Friday, June 14, 2013

Trauma Doesn't Tell Time

Robyn Gobbel, LCSW, wrote a blog post regarding trauma, implicit and explicit memories.  I don't know Robyn but now I'm seriously crushing on her.  Here is a link to her blog post.   Since I know most of you won't click over to read it I've asked permission from Robyn to re-post here and she graciously agreed but don't forget to go check out her blog.  So much fabulousness is waiting for you there and I am doing some serious reading on her blog. So click over.  Just do it.

Trauma Doesn’t Tell Time

JUNE 13, 2013
Many frustrated parents regretfully feel as though all of the years that their child has spent in their safe, loving home has not made much of a positive impact on the child. This can leave parents feeling bewildered and incompetent. When I talk with parents about how their child’s behaviors are being driven by their earliest life experiences, many are overwhelmed by that idea that everything they have done to provide a safe and loving family has not helped their child let go of those earliest traumas. Despite years of “safe mom” behaviors, the child’s brain still believes “moms aren’t safe” or “moms leave.” Despite years of never going hungry, a full pantry, and never being told “no” to food, the child’s brain still believes “I’ll never get food again” or “Hungry = Starving”. Parents start to feel hopeless and helpless. When will the child FINALLY believe they are safe? Not going to go hungry? Parents feel justifiably skeptical when I attempt to convince them that their 9 year-old child’s meltdown over being told “no” to a snack right before dinner triggers the part in their brain that believes “I’ll never get food again.” How can this be possibly true when the child has not gone without food for seven years AND mom is in the middle of cooking dinner- an obvious sign that food will be plentifully available very shortly.
Traumatic experiences, even the earliest and preverbal traumatic experiences, remain stored in our children’s brains. The normal information processing system that stores memories in the appropriate places in our brain is thwarted by the cascade of hormones and neurochemicals that are released during a traumatic or frightening experience. The memory- along with the images, feelings, and body sensations, remain literally frozen in their nervous system.
We have two types of memories
Simply because things cannot be RECALLED doesn’t mean they are not REMEMBERED by your child’s brain and body. Implicit memory describes how all your child’s memories were stored before 18 months, and most of the memories before 3. Implicit memory includes emotions and body sensations. Your nine-year-old may not recall being left all alone as a small infant but his body REMEMBERS the fear, terror and lonliness when he was all alone, believing no one would ever come back. For experiences that happen past age 3, explicit and implicit memory is BOTH involved with experiences and events. Explicit memory is what we are usually talking about when we talk about memories. Explicit memories are recalled. It’s the image we bring into our head when we think about last Christmas or what we ate for lunch yesterday. When implicit and explicit memory work together, we smile slightly at the positive feelings the memory brings to our body, and we can create a visual image of the memory. Implicit data is stored in our limbic brain (emotion brain)- the same part of our brain responsible for fight/flight/freeze. Our body holds implicit memories even before explicit memory is working. Newborns and even fetuses have experiences encoded into implicit memories. They can’t recall those experiences but they remember them.
Explicit memory is autobiographical. This is the part of our memory that helps us be oriented to time and place. If explicit and implicit information is appropriately connected, then when you recall your favorite family Christmas at Grandma Smith’s home because you smell homemade cinnamon rolls, your brain instantly knows that Christmas is a memory- it isn’t happening RIGHT NOW. If Christmas at Grandma Smith’s house had not been fully integrated and appropriately stored in your memory processing system, you may be triggered by the sweet smell of cinnamon rolls and your body may feel as though Christmas is happening NOW.
During traumatic experiences, implicit and explicit information may not be linked appropriately. The implicit data does not connect to the explicit data. And (here’s the REALLY important part) this implicit data that isn’t connected IS NOT ALTERED BY LATER LIFE EXPERIENCES. This means that all those years in your safe home does not impact implicit information that isn’t connected to the explicit information. When an implicit memory is triggered and there is no explicit memory to help it understand time and place, your child’s body literally feels like the experience is happening RIGHT NOW.
Trauma doesn’t tell time.  When it gets triggered, it doesn’t have access to information that tells your child “Hey! That happened a long time ago! You are safe now!” Trauma seizes your child’s body in the moment and thrusts them back into those terrifying times when the trauma was happening. This happens in milliseconds.
So, trauma momma, cut yourself some slack! You are not responsible for the disconnect in your child’s implicit and explicit memories. It isn’t fair that your child’s years in your family have not impacted their implicit memories, but it’s also not your fault, or your child’s fault. The silver lining here is that it is very possible, with the right help and support, for implicit and explicit memories to get linked up and for those earliest memories to be stored in the right spot in their brain.

Friday, April 12, 2013

NR - 1st - 3 Month Appointment

During neuro you go back every 3 months for a check-in appointment and the practitioner will re-evaluate to note any changes and to make adjustments to the protocol.  We had our first re-evaluation on April 10th.  Typically the program lasts for two years depending on how much effort you put into it and how much your child is willing/able to do.

