9 Insights from Living with PTSD by Marc Titus @cedarmesa

9 Insights from Living with PTSD by Marc Titus @cedarmesa

Traumatic Stress: Resiliency & Healing with Yoga

  • Are you or someone you know living with PTSD
  • Do you work or want to work with this population?
  • Are you interested in trauma-aware tools, techniques & practices with proven efficacy in managing PTSD?
  • Each year, the Sedona Yoga Festival hosts an annual Yoga for PTSD training.  Click here to learn more about it…  

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I continue to humbly accept this day as it is… and was.  Living with PTSD; It no long rules me now.  Sometimes, and I know this will always be the case, I will feel sadness for those guys, but the truth is they aren’t suffering…This is the first time I have spoken publicly about those ill-fated days and much has burbled up in inspiration that is being documented.  Something is happening; I am along for the ride.  Thank you everyone for your support. (Added 8/22/2018) Marc Titus

SYF Founder, Aumbase, Inc.

August 5th, 2018

Today marks the 10 year anniversary of the Iron 44 Incident, August 5th, 2008.  Heralded as the worst aviation incident in Wildland Firefighting history, 9 men lost their lives that day in a horrible way. (Looking back, I had no idea I would be Living with PTSD for the next 10 years…)

The Aftermath
as told by SYF Founder Marc Titus

I was on the phone that day, nearing the end of shift… 100+ Helibase personnel gathered outside for the debriefing in a few minutes. Nothing was amiss, all of my aircraft safely on the ground, I was looking forward to my end of shift responsibilities so I could grab a bite and get some rest. The Type 1 team I was assigned to, and subsequently would become a member of, was timed out, and transitioning, as I recall… they were leaving the next day or two. I was just completing my final training assignment to be a fully qualified Type 1 Helibase Manager during the California Firestorms of 2008. That was a bad season, the two previous days 2 fatalities on 2 other fires… All was well, under my watch, though I remember thinking… that was my job.

I was speaking to a New Zealander, over as part of the assistance that comes when wildfire season is epic, he, too winding down the shift… there was a crew shuttle happening… last mission of the day on the Iron Complex, the Incident to the north of mine, we discussing our overlapping areas of responsibility for next shift… I remember commenting on the crew shuttle… “cutting close to pumpkin time, or something to that effect.”

“Fuck…” came from the earpiece of the old fashioned phone receiver.

“What,” I asked.

“AFF went black…” referring to the Automated Flight Following GPS system we used to track aircraft.

The system, back then, still glitchy… this not necessarily a cause for concern, as it had happened many times before and all was good, I asked our ABRO, Air Base Radio Operator, to zoom our screen out and take a look…

No more than 15 seconds passed.

“Helicopter down…. We have an aircraft down.” The New Zealander on the other end of that old school phone receiver breathed.

Even, today… recalling this experience for you now, I am transported back… and am reliving it in all its technicolor glory… however, today… there is NO Emotional CHARGE, well, it still saddens me, but ultimately I am now at peace with it…. That has been transmogrified, perhaps still a #transmogrificationinprogress,, but nevertheless, today is different…

Than the last 10 years…

My mind raced… as he told me what little he knew and over the next 10 minutes (or less) I was on the phone with him AND my supervisors…. This was a horrible time for this to happen, my mind raced, it would be dark soon, pumpkin time being my original concern regarding the mission they were completing… shit… incoming or outbound, my mind screamed…

“Outbound… Full Load.” He said, as if hearing my silent cries for some form of help, but from where…, this was on me!

My heart sank…. There could have been as many as 15 Souls on Board, as pilots often would report on takeoff…

In that 10 minutes… 15 max, as I listened to the phone in one hand, repeating relevant information to my supervisors on the phone in the other… I finally realized the entire helibase was still gathered outside for debriefing. UNAWARE of what was going down. What had gone down… with as many as 15 souls on board…

I got off the phones… told the ABRO, aircraft base radio operator to continue to monitor the situation… Fought back the tears… gritted my teeth… stood in front of the door…

It opened, and one of the Local Volunteer Fire Department Personnel whom over the past 14 days I had become good friends with, peered in. His gaze met mine… and he knew. He stepped in and whisper… “I’ve tried to keep it quiet,” he said, “but, don’t know how much longer I can… Is it true?”, he asked, showing me his pager. “Dispatch is calling for a multi-jurisdictional response, mass-casualty incident, helicopter crash.”

