Trauma affects each of us in some way. Either we’ve experienced it firsthand, or have been impacted by the traumatic history of others. Trauma is not just about the things that happened to us that should not have happened. These might include physical, sexual or emotional abuse; witnessing violence in the home; substance abuse or mental illness in family members; parental separation or divorce; a family member being imprisoned; a natural disaster or serious accident. Trauma also includes what didn’t happen to us that should have happened. We may have been neglected physically or emotionally because our parents were unavailable, preoccupied, or chronically stressed. We may have missed out on childhood experiences because we were expected to shoulder too much responsibility at a young age. Childhood trauma is the root of much mental illness. Judith Herman, author of Trauma and Recovery, distinguishes between a single incident trauma, such as surviving an … Continued
Category: Mental Health
Like all of you, I was shocked and saddened by Robin Williams suicide on August 11, 2014. I considered him a brilliant comedian and fine actor and remember him with a smile. When my children were younger, we gathered together to watch Jumanji, Night at the Museum, Patch Adams, Flubber and Aladdin – and knew we would have a good time. He captivated us and lifted our spirits with his staccato style humor and seemingly boundless energy. What a tragic loss to the world and his family. God bless you Robin. May you be at peace. Thank you for what you gave us. I was surprised to learn that Robin had suffered from longstanding depression and addiction – such a contrast to some of the characters he played on screen! I thought about depression, reflecting on some of the people I know whose lives have been crippled because of it, … Continued
Each of us has a unique role, a sacred contract with our soul – a mission and destiny, which if followed, brings much fulfillment and happiness – to ourselves and others. Sometimes we don’t recognize or accept our destiny and turn away from it, resulting in frustration and sadness from unfulfilled dreams and lack of meaning. We may deny our destiny because we are afraid of the commitment it requires, we don’t believe it is possible, or feel we are not up to the task. We may ignore or push away the inner voice that guides us onward. When we walk towards our destiny, though, we are filled with meaning and supported by the universe. Yogi Bhajan writes: The magnetic field on which the current of life runs computes thought waves and it is connected with the Supreme Computer; this connection is known as destiny. Everybody is born with a … Continued
Beyond Addiction: The Yogic Path to Recovery – Guidelines for Stopping Smoking Addiction is displaced longing – we all have a longing to be “at home” with ourselves, comfortable in our own skin, and to be loved. Often because of early childhood stress or abuse, lack of safety, or unmet developmental needs, we look for that longing in other places. Those other places can take the shape of a daily Starbucks coffee, a cigarette, a glass of wine every night before dinner, a closet full of shoes, marijuana a few times a week, checking Facebook every hour, a string of unfulfilling relationships, or the need to be constantly pushing for success. There are so many ways it expresses itself. We can do this for decades before realizing that what we are really looking for is unattainable from external sources. It all comes back to acknowledging the pain, hurt, discomfort or … Continued
We Identify with Our Complexes Rather than Our Spirit Though our reactive patterns served a particular function while we were growing up, our problem is that we identify with them as who we are and we allow them to rule us. We become stuck experiencing the world through the same pair of childhood glasses, not realizing that our vision is clouded by these experiences. We limit ourselves with an identity, no matter how functional it may be, of “I am a mother; or wife, or teacher, or human, or middle aged, or black, or doctor, or French, or Japanese etc.” When we say in a twelve step meeting, “My name is Jane and I am an alcoholic”, we are identifying with the complex of the alcoholic. A more truthful way of articulating this might be, “My name is Jane and I am a spiritual being who in the past used … Continued
Pregnant women can encourage life long health in their children by being relaxed during pregnancy. When women are stressed, their cortisol levels increase, which can have detrimental effects on the fetus, priming them to a lifelong exaggerated response to stress, and perhaps a susceptibility to addictive behaviour patterns to diffuse the stress response. Yoga and meditation are effective tools in pregnancy to decrease the stress response, protecting mother and child. A 2009 study published in the Int J Gynaecol Obstet Mar;104(3) explored the effect of yoga on stress and heart rate variability in pregnant women. One hundred and twenty-two healthy women between the 18th and 20th week of pregnancy in Bangalore, India, were randomized to practicing yoga and deep relaxation or standard prenatal exercises 1-hour daily. The results revealed that perceived stress decreased by 31.57% in the yoga group and increased by 6.60% in the control group. During a guided … Continued
To heal from any chronic illness, addiction or cancer, one must take stock of one’s limiting beliefs, false statements about oneself, unhealthy behaviour patterns, emotional responses to people, places and events, and lovingly release all that is in the way of total transformation. We become what we think, what we say to ourselves, what others project onto us and we accept, what we visualize and what we feel in our bodies. When we shift the way we think to honour our potential and all that we can become, when we visualize ourselves healthy and thriving, when we release the emotional blockages in our bodies and allow energy to flow freely, we create ourselves anew, and the seemingly impossible becomes possible. The vast power of the universe dwells within us. Recognize it and invite its awakening..