A Message From Body: The Paradox Of Differentiation Within Oneness

Body here.

I love you all, and, I’m a little grumpy.

I am grumpy because I am the least recognized part of what is considered Divine and I often get ignored, taken for granted, used as a “vehicle”, and abused.

I am what gives everything form. Without me Creation would be, well, nothing. It would be formless chaos. I am that which gives you all your individual forms as well.

Can you imagine how frustrating it is for me, to be referred to again and again by most of your “spiritual” leaders as simply a “vehicle” for consciousness? Like I am a car that you drive?

Listen up all you spiritual leaders, I AM CONSCIOUSNESS AS WELL. I am simply fleshy consciousness. I am stars, I am nebula, I am gases and dust. I am your Light Body, and I am your toenail. Get it?

Sorry, like I said I am bit frustrated after all these Aeons of going mostly unrecognized. Especially when I hold the key to you realizing your full potential!

If the form is broken or sick, then the energy that animates it cannot function effectively either, so with that in mind, let me offer an explanation for the fundamental paradox of individualization within Oneness.

All of your great spiritual teachers talk about how “everything is One” – that these bodies, this reality, is merely a stage through which undifferentiated consciousness expresses and experiences itself. That “I” does not exist, and that none of this is “real”.

This is so close to the truth, but it needs a couple “ANDS” to be fully accurate.

Yes, we are undifferentiated Oneness experiencing itself through consciousness…

AND

…we are also individualized soul rays that stretch out from Source throughout the spheres of Creation. We each have our own unique soul “personality” or flavour of the One, which is often quite different from the ego-based personality which gets formed by the suffering we all experience here.

And a note an ego – it’s not bad either, it’s what let’s you differentiate yourself from everything else. Without it, you would have no idea where you stop and everything else begins, and while I know that this kind of undifferentiated Oneness is seen as an ultimate goal by “enlightened” people, they are missing a big piece of the puzzle. The ego simply gets over-identified with and clung to tightly because of suffering, but it is a necessary part of form.

Yes, we are beings of consciousness that exist fundamentally as Light

AND

Our unique soul ray is meant to have form in order to experience Creation in all it’s wonder; in this sense we ARE our flesh and blood body and at the same time we are pure consciousness. If we do not learn how to effectively BE our body, we cannot even access the necessary parts of our mind that make the experience of Oneness consciousness possible, because we will be suffering too much.

It’s complex and beautiful and full of paradox – we are One and we are individual. That was the whole idea from the get-go. If Source had been content with undifferentiated oneness it would not have blown itself up into this Creation.

The whole point was to create individualized co-creators with form, or Body, that are at the same time, an undifferentiated part of the One through consciousness; and I feel that there will be more juicy goodness and wonder in store for you if you focus on healing, developing, and BEING your physical self, so that you may experience all of it’s sensual delights (which can include more etheric experiences as well), rather than meditating yourself into an undifferentiated bliss plane.

That Oneness state is really something that is meant to exist in the background and inform your ability to have empathy, compassion, and attunement with others, and not so much meant to be a permanent state of being, though working on developing that consciousness may be useful for those who are over-identified with external material objects and illusory power.

It’s all about balance, and right now your spiritual traditions are much too heavily weighted towards the “All One” idea, and not nearly focused enough on the wisdom to be gained from doing the work necessary to simply Be your Body.

So please take care of me! Learn how to listen to, follow, and express the signals I give you, work to heal the trauma that is stored within my cells, and keep me strong and healthy, for I love you, and I am you.

 


 

An important PS – This was basically a channeled piece that came from tapping into the messages that Body wanted to share about our current spiritual traditions and how they are missing a big part of the picture by thinking that the body, and the reality we experience, “is an illusion.”

I used to be firmly in this camp before I discovered the realities of my own trauma, how the nervous system and accompanying physiology reacts to trauma, and what needs to happen to heal it. For example…

  • I once went seven years without brushing my teeth because I was convinced that meditation and being connected to Spirit would take care of everything. Nineteen fillings later… big remorse.
  • I didn’t understand the realities of parenting and the kind of boundaries children need in order to be properly cared for. I trusted that “God will care for my child, and he has his own path that I must not interfere with”. Wrong, very wrong. Children NEED us to teach them about boundaries and what is safe and what is not, as well as help them to develop self-regulation by experiencing attuned co-regulation with us.
  • I didn’t exercise or pay attention to things like posture and proper body mechanics, because the “body is just an illusion”. Oops…. Chronic back problems that are only now resolving. Now, finally for the first time in my life, thanks to honouring my need for intense physical activity, I feel what it’s like to be fit and climb a mountain and experience what the whole “hiker’s high” is all about.

So yeah, the body is very, very important, as is learning to listen to it, honour it, and care for it. And if I want to really be 100% accurate I should say… learning to listen to you, honour you, and care for you.

Yes, you ARE your body.

AND

Yes, you are infinite, eternal consciousness.

Enjoy.

 

The Powerful Roots Of Porn Addiction (and what you can do about it)

This is a really tough one.

I’ll start by saying right out that when it comes to this subject I can speak not only from my lens as a somatic trauma specialist, but also from extensive personal experience – both as a sufferer of porn addiction, and as a triumphant victor who overcame it.

Also, porn use does not necessarily equal porn addiction.

When it comes to addiction it’s not about the thing, it’s about the motivation, the urgency, and the underlying associations. Addictions are ways that we find to manage and soothe our trauma and can take many, many forms – drugs, food, exercise, shopping, whatever. So to be clear, this article is not about porn use, it is about porn addiction, and the deep roots in our society, and in fact our very DNA, that fuel and enable it.

* * * * * * *

I grew up in an abusive environment, of which there are many, many kinds.

Mine was the kind where, on one hand, the environment was one of strict control and walking on eggshells with emotional, mental, and even some physical violence waiting to erupt should I step out of line.

On the other hand (my parents divorced when I was two and I switched back and forth between their houses every two weeks) there was the safe house. At the safe house I was free to be messy, free to be emotional and to rage – venting some the pressure that had built up at the other house. And yet, there were much more subtler dysfunctions in this household that were not abusive per se, but that had a profound effect nonetheless.

There was an air of guilt and very subtle emotional manipulation that was mostly delivered unconsciously in the subtext, and a clingy, smothering kind of emotional need that permeated an atmosphere of depression.

These two environments, which were almost the polar opposite of each other, resulted in me being hyper vigilant and constantly on edge and anxious on the one hand, and collapsed into depression and lethargy on the other – in other words, I got screwed up.

On top of all that, though I have no clear memory of it, I’m pretty sure that I was sexually molested as a young child outside of the home as well.

Underneath all that, I was circumcised – an incredibly traumatic experience which linked violence and violation with the sexual organs in the somatic unconscious, and also established an unconscious hatred of the feminine because my mother did not protect me from that experience, and was reinforced by my isolation and separation from her in an incubator due to being born six weeks premature.

(Just to be clear – I don’t blame my mom or my dad for any of this, as they are basically good and loving people who didn’t know any better and were simply replaying the unresolved intergenerational trauma that they themselves were handed down, for more on that, check out this past article)

It is any wonder then that I turned to porn as a teenager, once my hormones started going berserk?

Masturbation is a powerful, pleasurable experience that, when coupled with porn which is all about looking and not about feeling, gives one absolute control over that powerful pleasurable experience along with the illusion of interaction with others – something my body desperately wanted. It was both safe and socially engaging in an ultimately false, yet compelling way. With porn I was in command and could pause, rewind, skip ahead, etc… I was in charge of both my own body, and the fiction that was portrayed.

This makes total sense and I imagine lots of people turn to porn and other forms of sex addiction as a way to manage and deal with their trauma, but the roots of porn addiction are much deeper than that and reach their tendrils way back into the Stone Age.

 

The Caveman Experience

“Ugh! Grog want sex! Mmmmm… Grog see woman. Need woman for sex. Grog drag woman into cave and have sex. Grog satisfied.”

That’s pretty much how it went for a long time. That’s the approach and fundamental response to the sexual drive that is STILL influencing men’s attitudes and behaviours around sex to this day. This is the case in the entire animal kingdom – the male takes what he wants and it generally isn’t too enjoyable for the female.