“Yes… I will be right out.” He closed the door and I steeled myself….  my mind raced… what was I gonna do… how was I gonna be… how were we going to get through this… how could I help… what was I going to say to those men and woman outside…

I took deep breath… opened the door…. Calmly walked out,

By now, ALL the local pagers were going off… ALL OF THEM… people were starting to look confused, concerned, helpless…

I heard… “mass casualty” come from one pager…. “All available resources respond…” from another….

I looked out at these men and woman… whose job it was to protect, my duty… and I spoke.

“Roughly 15 minutes ago, during a crew shuttle November 612 Alpha Zulu crashed outbound at helispot 44 on the Iron Complex,” (the Complex burning immediately to the north of our incident.) “I don’t know anymore than that… Please let’s take a moment to pray for those on board.”

Pagers were going off still, although that was dying down…. As something else picked up. A Local Volunteer FireFighter had handed me a local radio… as I turned the volume up… we could now, hear the local radio traffic…

MASS CASUALTY INCIDENT, IRON COMPLEX… HELICOPTER CRASH… MULTI-JURISDICTIONAL RESPONSE…

Another Agency firefighter, who had the Iron Complex Air Frequencies programmed into a radio handed me his radio it was filled with traffic… Dead Silence… but for the radio traffic, I turned the volume up to hear a familiar voice… a pilot, from Carson Helicopters I had managed many times as a Helicopter Manager…

9 insights from living with ptsd

Iron 44 Crash Site

AIRCRAFT IS ON ITS SIDE… BURNING… ATTEMPTING BUCKETS… WE NEED HELP UP HERE… SEND HELP.

We were already in a rough circle for the briefing… I stepped to the center and set the two radios down… volume up…. Lit a cigarette…

And thus, my whole life changed… indelibly, I was marked.

For the next 2 hours… we listened as the reality unfolded…

For the next 7 days… I managed the aftermath…

For the rest of the season… I did my job and was promoted… I kicked ass. and took names.  saved lives… ALL went home on my watch. EVERYONE.

For the next 4 years, I rolled with that team and peaked in my career.

Until one day, I began to falter…

Today, after 10 years… I finally feel whole again. I have struggled with PTSD, come to find out since that season… it finally taking me out completely some 6 years later… I have learned a lot… and oh, boy have I suffered.

But, this experience I recount… and more, well… they’ve been transmogrified.  (you’ll learn more about this if you want, too! keep reading…)  I am now at peace, and come to see how these experiences have allowed me to become who I am today… they have become my guide and I have become grateful for them.

Why, you might ask…?

Well, I am ready to share… and it begins with this.

9 things I have learned Living with PTSD

1. Educate yourself.

I had no actual clue what was going on; those around me thought I had turned into a complete jerk (actually way worse… and not funny), my relationships at this point suffering to the point of breaking and many did. Looking back, now, I realize my departure from the Incident Management Teams was a result of the slow, but sure degradation of the abilities that once had allowed me to excel in this world of bringing order to chaos. I faltered, amidst my brothers and sisters; yet none of us knew what was happening to me, on the inside. Least of all me.

The life you save, it could be your own; it could be your brother or sister in service. Get educated. Admittedly, the resources have improved and the awareness has increased, yet we still have a long ways to go in removing the stigma attached to mental health in the world today. Living with PTSD is a very real problem. More and more research is coming out these days alerting us to a huge crisis of Spirit looming on the horizon.

Living with PTSD will become absolutely unbearable and people are killing themselves everyday because of this affliction; the numbers don’t lie. It is a problem. I am part of the solution. And you are, too.

2. Speaking of the above; elephant in the room. It’s real.

I know that feeling; that deep, intrinsic, inescapable sense of dread; dis-ease. 24-7 non-stop. I don’t care who you are… how strong you think you are; this shit is different. It haunts from the inside in insidious, dark and demented ways. It erodes the faith you once had in yourself… Living with PTSD goes beyond the regular dialogue of self- doubt and deprecation.

