The Trauma Vortex

The Adverse Childhood Experiences Study (or ACES) has demonstrated an important link between adverse early childhood experiences, early trauma, and life-long mental and physical health problems.  Understanding trauma and its effects has become an important topic of discussion, especially as it relates to health.  Despite having many of the ACES on the list, I avoided using the word trauma because I refused to believe that my early adverse experiences determined how I could experience my life.  But we DO need to acknowledge the weight of the past if we don't want to carry it into our future, but we're also EMPOWERED to become active agents in that process and in our healing. And in the process, do some major trauma chain-breaking as we go!  This is the first in a series on trauma that I'll do.

After you listen to the episode, you can learn more about the topics and people I mention below:

Read more about the ACES study here and here.

Watch pediatrician, Nadine Burke Harris’s Ted talk about the importance of this study here.

Waking up (is our path to freedom/is hard to do)

Waking up is our path to freedom.  Freedom to choose our relationship with ourselves and others.  Freedom to experience our lives in new ways.  Freedom to respond (to our children) in new and different ways. Waking up means to wake up from the unconscious and habitual patterns that keep us locked in automatic ways of being.  Waking up is our path to freedom, but it's not easy to do. 

The promise of neuroscience and neuroplasticity tells us, however, that that change is always - until our least breath - possible.  And though it takes dedication and courage, no singular path (to me) is more worth cultivating. 

Creation, Intention & Choice

Winter Solstice and the New Year present an opportunity to harness the energy of endings and beginnings. It's also a time of year to take stock of what matters most to us - what the heart wants - if we're willing to go deep and listen. Within each of us, in each moment, lies the seed of potential for how we relate to ourselves, others, and the world around us.  Recognizing ourselves as creators of our life experience, we can harness the energy of Winter by recognizing what it is that we want to grow in our lives. 

You are a powerful creator. What will you create this year? What are your top 3 heart desires for the New Year?  

Grief (Part II), Relationship & the Heart

Grief can be bad for us, but can it also be good for us? In 2016, after actress Carrie Fischer died of a heart attack, her mom, actress Debbie Reynolds, died two days later. People said she'd died of a broken heart. Did you know that, not only can grief cause the uncomfortable feelings we associate with the experience of a broken heart, but it can actually negatively impact your physical heart, your physical health and well-being? But our experience of grief can also promote heart health (whaaa?)! And it can enhance emotional resilience as well as feelings of connection, belonging, joy, and even love in the midst of it. How we relate to the experience of grief shapes how we're impacted by it, that's what we're exploring today.   

Don't forget to check out the center&ground mindfulness practice below!

The center & ground practice is a mindfulness/embodiment practice that you can do in under 10 minutes and, as a practice, it can help us find a sense of “ground” again when we meet the challenges of everyday life, and in the midst of loss. The key to a practice like this, however, is to practice in the calm moments so you’ll be prepared for the storm. Check it out, try it out, and let me know what you think!

A Story of Grief and Grieving (Part I)

We aren't typically taught how to relate to the experience of loss in life, and how to grieve.  You might think of grieving as something only associated with the loss of someone you love, but grieving is the process we go through when we confront the inevitability of loss in all its forms, and the threat to us as social animals that it evokes.  Our inability to be with the strong winds and forceful waves that are kicked up in cycles of grief leads us to an imbalanced relationship with it of either shutting down or becoming overwhelmed by emotions like sadness (or anger!).  In the first part of this 2 (or 3!) - part series focused on grief, we'll introduce this fundamental human experience and touch on why we need a whole-bodied relationship to the experience. 

And don't forget to share this episode with anyone who might benefit!

And don’t forget to watch the video below of a funeral Haka. Notice how watching it makes you feel - pleasant or unpleasant. Does it move you in some way? Does it make you uncomfortable to watch? Does it activate you in some way? We’re influenced by our families and cultures - displays of such powerful emotion, like in this vide, could make people feel uncomfortable. Come share your thoughts/ideas about it over here!

(On My Mind) Working with our kids' fear

The other night, when my daughter felt afraid of a house fire after an apartment block caught on fire in our little town, I realized quickly that trying to talk her out of her fear wouldn't be helpful. Like many of our fears, the level of fear she felt didn't match what was actually happening around her and it was keeping her awake.  The limbic-based experience of fear is one of feeling trapped and without choice and a path to safety. So I decided to get creative and together we worked with her feeling of fear in a way that helped bring her imagination and creativity online. In this mini-episode of the podcast, I'll share how I did that and how the experience helped her to regulate her own fear response. 

And don't forget to share this episode with anyone who might benefit!

The Wisdom in Their Feelings, Even the Icky Ones!

The other week, when my daughter told me the story of a friend she felt was treating her unfairly, I recognized how easy it would be - and often is - to slip into the "fix it" role with our kids and take away the discomfort they feel. Do you know the feeling, the urge to want to jump in and "fix" your kids' "problems"? But what if that discomfort is not a problem at all.  In fact, it's the essence of what connects her powerfully to her own internal guidance.  A guidance system she will need to be able to navigate her way through her life and relationships to come.  Our gift to our kids can be the ability to stay with our own discomfort as we allow them to stay with theirs as they learn to let that discomfort guide them and their choices. p.s. This same wisdom applies to us and our feelings as well...

And don't forget to share this episode with anyone who might benefit!

The 3 Important Features of Healthy vs Toxic Shame

I was feeling all the feels in this episode! We're taking an evolutionary and nervous system approach to looking at shame. Shame is an important topic, and for really good reason! But did you know that there's more than one function of shame, and more than one kind of shame? We're using shame all the time, but there are ways we can use it that are supportive, and even helpful at times, and there are ways that we use it as humans that can have profoundly negative effects on individuals and social groups.  The distinction is really important to know, because it can inform how shame manifests in our parenting.  We may also start to second guess how we use shame on the level of social engagement, because that matters, too. Have a listen and let me know what you think about shame!

And don't forget to share this episode with anyone who might benefit!

Don't forget the free PDF download that goes with this episode below!

click the image to download pdf

BAL008: Questioning the water we swim in & teaching our kids to do the same

We take for granted the things that we think we already know (about ourselves, about others, and about the world around us), but for anyone who's familiar with the ways in which we can suffer from the the beliefs we hold that limit us and keep us from our growth and expansion, we understand why it's important to open ourselves up and to take in new perspectives and new ideas. We could all benefit from some healthy skepticism about the beliefs we hold and the stories we tell ourselves and pass on, without awareness, to our kids. It can be difficult to challenge “what we think we know” because so many of our ideas have been with us for a long time and were often shaped in the earliest part of our lives, but we can learn to leave the door open to new perspectives and we can teach our kids how to do this as well. It’s an empowering way to get started in life…

BAL007: The Ghosts that Haunt us (Boo!)

Today is a Halloween-themed episode! And I’m excited about it because I get to talk about ghosts in today’s episode.  You might be wondering what on earth ghosts have to do with us as mothers, and to this idea of waking up and growing up? Well they have  so much to do with that, actually. Because ghosts are metaphors for the things we don’t want to face. So, there’s no need to be afraid - this podcast is about BOLD LOVE - and we’re going (together) to places that scare find...often...that what seems so scary from a distance is often nothing more than the call for us to come home again.  Life gets SO MUCH better when we learn to FACE our ghosts, so let’s get into the show!