How LifeForce Gets Stuck
I recently gave a talk for a group of caregivers in North Vancouver. I was
delighted to be able to share some information with them about how stress
can become trapped in the body, blocking the natural flow of lifeforce in our
system, which, over time, will lead to a variety of health problems. I think it’s
very important that knowledge of this material be spread, not only among
caregivers but also among the entire medical community and everyday folks
There are so many health problems, mental, physical and emotional,
that are mysterious to patients and doctors alike. Problems that have no
apparent clear cause, yet are very real in their effect on people’s lives – things
like fibromyalgia, depression, chronic anxiety, chronic pain, migraines,
irritable bowl syndrome, and many more.
What if I told you that all of these “diseases” are actually symptoms of one underlying problem?
This root cause is something that I hope will someday have a classification of it’s own! We could call it ANSD – Autonomic Nervous System Dysregulation, and it is this fundamental disorganization of the framework of our physiology that is, in my opinion, the number one cause of poor health in our world. Giving that talk to the caregivers was important to me, not only because I believe passionately in sharing this information, but also because speaking confidently in front of a group of strangers is something that I couldn’t have done a few years ago. The reason is that I too have suffered from ANSD – I have had to overcome anxiety, depression, chronic pain and digestive disorders myself and so I speak now not only from what I’ve learned in my training as a Somatic Experiencing Practitioner (an intricate and highly effective form of trauma resolution), but also from personal experience and struggle. Read on if you want to know more about how lifeforce gets stuck
and what you can do about it!
What is Trauma?
LifeForce becomes stuck in destructive patterns when we are traumatized, so the first step in understanding this process is to understand exactly what trauma is. The first thing to understand is that trauma is not an external thing that happens to us, it is the result of an internal response that occurs within us, an internal experience that is catalyzed by an overwhelming external event, or series of events.Fundamentally, trauma arises when the autonomic nervous system (ANS), the part of our body that governs all of our automatic functions, like digestion and heart rate variability, goes out of whack.The ANS also governs the survival energies – fight, flight and freeze -which are very powerful indeed. When these potent forces aren’t allowed to go through their full cycle of activation and deactivation we become traumatized and the lifeforce gets stuck.The other really important thing to understand about trauma is that it exists along a continuum. The range of the symptoms can vary from something mild, like slight anxiety around getting on an elevator, to really severe conditions like clinical depression, chronic fatigue and pain, or schizophrenia. It all depends on how much a person has been through and how much capacity they have to deal with life’s stressors. To sum up,trauma is a dysregulation of the autonomic nervous system that presents a wide range of symptoms from mild to severe.
How it happens:
I grew up as a child of divorce living in two-week increments in one household, then the other. In one household I always felt under potential threat, never knowing when my caregiver might erupt in rage. In the other house I learned a behavior of collapse and depression – the flip side of the ever-vigilant, anxious state. The cumulative experience of this, along with many other adverse experiences, completely discombobulated my nervous system and left me with a case of PTSD just as real, though admittedly not as severe, as in someone who has been through a war.
How did this happen?
Well, the answer is complex, but in a nutshell…. our natural responses to
stress, the way we would respond if we were mammals in the wild, have been
trained out of us. Instead of the natural cycles of fight, flight, and freeze
getting to play out to completion, they are met with repression, avoidance
and ignorance. Not only so we not know what’s going on inside us, for the most part we don’t understand that things should be vastly different. The repression of our wise old animal self is considered both normal and polite.
The thing is, in this modern, industrialized, face-paced, stressed-out
world there are many times each day that we, as mammals may feel under
threat, without even knowing it. The noise, pollution and overstimulating
chaos of city life can feel just as dangerous to our lizard brain as a tiger that is
chasing us. The abusive parent is perceived by our nervous system as threat,
the same way a charging rhino is, yet as kids we may be powerless to escape.
Understanding and negotiating this delicate dance between authenticity and chaos is essentially what I do with my clients in private practice. I help the client to better understand the stress responses that are happening within them and help them learn to feel these responses in a different way. We then can work together to get their system to place of safety, where it can start to release the stored up and stuck lifeforce that has been causing so much misery. It’s a delicate dance though.
It takes years to learn the patterns of repression that have replaced our instinctual wisdom and so it takes some time and patience to re-wire the brain and nervous system to respond differently. Also, many of us have been storing up stress in our system literally from birth, and releasing that held charge has to be dome slowly and carefully.
The Good News
“Trauma is hell on Earth, trauma resolved is a gift from the Gods”
– Dr. Peter Levine, creator of Somatic Experiencing
It’s not too late to get better! It’s never too late to learn how to engage
with stuck and misdirected lifeforce in a new way.
More good news – when the stuck places get released, when the misdirected energy starts flowing in a beneficial way not only do our aches, pains and woes start to disappear, we also have more vitality, more creative energy and a greater capacity to be with future stressful events.
If this process intrigues you and you want to know more, then feel free to sign up for my newsletter here. http://sethlyon.com/landing/ where you will get notices about future live group events.
Thank you Seth, for presenting to our group of caregivers. We appreciate your knowledge, wisdom and warm spirit. -KD