Fight, Flight or Freeze? Clearly, I Freeze Under Stress

April 5, 2016

 

IMAG6210

“There is nothing to fear.” ~ A Course in Miracles

Calligraphy by my sister, Amy.

 

I could be wrong, but I believe I may be emerging from the longest most frozen freeze response I have experienced in my life to date.

Yes, that’s a lot of hedging, but I am not sure and I don’t want to make grandiose statements and promises about this. I’ve been really stuck for a long, long time.  At least, 2 years, if not more.

In that time, I’ve been single and dating no one for the longest span of time to date. I left a job. I moved to the dry desert & brown adobe world of Santa Fe, NM.  (Right thing to do at the time. Wrong place for me long term.) I have spent most of my days at home. I go out some, to coffee shops & Meet Ups, but not a lot. I am not on the phone much.  Me?  Not on the phone?

Instead, I hang out on Facebook.

I’m not saying that’s a bad thing. In fact, it’s been great for me. I am the most active admin on a very good group for doing the practice called, “The Work of Byron Katie.” I chat and relate to people from China to India to Australia to Canada – and nearly every state in the Union.

I get to communicate!  And yes, that’s still pretty much what I live for – and to serve.

I take online classes.

That has been a whole new form of education for me. I deeply miss the in-person classroom, sitting at the front and raising my hand to answer all the questions.  No doubt about it – I prefer in-person classes.  Still, I did a lot of my master’s in psychology and almost all of my doctoral work in education online.

So, it’s not like I’m doing absolutely nothing.  I do stuff. I just do it from my couch online.

Still, it has been a form of the freeze response.

“Freeze” was added to the “fight or flight” idea decades ago. More recently added are “fidget” and “faint.”

Well, I tend to freeze.

I seem to have something like fibromyalgia (which tells us nothing – it means pain in the tendons – it is merely a description). I believe that the pain in my tendons and joints is a result of consistent lifetime freezing.

I was first aware of it around the age of 11. When I walked to school, only a mile away, my calves cramped severely. I told Mother about it, and she said, “You’ll get used to it.” I’m sure she thought it was just muscles working out the way they should.  It was not.

I’m 56 now. That was 45 years ago. Except for a few months about 10 years ago when I did work up to walking in the mountains about 45 minutes a day, it hasn’t gone away.  Rather, I have pain like that in every part of my body.

And please, don’t try to tell me I should just work out. Doing that can put me in bed for 3 days, unable to move, with pain that ibuprofen and aspirin cannot touch.

But not always, that’s true.

I have no idea when it does and when it doesn’t. It has something to do with how acidic my diet is. And how much caffeine, vinegar, potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, vinegar, wheat, milk products, and so many other trigger foods I have eaten.

It also has to do with fear & childhood trauma.

I froze.

I’ve been relentlessly pursuing ways to thaw since at least 1985, when I was 25 years old. They have all helped.

Now, I’m learning TRE, Tension & Trauma Releasing Exercise. Find information on that here:  http://traumaprevention.com/

It’s a way to get the body to shake, the way an animal shakes, to release fear chemicals. It is not known exactly how it works. But it seems to help.

I couldn’t say for certain whether my recent feeling of thawing is attributable to TRE, hot baths, breathwork, The Work of Byron Katie, Mars & Pluto stationing retrograde or simply Spring.

I don’t really care which it is – except that if it’s some of those things I’m doing, I will want to keep doing it. I think TRE, being the newer thing, is somewhat responsible for the change.

I do know that this is my first blog in about 2 years. Blogs are fun. I like writing them. If you liked reading it, please Comment.

I like to co-mmunicate – that means “with.”  With you!

Much love,

Stacy

Oh, if you want to learn some of these things from me, particularly The Work, let me know. I’d love to help.