Eventually, it becomes completely unbearable and we will often do anything to get relief. At first, relief will come in more work, exercise, eating, drinking, sexing, drugging, you name it, there are innumerable unhealthy ways for us to try to fix this problem we are unaware of.(See #1) Ultimately all we are doing is masking and making matters worse. After months or years of this unconscious behavior aimed at easing our internal suffering, only one destination awaits; misery, a complete and utter miserable shitshow for you and those whose lives you touch. And trust me, up to this point has been miserable, you just didn’t know it, cuz of all the self- medicating.

Look, a person doesn’t just wake up one day and say, “ya know… <thinking face>, I think the best thing for me to do today, is jump off a cliff. Yah, that doesn’t happen; it’s not normal. So, if that’s you… right now. ***stop everything and call someone right now, get help. Worst case scenario 911***.

Yes, this is what happened to me. I was still un #1ed, so I still had no clue I was living with PTSD, neither did my wife… I was scared. I got help.

3. Life is Worth Living, I am worthy of Life.

I spent 40 days in a mental hospital. Guess what? No-one has ever said to me, “hey that sounds like fun!” And while it likely saved my life, it was far from fun. I was ready to stop suffering, tho and for a few weeks, I did. During that stay, I made peace with the voices of #2… and met others like me who had the same insidious inspirations inside their wounded minds. You mean… I wasn’t alone…! nice. Well, not, as that meant others were suffering, too. But, yes, nice; you are not alone, either.

So, what did I learn from my stay? Life is worth Living; I am worthy of Life.

I was clearly able to see and establish that those voices, intending my demise, were NOT real and as such, I made a deep commitment that if they ever came back, I would be much better equipped to manage them. And I am. Let me clarify, they are not real, but they do exist. And they seem to be rooted in something much deeper, to a place that I was unaware of; an inner landscape devoid of Self-Love and Self-Worth.

It turns out there’s this thing called the sub-conscious and we all have it. (Remember #1) It is filled with all kinds of stuff that form the basis of who we are, how we perceive the world and stuff. Much of what is in the sub-conscious is helpful in the sense that we don’t have to think about it… driving is a good example. We learned to do it and now for most of us ( I’ve been driving for 30+ years) we don’t even remember the actions of driving; they are completely second nature. Ok.

Other stuff gets in there, too… Belief systems get tucked away down there, outta sight, outta awareness. Habit. Samskaras. Patterns. Behaviors. Fears, insecurities, and something called self-worth. Well, guess what, after long bouts of PTSD, anxiety and depression one’s self-worth can hit an all-time low and if it get’s reinforced, like by me bemoaning my very existence, well then it gets sent straight to the sub-conscious after awhile as a belief. Whether we realize it or not, this belief now begins to influence all of everything in our lives. And I mean everything.

So, we need to not only be aware of this and how it works, but actually take steps to remedy this as quickly as possible. This is where affirmations and mantra come in; repetition being the key, we want to start reclaiming our self-worth and courage from our sub-conscious beliefs. We start small and build, as gain momentum. I suggest starting with I am Worthy and Courageous. Or… I meet life with Calm, Clarity and Conviction. (if your feeling really good, string them together!) There is a whole science to this and one can get quite sophisticated with it from many different perspectives, but for now… start small. I am worthy of life… and so are you! (Remember #1? Go ask the Oracle (Google) about Mantra or Japa, or affirmations. And roll with your findings. Spoiler alert… #5)

Trauma shatters your most basic assumptions about yourself and your world — “Life is good,” “I’m safe,” “People are kind,” “I can trust others,” “The future is likely to be good” — and replaces them with feelings like “The world is a dangerous place,” “I can’t win,” “I can’t trust other people…” Dr. Mark Goulston

Psychiatrist

5. You need to Heal!

What you are gonna find out if you continue on this path of recovery, is that PTSD is a nervous system injury and as such, you are gonna need to heal. Trust me, this is part of the stigma attached to mental illness. Sometimes, I thought, even said to those around me, ‘it would be easier if it was a broken bone or something; something others could see.” Ha… Bullshit, more victim language, so be on the lookout for this. People who do #4 don’t talk like this. They take responsibility, and as such will focus on their healing.

Make healing your #1 priority.