I think it’s pretty obvious how this plays out today in the dating world, relationships, adult film industry, and advertising and media in general. Essentially, many men are still, deep down, infantile cavemen when it comes to navigating the reproductive drive, and I was no exception.

This is why this particular addiction is SO VERY DIFFICULT to come out of; it is rooted in ancient behaviours embedded in our very DNA, and the energy that fuels it is one of the most powerful life energies that exists on the planet: The drive to reproduce and continue the species.

 

It’s Normal

As I mentioned we see evidence of this all around us in the objectification of women – it’s normalized. It’s not uncommon for boys of all ages to gather together and watch porn, to send pictures of porn, including naked pictures of their own girlfriends, to each other, and to generally behave like jackasses ruled by their genitals.

(If you have Netflix and don’t mind edgy comedy check out “Louis CK: Hilarious” from 12:20 – 14:10, for a brilliant and hilarious depiction of this).

Usually if your typical guy gets confronted by his partner about watching porn or sexting, etc… the response is generally, “what’s the big deal?! Everybody does this, it’s a normal part of sexuality!” And the truth is, that is accurate.

Ancient Sumeria and Egypt had porn, Ancient Greece had porn, Rome had porn, The Persian Empire had porn, The Middle Ages had Porn, The Renaissance had porn, the Victorian Era had porn, The Industrial Revolution had porn, we have porn. Granted though, the porn from these past eras was far more innocent and innocuous than what we generally see today.

This brings up an important distinction. I’m not a prude and I’m not saying all porn is “bad” or that anyone who consumes it is immoral in some way or an addict. There is a some porn and erotica out there that is quite innocent and even beautiful and artistic and, like I said at the beginning, a person can consume something and not be addicted to it, porn included.

I’m talking about the trend towards really violent, degrading porn that brutalizes women which has become the norm at this point on the internet, and this has a lot to do with the tolerance an addict develops towards their drug of choice, causing them to need more intense doses. The industry keeps making more and more intense and violent porn because the innocent stuff looses it’s effectiveness for the addict, and addicts make up the bulk of their audience. Someone who writes extensively about this is neuroplasticity pioneer and author Dr. Norman Doidge. If you want a more in-depth take on the normalization of destructive porn and the effects on neuroplasticity, check out this excerpt from his book, “The Brain That Changes Itself”.

This increasing trend towards brutality and the violent objectification of women is just part of what Dr. Gabor Maté refers to as the “toxic normal”. There are many things about our society that are “normal”, and yet are still totally destructive and counter to our successful evolution as healthy, potent, decent human beings.

Another toxic norm that plays powerfully into the hands of sexual dysfunction and addiction, and in the domination of women in general, is circumcision. I’m not saying that circumcision causes all this, but it’s part and parcel of the paradigm of shame, sexual repression, and denial of the body that permeates our culture, and I believe that if it is not addressed or repaired it establishes a deep, unconscious hatred toward the feminine and links violence with sexuality in the somatic unconscious; plus, it vastly decreases the sensitivity of the organ itself which makes rougher stimulation a necessity in achieving orgasm. This can be repaired to a great degree though, by healing the trauma and by becoming proficient at some of the energetic practices I describe at the end of this article.

 

It’s Not Easy

Here is a hard truth – most men who are addicted to porn are not ready to face this issue and change themselves at this level, and this connects back to the fact that not only is porn addiction usually rooted in trauma, abuse, guilt, shame, or unconscious acceptance of the societal norm, it is rooted in our DNA and fuelled by the force of Creation itself.

In other words, it is fucking hard to change.

If you are reading this and know that you are addicted to porn, or if you don’t consider yourself necessarily addicted but find yourself engaging with it nonetheless, and if you actually want to change that … congratulations!! You are in the vast minority and you are to be commended. I’m sending you a big man hug.

Now, prepare yourself… If you really want to change this, get ready for a hard road where you will often fail. Sorry, that’s how it is. If I try to make it sound like fundamentally changing your relationship with sexuality is no big deal, I would be doing you a disservice. It’s a big deal.

I wanted to beat my porn addiction decades ago, and it has taken that long to truly be free of it.

If your relationship with porn is more rooted simply in unquestioning acceptance of what was modelled for you, and not also tied in with guilt, shame, abuse, and management strategies like mine was, it will be easier for sure, but still hard; for we are confronted by, stimulated by, and enabled to behave in accordance with pornography and all it represents at every corner.

If you are a woman reading this and you want your man to stop looking at porn, it’s time to be realistic. Unless he is someone who is deeply committed to changing himself, unless he is someone for whom a path of healing and evolution is a primary focus – meaning he’s doing it because HE wants to change, not because you want him to – it ain’t gonna happen. Better to either learn to accept him the way he is, or move on.

Also, I am speaking thus far as if this is a heterosexual male problem and that is, in the vast majority of cases, the truth. But everything I’m about to share in the next section can also apply to heterosexual women who are addicted to porn, to gay women and men, and really to anyone with pain and trauma around sexuality, no matter their gender identity or orientation. Even though this addiction manifests most commonly among heterosexual men this is fundamentally a human problem, and we are all human.

With that all said, let’s look at some things you can do to beat porn addiction.

 

How To Escape Porn Prison

I’m going to write this basically by talking about what worked for me, and I’m pretty much a worse-case scenario when it comes to porn addiction, in that I had all the elements in play that go into making this addiction super hard to beat.

One of the most important approaches involved with successful trauma healing (which is what is fundamentally needed in order to truly recover from, and not just manage, any addiction) is titration, which is a term from organic chemistry which means adding a drop at a time into a solution until a change occurs. If you try to go cold turkey with this it most likely won’t work, or it may seem to work but then the addiction will emerge in another way – food addiction, drug use, excessive exercise and adrenaline-filled activities, emotionally abusive behaviour, etc… meaning, it didn’t work. This is why titration is so important.

These are all ways to titrate that change, and approach porn addiction from many angles.

 

  • Do it anyway, with consciousness, and then forgive yourself: Sure, resist the urge as much as you can, that’s great and necessary and a way to build capacity for enduring, and eventually re-directing, the energy. But eventually, at least for quite a while, you will give in. When this happens go ahead and look at porn, jerk off, whatever – but be aware of what you are doing. Consciously say to yourself “well, here I go, I guess I can’t fight this anymore and I’m going to give in”. Then when it’s over really make room to feel what you feel – there is most likely a sense of shame there, or guilt, or disgust – acknowledge it and forgive yourself, remember that you are a victim of societal programming and/or abuse, and move on. One of the first steps in truly changing any addictive pattern is to change the way you engage with that pattern – meaning with consciousness and acceptance, rather than unconsciously and reflexively.

 

  • Bring the material you consume more in alignment with Love: There are all kinds of porn out there, from horrifically atrocious and violent, demonic abuse (thankfully I was never into this camp but I saw enough to know it exists), to homemade porn that is made by couples who actually love each other which is more innocent, and even erotica that is quite artistic and beautiful. If you gravitate more towards the former camp, which is pretty normal if you have been abused, then start moving towards the latter. You may not get the same kind of thrill, but it should be enough to get the job done – there’s plenty of hot porn out there made by folks who love each other, and if you can free yourself from the really violent stuff, or material that features young, or exploited teen girls, then you will have made a significant shift in the amount of dark energy you are interacting with, which will make the recovery easier.

