxious worry. We may begin to develop a phobia of driving or more general anxieties. When this goes on for months we become fatigued and depressed from the pain, lack of sleep, and feelings of anxiety and helplessness.

Somatic Experiencing as a treatment modality for trauma related to motor vehicle accidents

Somatic Experiencing incorporates techniques and understanding from traditional medical, psychological, and physical therapies. What distinguishes Somatic Experiencing from these traditional treatments is how it identifies and works with what happens in the autonomic nervous system during an overwhelming life event. Shock trauma is experienced directly in the body, affecting us physically even more than emotionally or cognitively. Somatic Experiencing incorporates a strong focus on empowerment, resiliency, and resourcing. Moving through extreme trauma helps people call on powerful capacities within themselves; capacities that, as a hidden gift, can actually lead to a more stabilized existence than before they were injured.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Suicide

If you are thinking about suicide, the way you feel about yourself and your situation is not a reflection of who you are. You can reconnect with your intrinsic goodness.
We all have hearts that are capable of Love. When we loose hope and have only negative feelings about ourselves we can’t see our way out. Suicide seems like the only option. Killing yourself is not the best choice, reconnecting with your goodness is. This may sound impossible from where you are right now, however your heart and your goodness are never far away. I can show you the way. It is a profoundly simple process, perhaps challenging at times, but simple.

Relationships

Relationships are the fruit of life; our relationship with others, our relationship with life, and the relationship we have with our Self.

When we suffer, when we are unhappy, when we struggle, we are failing in our desire to be in relationship.

The way we experience our relationships is directly related to the relationship we have to our Self.

Feeling alienated in relationship to others or life is evidence that our relationship to our Self is impoverished.

Our challenging life experience, traumas, and conditioning by mainstream culture contribute to alienation and impoverishment from Self, others and life.

Reconnect with your Self, Others and Life. Enjoy the Riches, Love, and Beauty inherent in You!
Richard knows the journey well, let his calm loving presence and skillful invitation to experience your natural harmonious state of Being help guide you home to your Self.

Counselling

As a registered clinical counsellor I have focused intensely on these 3 questions: Who am I? What am I? and What is life? The answers to these questions do not reside in our mind’s thinking process; the answers do however reveal themselves through intense practices of self-inquiry. The answers arrive through a direct sense of knowing, similar to the sense of knowing you may experience as you feel your love for someone or something very dear to your heart. They also arrive through higher states of consciousness than we normally experience. States of consciousness that transcend and include all that lie with them.
What my inquiry into these questions has revealed to me is that I am, you are, we all are, the expression of one unitary consciousness. Our unique expression of the unitary consciousness is fundamentally good and motivated by Love. I express this not to convince you to believe, but to invite you to truly and deeply experience for yourself the depth of your being and the qualities of You.