 

Why I Have No Voice Today

June 18, 2014

Why I have no voice:  I should not drink milk in my coffee when the humidity is high.  :)

     Every year twice a year when I lived in Texas, I would get the same allergy attack when the humidity was up in Fall and Spring.
     Am allergic to fungus & mold.
     Discovered later that drinking milk made it much worse.
     Moved to a high desert with less humidity, less allergy.  Sometimes none!
     I thought I was out of the woods this year and wasn’t going to have any allergy, then last week we had rains every afternoon.  I was doing okay, just a little itchiness and sneezing here and there.  Then, on Wednesday evening, a friend called on her way home from work and asked if I had eaten.  I had just had chicken soup and wasn’t hungry, but I agreed to go with her for company.
     We went to a lovely place on Main St., called Bittersweet (That should have been a clue!)  I knew coffee would be a temptation because theirs is very good.  Not only did I succumb to coffee, I had a frozen coffee drink.  They made it poorly, not enough ice and not enough chocolate, so I made them re-do it.  I barely drank 1/4 of a cup. (Stored the rest in my fridge.  Poured it out when I discovered how sick it was making me.)
     But 1/4 cup was enough.  By Thursday afternoon, I was at my women’s group and having chills and aches all over.  Friday morning I went to a meeting at work, but went home sick afterwards.  I was in bed all day Saturday, taking 5 naps ad the 6th one finally going to sleep.  Sunday I went to the hot tub/sauna hoping to clear it up for good, but no.  Monday I sounded too horrible and felt too bad to even try to go to work.
     Last night, I was up from 12:30 am to 3:30 am with sinus pain.  I drank a cup of hot ginger tea, got a hot washrag on it several times, took Ibuprofen and finally went back to sleep.
     Today, I decided to go in and see how I did.  And by going in and talking so much today, it has progressed, as usual, as it has for 40 years, to laryngitis.
     It’s a shame I like creamy coffee.  I should avoid it completely, really, no matter what the weather or humidity.  But sometimes I am just human.  I’m tired and coffee feels good.  :)
     We’ll see how tomorrow goes.
     This is one of those things I’ve explained to a dozen people a year for 40 years.  I should write it up on a little flyer to hand out.  :)

Teaching and Effective Learning: The Work of Byron Katie

March 5, 2013

Someone emailed me today and asked why I stopped writing.  I was pleasantly surprised that anyone cared.  In fact, I have been writing at least a paper a week or more.  I’m working on a doctorate.  Below is one of my papers and you’ll see the general direction I’m heading. Thanks for reading!

Teaching and Effective Learning

 The Work of Byron Katie

            What is teaching?  We are teaching all the time whether we know it or not.  This is part of what “to teach is to demonstrate” means (Foundation for Inner Peace, 1992).  Whatever we are demonstrating to those around us, we are teaching.  It is said that we are either teaching love or fear (1992).   Kahlil Gibran pointed out that we cannot really teach anyone anything other than that which is already inside them (1923).  We forget this, or maybe we never knew it, but it is very obvious.  We cannot teach a human being to sprout gills and breathe underwater.  Anything we can teach a human being is within their capacity.  The same applies to individual talents and inclinations.  No matter how hard we try to teach a student to be a basketball star, if that just isn’t in their skill set, nor their genetic makeup, and it is definitely not something that student is likely to be inclined to pursue.  So when we begin to teach, we must teach to the student’s inclination and strengths if we wish to be successful and most importantly, if we wish for the student to be successful.  It is a corollary of the fact that no one can be all things to all people.

With this in mind, we look at the question of happiness or well-being.  Can we teach it?  Is it within every human being’s make up to be able to be happy or to enjoy well-being?  This author believes that it is.  In her class presentation, Jessica gave an excellent example – autistic children.  We may think they need to learn social skills or that they are missing something by not going out with their peers, but according to Jessica, the autistic child is perfectly content to be alone, reading or playing.  She mentioned a time when two autistic children tried to go out to socialize.  One of them reported that they had nothing to say to each other.  That wouldn’t be the case for you or me, but apparently it is true for them.  Are they happy this way?  Can they enjoy well-being?  It appears so.  The point is that happiness and well-being are not the same for everyone.  Each person enjoys different things.

Our national standard of using the Gross National Product as our measure of success makes it somewhat inevitable that we teach and learn in a context of whether or not we are producing.  This has the very unfortunate consequence of ignoring what might actually contribute to our individual and collective well-being because our happiness is not the measurement; productivity is.  Therefore, a car wreck increases the GNP because the driver has to buy a new car and because of the time spent in the hospital due to injuries, but the car wreck did nothing to improve on the happiness of the driver.  Same with a divorce, a disaster, a war (Seligman, 2011).  The United States and many other member countries of the United Nations are looking into using measures of Gross National Happiness as a new standard for measuring a country’s success (San Francisco Chronicle, 2012).