 

  • If you have a girlfriend or spouse, and if they are willing, actually do the stuff you are fantasizing about: Ladies (or men, if the roles are reversed), if your man wants to change, and if he is also pursuing other steps to do this, and you want to support his process, this may be one way to do that, if you are willing and able to do so without being in denial of yourself. A lot of porn addiction is rooted in guilt and shame and feeling like it’s not ok to want what we want. Please note that I am NOT recommending that you put yourself into actually dangerous or violent situations! But if it means putting on some handcuffs or lingerie, trying out different positions, engaging in fantasy or role play, or otherwise allowing relatively harmless sexual play that your man has been unable to ask for because of fear of rejection, then this can actually help him out and build a bridge towards deeper intimacy, connection, and lead to him spending less time with a screen and more time with you. Addicts – you have to be courageous enough to ask. Partners – it’s possible you may have face some of your own sexual repression or trauma that might get in the way of this kind of risque exploration; also, your sex life can’t ALL be about facilitating their healing, you need to get what you need too.  A really good book to read about this subject for both sexes is, “Passionate Marriage”, by Dr. David Schnarch

 

  • Do the Trauma Work: Porn addiction, like all addiction, generally stems from trauma and abuse. We need to address that trauma with a qualified professional. I recommend a good Somatic Experiencing Practitioner (the work of Peter Levine), ideally one who has also been trained in Somatic Practice (the work of Kathy Kain). If you can’t find this there are other forms of somatic work like Somatic Psychotherapy, Hakomi, and Sensorimotor Psychotherapy. Really, a lot of it comes down to the skill of the individual practitioner even more than the modality (though I will still say that a skilled SEP trained in Somatic Practice is the absolute best for trauma work) – it’s even possible to find a skilled tantric practitioner, or sex coach, or even massage therapist that may be able to help. The key is that the practitioner be sensitive, attuned, and that they understand that trauma does not live in the mind, but in the nervous system and the accompanying physiology.

 

  • Redirecting the Energy, Reclaiming the Life Force: The fundamental energy driving this addiction is life force itself – the sexual energy. This is also your creative energy. It is also called Chi, or Kundalini energy. There are many traditions out there that work with re-directing this powerful force into different channels where it can be then used for fuelling creativity, healing of the body, evolving our consciousness, and developing spiritual abilities. This is one of the most powerful ways to change and redirect the addictive behaviour, but it is tough to do, and sometimes even dangerous to do, if the trauma piece is not addressed first. If your porn use is less rooted in trauma and more in societal conditioning though, this would be good to check out immediately. Tantra is one, there are also Shamanic practices and Wiccan practices, but my favourite is Taoist practice as it is the most scientific and doesn’t involve ritual or mythology. This is the book I read that was hugely important for me doing this work, Taoist Secrets of Love: Cultivating Male Sexual Energy”, by Mantak Chia. He also has books on the same practice for women, and other relevant works.

 

Whatever route you choose, please remember that truly recovering from porn addiction takes a lot of patience. This isn’t something that can be done “cold turkey” and it can take years and years to truly be healed at all levels and fully reclaim your life energy. It’s a long-term project and you will fail often, guaranteed. But then you will also succeed. And then you will succeed more. And eventually those successes will outweigh the failures. You will develop the capacity to ignore, and even better, redirect sexual arousal, in positive, life-giving ways. You will become less ruled by shame, guilt and dark energy and more filled with love, life force, and creativity.

If you have patience, forgiveness and acceptance for yourself, if you do the work and maintain a firm determination to change, you CAN do it. I believe in you.

 

My Story

I recently had someone ask about my story – how I got to where I am now – and I realized that some of you out there might be interested in this as well. Of course I could write an entire book on the subject, but I’m going to keep this short and sweet and cover only the most salient points.

First, here is the broad overview…

I’m what is called a Starseed, or Wanderer. This simply means that I purposefully chose to incarnate here while I was still living as another being elsewhere in the Universe, for the purpose of accomplishing a specific mission.

Pause for moment!

What?!

Ok, relax. I’m also just a dude who likes to drink beer and eat a hamburger, ok?

I can’t help that the information that comes through me sounds totally out there and “freaky” to many, that’s just the way it is. If you are not into the possibility that we are part of a vast, inter-galactic community then that’s cool, but it is part of my story.

However, if your interest is piqued and you think there may be a possibility that we actually are NOT the only intelligent life out there (and given the fact that we are one of billions of planets in the galaxy, and that our galaxy is one of trillions of galaxies in the Universe, this seems like a pretty reasonable assumption) then cool also – you’ll be into some of the other resources I have to share.

A little more “esoterica”, then I will share about more normal experiences, kinda…

Each planet has it’s own reincarnation cycle and most people here on Earth die and reincarnate again and again within that cycle until they progress enough in consciousness to move to another planet with different lessons, and I went through that process myself long ago, but this time around I came here from elsewhere.

My mission is to spread the knowledge and wisdom of the Divine Feminine and her teachings.

In my case this mostly takes the form of healing work – I’m a somatic trauma specialist and work one-on-one with people in my private practice to heal trauma at the level of the nervous system and accompanying physiology – but it also takes the form of spreading the larger story of the Mother and her original wounding to the world at large, at least for those who are ready to hear it. Which is why I wrote this eBook, A History Of The Multiverse.

In terms of more Earthly circumstance I started out like many Starseeds do: I incarnated into a genetic lineage that reflected a lot of the worst aspects of life here on Earth, as that was a way to start the process of effectively reclaiming my soul fragmentation (if you want to understand what I mean by this read my eBook, or just read the Preface and the Chapter 7) and to help lessen the sum total of suffering on Earth by healing what I could of that lineage.

So I ended up a suburban teenager with complex PTSD and a lot of rage. I was really into Death Metal and smoked a lot of cigarettes and weed.

I was totally unaware of my spiritual lineage, or really anything outside the mainstream, until my early 20’s.

My first awakenings happened with psychedelics – I took mushrooms a few times, LSD a couple times, and finally, consumed DMT in it’s pure form.

This last experience enabled me to leave the Earth in my astral body and reconnect to my higher self and the Divine Mother, after which I no longer took any psychedelics as there was no point, but I did then get led to more energetic and contemplative practices.

I did a couple 10-day Vipassana meditation retreats which blasted open my access to the Akashic Records and I began to recall soul memories of other lifetimes, both on Earth and elsewhere. After this I left the mainstream world completely, in order to focus solely on meditation and inner work; I lived literally in the woods and jungles of the world for 15 years – sometimes alone, sometimes in community, and eventually I had a child as well.

It was during this time – post Vipassana – that I began my research into all things esoteric. I read many, many volumes of channeled works, which eventually opened up my own channel and I began to receive information more directly.

I practiced many forms of energy work as well – Shamanic, Wiccan, Taoist, Tibetan, and Vedic – all of which eventually led me to basically just have “my practice” which was informed by everything I had learned but which was uniquely my own.

Even after all this though I was not healed. My PTSD was still there under the surface and I had to stay mostly isolated in nature in order to feel ok. Luckily my current wife, Irene, found me in the woods while I was living and working at a Hot Springs resort in Oregon and took a liking to me 🙂

I didn’t even know, until I emerged into the world, how fucked up I still was.

I needed the challenges of relationship, co-habitation, and the need to make money and simultaneously be of service to others while living my purpose, in order to get to where I am now.

Thankfully, Irene introduced me to Somatic Experiencing, which she was already trained in, and I began to do regular sessions which enabled my nervous system (which is where trauma exists at the root level) to heal , which is absolutely critical to being able to truly be awake and empowered IN the world. If you want to read more about what trauma really is and what is needed to truly heal it, check out this article of mine.

Then I did the Somatic Experiencing training myself, as well as further master classes with Peter Levine, the discoverer of this method, and also trained with a woman named Kathy Kain who teaches a powerful form of touch work called Somatic Practice for working with complex, early, and developmental trauma.

And that’s pretty much it. That’s where I am now.

I’m mostly focused on my healing work with clients, and on supporting Irene’s amazing online work which has the potential to reach a global audience, and this ties in beautifully with my mission to spread the wisdom of the Divine Feminine as much as possible, as She is all about healing trauma, which you will really grok if you read my eBook.

Both of us are passionate about the need to heal the nervous system and recover from trauma at the individual and collective level, and that is something that applies to us all.

No matter our beliefs or understandings about reality, we all have a nervous system, and most of our nervous systems could use some help! That’s our mission together.

 

Thanks for reading!

Seth

The Complexities of the ‘Privileged’ Paradigm

From my understanding, the term ‘white male privilege’ originally referred to a set of societal values and laws that, according to those who use the term, enable white men to face significantly less challenges than women and minorities do, when it comes to being accepted and successful.

It says that in general, white men aren’t actively discriminated against, brutalized, raped, and oppressed like women and minorities are. They make more money, have better health care, more doors of opportunity are open to them, and they live better lives. This all seems to totally makes sense at first glance but the concept feel problematic to me.