When I finally made healing my priority, things began to move in a positive direction. I began to gain traction and eventually momentum. It still wasn’t easy, there were setbacks and breakdowns, but all were now framed within the context of healing my nervous system; reclaiming my life, and life force. Finally, and just recently, making healing my #1 priority I have been able to consistently create positive experiences in my life, amidst the inevitable chaos! Now, we’re talking! Booyah!  Living with PTSD is no joke… take care of yourself!

6. Relax.

Guess what… and you may not like it, because it is likely to go against everything you have ever been taught in this life! But, get ready… sit down. Take a deep breath. Relax…

that’s right, RELAX…

Remember #5? Well, your nervous system is made up of the sympathetic (fight/flight/freeze) and parasympathetic (#1). We’ve been stuck in the sympathetic side and that is NOT a good thing! The sympathetic is for outrunning tonights dinner so you may eat or outrunning the saber-toothed tiger so you may eat breakfast tomorrow. It’s for heroics and life saving deeds, quick thinking, even quicker reactions and actions; put bluntly it is there to keep us alive in the world we live in.

It is designed to come online without thought or consideration to insure our very survival, then go offline after the threat has passed. <Face Palm.> They told me when I was admitted to hospital that I was in what’s called “always on” and likely had been there most of my adult life.

Let’s look at this another way for some perspective. Orgasms are nice and they play a large role in our human experience; for the reason of procreation, for one. Biologically without orgasm, likely human beings wouldn’t have come this far. But, could you imagine orgasming 24/7 for decades… <thinking face>… yeah, me neither.

What’s the antidote?

that’s right, RELAX…

The parasympathetic nervous system is also known as rest and digest, or feed and breed, being associated with things like digestion, defecation, urination, tears, salivation and sexual arousal. It is the compliment to fight/flight, returning the organism (not orgasm) to a state of balance, homeostasis. It is imperative for our health, vitality, wellness and Spirit to live in balance. PTSD is an affliction that takes the body out of balance and the way back is…

that’s right, RELAX…

(#1 some Yoga Nidra, and give this slam-dunk healing tool a try! It was a key to my healing.)

7. Be Grateful.

While you are getting your groove on, ya know, so relaxing, let’s implement a key learning that, for me, was actually quite difficult. It’s called Gratitude. Yup, giving thanks! For some reason, my ability to do that had come to a complete halt. Can you imagine? lol… Maybe you don’t have to, maybe you are in the thick of it now. Either way… Do, do this… (he said doodoo…)

Start a gratitude journal…

Gratitude is a muscle, that if not flexed withers away to almost nothing. (A lot like #3) Trust me, I know as this was, and sometimes still is very difficult for me. But I DO IT, NOW!!! why, because it has helped. And continues to help. I have been doing it consistently and momentum is building. The muscle needs exercise.

There is something about FEELING grateful, deeply grateful that makes a difference, deep inside. Remember do do ( :-0 )your #1 and find out why.

Traumatized people chronically feel unsafe inside their bodies: The past is alive in the form of gnawing interior discomfort. Their bodies are constantly bombarded by visceral warning signs, and, in an attempt to control these processes, they often become expert at ignoring their gut feelings and in numbing awareness of what is played out inside. They learn to hide from their selves. Dr. Bessel A. van der Kolk

Author, The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma

8. Bad Days.

Im gonna be honest with you, as you know it has sucked and/or witnessed the suckage in a friend, spouse, family member, community member, etc.

Bad days come… and bad days go.

You’re gonna have bad days.  That’s what happens when you are Living with PTSD. (but there’s hope!)

But, you are still here and are committed to still moving forward. (If not, see #2 and call for help!) May I remind you (reminding myself, too) you have come this far and those bad days are in the past. Gone! You can’t do anything about them, but you can do something about NOW (see #4). Do you work. (still #4) and the bad days of yore, will begin to diminish. The absolutely crushing despair I used to feel has been replaced with Hope, with Trust and Faith in something bigger than me; a higher power of the Source within me, within us all.

Where I was and where I am are light years apart; I can tell you I have my share of stories, nightmares more appropriately, but I AM STILL HERE. A bad day actually hasn’t existed for me in a while now. :-D. Tough moments, yes. Challenges, of course. Crushing/debilitating despair… yup! Those thoughts we don’t like to think about…. Hmhmmm. But, I haven’t had a bad day in quite awhile.

