In An Unspoken Voice - Peter Levine

Pashalis

Ambassador
Ambassador
FOTCM Member
bm said:
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Pashalis said:
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Of course we encounter in life also constantly situations in which we are thrown into the bathtub of that "big thing" that is "to far away for us". Or situations in which we just have to face "the big thing". The same applies then: Try to find something "small" in that moment that you can "will" to do good or better, like moving differently. A good thing to always keep in mind in any given situation is "be externally considerate", it can give valuable insight into what we do in any given moment. And then try to think of "small things" you can do in that direction. As with everything else it needs practise.
[...]I will remind myself of that last paragraph - that is quite some precious advice. I find that if I keep a strong intent expressing humility in my interactions, things usually work out well. However, it takes a lot of energy to be humble, I realise. It's about being unselfish and considering the other as deeply as possible. That means you give up all your preconceived notions about life and everything you know, to SEE the person in front of you for who they really are. To give up automatic thinking for conscious apprehension of reality is an energy-consuming act and it seems like the greatest expression of love for another.
Yes it is amazing how little things like that can seem to be so difficult and energy demanding and yet are so very important for growth towards a real will. It is also amazing, even though we know rationally that it is a good thing to do it, our mostly automatic programs in the body and brain, think and act differently. I guess it has partly to do with the circumstance that most of us are not used to the practise of "external consideration" and "humility and patients" towards others.

We have behaved a certain way for so long that it has become the normal automatic condition and thus feels comfortable. Now if something new enters, like trying to make an extra effort to be external considerate towards others, all of a sudden we feel not that well anymore, since we are simply not used to activate those useful pathways in the body and brain. With constant practise, over a long period, of that "new thing", or to say it better, this more constructive behaviour, it becomes a useful habit that we can use for good.

Sounds to me like this wedding trip is a perfect opportunity to practise without judging yourself for "failures" so much. Indeed it sound like one of those "big things" for you, so you could try to make an extra effort to not measure yourself by "your ideal future self" there, but try to make small steps in that direction, so that you don't get overwhelmed. And yes the 4 "S" words are just some of those useful "small things" you can practise.
 

obyvatel

The Living Force
[quote author=bm]
I have an upcoming "big thing" happening next week, as a matter of fact. I'm to attend a friend's wedding in another country and I will be there for a week. I am quite apprehensive about the whole thing, and I can't really seem to shake the feeling of something bad happening. Part of me is happy that I feel more connected to the group and participating at hopefully a more open and honest level, and this part is a little afraid of being swept up by what's about to happen during this coming trip. I'm not sure if it makes a whole lot of sense. I think it's the whole fear of being "re-traumatized" that's egging me. It's actually a good reminder for me to firm up my travel plans and not leave things to chance, as much as possible.
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Do you have specific negative experiences with traveling or is it a generalized anxiety for being away from your routine? From what you have shared in the past, you have had positive experience traveling to a different country. So maybe keep that in mind to allay the anxiety? At the same time, do what is reasonable and under your control to ensure a smooth trip.

[quote author=bm]
I will remind myself of that last paragraph - that is quite some precious advice. I find that if I keep a strong intent expressing humility in my interactions, things usually work out well. However, it takes a lot of energy to be humble, I realise. It's about being unselfish and considering the other as deeply as possible. That means you give up all your preconceived notions about life and everything you know, to SEE the person in front of you for who they really are. To give up automatic thinking for conscious apprehension of reality is an energy-consuming act and it seems like the greatest expression of love for another.
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Maybe. I look at it differently though. Humility need not be about the other person. It is about me realizing and accepting my knowledge and abilities are limited and expressing that understanding in the way I act.
 

beetlemaniac

Dagobah Resident
FOTCM Member
Pashalis said:
Sounds to me like this wedding trip is a perfect opportunity to practise without judging yourself for "failures" so much. Indeed it sound like one of those "big things" for you, so you could try to make an extra effort to not measure yourself by "your ideal future self" there, but try to make small steps in that direction, so that you don't get overwhelmed. And yes the 4 "S" words are just some of those useful "small things" you can practise.
Thanks Pashalis. I will pay attention on pacing myself, and hopefully this will let the experience unfold slowly.
 

beetlemaniac

Dagobah Resident
FOTCM Member
obyvatel said:
bm] I have an upcoming "big thing" happening next week said:
[quote author=bm]
I will remind myself of that last paragraph - that is quite some precious advice. I find that if I keep a strong intent expressing humility in my interactions, things usually work out well. However, it takes a lot of energy to be humble, I realise. It's about being unselfish and considering the other as deeply as possible. That means you give up all your preconceived notions about life and everything you know, to SEE the person in front of you for who they really are. To give up automatic thinking for conscious apprehension of reality is an energy-consuming act and it seems like the greatest expression of love for another.
Maybe. I look at it differently though. Humility need not be about the other person. It is about me realizing and accepting my knowledge and abilities are limited and expressing that understanding in the way I act.
I did not think of it in that way. How interesting, it is a very mindful way to approach the subject. I appreciate this piece of wisdom. Instead of forgetting what you know, you accept that you do have knowledge. It makes more sense this way, rather than what I wrote - I think my approach would be tantamount to something like devotion and too biased towards the emotional center.
 