Maybe it’s because that label is now being applied more indiscriminately to people instead of societal structures, and people are complex and individual, so painting any one group with one brush is reductive. Also, I think that many discrepancies that are attributed to race, are actually much more the result of class differences – of income. Does a wealthy black person face these racial challenges to the same degree that a poor one does? Does a woman born into wealth experience the same kinds of struggles attributed to gender as a poor woman? These days, money is the great lubricator and opener of doors, much more so than race or gender in my opinion.

I’ll put it this way – white, male privilege does exist as a paradigm to the extent that it exists in the consciousness of many people, and I do believe racism and sexism are evident in some unjust laws, customs and social norms.

AND

It is my contention that the idea of white male privilege is part and parcel of an overarching system that wants us to be divided and fighting amongst ourselves, a system that produces very real disadvantages for both men and women, minorities and whites; disadvantages that are unseen and insidious, and it ignores some advantages in basic human function and resilience that often exist more predominantly in women and minority groups.

So are these institutions of privilege actually a benefit? Are they even about race? Or more about class? And is the very idea of privilege, perhaps, part of a deeper sickness that screws everyone up?

* * *

My path of healing eventually led me out of 20 years in the woods and into the world.

Out of the belief that society and money were evil, and into being a successful trauma therapist, living and thriving in one of the most expensive cities in the world.

I’m a white male and I still had to build my success from the ground up, and at every step along the way I had to struggle with and overcome the trauma that had been holding me back. Yes, those supposed privileges of society had been there all along, but despite all the clean water, good clothes, friends, quality schools, safe white suburbs, college education, etc, they really didn’t help me, at least not in any way that really mattered.  Those privileges may well have stopped certain kinds of bad things from happening to me, but different, more invisible bad things did happen to me and I emerged from my childhood with complex PTSD anyway.

(And while we’re at it – does it really make sense to define clean air and water, healthy food, sufficient clothing and shelter, safe streets and schools, and freedom from oppression and hatred as privileges? Are these not basic human rights? Does it make sense to label someone as privileged because they have access to basic human rights, or might it be more constructive to focus on why so many people do NOT have access to these essentials?) 

In the process of healing and becoming a trauma specialist, through my inner work and work with clients, and because of how I see everything now through the lens of the nervous system and stress physiology (rather than through the lens of politics, religion, race, or culture) I have come to the conclusion that the concept of white, male privilege is simply not helpful, and in a nutshell this is why:

Everybody is fucked up in one way or another. And everyone is blessed in one way or another.

At the root, the fundamental sickness of western industrialized society is the overwhelming presence of early/developmental trauma that occurs due to a culture that lives predominantly in survival mode, and that system is perpetuated not because of ‘white people’, it is perpetuated because the top 1% echelon of the wealthy (who come from many races and include both genders) want it that way. We live in an inverted economic system, where those at the top of the pyramid, who do the least labor, reap the wealth from those below them who do all the labor. This corrupt system keeps us living in survival, which affects us all negatively at the level of the nervous system, which is where the roots of trauma live – and our nervous systems are all the same colour and gender.

There is a spectrum to be sure. Everyone suffers in different ways, and acknowledging suffering is important. However, comparing suffering, determining that one kind of suffering is better or worse than another, just isn’t useful. It’s also not useful or accurate to assume that certain people suffer more because of gender or race, or that other people benefit more because of the same. These divisive ways of thinking don’t help anyone or create positive change.

* * *

Last year I went to the Philippines and spent some time with my wife’s family in the bario outside of Manila. This was a real eye-opener. Everyone should see second and third-world communities first hand if they can – gives you some perspective to be sure. But the perspective I came away with wasn’t what you might think.

I ended up feeling that those people that I lived with and around for a few days were vastly richer in internal resiliency and human connection than any other group I had spent time with. They were richer, in ways that ultimately matter more, than most of the wealthy white men I’ve known.

The children roamed in packs and would engage me with open curiosity and genuine smiles – getting vast pleasure from simply sticking a plastic water bottle in between their bike wheel and frame such that their bike sounded like a motorcycle, or by running up and jumping down a big pile of dirt – simple pleasures. Open, curious engagement and joy.

I don’t think I heard a baby cry once the whole time I was there. This is because they have something we often don’t. The mothers are attuned with their children – they are always in contact, in connection, especially in the early years.

Women are ultimately the most powerful force for positive change on the planet, because along with being fully capable, creative and equal inhabitants of the Earth, they are also the only ones who can grow, give birth to, and organically nurture new life. They are also, generally, much more emotionally intelligent and open than men, which, I think, contributes greatly to the fact that they live 5% longer.

If a woman is the primary caregiver, which is still usually the case, they directly determine how a little one’s nervous system takes shape by the way that the Ventral Vagal nerve gets myelinated through the process of atttunement. It is the mothers of the world who ultimately have the most power to shape the direction of the human race, not only through all the ways they contribute to society, but simply by how healthy their chemistry is during pregnancy, and by how they relate with their babies in the first few years.

For the science behind this you can check out The Polyvagal Theory by Stephen Porges. Basically it found that a human baby’s nervous system is not fully formed when they come in. The pathways responsible for social engagement, which also support higher cognitive function and empathy, are literally modeled off the caregiver’s nervous system. And yes, I know men can be caregivers too, but the most ideal scenario early on, when all those circuits are developing, still involves healthy breast milk and mama.

I know it may sound sexist to some, but it’s just a fact that babies need their mamas for ideal health, and they need their mamas to be healthy, relaxed and not running in survival mode – a way of being that is not well supported by a system that provides no maternity leave and keeps it’s citizens in go-go-go mode just to get by.

The children I met in the bario of the Philippines had clearly grown up with internal resource and confidence built from proper attunement, attachment and community connection that is simply lacking in most western kids you meet. They may have had empty pockets, but their hearts were full. They were athletic, healthy and engaged; not sallow, obese and constantly obsessed with the nearest screen.

I know that not all poor cultures are like this. I know that there are many communities where there is not much going on other than misery, lack, and deeply embedded systemic trauma with no easy way out.

Some places, some situations, are just awful, period. Nothing romantic or redemptive about it.

And….

Believe it or not, some of the most miserable places I’ve experienced were the rich, white suburbs I lived in and passed through during my childhood, which felt emotionally and psychically poisonous despite the abundance of clean running water, food, clothing, shelter and comfort. It’s just a different kind of toxicity and it’s definitely less urgent, but it is there, and it is embraced and accepted without question as the norm, which makes it more insidious.

Right now in the USA, whites account for 62 percent of the population, but they account for 78 percent of the deaths, and the projected course from this trend puts whites as the minority in the USA in 30 years time, so we also better start thinking about who we define as a minority!

Why are white folks dying off at a much more rapid pace? Perhaps it’s because even though we have access to the institutions of so called privilege, the ramifications of those very “privileges” are making us sick, and getting sicker.

This is because of the toxicity of our ideals; the poison that is the idolization of consumerism.

* * *

Privileged

David Rockefeller, arguably one of the most “privileged” men in America, and as you can see if you know anything about reading faces – a truly miserable human being.

* * *

The overall goal of white, male-dominated society seems to be to accumulate as much wealth and stuff as possible.

We see white men as privileged because they generally have an easier time accumulating wealth and stuff, and because they can usually afford to manage their symptoms due to better health care, and eat better food and not be stressed all the time because they don’t have to worry so much about being assaulted or discriminated against along the way.

Unfortunately, this usually leads to lots of comfort for the body and nothing remotely good for the psyche and soul. In fact it usually enables many rich, white men to live a life devoid of purpose, meaning, or deep connection to anything, usually without ever consciously realizing it because they have plenty of diversions, until they die of a heart attack, stroke, obesity or suicide, etc.

Because they are privileged enough to do so. Privileged enough to live a long, empty life and then die.

There must be exceptions of course. I imagine there must be some rich white men out there who are using their wealth to better humanity and are living lives full of purpose and nobility, but in general – show me a rich white guy and I’ll show you someone who is fucking miserable, usually without knowing it, and dying a slow death.