What used to crush me for days, weeks, even months, has subsided in intensity; the work, its been working. Now, I have moments as described above, moments, not lasting debilitation. I receive relief during the day, not a week later, because of all these things I have shared with you… and more. In short, living with PTSD has become easier…

9. Higher Power.

The best for last? Shoulder shrug… but it is important, very important it turns out. And I am not gonna belabor it, cuz its up to you to sort out, for yourself. Its personal; between you and the Creator. If you do your #1, you will find it is the ingredient necessary to facilitate massive transformation in your life. What is it? Belief in something greater than you… Bigger. I call it God… Source. Creator, the great mystery, Prana, Chi, Energy, Universal Energy, the Lord… did I say, God… Love, it has been monikered by all cultures throughout time, and pointed to by the masters and great traditions as the Source of All that Is. It has been called Love. And I have experienced its benevolence; its grace. In fact, it could be said… that is why I am here today.

By Grace… By God.

The same goes for you…

Namaste.

Well… that got a bit in-depth, I gotta say!  It has been a wild ride home, but today, August 5th, 2018… as I write this, I can say I am free.  I’m back, or perhaps better said… I’ve been reborn, forged from the fires of my own making I emerge in service and on purpose.  No one ought suffer like I have… No one should have to endure that pain.  But, we do… until it becomes unbearable… and then we find our road… HOME.

Drop me your email address below, and I will send you the entire article, 9 Insights from Living with PTSD… AND a Yoga Nidra Guided Meditation Recording. These two resources alone can help you! help yourself… or someone you know.  Don’t make the same mistakes I did… Get on this list.  You will also receive emails from me (and can unsubscribe anytime.)  They will be inspiring and filled with real-life insights, in real-time. Stories from my career as a Wildland Firefighter, tools & practices, guided meditations, movement & exercise, spiritual & material practical solutions that worked for me ( and many, many others). It all begins today, with 9 INSIGHTS FROM LIVING WITH PTSD. I have been relatively vocal about these challenges, in the past… told my story each year, charting my progress, as the Host and Facilitator of the annual SYF Trauma Training, as I call it… but never have I really shared, deeply what has worked for me.  And how it may work for you, or help someone you know.  I will also keep ya posted on the 2018 SYF Yoga for PTSD Training, and perhaps some behind the scenes look into the world of the Sedona Yoga Festival.  I do still have some pull… *wink*

It’s time… I am ready and blessed to share what I have received.

Marc
Sedona Yoga Festival Founder
@cedarmesa
#transmogrifythatshit
#transmogrificationinprogress

Living with PTSD

living with ptsd living with ptsd living with ptsd living with ptsd living with ptsd living with PTSD living with PTSD

Yogi Detox

Yogi Detox

This is part 4 of a multipart blog series.  Click here to read part 1.

yogi detoxDo yourself a favor… I did!  I took a 10-day vacation (well, almost 10-days… i will explain below) from the normal foods and ways I eat and wow!  what a difference…  Read on as I share my conclusions from the recent yogi detox I undertook.

The Purium 10-day Transformation makes things super easy.  There are five products that I cycle through each day, beginning when I wake and ending a few hours before I go to bed.  Every 2 waking hours, I attend to fueling my body.  It’s simple.

Wake, take 5 Super Amino 23’s, and a Super-Lyte.

2 hours later, 2 scoops of Power Shake and 2 Super-CleansR.

2 hours later 5 Super Amino 23’s, and a Super-Lyte.

2 hours later, 2 scoops of Power Shake and 2 Super-CleansR.

2 hours later 5 Super Amino 23’s, and a Super-Lyte.

2 hours later, 2 scoops of Power Shake…

2 hours later, 2 ounces ApotheCherry.

yogi detox

Flex foods, these and more…

*I can add flex foods from a list including cucumber, apples, honey, avocado, greens, etc… OR if I need to I can add a flex MEAL from a larger list including fish, chicken, quinoa, and more.

Here’s the thing…  This program pretty much takes the habits away from eating, when one sticks to the schedule.  And the choices are already made, so again… NO THINKING.  Which is what I wanted!  Thinking uses energy and so do subconscious habits, patterns and unwanted behaviors.   But, I wanted to focus that energy on SEEING those habits and CHANGING them.