beetlemaniac

Dagobah Resident
FOTCM Member
I thought I would clarify a bit about my travel anxiety even with my previous experience travelling in another country. I feel that, though I had a good experience in general, and tried to make the best of it, I seem to have this overarching feeling of constantly being overwhelmed by everything that was happening. It's sympathetic hyperarousal, in a nutshell. I swing between the dissociation (immobility) and hyperarousal (fight/flight) and that makes my personality so unstable. Shades of bipolar disorder. Trying to control arousal is tricky - the sweet spot of social engagement is hard to reach and sustain because it's so darn evolutionarily new. The function of those older systems are so conserved for survival that any given chance situation triggers them.

I'm posting this while at the airport, through my smartphone. I'm keeping my senses online and paying attention to what's going on around me, and inside me. Babies crying, people talking, etc. Let's see what this trip is like.
 

Jones

Jedi Council Member
I had a thought about 'Sammy', the case study that Levine talks about where he worked with a 2.5 whose personality had changed after a traumatic experience:

Here is the story of Sammy, a two-and-a-half-year-old boy, where setting up a play session led to a reparative experience with a victorious outcome. [....] The following is an example of what can happen when an ordinary fall, requiring a visit to the emergency room for stitches, goes awry. It also shows how several months later, Sammy's terrifying experience was transformed through play into a renewed sense of confidence and joy.

Sammy has been spending the weekend with his grandparents, where I am their house guest. He is being an impossible tyrant, aggressively and relentlessly trying to control his new environment. Nothing pleases him; he displays a foul temper every waking moment. When he is asleep, he tosses and turns as if wrestling with his bedclothes. This behaviour is not entirely unexpected from a two-and-half-year-old whose parents have gone away for the weekend - children with separation anxiety often act it out. Sammy, however, has always enjoyed visiting his grandparents, and this behaviour seemed extreme to them.

They confided to me that six months earlier, Sammy fell off his high chair and split his chin open. Bleeding heavily, he was taken to the local emergency room. When the nurse came to take his temperature and blood pressure, he was so frightened that she was unable to record his vital signs. This vulnerable little boy was then strapped down in a 'paediatric papoose' (a board with flaps and Velcro straps). With his torso and legs immobilised, the only parts of his body he could move were his head and neck - which, naturally, he did, as energetically as he could. The doctors responded by tightening the restraint and immobilising his head with their hands in order to suture his chin.

After this upsetting experience, mom and dad took Sammy out for a hamburger and then to the playground. His mother was very attentive and carefully validated his experience of being scared and hurt. Soon, all seemed forgotten. However, the boys overbearing attitude began shortly after this event. Could Sammy's tantrums and controlling behaviour be related to his perceived helplessness from this trauma?

When his parent's returned, we agreed to explore whether there might be a traumatic charge still associated with this recent experience. We all gathered in the cabin where I was staying. With parents, grandparents and Sammy watching, I placed his stuffed Pooh Bear on the edge of a chair in such a way that it fell to the floor. Sammy shrieked, bolted for the door and ran across a footbridge and down a narrow path to the creek. Our suspicions were confirmed. His most recent visit to the hospital was neither harmless nor forgotten. Sammy's behaviour told us that this game was potentially overwhelming for him.
Then Levine and the other adults set up a play exercise that both increased Sammy's confidence in being pinned down and delivered a means for him to experience a successful escape. They started out by pinning Pooh Bear under the covers of a bed, and them all helping to get him out, and celebrating Pooh Bears escape. Each of the adults then took turns in being pinned down by the covers, and escaping, followed by celebration. As Sammy's confidence in the game grew, he also helped the others escape. Finally they pinned Sammy down and allowed him to successfully fight his way out while they also helped him escape, finishing with a celebration for a successful escape. Levine tracks the growth in excitement and confidence in Sammy as the game progresses and how Sammy exhibits more power and triumph instead of hyperactive avoidance and aggression.

That reminded me of particular games I used to play when I was a kid.

I remember reading that olympic swimmer Steve Holland used to pretend there was a shark following him in the pool. I wanted to be a faster swimmer so that's what I used to do - dive in, pretend there was a shark chasing me, swim the lap as fast as I could and get out the other end imagining that a shark was snapping at my feet. The thing is, it did give a sense of triumph and confidence, even though imagining the shark could increase stress!.

We also used to play a version of hide and seek of a warm night that involved getting from point a) to point b) without being spotted by someone with a flash light.

So I wonder if, being a little childlike and playing these games could help reduce the impact of trauma, and that we suffer more as adults because we stop playing?
 
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