This is because there is no population on Earth that is more repressed, bitter, and cut off from themselves than white men living in western industrialized culture.

The minority communities are often filled with more crime and drug problems. But are they? There’s plenty of crime and drug problems in the more “civilized” communities. The largest population of “hard drug” (cocaine, heroine, opiates) users are whites, and the biggest damn criminals on the planet – the ultra wealthy elite – have plenty of rich, white men in their ranks.

Minority communities are more often oppressed by police action. But are they? the latest stats on people killed by police officers in the last three years in the USA show that cops killed almost twice as many white people as black people.

We have a perception that ethnic communities are violent, drug-filled dens of crime and depredation, yet plenty of violent predation and crime happens on Wall Street; and while there certainly are plenty of ethnic communities with infrastructure problems, crime, and drugs, those minority communities are also very often filled with more music, connection, community, dance, and touch – which are the very qualities that make a person human, and are the very qualities that so many of the people labeled as ‘privileged’ lack.

In general, white folk in the western world, especially white men, dance less, touch each other way less, express emotion less, are more sexually oppressed, and are more socially isolated.

The majority of school shootings in America have been carried out by ‘privileged’ white boys. If they are so broken inside that they see killing their fellow children as the best option, how exactly are they privileged in any way that is benefiting them? They are at the extreme end, but they represent the outcome of the pathology that is at the heart of our current societal ideals, which have been modeled for us by the media and entertainment industries for decades – the value of stuff and money over human connection and empathy.

Another fallacy: within the subtext of the idea of white, male privilege there is an assumption that women and minority groups are so disadvantaged and pressured just to survive that they have no time or energy to spend thinking deep, philosophical thoughts, engaging in creative pursuits, or scientific discovery, etc. The subtext is saying that underprivileged people just aren’t able to succeed and be creative as easily as white men.

This, in the face of the sheer number of great artists, thinkers, leaders, musicians, writers, inventors, and all around awesome, embodied, feeling people who have emerged from precisely these groups, seems to me not only inaccurate, it actually seems verging on racist and sexist.

So here is another core piece of my argument: struggle and adversity actually produce true greatness, more than inhibit it.

You want to meet someone who has very little of value to offer the world? Meet someone who has been handed everything they have ever wanted without having to work for it.

In other words, meet one of those privileged white men.

Meet an uninformed jerk who was handed everything, or who never had to face and overcome serious hardship, or meet a basically nice guy who has embraced without question the toxic norm of affluent society and feels inexplicably empty – this is all part of being privileged, yet these very traits will make a person sick inside, both in body and soul, in a way that is profoundly disadvantageous in the long run.

* * *

In general, those we call privileged have…

Bigger houses and smaller hearts.

Fuller wallets and emptier souls.

Positions of power and infantile minds.

Strong stock portfolios and weak-ass bodies.

Plenty of bravado and not nearly enough empathy.

* * *

From what I’ve seen everybody suffers, everybody hurts, and everybody has challenges to overcome if they want to be their best self; and, the nature of those challenges vary greatly and some are more apparent than others.

Taking a whole group of people and labeling them “privileged” or “oppressed” is not only another way to divide us and create difference rather than connection, it ignores the complexity of the individual, and by doing so do we disregard the giant cesspool of sickness and emptiness that festers (often unseen until it kills them) in many rich white men’s (and women’s) nervous systems and psyches. We also miss the fact that money and class are the real dividing lines, much more so than gender or race.

We also, in the subtext, lose the true meaning of success by devaluing qualities such as empathy, self-expression, emotion, family and community connection – all of which generally exist more abundantly in the vast multitude of “minority” communities across the world, often making those peoples more successful at being genuinely human than white men; and “white male privilege” implies that anyone who isn’t white, or male, just won’t be able to ”succeed” as well, or as often – which is not only inaccurate given the faulty definition of success (that it means acquiring as much wealth and stuff as possible), it is actually racist and sexist given the tremendous amount of wisdom and creativity that has been gifted to the world from women and the so called “minority”.

I’d like to close by sharing a quote from an amazing TED talk I watched recently – “Our Story of Rape and Reconciliation”. It was co-presented by a rape survivor and the the man who had assaulted her. This quote is from the woman, Thordis Elva….

“Labels are a way to organize concepts but they can also be dehumanizing in their connotations. Once someone has been deemed a victim it’s that much easier to file them away as damaged, dishonored, less than. And likewise, once someone has been branded a rapist, it’s that much easier to call them a monster, inhuman. But how can we recognize that it is ultimately human society that creates this violence if we refuse to recognize as human those that commit it? And how can we empower survivors if we are making them feel ‘less than’? How can we discuss solutions to one of the biggest threats to the lives of women and children around the world if the very words we use are part of the problem?” 

Indeed.

I should add that shortly after this brilliant statement, Thordis went on to say that because of her privilege she was able to get the kind of care she needed to help heal her trauma, but again, should access to health and healing be seen as a privilege, or as a basic human right?

And…

The man, Tom Stranger went on to say that the fundamental reason why he had raped her in the first place was because of his unquestioning acceptance of the one of the worst norms associated with white, male privilege – that it was a man’s place to take what he wanted from a woman, and it was her place to give it.

If you watch the TED talk, which you can find here.. www.youtube.com/watch?v=gyPoqFcvt9w, you will see that both Thordis’ and Tom’s suffering ultimately resulted from the toxicity of this idea of privilege and how it plays out in our consciousness and therefore in our social institutions.

Indiscriminately labeling all the people who supposedly benefit from said norms and laws as “privileged people”, even when they may not have been able to take advantage of their supposed advantages in a way that gave them any real benefit, and even when the ramifications of that “privileged” position have actually damaged them, is dehumanizing, over-simplistic, uncompassionate and ultimately part of the bigger problem; as is indiscriminately labeling women and people of color as underprivileged or victims.

Keeping people focused on division, whether it be in race, gender, religion, or other, is just a way to keep us from seeing the real criminals in the room.

In my bones I know that the true meaning of success is to live a healthy, vibrant life full of empathy, purpose, connection, and service to others – something that all of humanity has to overcome their inner and outer disadvantages to achieve, whatever those challenges may be.

If You Had A Shitty Christmas…

Written on Christmas Day, 2016.

This is for all of us who have ever sat through Christmas with our family feeling sick inside.

For those who forced down forkfuls of Christmas Dinner along with unspoken undercurrents of rage, resentment, sorrow, or simply silence.

For everyone who gets depressed this time of year when they are “supposed” to feel cherry and nostalgic. This is for the trauma survivors.

If Christmas is something you genuinely enjoy then this will probably just be upsetting, but it could also be informative.

I never enjoy Christmas nowadays and I stopped celebrating it a few years ago, but this year, today, I felt especially terrible. I felt sad and sick inside all day and didn’t know exactly why.

At first I thought I was simply feeling the resonance of all the suppressed feelings that so many people all across the world are stuffing down in favour of the holiday spirit, right now.

Because our dysfunction and trauma doesn’t go away simply because it’s December 25th.

How many children are, right now, sitting across the Christmas table from that uncle who molested them?

How many adults are returning home to be with the father or mother they fear, or resent, or secretly despise, who beat them and berated them as children, or neglected and repressed them, none of which has never been acknowledged?

How many will go to bed with upset tummies from too much food piled on top of unexpressed emotion?

This, plus the commercialization, the celebration of consumerism, the debt that people will go into in order to manufacture that special experience….

Not to mention screaming, terrified children on Santa’s lap….

I could go on, but I think you get the point.

I’m not into Christmas for all these reasons and more, so I figured that was why I was feeling so sad and unwell, but I just discovered that it was a lot more personal than that.

I decided to take a very hot bath which is often where I will go when I can tell that there is something that needs to be felt into, processed and expressed… but I don’t know exactly what that something is. The weightlessness and warmth seem to lend the subconscious buoyancy and what has been hidden can float up to the surface and be seen. And what did I see?

I saw myself as a child, but not the outward self.

As a kid I thought that I loved Christmas – as far as I knew I truly did. Like any other kid I loved to receive presents and I also enjoyed giving things to others. I remember that magical Christmas feeling of expectation and abundance. That was the outward self and it was the only one that I was aware of as a child.