Remember, human beings are notoriously bad at guessing what will make us happy and we tend to believe everything we think (Gilbert, 2006; Gazzaniga, 1998; Katie & Mitchell, 2002).  And there is science that shows that we may not have the kind of free will that we believe we do, that we have it only in small ways, not in the bigger picture (Norretranders, 1992; Harris, 2012).  So, where does that leave us when we try to find out what will make us happy and add to our well-being?

Positive Psychology discussed in Martin Seligman’s latest book, Flourish:  A Visionary New Understanding of Happiness and Well-Being, gives us a taste of the future in a world where happiness is measured, valued and used in productive ways to guide individuals, institutions and governments (2011).  This is a very necessary piece of the well-being and happiness puzzle, but this author maintains that often (though not always) Positive Psychology is still a swing to just one side of the pendulum.  We all know that life has a dual nature – or does it?  Could it be that through our evolution we simply came to that idea in order to survive and run from tigers?  Is it possible that a more whole view of life is now possible due to our mastery of the basics of food, clothing and shelter?  If so, what else is there?

Nearly every religious tradition I have studied, from Hinduism to Buddhism to Judaism to Christianity to Native American practices and more, alludes to a way of being that is beyond being pushed and pulled by the duality we seem to see around us.  Hindu terminology is useful here.  Hindus refer to “satori,” which is an “aha” moment, a glimpse into our oneness, beyond duality of good/bad, love/hate, right/wrong.  This concept exists in Judaism, as well.  An excellent work on this is Kabbalistic Healing by Jason Shulman (2004).   There is a place akin to the fulcrum of the pendulum that never moves, the observer within that simply watches the dance of life go back and forth.  Shulman calls it “briah” or “briatic consciousness.”  Someone who has seen and maintained this viewpoint is said to be “enlightened,” or to have experienced “Samadhi,” in Hindu terms.

To those who have not had this experience, it must seem that someone in this state must have “all good, all the time,” but this is not so.  They have simply changed their perspective about duality and are no longer victims of the illusions that things are “bad” or “good.”  Someone with this perspective is an embodiment of the illustration given by the yin/yang symbol.  The yin/yang symbol is actually three-dimensional.  It is two tear-drop shapes interpenetrating one another at the tip of the teardrop.  When it is rendered in a two-dimensional cross section, we see a spot of white in the black and a spot of black in the white to represent the “whole.”  The message is the whole, not the black or white alone.  They require each other.  My teacher, Steven, referred to this as “coinness.”  Each side of the coin requires the other to exist.  They cannot be separated.

What if we taught this to children in school?  What if there was a method or methods for showing students how to question the black/white thinking that perpetrates a sense of victimization (which is probably the cause of random acts of violence such as the various shootings our nation has experienced)?  What if we started with the solution to the sense of suffering and then learned to be productive, creative contributing members of societ?  What kind of difference might that make?

This is completely possible.  The methods exist.  (And not just Katie’s.)

Using videos and personal experience of classes in The Work of Byron Katie, as my field experience in this one possible method, some answers on how to learn to see beyond the perception of fear and suffering evolved.  Katie’s Work is very similar, as Jessica pointed out in class, to Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.  So, in a sense, both schools of thought on teaching given in our text are useful (Bigge and Thermis, 2004).  The Work or “inquiry” uses thoughts as the starting point, questions those thoughts and the awareness that comes from questioning our thoughts leads to natural changes in behavior.  It is just like learning a magic trick.  Once we see how it works, it can no longer fool us.  All that is required is that we notice and question the thoughts that underlie our beliefs and behaviors (Katie & Mitchell, 2002).  Katie says that she simply “knows the difference between what hurts and what doesn’t,” (2012).  So, while no learning theory is discussed in the course of doing The Work of Byron Katie, it is easy to see that there are both cognitive and behavioral components.  We question our thoughts and we notice that certain thoughts and behaviors hurt.  The questioning process benefits from an understanding of the logical fallacies from the Socratic Method tradition.  When we see our logical fallacies, when we see where the pain comes from, we tend to choose differently because we can no longer lie to ourselves and believe that our lies are working in our favor (2002, Web site for The Work, 2012).