5 hours later and we were through with both girls.  I am over-the-moon happy to report that George has completed a years worth of neuro work in this first 3 months.  The practitioner was stunned at her progress and said she had never seen it happen before.  Nicki, (George's mom) has had other friends that have noticed a huge difference in George too but hearing it from the practitioner was so affirming.  George was quick to tell Emily how much better she felt and how proud she is of the work that she has done.  She was able to verbalize that she no longer has the fear and anxiety level that she had previously and that she feels more in control of her life.  She was also excited to start on the next segment.  I don't know who was more excited, me, Emily, George or George's mom.  It would have to be a toss up.

Emily explained to George that school was no longer going to be such a challenge for her because now she'll be storing information in the correct parts of her brain.  Prior to neuro the wobbly eye movement caused George to store information in several different parts of her brain and therefore she couldn't recall things correctly.  We've already noticed this difference in other areas of her memory retention and her ability to follow 4 and 5 step directions with no problem.  Previously it was incredibly challenging for her and she would become easily frustrated when she couldn't recall information.

Today we saw George's p-doc.  Currently, George is on several different medications.  Dr. B. was so shocked at George's transformation and said if this continues she's going to start removing meds at her July appointment because it doesn't look like she's going to need them.  Her self-regulation continues to amaze all of us.

So, so, so proud of George and all of her hard work.  She is totally a rock star!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Please excuse me while I cry... a lot.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Too tired to write.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

The Thing That Will Push Me Through Today

I asked Marna if I could post her email that got me through yesterday.  I have printed it and will read it several times today.  J has read it and loves it too so I'm pretty sure she'll be reading through the day as well.

Man, NR does SUCK. It's so hard, harder then just one hard thing. It is beyond hard. It reaches into hard and turns it inside out!!!! Because of that....keep kickin' it in the butt!!! Fight harder. Beat it. Keep going. Going. Going.

What you have seen on the fast track of kickin' it proves you are reaching areas that would never have been. So now, we love NR and HATE it ALL at the same time. Stink!! I hate that love hate thing!!!

This is why I keep going. Just when I think I can let up, not do it, I see those kind of "deeper issues" arise, and I know I have been the fuel behind the fire to reach our children's pain. It has been brought to the light of exposure to only get released and hopefully GONE!!!

I'm/your stronger, a fighter, and NR will not beat me/you. Whether we are on the slow track or fast.....we will DO NR cause it does work!

Go, go, go LiSA!!!!!!!!!



Saturday, March 2, 2013

NR - Day 5

This morning was soooooo not good.  I was just on the verge of a big blubberfest and then I received a wonderful and encouraging email from Marna and I picked myself up and kept going (without the blubberfest).

I was so worried about leaving her for Orlando in this shape because it would be like leaving a newborn.  I couldn't do that to her.

This afternoon the tables turned and J turned loose of whatever she was processing in TRE and a shift has happened.  A wonderful and "happy dance worthy" shift.  The heavens parted and the angels sang Hallelujah!  The sucking thing she was doing with her lips/teeth completely stopped and didn't happen again the rest of the day.

Later I received an equally amazing email from my SW, Wendy, who totally touched my heart.  Celebrating the connections of Orlando and the ways that it keeps me sane and motivated.

This afternoon J announced that the NR is working and she needs to keep doing it because her brain feels better.  We have completed the equivalent of 25 days worth of NR work in 5 days. The blog curses may get me but I really want to track the progress of this journey.  My fingers and toes are crossed that this sticks.

My friend's daughter has now completed the equivalent of 65 days of NR work in 13 days.  She is doing AMAZING!  Like off the charts,  things I never thought possible, for her amazing.  Just today I noticed that her eye movements have changed too.  Her eyes have always been a little wobbly (best way I know to describe it) and we've always attributed it to the FAS.  She now has steady eye movements.  She has also been completely regulated for 13 days straight.  That's something that has never happened before.   And she's happy.  Like genuinely really happy.

I have used the word "extremities" twice while doing the patterns over the course of the last 13 days.  Today she correctly used extremities in a sentence that had nothing to do with body parts.  Did you hear me?  She used this word in a completely different context CORRECTLY.  This is HUGE for her!!!!

My huge moment came when I was able to do 5 full minutes of belly crawling without stopping.  Twice!!!!  AND I didn't bang myself into any furniture so no boo boos for me today.

My pedometer says that I have walked 18,000 steps today.  Literally.  Now I will go collapse into bed.  Starting again at 7:30 tomorrow morning.   We are going to power through this.

Friday, March 1, 2013

NR - Day 4

Tough, tough, tough.....

My sweet girl is processing something so big and she cannot turn loose of it.  If I knew what it was I would fix it or walk her through it.  It has to be something pre-verbal.  I am sure of that.  

I know this is a process and I really believe that we're right in the middle of a miracle but it sucks in the middle.  Wishing I could make it better for her.  Wishing I could carry it for her.  Feeling helpless.