And there was genuine goodness and love there, for sure. But there was also everything else, which is makes trauma so tricky. It’s often interwoven with good stuff.

Today in the bath I saw, and re-experienced in my body, those unspoken energies. I remembered bits that I had, as a kid, pushed under the unconscious rug.

I remembered the feelings of let-down after it was over. Kind of an empty feeling that I would fill with eggnog and cookies.

And more, I felt the anxiety, depression, explosive rage, and terror that had been present in the undercurrents of that environment.

It was always present, but extra forcefully, and unconsciously, repressed on Christmas in favour of that ‘ol holiday spirit, and that repression and internalization made it even more viscous.

Like a caged beast.

It was like I was seeing a wild animal inside my childhood self – the mammalian self, the body that feels all, especially that which is unacknowledged, and that wants to destroy that entire scene.

So I let it rip.

In my imagination, with all my senses and emotions participating, I killed my family, and destroyed Christmas.

Horribly… this next bit though imaginary is graphic.

Heads flew from bodies, and I strung the Christmas tree with intestinal tinsel ripped from their guts. Blood spattered the walls and I howled with glee as I rampaged through the holiday halls. I felt that primal, victorious satisfaction of the caged, abused beast that has, at last, been let loose to have it’s vengeance.

And boy do I feel better now! For real. In fact I just had a lovely Christmas dinner with my son, my wife, and her parents.

I know this may seem shocking, but perhaps, if you are still reading this, you have a caged beast within you as well.

Don’t get me wrong, I do love my family and I stay in contact with them, but it doesn’t change the fact that I emerged from my nice, suburban childhood with complex PTSD because of what I experienced. And those internalized traumatic energies stay locked in the brain and body until we find them and allow them to do what they want to do.

Not literally!

Remember, I was just taking a bath. From the outside I was pretty still. This all happened very quietly, and extremely intensely, in the imagination, emotions, and in the felt sense – the sensations of the survival energy being released to finally act.

It’s important to know that this kind of internal annihilation work takes time and practice to do safely without overstimulating the system, which can be re-traumatizing. This practice is also in conflict with many spiritual traditions that say that we must always be kind and compassionate, even in our thoughts – but those traditions do not understand the physiological reality of suppressed trauma and what needs to happen to let it OUT – so we can genuinely be kind and compassionate with others, and more importantly, ourselves.

To read about how to develop this way of transforming the stored-up internalized energies that cause us pain and suffering, check out this article I wrote a while back… sethlyon.com/this-is-when-its-ok-to-annihilate-somebody/

So that was my Christmas. Just another day and a great opportunity to do some healing work and lighten the global load of bullshit just a little.

Here’s to authenticity, and the courage to do what’s right for YOU, even if it flies in the face of what’s expected. I’m pretty sure Jesus knew a thing or two about that.

Upside-Down Chakras?

chakras-simplified

A little thing that came to me the other day. Yes, I know they are upside down, that’s part of the point!

I think that the spiritual, energy-working, new age, etc… communities could use a bit of a paradigm shift – there’s a big tendency to start with “high vibration” when we need to start with what’s under our feet.

Plus, from my internal perspective, when I do my internal work, this is actually NOT upside down.

To explain… I do my internal work laying down almost all the time, and so when I am laying down and am in my inner space, when I go to the root chakra, it is like I am looking “up” in a way – towards my feet from my head. I’m feeing in that area and am “there” at an interoceptive (means feeling the insides) level, but at the etheric level it’s almost as if I am standing at my head and my body is like a book laid out before me.

From this perspective my feet are at the top and I’m “reading down” the page as I go through the Chakras.

I find it interesting to do this and progress down towards my head, naming and feeling the qualities as I go, until I get to Source, and then connect that back to Root. Plus if you name these qualities out loud as you go it makes a nice little rhyme

Healing Through Spacetime

“what human beings cannot contain of their experience—what has been traumatically overwhelming, unbearable, unthinkable—falls out of social discourse, but very often on to and into the next generation as an affective sensitivity or a chaotic urgency.” – M. Gerard Fromm, from Lost in Transmission: Studies of Trauma Across Generations

“Recent studies on the science behind intergenerational trauma — between Holocaust survivors and their children, for instance — have discovered that trauma can be passed between generations. The epigenetic inheritance theory holds that environmental factors can affect the genes of future generations. Chemical tags acting like Post-its can latch onto our DNA, switching genes off and on. A research team at New York’s Mount Sinai Hospital led by Rachel Yehuda, a leading expert on post-traumatic stress and epigenetics, concluded that some of these tags could be transferred across generations. When Yehuda researched mothers who were pregnant and in the World Trade Center during 9/11, she discovered that environmental fallout could even leave an imprint in utero.” – Rignam Wangkhang, author for Ozy, online news site

dna

Yes folks, the evidence is clear. These are two quotes taken pretty much at random from the thousands of news articles and scholarly reports that all confirm the same thing: unresolved trauma doesn’t stop with you, it gets passed on to the next generation, and the next. I feel this gives new validation to the the belief held among many native tribes that we must consider the effects of our actions all the way out to the seventh generation – not just our external actions, but our internal ones as well.

While this might seem to some like bad news, to me it’s and incredibly useful for understanding why we may behave in certain ways and hold certain fears, beliefs and stresses that seem to have no context. And there is another upside – if genes can change for the worse due to negative environmental factors, that means they can also change for the better under the influence of positive environmental factors. Meaning even if this pain, worry, stress, etc, didn’t start with you, it can end with you. You have the power to heal at the level of the DNA – and that’s pretty awesome.

So yes, the science confirms this. So the question I want to pose, and answer to the best of my ability, is this… if trauma can be passed downstream through time from generation to generation, can healing be passed upstream? Can the healing work we do on ourselves have a positive impact on our grandparents, parents and siblings? I say YES!

This could seem at first to be a rather mystical belief, and if you’ve been reading me for a while this shouldn’t be surprising, but I believe that some of the latest discoveries in quantum mechanics can help bear this out. On top of that I’ve seen it for myself in my own process and in the process of many of my clients.

The first thing to address is the concept of time. While it may seem from our vantage point that time flows steadily in one direction from the past to the the future, this really isn’t the case, it simply seems that way from our perspective. When Albert Einstein introduced the theory of special relativity, he rocked this notion onto it’s heels by showing that where a person is located in space and how fast that person is traveling will change their experience of time – he showed that the experience of time passing is subjective based on your perspective.

It’s very complex and there are many many papers and videos on this subject, but to break it down as simply as possible – what we experience as time is our mind rationalizing the distance travelled by various forms of energy, just as our mind rationalizes some electromagnetic frequencies as colors. If we were to change our perspective from a 3D one to a 4D one, we would see that past, present and future exist all at once NOW (a concept that spiritual teachers and mystics have been hammering home for millennia).

There’s a show I love called “Agents of Shield”, and while yes, it is a TV show – it’s fiction – there is an episode where one of the characters, Fitz, explains this concept very succinctly, accurately and beautifully – it’s only about 90 seconds, so check this out and then come back…. youtu.be/MOb1Yghbpxk?t=1m1s

So, if we can agree that time is subjective and how we experience it is based on our perspective, then it doesn’t seem like too great a leap to the thought that the healing work we do now might not only effect our present and future generations, it might also radiate out into the past – like a stone dropped in the water that emanates ripples in all directions at once.

If healing an inherited intergenerational trauma changes our DNA, which it does, might not that ripple out into the past as well, to effect those who passed that DNA pattern on to us in the first place? Might that change the way that they are affected by their own experiences?

Since it has been shown that time and space are one unified thing – spacetime – and because it’s been proven that sub-atomic particles can effect each other instantaneously across vast distances, might not subatomic changes in our DNA structure also effect related DNA structures across both space AND time?

I think so, but of course this is all quite speculative and there is no way currently to prove it, and there is a more practical way to look at how the healing work we do can positively effect our parents and other relations.

When I work with a client to renegotiate and heal a past traumatic event, what we are fundamentally working towards is changing the stored up, frozen, somatic experience of that event – the imprint of overwhelm, helplessness, terror, rage, etc. that was too big to process, as well as the instinctive self-protective processes that may have tried to emerge but were unable to due to circumstance, and so got locked up in their body.