And that is just what happened and why this is truly a yogi detox!  Undeniably so, my body had a physical detox/cleanse the first 4 or 5 days and it certainly was nice to give my digestive tract a break for a few days, providing HIGH QUALITY, NUTRIENT DENSE SUPERFOODS at regular intervals in liquid and pill form.  Along with plenty of Sedona’s FINEST water, my body was certainly taken good care of nutrition wise.

So, what happens on a yogi detox?

My weather was conducive to inner work… !

 

Well, yogi’s systematically shine the light of consciousness on their thoughts, words and actions, discerning a wholesome course through life for the most part.  Often I slip, but I am ever-vigilant to stay the course, right my ways and move from an ever-evolving place of neutrality and consciousness… towards myself and others.  Occasionally… (actually, more often-than-not these past several months for me), I really lose my way, and get identified too deeply with the material world… PTSD kicks in and I live in a shitty place.

It was time to bring out the big guns, so when Heather said she was taking a yoga retreat in San Diego, I jumped at the opportunity to have some alone time for the yogi detox and thus jump start my new year, my new practice, my new life and our new businesses!

I am very pleased…

The thing about transformation is this…  in the end, nothing remains of that which was transformed. There are times when it happens in an instant and one is forever different, but my experience has been more like a journey… ‘peeling the onion’, layer upon layer reveals something new to transcend… transmute… transform.

And so, the yogi detox with support from the Purium Product line is my goto for a deep cleanse.  In my experience, its simplicity allows for redirecting all the available energy towards introspection if one desires.  The body goes through its machinations, ego attempting to dissuade, but if One stays present and observes it all for a few days patterns emerge.  Add gentle yoga sadhana with pranayama and meditation to complete a slam dunk for rapid transformation.

The super-cool thing about a Purium 10-day Transformation is how flexible it can be!  I did 7 days full on, following the schedule and adding the 3 flex snacks per day. During this time I limited my activity, but maintained a fairly strong yoga practice of 60-90 minutes and 20-30 minutes of meditation. Then I flew to San Diego for the Innaugural San Diego Yoga Festival and my activity increased.  On day 8, in addition to the schedule, I added a meal… of nigiri, seaweed salad, cucumber salad and yup… sake.  I approached this meal with the highest level of consciousness.  Every mouthful, the Divine… Blessed.  no problem.

Day 9, even more activity… and I was feeling kinda ungrounded…  Street Tacos, butternut infused whiskey sour.  Again, completely conscious…  again, no problem.

Day 10, even more activity… and I was actually hungry…  Finding the best place to eat that night was fraught with problems… complete with a non-stop verbal conflict at the restaurant we felt GOOD about going to… finally landing on a second best, but by then… not very conscious… suffice to say… BIG PROBLEMS…  Someone even got hit outside the restaurant towards the end of the meal.  So, the grass-fed burger and hand cut fries… nope.  didn’t work.

Here’s the thing about a yogi detox…  Everything comes to your aid.  Including serious indigestion, as the yogi continuously and relentlessly shines the light of consciousness into all areas of their lives.  These experiences showed me something about myself (that I needed to see… to know.)

It has been a few days now, I am still having a Power Shake and Aminos daily… and I have brought an even higher awareness to conscious living, eating, sleeping, playing, traveling… everything.  I have again seen how important it is to fuel this HIGH PERFORMANCE vehicle of consciousness evolving with the highest octane super-foods I can get my hands on.

It is up to me to create the optimum environment for my being to thrive and I have found diet to play a role.  I feel different; like I am firing on all cylinders.  I am clearer in mind, more peaceful in my thoughts, less reactive, happier for sure!  The physical detox, along with the flexibility of these products to suit your needs and goals, combined with the simplicity and ease of use makes it this yogi’s choice to support a personal home-based retreat that can really take you deep.