I love my girl so much and I hate, hate, hate not knowing how to help her. At this very moment in time my mind is spewing venom at ALL the people who hurt her so badly.  This does not make the situation better but I need to be mad at someone right now and they are it.  I'll work on forgiving them later but not tonight.

All I can do right now is tell her, "I'm right here and I'm not leaving."

Thursday, February 28, 2013

NR - Day 3

Progress is being made.  I'm also learning how to pace myself in belly crawling.  So is everyone else.

This is good news.

The girls can now do 30 minutes of belly crawling without stopping. not so much.  I have a feeling that it will take me a lot longer to get there.  But if and when I do....I'm going to be seriously fit.  We are all learning where our extremities are so we are not bruising ourselves as much by bumping into furniture and walls.  

Patterns are getting much easier.  It's very cool when you get in the flow and they become very fluid motions.  I love it when that happens.

We did TRE twice today and that helped immensely.

My friend's daughter has noticeably and significantly improved spatial sense.  She's always had trouble with this and would fall up the stairs and down several times a day.  Previously she was a child that would trip over a dust bunny.  Not so anymore....

To understand NR from a mother's point of view, read the previous post from Marna.  They are almost a year into NR so she has some valuable info.  Plus she explains PONS much better than I ever could.

Guest Post on NR

I asked my friend, Marna, if she would write a guest post on neuro-reorganization.  Here is what she had to say:

I will not give up...I will NOT give up...I WILL not GIVE UP!

I have had to remind myself of this everyday when I look at my daughter. My daughter,  who comes from a hard place.  2 plus years of hard. Hard, that i wish I could erase. Sadly I can't.

When we adopted our daughter, we also adopted her hard.  The kind of hard we had NO idea about.  No really, H.A.R.D.  

That hard was not her fault, her doing, her choice!   It was what was done to her. 

When you deal with hard, you go searching, searching for any "tool " you might think will  work. Goodness, even if it sounds crazy you'll listen, think about it, gather information, talk to others, and eventually  you'll try it.  Why, cause when moms are in hard, tools become like diamonds. And we all know what diamonds are, a precious stone. I bet you thought I was going to say, "a girls best friend", right?!

One tool we've found is called: Neuro-Reorganization Therapy (NR- cause really,  who wants to spell that out each time it's mention, not me!)

I often joke, since we've adopted, that I've lost several (way more than that) brain cells.  There gone, poof.  Just like that. So trying to explain to you what NR  really is seems harder to me than the 5 years we've walked in our adoption journey. So I am going to keep this simple. Very simple. 

Brain 101-just in case you didn't know this. 

All memories are stored in our brains.  Regardless if you remember them or not. Even the ones that are called pre-verbal. That means even if your earliest memory is at the age of 3,  just because you can't remember anything before that time, doesn't mean life didn't happen for the first 3 years of your life.  Those memories, they're in there. 

When children are coming from hard places and that hard happens in that  pre-verbal time, and every day of their life,  the brain gets disorganized. All those connections that were supposed to happen. Didn't. 

Simply put, NR helps to reorganize the brain. And, make new connections. 

 Not all brain movement therapies are created equal. Meaning NR is different than other brain movement type of therapies because  NR starts at the PONS level of the brain.  I think PONS stands for something that is hard to spell, so i'll leave it at that.  PONS is the  "bottom" or "beginning" of the brain when it develops. 

Usually the "other" brain movement therapies are working at the smart parts of the brain. Meaning the upper levels of the brain. For example:  if you happen to have problems with math, reading, etc. it can be a huge help to work at those upper levels. All good. But for those children that hard has happened too we need to address that PONS level. 

 See, I told you. Simple...those lost brain cells never to come back again, but wait. Maybe I should do NR...what am I saying!  


There are developmental movements a child goes thru as he/she grows. Even in the womb.  The movements are very specific, and they need to be done in order.  That way what was missed during those hard times can be re-done. Like a "do-over". I love do-overs!  

If you decide to cross over into crazy (not really) a NR practitioner will evaluate your child, see what is missing, and will teach you the movements your child will need to do. You will meet that practitioner every 3 months or so, Skype, email, and make phone calls. You know the type where you're screaming, "this can't be working, because..." Yep, those kind. 

Your NR program has started.  Tool  number 1, 635 (really, it's kinda close). All NR programs are personal to your child. That means what I do, what you may do, will not look the same. Different movements for different children. 

Everyday, I will do my NR program. 

This  means 1,600 feet of belly crawls. Everyday
600 feet of hand and knee crawls.  Everyday
180 Homolaterals patterns. Everyday
Between 15 to 30 maskings (these are for extra oxygen). Everyday. 
AVE.  Everyday
CES. Everyday 
And several other things I am forgetting because my  brain cells are completely gone now. 

Okay, I'm dreaming. I wish it happened everyday. But hard has this way of disrupting my life. Getting in my way. And even though I fail to do ALL that is required in our program, I will not give up!  Why, because I know it works. 