If those traumas were caused by a parent, grandparent, sibling or other relation, that stored-up stress will almost always be accompanied by an internalized version of the abuser. That internal monster often shows up as the negative, self-critical and even hateful thought loops that spin round and round the mind and which are so hard to escape from. Thoughts and beliefs that are not even ours, but that have been pounded into us and are now associated with this internal, archetypal representation of our abuser.

*note: for more info on working with the internalized abuser, check out this past article

When we are able to go into the body and release the stored up stress from our nervous system, along with all the physiological, emotional and mental changes which that entails, it often happens that our internalized abuser also starts to dissipate. We start to be able to understand, and not just understand cognitively but also viscerally, somatically – that in most cases our parents were doing the best they could with what they inherited from their parents, and so on. We start to be able to see them in a different light and with more compassion.

This changes our relationship with them and often takes a bit of a psychic load off of their shoulders – after all, it is undeniable that if a person views their parents or siblings or spouses with hatred, disdain and contempt, that the other will sense that, if only unconsciously, and will often then act out in a way that supports that projection. Likewise they will sense it when our viewpoint softens and we are able to see them with more love and understanding.

Whatever the mechanisms involved, one thing is certain: when we heal ourselves from the inside out, when we bring regulation back into our nervous system and release old, inherited genetic junk from our DNA, the healing that happens is profound. For ourselves, and for all our relations.

May all your healing efforts be successful! May the next seven generations inherit a better world than we did – both on the outside and on the inside.

This Is When It’s Ok To Annihilate Somebody…

I’ve completely destroyed my abusers a few times.abf5b49a30efb1d9a80ac783452466d3

Stabbed, pummeled and stomped them into the ground. Blew them up in fiery explosions.

I’ve stood in victorious glee over their corpses, even though those bodies were sometimes members of my own family.

And, believe it or not, this was an act of the greatest compassion. Let me explain…

Of course I didn’t actually kill anybody! I’ve never even been in a physical fight of any kind in my life.

The most important thing to understand first is, that when it comes to trauma (and sometimes even when there’s no trauma involved at all), most of us have more of a relationship with an internalized version of people than we do with the actual people themselves.

Unless a person is a total stranger, we will usually have preconceived notions and memories about them – and even if they are a stranger we may have preconceived notions about their “type”, be it their skin color, religion, political party or other.

There is a great story about the Buddha that goes something like this….

A king and queen heard tale of this spiritual leader that had emerged, and about the work he was doing helping people learn to meditate. They decided to see for themselves what the fuss was all about and so travelled to where the Buddha was teaching, that they might learn from the great master.

They followed his instruction and passed through the many days of self-examination that he led them on and, at the end of those days, the Buddha called them together and asked them what they had learned.

The king looked at his wife and the queen looked at her husband and they both told each other that what they had realized, upon deep examination, is that they didn’t actually love each other. They only loved the versions of the other that they had created within themselves.

So often this is the case.

It makes sense, even though it isn’t particularly useful or truthful, to create a version of someone within us that we can “depend” on. Then we expect the other to behave in certain ways that support these preconceptions. Then, when the actual person’s behavior doesn’t support the avatar we’ve built in ourselves all hell breaks loose and we feel we’ve been betrayed. But the only thing that has been betrayed is our own expectations.

When a child is growing up in an atmosphere of abuse, where the caretakers are mis-attuned, or absent, or violent, or chronically stressed, it is almost impossible to avoid creating this internalized version, because as children we actually DO need our caretakers to be dependable, reliable and sure.

Unfortunately, when these self-created idols are planted and watered in such ground they end up being monsters.

They are behind the negative self-talk and persistent voices of self-hatred, or violent thought loops and fantasies about hurting others that we can’t seem to stop.

They are in the somatic feelings of shame and unworthiness, the feeling that we are somehow “not enough”, that we don’t belong, or don’t deserve to be seen.

They show up as the inner-directed violence that becomes depression, and the constant unseen threat that is anxiety.

They also have nothing whatsoever to do with the actual person.

Even though our abusers actually did DO those things, they are also fundamentally wounded, suffering people who didn’t know how to NOT re-enact the abuse or neglect that they themselves were subjected to. They are not monsters, simply humans who have not gotten the support and resources they need to work their own stuff out.

A lot of trauma work stops with this viewpoint. When a trauma survivor can get to the point where they recognize that their abusers were only passing on what they had received, that they were simply flawed humans struggling to find their way, when they can actually feel compassion and understanding for the ones that did them harm, this is considered a great victory and it’s often where the work stops.

And this is an important step, but unfortunately it does nothing to address the internalized version of that person that we’ve created in ourselves. This is where this very tricky and powerful work of annihilation comes in.

Before we go any further into this, realize this…. When it comes to responding to threat, your nervous system does not have compassion.

The wiring responsible for self-protection does not have mercy. Think of a mama bear defending her cubs from a cougar. She is not going to consider whether or not the cougar had a good childhood. She will kill. That is what her nervous system is wired to do and she doesn’t have a highly developed neocortex to get in the way.

Our nervous system is the same, but we do have a big ‘ol brain that gets in the way.

We do feel compassion and mercy and so we should! We need to have understanding and empathy for our fellow humans, often (but not always) even those that caused us harm – as I said, this is an important step. AND, we also need to let the full force of our pent-up rage and violence descend upon our internalized abusers with devastating and ruthless force.

We need to destroy our internal monsters so that they can’t hurt us anymore and, especially if our abusers are people that we still need to see and interact with, so that we can have actual relationships with those actual people in a way that doesn’t trigger us into total rage or collapse.

The first step in doing this is differentiating between the real person and our internalized version of that person.

One caveat – the following is especially important if the person concerned is someone that we still are in relationship with in some way, or that we still have to see on occasion, like a family member, spouse, or co-worker. If the person who hurt you was a stranger that you’ll never see again, then this step isn’t so important, but it still might be worth a try if it makes you feel safer about what comes after.

Please note that this may not be possible to do at all if there is still tremendous charge around whatever happened!

The following is pretty advanced work and I actually hesitate in sharing this at all. Yet, there are so many people walking around with internalized monsters that are slowly sucking the life out of them that my intuition is that sharing this exercise will do more good than harm. But please be aware that this is hard work.

If you feel overwhelmed already, if your pulse is already elevated or if you feel panicky in some way, if your breath is rapid or shallow or you just feel uncomfortable in some way, then please stop now and just sit with what you have already read for a while. Maybe read the rest of the article tomorrow.


Ok, if you feel ready to give it shot, try this….

See if you can imagine whoever it was that hurt you in a way that I’m going to call, “outside of time”.

You know what they look like, but see if you can imagine what they may have looked like, or been like, as a kid. What would they have been like if they had gotten all that they needed as a kid? What were they like in their best moments? See if you can get a sense of their fundamental essence that exists, eternally, outside of this particular slice of space-time – what is their color, their texture, their nature?

See if it’s possible for you to imagine their best possible self, because that is most likely closer to who they really are, outside of all the wounding they’ve experienced.

Once you get a sense of this more amorphous kind of soul bubble, see if you can imagine that bubble floating somewhere outside of yourself. See if you can imagine it simply floating in space somewhere, at peace.

From here on, if you feel your sense of unconditional love, compassion, understanding, or mercy starting to rise up, THIS is where you can direct that energy. Send it to that eternal, floating soul bubble and know that it’s going to where it needs to go.

Now, let yourself remember the hurt. Remember some of the really painful experiences that the person put you through and notice the image of the person that arises in your consciousness. Notice the feelings in your body – the constriction, sickness, numbness, disgust, or rage. Let all those feelings connect with the image of the person that arises from these memories.

Now see if you can notice these two different versions of the person. Go back and forth. Sense and feel that floating soul bubble outside of yourself, then sense and feel the dark, scarier version inside yourself. Back and forth, back and forth. Really notice the difference.

Ok, now let yourself understand that the scary hurtful version inside you IS NOT THEM. That is the avatar of them you have made in yourself, that is the monster sucking your energy, and making you feel afraid. It is NOT them.