The Work of Byron Katie has broad applications.  In her book, Loving What Is, co-authored with her husband, Stephen Mitchell, who has translated many famous philosophical and spiritual texts from various world traditions, Katie goes through chapters on relationships, work, money, self-judgments, children, underlying beliefs, the body, addictions, and includes a chapter on generalizing the process to any situation that is causing us pain (2002).  Relationships are covered in more detail in her second book, I Need Your Love:  Is That True? (2005).

Technology in teaching is useful here, as well.  There are teleconferences, webinars, You Tube videos, and many more avenues for accessing and learning this method.  It made this field research possible, when local classes were cancelled.  And while technology may bring us much that we have never had access to before, there is still a place for live, in-person learning.  It is this author’s theory that what is gained from in-person learning may not be currently measurable, the way we cannot measure the energy we get from food other than the rudimentary counting of calories.  Our proprioceptive sense receives more than just words and pictures from live instructors. There is far more to be modeled than the form of what is said in a class.

This field experience summary is a broad overview of the potential of effectively teaching and learning a way of being that demonstrates the truth, demonstrates love, demonstrates well-being and happiness.  Again, what if this was the starting point of education?  Grounded in well-being and happiness, what clarity and creativity is possible?

References

Argosy Student Portal for the class, (2012).

Bigge, M. L. and Shermis, S. S.  (2004).   Learning Theories for Teachers.  Boston, MA:Pearson Education, Inc.

Gagne, R.; Wager W.; Golas, K.;  and Keller, J. (2005).   Principles of Instructional Design.  Belmont, CA: Wadsworth/Cengage Learning.

Gazzaniga, M.  (1998). The mind’s past.  Berkeley & Los Angeles, CA:University of California Press.

Gilbert, D.  (2006). Stumbling on happiness. New York, NY:Random House.

Harris, S.  (2012).  Free will.  New York, NY:Simon & Schuster.

Katie, B. and Mitchell, S.  (2002). Loving what is:  Four questions that can change your life.  New York, NY: Random House.

Katie, B. and Katz, M.  (2005).  I need your love:  Is that true?  New York, NY:  Random House.

No Significant Difference web site (2012).  Retrieved from http://www.nosignificantdifference.org/.

Norretranders, Tor.  (1998).  The user illusion:  Cutting consciousness down to size. New York, NY:Penguin Putnam, Inc.

San Francisco Chronicle (April 2, 2012).  U.N. discusses creation of gross national happiness.  (Retrieved from http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/n/a/2012/04/02/international/i173603D40.DTL#ixzz1r5T9a0I3).

Shulman, J.  (2004).  Kabbalistic healing:  A path to an awakened soul. Rochester, VT:Inner Traditions.

 Seligman, M. E. P.  (2011).  Flourish:  A visionary new understanding of happiness and well-being.  New York, NY:Free Press, A Division of Simon and Schuster.

 University of Pennsylvania Positive Psychology web pages (2012).  Retrieved from http://www.ppc.sas.upenn.edu/index.html.

(Most of these books have extensive reference sections with the necessary peer-reviewed journal articles.  It proved too time consuming to trace each discussion above to the proper references in each book, though the dissertation will probably require this.)

Appendix

 4 Worlds from

Jason Shulman’s Kabbalistic Healing

 4          Atzilut                              Beyond even Oneness. Even Oneness is too much

3          Briah                                 Things are not One and not Two

Same stuff, but not the same.

Who would you be w/o your story?

All roads lead to Briah

2          Emotion                           Things that have relationships to one another.

Yetzirah                             Food you like, food you don’t like.

Related, food, liking/disliking.

Me, when I’m complaining.

The Worksheet of Byron Katie.

1          Action                                 Newtonian      Stuff is separate.

Assiyah                               Cups different than tea

Wouldn’t even do inner work around the problem

Always in all of them. Can’t prefer one over the other.

A Year and 2 Months?

July 10, 2011

This almost doesn’t surprise me.  I’ve been sending my words into a different venue for almost exactly a year and 2 months. My goodness.

