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        Michael Reddy, Ph.D, CPC
           Healer  Trainer  Author   610 469 7588

Monday June 26, 2017
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Last Christmas With Dad

Last time I saw my Dad before he died was on a Christmas morning. I lived far away. We all did. Still, this once the whole family was gathered--my brothers, sister, their spouses and young children--first time in a long time.  __grumpy man

So I walk in with my current significant other. Dad's sitting in a big chair next to the blinking Christmas tree. From all the way across the room he says really quite loudly:

"Wow, Michael. You look older. And you're fat too."

Same Old, Same Old

I'm not kidding. It was one great big shot across the bows, so to speak. I couldn't believe it. The same old "you're never good enough" warfare that had scalded my childhood.

casketDespite the fact that he was now a pillar of his local AA chapter, and an "inspiration to many" (said Mom)--this terrible antagonism towards me, his oldest son, wasn't going to change.

I didn't say a word to him the rest of that holiday visit. And when he was buried, with his WW2 veteran's flag draped across the coffin--I refused to be a pall bearer.

Who's Really Old and Fat?

At the time, in my early 40's, I was pretty much in my prime. Who, really, looked older and fatter? It wasn't me.

But ever since he got back from the war, he had projected into me the sensitive, artistic little Momma's boy he had been--while he stayed in the role of the terrible father and unrelenting drill sergeants who beat up so badly on him.

That way, I walked around the focus of all his hidden pain, and he could try to avoid it--even after he stopped drinking.

How "Presence" Helps

Today, with so much learning about Family Constellations and the if I only knewway families as whole systems function--I can much more easily be present to and step out of that trigger system, or others like it.

At the time, though--I was still just armored up. Behind the armor,
it really hurt.

Can I take my Dad for all the good he did for me, let go of the bad? Can I really say, "Dad, you were the perfect father for the evolution of my soul in this life. Thanks for all of it"? Now, yes. Then, no.

I Can Help You Get To That
Better Place This Holiday Season

holiday heartacheIn my Healing Holiday Family Heartaches teleseminars (Tuesdays 12/9 and 1/6, 7:30-9 pm est)--we'll be looking at how your family system works. Who are you in it?

Many of you in the helping/healing professions are the "symptom bearers"--just like I was.

So What's a "Trigger System"?

I'll go into more detail in the holiday support teleseminars, but here's a start.

Healing Holiday Heartaches--One

Happy Thanksgiving to those of us in the US, good luck you up North with the early cold and snow, and early season's greetings to all my friends in other continents and countries.

It's Summer for my buddies in Australia and New Zealand....

But it's the Time of Dark and Coldwinter scene
Here in the Northern Hemisphere

How does that affect you? How do you respond when night shuts down so early and so long every day? Even more importantly--how do you respond to the presence (or the absence) of what should be warm, loving, holiday family celebrations?

What it Was (and Still Should be)
Versus What it Now Is

For tens of thousands of years, Winter has been the time when far-from-the-equator folks on planet Earth draw inward. Warmth, love, & the sharing of family and tribal wisdom stories are what have always held back the darkness.

overdecorated houseunwrapping presentsNot the garishly decorated outsides of houses blinking away in the cold-- looking like full out amusement parks competing for some sort of "way too much" prize.

While, inside, it's limited to a frenzied exchange of gift-list presents amid piles of empty boxes and torn wrapping paper
.
Followed possibly by stuffed bellies, video games, and NFL football.

How Do We Cope With the Growing
Loss of Closely Bonded Families?

Money Changes Everything--Towards a Less Toxic Economy

toxic

There's an upsurge of "new economy" ideas and efforts these days. Some are relatively mainstream attempts to shift capitalism towards more socially and environmentally responsible directions.

Others want to bring more spirituality into the business world. And some take issue even with the whole concept of money as it is structured in our world. More and more you hear the word "toxic" applied to the current economic system.

So What's All This About?

Who are some of the players and how practical are their proposals? Here I want to give
you some idea of the evolution and range of economic "fixes" bubbling up all over the place these days. Are we looking at real change here? Or just less effectual simmerings of widespread discontent?

The "Old" New Economy
globe webIn the 80's and 90's, "new economy" described the transition from manufacturing and brick and mortar retailing to a technology intensive service economy. Online retailing, social media, instant streaming of video content—all these undercut the hands-on, face-to-face, "old economy."

But this was more about the disruptive effect of ubiquitously networked computers than any fundamental change in economic capitalism. And it quickly became the next big, "dot-com" bubble of the late nineties.

Natural Capitalism

But also, in 1999, Natural Capitalism was published. It argued quite correctly that limited environmental and social plastic litter all overresources consumed by businesses don't appear in their accounting systems. They liquidate this kind of capital and call it income.

The "commons"--shared support systems, like air, water, and topsoil, on the one hand, and sufficient economic equality to ensure social safety on the other—is crucial to all of us. Failure to include its depletion becomes an invisible public subsidy to big business.

The impact of this accounting failure is clearly "toxic." Changing it is a basic idea that informs many more recent efforts.  Let's look at a few of these.

How Emotional Trauma Works-- in COOL DIAGRAMS

We humans react to immediately serious, or else chronic threats by energizing fight, flight, or freeze reactions.  Our nervous systems prioritize offensive & defensive processes, shut down healthier ones, and also disconnect some parts of the body, emotions, and brain from one another.  Trauma Hand to Head

Wild animals recover, but separations, disconnects, & imbalances remain in us if we do not process and assimilate serious overwhelm. 

Trauma is the name given to both the overwhelms & the lingering after-effects.  Leading edge researchers now believe that most chronic emotional and physical illnesses have some root source in trauma.

But what are these "disconnects," anyway?

Let's Go to the Pictures

Check out this first picture below. It's oversimplified but still core level correct. Notice that your right brain is streaming a unified, holistic flow of what happens to you. 

trauma diagrams box 1

The hippocampus passes this stream to your left brain which categorizes and creates your conscious story of your life. Right brain doesn't do this.

When Your Hippocampus Takes a Hike

But neither does left brain when you go into fight/flight/freeze overwhelm. Notice in Box 2--the hippocampus is offline.

trauma diagrams box 2

That means fragmented, usually disturbing RAW, unprocessed memories remain stuck in the right brain--even after normal processing resumes. Like those darker squiggles in Box 3 below.

trauma diagrams box 3

Well--so What??

These sit there until the present tense streams events that resemble the original trauma-inducing circumstances.

Then, this raw stuff piggybacks on the flow across the hippocampus bridge. And that brings old, disturbing perceptions and feelings into play as if they were--not memories of the past--but real, present-tense events.

So your conscious left brain is operating on the basis of some stuff that is NOT REALLY HAPPENING NOW.

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