+++++SPOILER ALERT+++++

Days 3-5 are notorious…  and for me no different.  All of my being was focused on erasing some deep grooves… creating NEW NEURAL PATHWAYS… NEW EXPERIENCES… Much happened between days 3-5, but that is another story…

Yoga for PTSD

Yoga for PTSD

I have suffered enough…

I think that’s what happened… Somewhere from the darkness, this knowing came.  I have suffered enough!  So quiet, it was that it must have merely dawned on me at some point and through the fog of despair this near imperceptible feeling became the catalyst that has propelled me to where I am today, such an advocate of yoga for PTSD.

As I conjecture, taking a moment now to look back, I wonder if God’s graceful and consistent whisper wasn’t, “you have suffered enough…” and somewhere deep within the one who was wounded, a hidden back door opened allowing said Grace to enter.  Albeit unbeknownst to me at the time, as I was deeply identified with the one who was ill and couldn’t get out of bed, the pain so agonizing as to put me to the floor in tears, yet, Grace did come.

yoga for ptsd

You see, that is the thing about trauma and PTSD (and why yoga for ptsd is so helpful)…  One gets deeply wrapped up in the experience, so much so that there is no new experience, without the bodies memory of the impact of the event.  And when it gets extremely bad, the body never comes out of fight/flight, the memory of the event no longer so prevalent as everything in the world around me is sharp and harmful… or at least that is what my nervous system can tell me.

As imperceptible as this feeling/notion was at the beginning, I can say now, looking back, that it gained momentum, slowly at first, oh so very slowly, and it did pick up, but jeepers the agony of it…  I get it! What I am speaking about was mere months ago, and the gain in momentum is still variable, yet undeniably so, progress is being made… consciousness is expanding.  Ultimately, something within me fully acknowledged that I had suffered enough. 

And that’s when things around me began to change… starting with the pain, something began to release and all I can say is assistance showed up, every single time I needed it.  Miraculous, in plain speak, but in retrospect, I can see the elegance of it all.  God is not intending human beings to suffer.  and yet we do…  amazingly well, I might add!  The Human Race has become earthly residential experts at it, and few succeed in completely becoming free of this uniquely human condition.

So I work at it… it’s not always easy… Sometimes, I am successful… most often I fall short. But I have found through my practices (yoga for ptsd) there is a Presence whom is always there for me when I falter and the forgiveness I struggle to give myself, is ever-present when I am tuned with it…

That is the work… imperceptible whisper heard from my bed of despair, but full on conversations, inspirations, vitality, direction and drive when I am feeling good…

I suffered enough… and yet, still everyday… I face the chasm; its yawn could envelope me, if I let it and when I remember to turn away from the observations that pull me toward that gaping yaw, I feel good!  Needless to say, I have determined it is my responsibility to focus on that which allows me best to feel at ease in my being and have gained empirical evidence that doing so not only brings Joy, but also clears the way for an easier path with less obstacles and greater achievements.  

Clarity comes and life flows easily.  Dharma… Service in Action.  Consciousness itself expanding on its leading edge, through YOU.  That’s COOL!  Right!!??

Something happens… call it a miracle (because no short of could it be!)  Somehow… the point of identification can shift, does shift and we begin to see the wounded one and realize we can observe him or herRest in this awareness when it comes… nurture and allow it to return frequently.  Find ways that work for you to cultivate this feeling, because it is a feeling only you will know and your way to it will be unique to you.  Always remember, no matter where you are on your journey… teachers will come and go, leaders, too.  You are the only constant and ultimately your unique way and practice will be revealed… to you, unfolded by you and realized by you.  Yes, you will be guided, a student and a teacher, and you will experience many, many things… but, it will always be up to you to find your way hOMe when the cacophony returns, and it will return.

I am READY…  are you?  (Yoga for PTSD)

Join me at the Sedona Yoga Festival, March 9-12, 2017 for the first of its kind; Traumatic Stress, Healing & Resiliency with Yoga: an optional integrated training at the upcoming consciousness evolution conference held every year in the place I am blessed to call home.  Each year, SYF becomes a platform for giving back, as we train yoga teachers, care givers and survivors alike to understand the needs of a significant population in our over-stressed American culture; those affected by Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and its often debilitating symptoms, consequences and effects.  We have trained hundreds over the years and affected the lives of thousands. Yoga for PTSD works.  Period.

This year we aim higher (holding space for 210 attendees…) and by integrating this optional track into the festival schedule, we believe we will see more graduates from this CEU approved series of master classes and workshops than ever before!