I was just in Texas last Monday to visit family and friends. It was hot, but they kept their agreement and they kept me in air conditioned boxes while I was there, and I only stayed several hours. Still working in the same job that I love. Started on a doctorate in education in January 2011.  Liking it, though I’m not yet finding the like-minded others I would prefer.  Still wanting a mentor, though most likely, I’ll have to train one for my dissertation committee.  There is no scholarly research, yet, on what I’m working on. Current working title:  Happiness:  Can We Teach It?

Martin Seligman wrote an article you can look up called “Can We Teach Happiness?”  Almost made me want to shift and go to U of Pennsylvania to study, but I doubt that is in my future, really.  I’m just about married to living in Colorado.

Still single.

That’s about it for the update.  I’ll see about writing more somewhere, sometime.

~ Stacy

 

I’m Going to Whine a Little Now

May 5, 2010

And I’m going to enjoy it.

Well, you won’t believe me if I only share things that people label “good” or “positive.”  “It’s all good” is one of the truest things ever said.

I have a feeling I might be pre-menstrual.

Why do I think that?

Well, I put on “Mary Ellen Carter” sung by Stan Rogers on the way to work this morning and cried all the way through it… then I played it again and cried some more. It was great!

There is a YouTube performance with an intro about the song here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fT-aEcPgkuA

Then I went into Steve Forbert, “So Good to Feel Good Again,” which doesn’t seem to be on YouTube. Tsk tsk.

That got me to work.

I’ve got that yearning for companionship, yearning for school, yearning for a way to give more in my work, coupled with some discouragement and the feeling of a hole where those things go.

Like Mr. Prosser, I am “only human. In other words, I am a carbon-based life form descended from an ape.”

Yawn, it’s 8:30 pm. Nearly bedtime.

Good night!

Tantra, Polyamory, Meditation & Learning to Think

April 16, 2010

Someone on Facebook friended me because he thought I was into tantra. This is my reply:

How on Earth did someone claiming to be an analytical thinker get caught up in the superstitions of tantra and the like? No, don’t tell me. I kinda know. It was different. You had to try it. You were horny. Things like that.

Me, I started with all of that stuff and had to learn to think.

Once I did, none of that made sense. Pure superstition. I hope you enjoyed the Anti-Guru blog.  http://sashen.com/blog/

If you liked that, friend Duhism here and go look at http://www.duhism.com/

My father always said he didn’t understand why we had to love just one person. I was polyamorous at 13. My first poly relationship lasted 7 years off and on. Would be nice to find Anthony to see where he landed, but his last name is Smith and it has been fairly hopeless so far.

No, I am not saying I am “more satisfied, more mature, or somehow otherwise better off having [as you put it] moved to monogamy.” I did not “move to monogamy.” I simply recognized that I am. When I am really into someone, I don’t want anyone else. But it isn’t as simple as that, either. With some partners, I might enjoy relationships with other people. I have no idea till it happens. But clinging to “being poly” or “being monogamous” from some idealistic stand I’ve taken is stressful. All I did was notice what I do and when I do it. Peaceful to do that.

There is a meditation I recommend. Well, two.

One is “The Work of Byron Katie,” which will sound very analytical and I assure you it is not. Her questions are meant to be answered from *inside* not outside. And it takes a pile of Worksheets to delve into some of our nests of untrue thinking. There is a blog on that at http://annojohnson.wordpress.com

Katie’s site is http://www.thework.com/index.asp where you will find her books, videos, and free hotline for facilitation.

The other is IAM Meditation. There are several of them. Below is my affiliate link.

There are 2 schools of meditation: the purification methods, which most people know, whereby you spend hours and years and lifetimes sitting and hoping and practicing, never really “reaching” your “goal.” Then there is the recognition path. You’re there. Just notice. Myself, I prefer the latter and that is what IAM is.

You will find a fairly long, free introductory video here:

http://www.advancedmeditation.com/cmd.php?af=570391

Steven is my friend. Trust him with your email address. You can always unsubscribe.

So, there, in a nutshell is about a decade of my learning. Well, my whole life, if you read my anonymous blog. I am Ann O’Johnson. Be aware that I no longer believe what I wrote in many of the earlier blogs. Astrology, for example. But I leave it up. It’s part of the story.

Love,

Stacy

Thursday, November 26

November 26, 2009

I cancelled the trip to Texas because Trillian, my calico cat, is still limping from a neighborly attack by the resident she-monster upstairs, belonging to the HOA president, Debbie.  To her credit, the minute she heard the ruckus, Debbie was out her door calling her cat off.