I have seen results. Not the kind of results that are a magic bullet kind, or the this was her before and now look at her after. Nope, not that good. Just results. Some are subtle.  Some are crazy weird hard. Some are amazing. Some are unexplainable. Enough difference to keep me going. 

That's why I said at the  beginning of this writing. I will NOT give up!  I do see change happening. 

Doing NR is not easy. And that makes me sad. Cause when hard is brought into your home, when all of life seems hard, and more hard on top of more hard, times a thousand....well sheesh, why can't one tool be EASY?  

So WHY can't this be easy? Because if it was easy,  it wouldn't be a diamond. Diamonds are hard. Diamonds are beautiful.  Diamonds are precious. Diamonds are brilliant. 

Just. Like. Our. Hard. Children. 

We can't give up. So we keep going. Finding diamonds that will work for our children. Even if it means, it's hard. 

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Day 2

Everyone survived today.  Only because I had help but we still made it.  The regression and aggression is already getting better.  I think.....I hope...... If my friend were not here, I would not be making it through this.

My kid missed so many developmental milestones in her infancy.  It breaks my heart that no one was there letting her crawl and have the body movements that babies have to develop their brains.  She was kept in a baby carrier, strapped in for days at a time (in front of a TV playing "Chucky", and never made these milestones.  It's horrendous what she went through.  If I can give her back these milestones, I will move heaven and earth to do so.

All of us are covered in bruises and blisters but we are plowing through.  We are calling them our war wounds but we're not letting them slow us down. FYI: Just in case you're worried.... These bruises are not from touching a child.  They're from crawling on the floor.  They are not touched at all except during the brushing which is a sensory tool.  I have bumped into furniture because I was getting careless and our blisters on our toes are from pushing ourselves on the floor to belly crawl.

One time during some of the homolateral patterns J started doing the sucking at her lip and teeth thing, making that squeaking sound again.  My friend had her to stop and blow all the scary thoughts out.  J did and then was able to complete the patterns.

During the last 3 minutes of J's very last belly crawling I belly crawled in front of her for motivation and to align with her challenge.  I now have a blister on my big toe from just that 3 minutes.  AND it took my heart about 10 minutes to quit racing so that I could get off the floor.  That belly crawling business is incredibly hard.  I have a whole new respect for our kids having to do 30 minutes a day.  Holy cow!  It's no wonder they want to go to bed at 6.  They are exhausted.  Geesh....

During all the neuro we are taking time to do TRE interspersed with the exercises.  It seems to be helping alleviate some of the painful body memories that are coming up.

To everyone that called to check on me, emailed me, and encouraged me, thank you so much from the very bottom of my heart.  You'll never know how much I appreciated your support.  This stuff is hard.

J asked for baby time tonight.  You better believe she got it.  We are giving both girls Reiki right before bed.

Now if the masseuse would just hurry up and get here and they'd carry me to bed after a nice long massage, I'd totally be in business.  Ha. Ha.  As if...

6 more days.......  Just 6 more days.....

I can do this......  I can do this....I can do this....

Tomorrow we'll be alone for a couple of hours so we'll really see where things are then.  Trying not to worry about it too much.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

1st Day

So the first day of J's neuro boot camp has sucked, sucked, sucked.  Did I mention that today sucked?

Tomorrow is another day.  Tap, tap, tap........

Belly crawling is not challenging for her.  She totally has the salamander crawl down pat but she still managed to put a blister on her right big toe.

Homolateral and Tonic Neck patterns are incredibly challenging for her so obviously she REALLY needs those.  She is struggling through it so much.  By lunch I was ready to pinch her head off from all her behaviors.

At therapy today Kristy was doing some brain spotting on the problems she is having with the frustration.  Unconsciously she started doing a sucking motion with her mouth and started grinding her teeth.  Two behaviors that I have not seen before and they were very infantile.  Obviously this is awakening some memories, body memories and really big feelings that she has from her infancy.  I get it but, boy, it sure is frustrating.

My new mantra:

I can make it through a week of tough to reach the other side.  This is better than drawing it out in Chinese water torture fashion.  I can do anything for the next 5 minutes.  I can do this.  She can do this. We will make it.

More tap, tap, tap.....

Orlando, Orlando,'s only a few days away........

Monday, February 25, 2013


Heavenly day!  Things have changed drastically and dramatically in this last week.  It has been neuro-reorganization boot camp here and it has paid off in a huge fashion.  The previously dysregulated child is TOTALLY regulated to the point that you can't get her dysregulated.

Y'all know that I have a "go big or go home".  This is not news.  But this past week I took it to a whole other level.  We made the decision that instead of school she was going to do neuro the whole day for the whole week.  The child that was having problems was up at 7:30 AM and starting neuro by 8.  We did it all. day. long.  From 8-4 that is all we did and only stopped for lunch and power snacks.  It is a LOT of physical work and required almost hourly feeding.

The music has been loud and the motivational cheers have been louder.