SYF GIVES BACK program faculty have always been carefully selected by Heather and I to provide the largest scope possible to identifying, understanding and solving the problem through the the Science of Yoga, Meditation and other energy medicine modalities.  This year, several of the faculty have been monumental in my healing journey; their methods and teachings instrumental in my post-traumatic growth.

I can personally attest to the efficacy of these practices and if applied, consistently, diligently and with focus, one can experience a shift…  relief comes, even if but for a moment, it comes… and it will lead to more.

And one day… not too far in the future, you will take a moment to look back and say, “I suffered enough… have you?”

“There is another way…”, You will say.

 

yoga for ptsd
From Presents to Presence… the best gift of All.

From Presents to Presence… the best gift of All.

This is part 3 of a multipart blog series.  Click here to read part 1.

It’s time…  the glory and the chaos of the holidays is drawing to a close; the new year is ahead now and our sight may drift to the future as we contemplate where we’ve been and where we would like to go… in presence.

Where do you want to go?

This time of year is universal in its opportunity to grow and expand our horizons; to find an inner solace that soothes the past in hopes of wiping the slate clean.  We all carry baggage; our  bodies often bearing the scars of times past and humanity as a whole has come to see the New Year as the time for fresh starts and letting go…

On the heels of Christmas (I grew up celebrating this time of year in this way), I think we have an Aumazing Opportunity!  I mean, let’s think about it…  The Spirit of the Holidays is the same, regardless of the Holiday one celebrates… Presence.

“Be like Him that we celebrate today… regardless of race, religion or creed; kindness and compassion. Love everlast.”

Spirit…  The Life Force, Consciousness.  God.  Whatever you choose to call it, even whether or not you choose to acknowledge it, it exists and is the very fabric of reality that weaves us all together in inexplicable ways. 

Presence

But, what does it want?

I have come to see, through a lifetime of empirical studies, my path, that it, ultimately wants nothing more than to expand into new territories of experience, and we, the human being, appearing to be its most advanced avatar, must realize that in its omnipresence it could not possibly want to destroy us, rather it is the giver of LIFE and without it I could no longer write, sit, think, or type, nor could it experience itself expanding through me anymore…  Why would it want to harm me, let alone any of its Creations?

Yet, we look around us today and there is such uncertainty and fear… tumultuous times, I have said often, even now, this Holiday Season, humanity seems to be walking the razor’s edge, precipice on either side, wondering when it all may come crumbling down.

I awoke today, the day after Christmas, with a slight panic…  like, something is wrong, and yet, I know this is not true.  It means something is out of balance within me, the scales tipped to the darker side of consciousness where fear and uncertainty live and after looking deep inside, again I find my solace; my peace.  Presence.  Om Shanti.

I have come to realize that  I HAVE A HUGE PART TO PLAY IN ALL THIS.  (and so do you… it turns out.) 

You see, my teachers have all told me, as have pretty much ALL the saints, sages and masters that have come before, that I (and you… ) are Happiness itself… Joy itself… Love itself… BLISS… ANANDA…  Ecstasy.

I have experienced this to be true, maybe you have too!  Fleeting at times, yet  when I release all the stress and trappings of our modern ways,  quiet my mind, purify my body and tune into my Souls’ voice… Peace is there.  Joy is there.  Happiness is there.  Presence.

Mark Whitwell tells us that if we come away from our practice in any other state than described above, then we aren’t  doing yoga….  I laugh out loud at this now, as it sinks in…

And like a ton of bricks it hits me (again)…  head in palm…

I don’t go to my practices to seek aggravation, frustration, anger, or fear… those only exist in my fragmented and unbalanced mind, body and spirt…. NOPE!!!!  what happens when I find my way… my balance… is undeniably PEACE…. Happiness, Joy Itself.

THEREFORE… that is the underlying reality for ALL OF US…

So, we have our work cut out for us… and to be true it is our work… your work.  Mine.

Focussed practice ahead!  Presence.

It is time…. that we come hOMe.

(I am planning to do a spiritual detox and total body cleanse beginning in the next few days…it has helped me in the past to gain, presence and clarity… let me know in the comments if you would like to join in!  and Click here to see part 1 in this multi-part blog series!)

Namaste.

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