But my tiny little girl was chased up a tree and sprained her right front leg. She’s been limping for a week. However, today, she is gingerly walking on all four a lot of the time, as long as her dear brother, Puff, isn’t chasing her. In 30 minutes, when the Sun is fully up, Mr. Puff is going to have a little outing out of doors, away from his sister, who has retreated to the top of my wicker shelf. (It’s nice that I only paid $20 for it the way she is always climbing it.)

And me, rather than having a 14 to 16 hour drive to Fort Worth last night, slept on my own recently fluffed featherbed with a kitten under each arm.

 

Dollhouse by Joss Whedon

October 25, 2009

 

www.whyiwatch.com

www.fox.com/dollhouse

Brief Blurbs of Updatedness

September 15, 2009

Labor Day weekend I dunked my body into 4 hot springs in 3 days – more if you consider that Ojo Caliente has 7 pools of varying temperatures and mineral composition. The drive to and from was peaceful and relaxing, and Joy is a Joy to be with, as always.

By 11:30 this morning, I learned that my boss, who gave her notice a full 6 weeks ago, would not be back. She was trying to work through this Friday, but really… once the decision was made, 6 weeks is a *lot*. Totally don’t blame her.

I am enjoying a very odd phase of things with people right now. Tying up lots of loose ends, getting clearer with people – winning friends, losing friends over my honesty & clarity – what is it they say about that?  Something about how there is nothing really lost when someone can’t handle honesty & clarity. It’s better worded than that. I forget.

I wrote Sashen a note I’ve been meaning to write him for about 6 years, wondering if he’ll be a sounding board for me, asking to negotiate on how to do that, and requesting a referral if he doesn’t have time. His local classes are down to not even one a year, and the 8-week series on practical aspects of Quantum Wealth has not happened, so I am going to take matters into my own hands a bit more now.

I played a great scene with an old friend Sunday morning. Enjoyed the hell out of it and will never do it quite like that again. More clarity. I still want what I want. And won’t settle for less. I’d rather be single than unhappy.

My eating habits are pretty much back to something I can live with. I am still planning on some more fasting for cleansing and weight loss, but am much less susceptible to foods that hurt – and I’ve lost a chunk of weight, but still have much more to go.

What else?

I’m wishing for a bit of a larger living space, one maybe with the living room between the 2 bedrooms so that my roommate and I aren’t sharing a bedroom wall. That would be nice. Still, the rent here is wonderfully low, and lets me live really well for less. That and no car payment and I’m doing fine on that front.

Looking for a PhD that will work for making Ann’s Tale a dissertation, and maybe a different sort of book than I’ve been trying to write. Face it – I suck at telling stories. I’m too informational, too much information, too preachy. It just doesn’t come out as any kind of artfully told tale. But as a dissertation?  Something more textbookish? That’s more my thing.

The kittens are kind of in their Terrible Twos. They are 3 months old, too young to go outside on their own yet, and not till they’ve had their shots, but too old to run rampant through a small 2-bedroom condo… and doing it anyway. I will be glad when they can wear themselves out *out*side and be more placid around the plants and furniture. They *will* grow up. (Thank goodness they aren’t children – that would just take WAY too long!)

I’m totally single right now. There are always several bites on the dating sites, but so far, nothing I could sink my teeth into. No, wait, teeth would be bad.🙂

Alright, I digress.

“We’ll be saying a big hello to all intelligent lifeforms everywhere and to everyone else out there, the secret is to bang the rocks together guys . ”

      -Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, by Douglas Adams

Keep those cards & letters & phone calls coming!

Love,

Stacy

 PS – Today’s latest Duhism is right in line with me… http://www.duhism.com

HHGG Quote of the Day: 

 “I seem to be having a bit of trouble with my lifestyle.”  Arthur Dent

Patience for? Trust to?

May 17, 2009

Patience and trust are subtly controlling words.

Not all that subtle the minute you think about it clearly.

If you are being patient you are waiting for some imagined future that you cannot control, but insisting on control anyway.

If you are trusting, you are trusting someone or something to do something or not to do something. Again:  controlling the future, not to mention another person.

Give it up.

Love,

Stacy


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.