Monday, May 20, 2019

Would you like to dissolve traumatic stress around your pregnancy and birth?

Please join me this Thursday, 23rd May at 5pm GMT (Dublin), to tap on clearing and dissolving any traumatic stress you experienced during pregnancy, birth and beyond. The class is online with zoom (free to download). I will be working with a volunteer and you can tap along and borrow benefits. The cost is €15 for a 90 minute class, you can book by emailing me to find out more or pay directly for the class here.

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Human attunement

Attunement creates the safety needed to soothe our nervous system. It’s what Robert Stolorow calls a “relational home”. Attuned relationships with other humans (and animals) create a home for our true selves where we can develop a real sense of belonging.

Our brains, bodies and minds are formed according to our relationships, they are that important. I read a recent blog post by Mark Brady entitled “Are safe relationships all that really matter?” and I’m inclined to say yes to that.

If you study up on the polyvagal theory by Stephen Porges, you will see the crucial importance of our social engagement system. We don’t talk ourselves into this truth, our nervous system will do that for us. Our nervous system has evolved over millions of years and trying to override it gets us into all sorts of trouble.

Not having ‘relational homes’ sets up a real dilemma and catch 22 for those of us who haven’t had safe and nurturing relationships. We might try and convince ourselves that we can go it alone, though that rarely works out as we well know. Human connection is a valid need that there is absolutely no point in trying to bypass.

The good news is, our brain is plastic, we can get what’s called “earned secure attachment”, a phrase I’m not crazy about. What it essentially means is that we can learn to feel safe and good inside and have the relationships with others that help us thrive. It takes a lot of hard work, there’s no point in pretending otherwise, but it absolutely is attainable.

Monday, May 06, 2019

Tapping on the obvious

I’ve noticed that we don’t seem to tap on the obvious. We say the same things, have the same recurring dreams, see the same patterns repeating when we’re stressed, yet often we don’t tap on these things.

The most obvious things are hiding in plain sight, but because we’re so close to them, we often don’t see them as important to tap on. Or we discount them as too ordinary to tap on, after all, we’re looking for the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow aren’t we?

The holy grail or the root cause that will finally be the big breakthrough that we’ve been looking and pining for and maybe even believing that there’s something wrong with us because we haven’t had it yet.

But I think that most of us, have the smaller, less conspicuous breakthroughs that are incremental  and that we often don’t notice. When you see someone every day, you don’t notice the changes in them that someone who hasn’t seen them in a year will see and it’s the same with progress. We often don’t see or give ourselves credit for the things we’re doing differently, the stress we’ve dissolved, the internal conflicts that we’ve uncovered and the way we’ve grown.

I think we often want a short cut through our pain or an easier journey and that’s more than ok. None of us want to suffer. The truth is where we should all start and when you tap on the truth, mountains move.

Monday, April 29, 2019

Whatever you meet, you can go beyond

This very true sentence was written by Karen Brody in her book, Daring to Rest. Whatever we don’t meet, gets stuck on repeat. We’ll repeat it until we can meet it, digest it, experience it, complete it, finish it, accept it, even love it. There really is no way out except through.

It takes courage, support and resources to meet what we fear and in my experience what we fear and feel threatened by the most, are the sensations and emotions inside us that feel awful. The unfelt hurts and pain that we’re afraid will swamp and swallow us whole. But, as Joseph Campbell says: The cave you fear to enter, holds the treasure you seek.

The fear of pain and hurt often becomes greater than the hurt and pain. Struggling against the fear just doesn’t work. We need to ride the waves of difficult emotions and sensations instead of repeatedly crashing against them. When we have the experience of moving through something, our fear of it diminishes. We learn resilience, strength and the trust that we can handle what comes our way (with help and support).

Even though I’m afraid of meeting … I completely accept how I feel

Even though I can’t experience … I completely accept how I feel

Even though this … feels … I love and accept myself anyway

Repeat whatever words/phrases feel right on the tapping points.

Monday, April 08, 2019

Birth trauma class

The next EFT class will be on trauma during pregnancy, birth and postpartum. This is a really important time in everyone's life and the effects of trauma can last a lifetime (or many lifetimes as intergenerational trauma shows), if we don't resolve them.

The class will be held at 4pm GMT on Thursday April 25th by zoom (you can download it for free here). You can email me at my website: info[at]energyandintention[dot]com to attend/volunteer and I will send you an invitation to the class. The class costs €15 for 90 minutes.

I think many women are diagnosed with postpartum depression, among other things, when very often it is trauma they are suffering from.

Watch the beautiful video above to learn about the importance of safety to our nervous system. Safety, privacy and respect are all too rare in maternal "care" worldwide, unfortunately.