The child whose body could not tell that it was too cold to wear shorts in 20 degree weather now has a regulated body temperature.  She can now correctly identify all the spots on her arm, when you touch them, without looking.  In the past she was very superficially charming, dissociated a lot and now she has age appropriate behavior with no noticeable dissociation.  She acts like she is indeed 12 (which she is.)  She has always been unable to follow more than 2 step directions.  Now she can follow 3, 4 and 5 step directions.  It took her until Saturday before she finally figured out how to belly crawl correctly.  (Remember, you cannot tell them how to crawl, they have to figure it out on their own.)

Before neuro boot camp if she had not seen either of her parents for a day or so she would start crying uncontrollably the minute she saw them and would continue to cry for long periods of time instead of enjoying seeing them and crying when they would leave.  It was always a very unreasonable response and very infantile.  She saw her father three times during boot camp last week.  The first time was early last week and again she cried uncontrollably.   Then she saw her father on Saturday and for the first time EVER had an appropriate reaction.  She was happy to see him and when it was time for him to leave she hugged him and was verbally appropriate.  She also proudly told him of all her accomplishments.  Today we all met at therapy and again she had a totally appropriate reaction to seeing her father.  We were all surprised including Kristy.

She has been so much fun to be around all week, so compliant and willing to do all the exercises.  When the family was doing them on the regular schedule with the prescribed amounts she hated doing them and would sabotage the exercises.  When we started doing them in large amounts during boot camp she wanted to do them more and more each day and would try harder each day.   Every day she would surprise me and her mom with her willingness and the way her attitude and mannerisms changed.  Her mom and I would talk about it each evening and neither of us could believe the differences that we were seeing.

We were all shocked to learn that she had lost 12 pounds even though she's eating almost hourly.  I think I need to do this boot camp on myself.

It needs to be said that we ALL had fun doing this.  Was it hard?  Yes.  But it was still fun because we made it fun and the results are astounding.  A week ago Sunday night I didn't think we'd ever make it because it was Chinese water torture doing the exercises as they were prescribed and the regression was really not pretty.  But by doing it boot camp style we did make it and I am so proud of all of us but especially of Wonder Girl.  I am totally finding (or having made) a Wonder Girl swimsuit for her because she has astounded me every day.

Today ended our 8 day camp.

This is a sample of our schedule last week.

FYI: Every time you see back patterns it is technically called Tonic Neck patterns and every time you see stomach patterns it is technically called Homolateral Patterns.

Morning routine
Neck rolls
Yoga release pattern
Neck rolls
Back patterns (180)
Stomach patterns (60)
Neck rolls
Belly crawling (7 min)
Regular Crawling (7 min)
Hooping 15 min
Stomach patterns (60)
Back patterns (180)
Neck rolls
Yoga Release pattern
Sitting in power ring
Belly crawl (7)
Knee Crawling (7) 
Neck rolls
Stomach patterns (60)
Back patterns (180)
Lunch clean up
Crawling (7)
Belly crawling (7)
Neck rolls
TRE (Trauma Release Exercises)
Neck rolls
Neck rolls
Belly crawling (7)
Crawling (7)
Hooping 15 min
Back patterns (180)
Stomach patterns (60)
Belly crawling (7)
Crawling (7)
Stomach patterns (60)
Back patterns (180)
Neck Rolls
Neck rolls

Then 4 REALLY tired people fell into bed.

Tomorrow, we are starting 8 day boot camp for J.  I cannot wait to see the changes.  She wasn't so sure about it this morning but by this evening she was proud of herself and she had already lost the startle factor.  This is something that has lingered and nothing we have done has helped it.  This afternoon it was gone.  Where will we be in a week?  I don't know but I can't wait to find out.  

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Finding Joy

More TRE going on here.  Lots of it actually.  Also LOTS of neuro-reorg.  There are other people that do neuro-reorg and exercises that are similar but that is the main one that I have a link to.  Another that is similar is Rhythmic Movement.

A friend and her daughter are staying with us for a week or so while we power through some neuro-reorganization.  When I say power through....I mean seriously power through it.  A little regression is normal but my friend's daughter has been trapped in fight or flight for a few days so we're working to move through it intensively and hopefully it will pass soon.  Amping it up helped immediately and we're seeing great progress.

This has not been without some interesting side effects.  J (being anxiously attached) immediately went to "my mom loves "friend" now instead of me."  Brain spotting today in therapy and she processed it.  I'm going to have put forth some extra effort to reassure her but I think I can manage that.

It has made the commune idea even more appealing.  While I'm working with my friend's daughter, she's working with J and we're tag teaming everything.  Oh my goodness it is so nice.

Orlando is coming up and I'm ever so ready.  I've been creating tapping scripts to take with me and setting up info for the TRE class.  The excitement is building.

For the rest of my life I will sing the praises of Corey for creating this sanctuary for all of us moms.  What a gift she has given us.  What a legacy of community!

