As those of you who follow these experiments know oh so well, I always end them with a request for you to allow curiosity to be your constant companion. Curiosity is more accessible when we are free of fear, when it’s safe to explore and wonder about the world around us, our lives, and any other kind of inquiry. Read More “Week 640: Curiosity As A Constant Companion”
Over the course of the past year, it has disheartened me to see how many people on Facebook and in other social media contexts have become comfortable using language that is attacking rather than curious, inviting, clarifying, or compassionate. Not only are the words being used distressing through their intention to diminish or humiliate other people, but the anger inherent in these posts—anger that doesn’t suggest solutions or options—is decidedly jarring.
In my years of teaching about trauma resolution, I’ve drawn on something one of my dear friends and teachers taught me many years ago… Read More “694th Week: Practicing Mutual Empowerment”
One of the things that most of us find challenging is to manage uncertainty. It’s a natural response to be uncomfortable with not knowing what’s going to happen next or where we are headed, individually and collectively. For some people, finding conspiracy theories offers an experience of “knowing what’s going on” that calms the discomfort most of us feel around uncertainly. For others, anxiety becomes a constant companion and they have difficulty truly soothing themselves. For yet others, becoming numb and shutting down is their natural response to constant and mounting uncertainty.
Also, I want to affirm that having a response to uncertainty is certainly normal and not necessarily something that needs the kind of process I’ll describe below, so please be gentle with yourself when circumstances elicit discomfort and anxiety about the future.
As I’ve been thinking about how we can expand our capacity to be uncomfortable and find some degree of equanimity, I found myself thinking about a concept I have taught for many years—a process of uncoupling trauma-based associations, called over-couplings in the Somatic Experiencing® world. Let me define these terms as I did when teaching SE.
Trauma over-couplings are associations that become “glued together” during times of overwhelm or distress. These are individual elements of experience or learnings that actually don’t belong together. One common trauma-based, attachment-oriented over-coupling is: If I do what I want, they (whoever “they” might be) won’t love me. Those two things don’t really belong together and especially so in adult life. Another common trauma-based over-coupling is: Unless I know what’s going on, I won’t be safe. The problem with trauma-based over-couplings is that they predict something that may not, or probably won’t, happen. They often arise from childhood experiences where we were not only ill equipped to have options available to us but when we also weren’t mature enough to understand what was happening.
I’d like to offer one way to deal with these trauma-based over-couplings. I called it “therapeutic dissociation” in my book, Getting Through the Day, but it’s actually a form of uncoupling adult awareness and options from those arising from earlier overwhelming experience.Read More “812th Week: Managing Uncertainty”