Monday, April 01, 2019

Tuning in

There are many different ways we can tune in to, and heal, what hurts. More and more research shows the benefits of art, theatre, exercise, dance, sound healing and so on in the healing of trauma. But indigenous cultures have known this for thousands of years, we so-called “civilised” people seem to have forgotten or lost trust in these ways.

We also know there are huge benefits to activating the vagus nerve for better physical and mental health. Using your own voice is a great way to improve the health* of the vagus nerve.

This song by Nirinjan Kaur uses chanting which, as Dr Bruce Perry points out, is rhythmic, patterned and repetitive. Sound healing (and other somatosensory methods) can touch parts of us that are hard to reach with talk therapy alone. The song is a kirtan kriya meditation, part of the kundalini yoga tradition, which holistic psychiatrist Kelly Brogan is an advocate of, she recommends this exercise for depression.

Here are the instructions for the kirtan kriya. I find following along with Nirinjan Kaur's version really powerful and moving.

4. Singing And Chanting – Humming, mantra chanting, hymn singing, and upbeat energetic singing all increase heart rate variability (HRV) in slightly different ways. Essentially, singing is like initiating a vagal pump sending out relaxing waves. Singing at the top of your lungs works the muscles in the back of the throat to activate the vagus. Singing in unison, which is often done in churches and synagogues, also increases HRV and vagus function. Singing has been found to increase oxytocin, also known as the love hormone because it makes people feel closer to one another". (Excerpt from article above).

Saturday, March 23, 2019

Unfinished business

There is nothing inherently wrong with the flight, fight and freeze response. They are absolutely necessary and have ensured our survival and evolution as a species.

Problems arise when we can’t complete these responses in the face of threat and danger and they get stuck. The reasons why they become stuck are many.

Fleeing and fighting aren’t viable options for babies and neither for older children in many cases, especially if the threat/danger is coming from their caregivers. So their only option is to freeze (Most people use the term freeze to refer to immobilisation, but the official term is tonic immobility. This is important to note just in case of confusion because in many studies you will see up to six threat responses and the term freeze will begin the sequence, but it does not mean immobilisation as this usually comes later if the preceding responses of flight and fight cannot be completed). Read more here.

There is another possible response between fight and immobilisation and that is fawn, befriend and appease. Children often learn that appeasing is their best defence against adults who are neglectful and abusive, although it does not work with every adult and in every situation.

Shame is another big reason why these responses can get stuck. In abusive and neglectful situations children are shamed for having needs, not being perfect, and sometimes just for existing and a very common response will be to collapse in order to make themselves smaller which acts as some form of protection. We can also feel shame for not having done enough. These early adverse experiences are the root of developmental trauma which can predispose us to more trauma later in life.

We have the ability to shut down both physically and psychologically in order to minimise any emotional and physical pain. We cannot separate the mind from the body, though we continue to do so because of very strong conditioning. Dissociation therefore is both psychic and somatic.

We can see just how valuable it is to be able to immobilise in the face of threat. However, if this sense of threat is internalised or we continue to shut down when there is no clear and present danger, problems can result. We become frightened of our own responses, emotions and body sensations and what we fear, we can’t process. This unresolved traumatic stress results in our system becoming inflamed, and we all know that chronic inflammation is the root cause of chronic disease.

What makes you need/want to flee?
What makes you need/want to fight?
What makes you need/want to appease?
What makes you need/want to shutdown?

It is really helpful, when you can, to determine where you are in terms of these responses. You can then use that state and your answers to the above questions in your tapping, for example:

Even though I want to flee and that makes me feel … I accept how I feel 

Even though I’m stuck in fight, I feel the need to fight when … I completely accept my response at this time

Even though I freeze (immobilise) when faced with … I accept that’s the way I’ve adapted to feeling/being threatened

Even though I don’t like the way I respond to threat, I am open to finding ways that work for me so I can find resolution and peace

Repeat whatever words/phrases feel right on the points.

Saturday, February 23, 2019

Is your body saying No?

If we're not honest about how we truly feel, our bodies will do our speaking for us. If we can't or won't say No, our body will say No. It will develop symptoms that will force us to say No.

When we muscle test, our muscles go weak when we don't tell the truth or lie. It's a diagnostic tool. Lying is exhausting, it weakens us and our physical and mental health. Start giving yourself permission to tell the truth, if only to yourself, by doing so, you’ll be taking the pressure off your body to speak your truth for you.

People often ask why do we affirm the "negative" in EFT, how we feel is not negative, it's the truth and the truth will set you free.

Watch this excellent video by Dr Gabor Maté, 21mins 26secs long.