If you can make this distinction and identify in your body and mind the different felt sense of these two experiences then bravo! You have a made a huge step in freeing yourself and that is probably plenty of work for now.

Feel free to stop here. If you feel lightheaded or disconcerted or uncomfortable in some way, then maybe come back to this exercise again tomorrow or the next day, keep noticing how you can notice the distinction between the internalized monstrous version and the eternal, best-self soul bubble version, and know that the actual human concerned, the one that has been your focus – in day-to-day reality they are probably somewhere in between these two versions.


When you feel ready to take this work further, first refer back to this older article on Healthy Aggression. Here is the link….sethlyon.com/healthy-aggression-the-way-to-un-frustrate-frustration/

Remember to pay attention to the slow unfolding of energy as detailed in the instructions in the Healthy Aggression article.

Do not force it.

Please read through the following completely before actually trying any of it. Then give it a go.

Read through the Healthy Aggression article again and when you get to the part with practical exercises, do them with the yucky, scary, internal version of your abuser in mind.

Let the snarl be directed at them. If sound emerges let it be directed at them – imagine that sound as fire that you can breath on them.

When you use the towel, imagine that it their neck you are twisting and breaking. Feel the strength in your hands, hear the bones breaking.

These specific exercises are just to give you a starting place, now consider what else you might like to do to those bastards. Blow em up? Stab them over and over again? Melt them with laser beams from your eyeballs. Your body knows.

When you feel compassion and mercy start to rise up to stop this process remember to direct it to their eternal self that is outside of you, then resume annihilating the internalized version with murderous glee.

Eventually, what we are going towards is for you to have the felt experience of standing victoriously over the beaten, bruised and bloody body of your internalized abuser. To really see their expressions of horror, helplessness and defeat, and feel the animal sense of triumph that the mama bear has when she successfully defends her little ones.

With this work you are actually defending and liberating your own internalized little one, the one who couldn’t defend him or herself at the time, when whatever it was that happened, happened. That younger you (the one who, incidentally holds your magic, your life energy, your purpose) has been waiting for the opportunity to let out all the self-protective aggression that has been sitting inside you; stifled and misdirected and making you sick.


This is hard work.

It goes against a lot of what we have absorbed from spiritual teachings about being compassionate and forgiving. But remember, even though the actual person who hurt you is a human being too, and even though they do deserve all those higher qualities, this isn’t actually about them. It is about the facsimile of them that exists in your own psyche and physiology. And that son of a bitch deserves no mercy whatsoever.

Be merciful and compassionate towards yourself by allowing yourself to annihilate these internal demons. Believe me, the real, actual people will not be harmed. In fact, when we destroy a monstrous version of someone else that we have built up inside ourself, it actually frees up the real person a bit because we are no longer holding the projections on them that they are that monster.

It creates healing for all parties involved, and the only thing that is destroyed is something that was never actually real to begin with.

Please feel free to contact me at seth@sethlyon.com if you have questions.

“your mind makes it real”

Morpheus, The Matrix

Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of The Trauma Vortex

There are some films that, no matter how many times I’ve seen them, I still seem to desire watching again once in a while, and I still really enjoy them. One such film is the third installment in the Harry Potter series, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.

Alfonso Cuaron’s gritty treatment of the script is a refreshing change from the bubblegum feel of the first two movies and it perfectly reflects the growing angst in the main character as he turns into a teenager. Also, it is the first time we encounter the Dementors, those supremely spooky, ethereal, floating and tattered spooks of the Harry Potter universe.

Recently, when I watched this film again it came to me that Dementors are the perfect analog of what we, in the Somatic Experiencing world, call the trauma vortex. If you haven’t read or seen the Harry Potter books let me just briefly explain what these creatures do. For those of you are familiar, please bear with me for a moment.

Dementors are set to guard the wizarding world’s most dangerous criminals in the fortress prison of Azkaban. But the jail that they tend in the prisoner’s minds is even more imposing than the stone walls of Azkaban. Dementors feed off of every good memory, leaching away happiness until the prisoner is left with only their Dementor-harryabsolute worst memories and feelings. This sucks away their life and vitality, until even the thought of escape is unreal and they are condemned to live their life endlessly replaying the worst things that have happened to them.

This is EXACTLY what the trauma vortex does.

When we’re living with unresolved trauma and/or under the strain of chronic stress, our nervous system gets highjacked by the survival responses (Fight/Flight/Freeze) that have been mobilized to protect us from whatever the threat was or is. When trauma is unresolved, that means that this powerful survival energy is unresolved – in fact, from a nervous system perspective that is what our definition of trauma is – the presence of unresolved survival energy still trying to complete itself, still trying to find the source of threat, even though the threat may be long gone.

This whirling, swirling mass of frustrated energy trying to go somewhere, but finding no way out, is what we call the trauma vortex.

When this is the case we don’t have nearly as much access to our higher brain centers that enable learning, creativity and play. The survival energies, and the associated memories of the events that mobilized them, take center stage in the conscious, subconscious, and unconscious mind.

And survival energies are not meant to be ignored. They are meant to be irresistible forces that turn on for a little while to protect us from threat and then to turn off when the threat is over. Unfortunately, societal niceties, repressive parents, teachers or friends, lack of education, and our own big smart neocortex often keep us from allowing these processes to complete.

Fortunately, there is a way out. That’s what I do, help people to find their way out of the swirling, sickening mess of trauma, and we can look to this film for a useful tool in that process as well.

In The Prisoner of Azkaban, Harry learns how to use a spell that repels the Dementors, called the Patronus charm. The incantation is “Expecto Patronus!”, but saying the words on their own will do nothing. The way to make the spell work, the thing that gives it its juice is memory; and not just any memory – it has to be a memory that is both positive and powerful.

The first time Harry tries the Patronus charm he uses the memory of the first time he rode a broom and it doesn’t work at all. That’s because this memory, while positive, isn’t very powerful, merely pleasant.

Then he digs deeper, finds a memory that he feels will work, gives it another go and POW! A brilliant cone of light erupts from his wand and drives the Dementor away. When his instructor asks him which memory he chose, Harry tells him that he picked the only memory he has of his parents, of a moment when they were both looking down at him and smiling, shortly before they were both murdered by Lord Voldemort, the story’s arch villain. He says he doesn’t even know if the memory was real, but it was all he had left of them.

Harry-potter4-movie-screencaps.com-8411

This gives us insight into a powerful tool that we can use when battling our own internal Dementors – memory, and more importantly… feeling.  It was the feeling that was important, not the memory itself so much. In the story the instructor explains that when the wizard conjures a Patronus charm. the Dementor will then feed of the charm rather than the person. And it’s even possible to conjure a Patronus so powerful that it will essentially overload the Dementor’s circuits and drive it away entirely.

We can do this too.

It’s not magic, it’s the power of own minds and emotions. Again, it’s about the feeling.

So try this now… see if you can find a memory like this. It doesn’t even have to be “real”, what matters is that you recall the feeling. Some moment from your life that was extremely powerful and rich, a memory that is strong enough to make your throat thicken a bit with emotion, or that even brings some gentle, poignant tears. Find the feeling of that, really notice where it is in your body, how it fills you up. Make a kind of mental bookmark of that moment, that feeling.

Then, the next time you are feeling overwhelmed with anxiety or sunk low in depression, or just feeling blah, go back to that bookmark. It’s still there, even if it’s hard to find. Notice how you can summon that memory and that feeling – notice it in your body. It’s not about having that memory or emotion cover up the hardship you are currently feeling, it’s about letting it inform your current state. Go back and forth between feeling whatever form of yuck you are experiencing and the feeling of that powerful memory, let them talk to each other, notice each other.

Life isn’t fiction and this ain’t magic, the feeling of that memory will probably not drive away the blah completely, but it will take away some of the charge from that trauma vortex. It will diffuse it a bit, take away some of the energy so that the trauma vortex has a little less power.

Obviously this won’t work for everybody. Some people simply have no good memories or feelings available, and if this is the case, there are many, many other tools a good Somatic Experiencing Practitioner has in their belt that can be used .

This is just one thing to try and, over time, it can work quite well to take away some of the power from our own internal Dementors.

Now… wands at the ready!

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