Here's a link to the new website that has been created to carry on the community that Corey and the original 9 created.  This will be the new website for the 2014 Orlando event.  Click here for Beyond Trauma and Attachment.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013


Sometimes I am such a doofus and really, really slow.  Every Saturday and Sunday, for over a month, J was becoming dysregulated and it was continuing through until Therapy Tuesday's.  This is not normal and I kept becoming more and more confused because I couldn't for the life of me figure out the problem.

This morning it FINALLY dawned on me.  Someone (whose name we shall not mention) has been leaving presents and notes for J every weekend at the lake.  And signing the card "love" - (name we shall not mention).  While I know that he is acting in kindness, it is terribly upsetting to J.

J wrote him a letter last year and was very clear that she did not want him to sign any notes to her with "love".  And he kept breaking her boundaries.  Duh, Lisa.  Duh. Duh. Duh.

So enter 5:30 this morning when it hit me on the head like an anvil.  Now picture me banging my head on the wall.  I cannot believe I did not figure this out sooner.

J is up and dysregulated.  I was waiting to do "before school tapping" to address it.  That didn't work out so well.  She was spiraling down fast and it looked like there was no recovery.  She finally threw herself on the bed in a really crappy attitude and great dramatic fashion.  I grabbed her feet and pulled her toward me and threw myself on the bed too right beside her.  I pulled her up in a really tight compression hug (she was mad and not hugging me back of course) and whispered in her ear that I knew what was going on and I was going to fix it.  I knew he broke her boundaries and it was not okay.  She started crying so hard, wrapped her arms around me and asked over and over "why he does that" and "why does he want to hurt me".  In her mind he left her.   She kept saying she didn't understand.  Me either.  Yeah..... I'm on the right track.  Then she said, "we'll get through this, right?"  "You won't let him hurt me anymore?" You bet, honey!

I held her and she cried for a while during our conversation.  But she's back.

We finally got around to tapping about it and my girl is back.  Hallelujah!

When you know do better.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Brain Sp*tting

Kristy is not a specialist in attachment therapy but she is a Trauma Specialist and lucky for us that she is.  Hello??? Isn't that what we're talking about here?  Trauma processing is so important for everyone but especially for traumatized children.

She spent last week in CPE training on trauma and came home with a gem.  Br*in Spotting.   I thought it was a little hokey at first but I trust Kristy implicitly so I was game.  She used it on me in our session Tuesday before J.  It is similar to EMDR but it moves a little slower and kind of helps to erase it away.  The finger you're tracking is paused to reveal the area of the brain where a particular trauma is trapped.  Mine was trapped in the bottom left side of my brain.  The trauma I processed Tuesday has been with me for decades and has caused lots of anxiety and shame but after the session it no longer has a vice grip on me.  I'm not paralyzed by it.  I still remember it but it's not painful or shameful as it was before.  More will be revealed as we go along but we're 3 days in and it's still not affecting me.  The anxiety over the trauma is gone.  Very interesting.  I'm sure it will take more than one session to totally release the pain of the memory but it sure has been nice for the last few days.

We both agreed to do it with something current on J first before going back to pre-5 y/o trauma.  She responded very quickly to the technique and it has seemed to really help her be able to let it go.  Again, 3 days in for J and she's still holding and verbalizing that the problems she had been having were no longer bothering her.  Kristy did the technique on two different things that have currently been bothering J.  Next week we will go a little deeper and see what happens.

Here are some videos on it if you're interested:

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

I Am Enough?

The theme for Orlando this year is "I am enough."  It sounds really great and I would love to believe it but I question myself all the time.

Am I doing enough?  Am I doing too much?  What am I missing?  Am I too strict?  Am I too lenient?
What if it's not enough?  Do I show her enough love?  Do I show her enough attention?  Do I show it too much?  What if she would be better off in public school?  Is she getting enough interaction with her peers?  What if I send her to school and she can't handle it then she'll feel like a failure?  Does she have enough structure?  Does she have too much structure?  Does my voice convey love?  Do I honor her?  What could I be doing better?  What should I let go?  What should I stand firm on?  Am I giving her enough fun time?  Am I giving her too much?  If I show her too much will she still be able to be a responsible adult?

What if all I've done is give her a reason to be in therapy for her whole adult life?  You know like S*ndra Bull*ck says at the end of "Hope Floats".  "

Childhood is what you spend the rest of your life trying to overcome."

Then I hear my mother in my head.  When I was a teenager she told me a story about a day when I was an infant and I was inconsolable.  Evidently I wouldn't stop crying.  My mother is a perfectionist (the apple does not fall far from the tree) so she had read all the books before she had me and was in the process of reading Dr. Sp*ck when the phone rang.  Oh Lord, help me now. .... we all know that Sp*ck was bad.

So in the midst of having a crying newborn a neighbor and co-worker called to check on the two of us.  Eugenia could hear me (of course) crying in the background.  And my mother was crying because she didn't know what to do.  Eugenia calmly said, "Put down the book and pick up the baby."  So mama did and lo and behold it worked. Imagine that.

So for tonight, I'm putting down the book (and the worries) and picking up the baby (tween) and loving on her.

I am not a perfect mom but I am the perfect mom for my daughter.

Life has gotten in the way of some moms that really wanted to be in Orlando.  That means a couple of spots are available but not for long.  Check out ETAAM if you think you might want to come.  If you are parenting or have parented trauma, it is the place for you.

Home a Soft Place to Fall said it best:

What an insanely safe and loving with you all.
Beyond religion, beyond color, beyond alcohol, choclolate even meat, beyond countries, sexual preference, beyond relationship status, make up, accents, extroverts or introverts, bio hurt kids or adopted, beyond weight, runners, walkers and cheer leaders, beyond heels or pajamas pants...we connect. I AM SO PROUD OF US AS WOMEN. This is how women are meant to be. I am overwhelmed at how kick ass this thread is, how magical Orlando is because of exactly this...

Btw, shook in my boots last year, tried to back out...cried the first plane ride, ugly cried, when you are hurt and rejected every day it begins to feel normal...I was afraid to feel good and then how much I would miss it when I did, that my life was too hard and too much to share....because I am damaged by the trauma too.
I WILL get overly shy, I will get tongue tied, I will hide or cocoon when I feel overwhelmed...I will forget everyones names...not because I don't know you, love you, or remember your story, but because I am dyslexic and suck at names...but probably could tell you what you were wearing the first time I met you...I am afraid in my quietness, or need to be in smaller groups I wont meet everyone, know that I want to meet you...or see you again...

I LOVE the gentleness of this group, no one go anywhere...its only gonna get better. 

Monday, February 4, 2013

New Shoes

On FB I've had many private emails regarding the pictures of the shoes I posted today.  They're hand painted by Ashley Hooper and are so super cool.  I gave her the shoes that I wanted painted and told her to have fun.  Ashley is super creative and I am not.  So it was best I didn't give her any ideas about what I wanted.

She will do any design or colors that you want on any shoe you pick.  She also does boots and shoes with studs, etc.  The sky is the limit.  For the most part....

If you're interested in talking to Ashley about some one-of-a-kind shoes you can email her at
ashleyhooper_08  @  yahoo dot com.  She does some really cute things.

The shoes pictured above are NOT for J.  They are for me.  I loved J's so much I had to have some and I love me some Keds so that was the shoe of my choice.

It makes me very happy just to look down at them.  A reminder of peace is never a bad thing either. :)

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Surprising Changes

The neuro-reorg has produced some interesting results and so far they have been positive.  The first couple of days J was a little wobbly but since then it's been really good.  She's been extra happy, extra affectionate, more regulated and if she starts getting the tween 'tude she catches herself and changes things up quickly.

One of the tests that is done to see if you need a certain exercise (I don't remember which one) is having that person close their eyes and you touch them somewhere on their arm or leg.  They must then touch the same exact spot.  The first time that she was tested she couldn't find a single spot that was touched.  She would miss it by a mile.  Last night I tested her and she was able to touch every spot correctly on her left arm but not on her right arm.  She was closer this week than last week but still missing the spot by a good bit.  Interesting....

Last week she did:

Belly crawls, you cannot tell them how to do them but they cannot let their belly button get off the ground. She has to do it 5 minutes at a time until she can build up to 20 minutes per day.

Regular crawling (must be with knee pads), again I cannot tell her how to do it but she'll work up to 20 minutes a day, 5 minutes at a time.

I'm certainly no expert but the way I understand it is that these are kind of like progression exercises.  A baby progresses through learning how to belly crawl then on to regular crawling and during the process it develops the part of the brain that causes the left brain to communicate with the right brain.  Also known as pons.  More info here.

Brushing that is similar to the Wil barger technique but a really stiff bristle is used.  The thick rubbery ones like are used for dog washing. NOT the wire kind! We have this one.  You have to use really firm pressure and it feels incredibly good.  When we have time I have J brush me and it is so fabulous.  We have to brush for 15 seconds, wait 5 minutes then do compressions on the area that was just brushed.  These are done 5 times a day.

This week floor patterning has been added.  There's no way to describe those but it sure is interesting and it takes some brain power to do them.  I struggled with them.  There's two different patterns that have to be done and they have to be perfect.  It's better to do 5 correctly than 30 incorrectly.

Here's a link to the research and how it works.

J's most recent tapping script is:

Even tho I hate myself, my mom totally loves me.

Even tho I push my mom away, my mom totally loves me.

Even tho my body remembers so much trauma, my mom loves me.

Even tho I have these body memories I can choose to let them go.

Even tho my past has taught me not to trust, it’s safe to trust now. 

Even tho I’ve had so much fear, I am totally safe now.

Even tho I’ve had some scary times in my life, I am safe now.

I’m letting go of hating myself.  

I’m totally letting go of hating myself, because I don’t need it anymore.

I’m choosing to let go of hating myself because it’s alright to accept myself.

I’m choosing to accept myself.

I’m choosing to let go of my fears because I am safe now.

I’m letting all the fear go because I am totally safe now.

I’m choosing to feel safe now.

I’m choosing to let go of the body memories too, because I am safe now.

I am totally safe now.

There is enough love for me.

There is enough food for me.

There is enough family for me.

There are enough attention for me.

There is enough joy for me.

There is enough happiness for me.

I will always have enough.

I can be kind to others because I have enough.

I can always be kind to others because I am safe and I have enough of everything I need.

I am enough.

I am enough just the way I am.

I can feel confident that my mom totally loves me.

Today I can show my mom love.

Because I am safe and my mom keeps me safe.

Today I will show my mom love.

Today I will let her into my heart and it will be safe to let her in my heart.

My mom is the perfect mom for me and she loves me totally.

Today I will show my mom a bit of my heart.

I can relax now because I am safe.

I will relax my brain because I am safe.

I will relax my muscles because I am safe.

I will relax my brain because I am safe.

I will relax my heart because I am safe.

I will be calm and relaxed today because I am safe.

I will be kind today because I have enough.  

There will always be enough of everything for me.

Mine is on sleep lately because turning off a Type A brain is hard.  (J also taps this every night to go to sleep).  Sometimes I have to repeat it two or three times but usually I fall asleep in the middle of the 1st time. 

Even tho so much has happened today, I can relax.

Even tho I have so much crap running through my head, I can totally relax.

Even tho I have so much to do, I can let it go just for tonight.

Even tho I’m afraid to sleep because I have so much to do, I can turn it off just for tonight.

Even tho I feel guilty that I didn’t get everything done today, I can let it go just for tonight.

Even tho my brain will not shut up because it keeps thinking of things I should do, I can let it go just for tonight.

I can let all my worries go just for tonight.

I can let all my fears go just for tonight.

I’m letting go of the fears, worries, guilt and shame go, just for tonight.

I can pick them back up in the morning but just for tonight I’m letting them go.

I can let my brain rest.

I can let my body rest.

I can let my muscles rest.

I can let my brain rest.

Everything on my body can just rest for the night.  

I’m letting everything on my body be calm and relaxed.

My brain is relaxed.

My muscles can relax.

My whole body can totally relax and just let go.

I am safe.

I do not have a care in the world.

I can be totally calm and relaxed.

I can sleep peacefully.

I will sleep peacefully all night.  

P.S.  The reason I'm posting our scripts here is because it keeps me accountable to change them regularly instead of getting in a rut. 

Sunday, January 27, 2013


I have had several people ask me what TRE is and what it does.  TRE stands for Tension and Trauma Releasing Exercises and was created by David Berceli, PhD.  I'm sure none of you have any tension or trauma in your life but on my stars, I DO!  J does too.  Big ol "Duh" there.  Our bodies remember trauma whether our brains can process it cognitively or not.  Trauma that remains in the body can have lasting damaging effects sometimes even resulting in illness and disease.

I'm paraphrasing from the website but it is a set of six exercises that causes your body to start a self controlled muscular shaking (don't worry, shaking is a good thing and you will love it.)  This is called neurogenic muscle tremors.  Quote from websiteThe uniqueness of this technique is that this shaking originates deep in the core of the body of the psoas muscles. These gentle tremors reverberate outwards along the spine releasing tension from the sacrum to the cranium."  The exercises are simple stretches that cause the body to start the muscle tremors.  These simple techniques are easily mastered and can be used daily. Plus they are easy peasy!  This is similar to the wet dog shake that I've posted so much about (you can search over on the right side of my blog) but it releases the trauma at a much, much deeper level.  

You do not have to consciously remember the traumas but your body will and the shaking will release them and allow your body to heal both physically and emotionally.

Here are some of the benefits of TRE:

Reported Benefits Include:

•    Less Worry & Anxiety
•    Reduces Symptoms of PTSD
•    More Energy & Endurance
•    Improved Marital Relationships
•    Less Workplace Stress
•    Better Sleep
•    Less Relationship Conflict
•    Reduced Muscle & Back Pain
•    Increased Flexibility
•    Greater Emotional Resiliency
•    Decreases Symptoms of Vicarious Trauma
•    Healing of Old Injuries
•    Lessened Anxiety surrounding Serious Illness
•    Relief from Chronic Medical Conditions

I have had several on this list, however, my biggest benefit is not on this list but let me just say it was quite miraculous results. I'm not sharing here.  Sorry.  A few of you are privy to the info and the rest of you will find out in Orlando.  J always says she feels lighter and more peaceful every time she does them.  She is always happier.  I'll take it. :)

As Wendy said, we'll be doing the DVD of the exercises (as they are demonstrated) and we'll be there to help support you through the exercises and do modifications if necessary.   So if you're interested or just curious and want to watch, sign up and show up.  We'd love to have you.  

I do them regularly now and have found that after I've completed the 6 exercises, I can lay in the bed to do the shaking process while I'm reading or watching TV.  The benefits are the same.  

Also, to all the ladies that need/want to learn to tap, I'll be available all weekend.  Don't be shy....just come by the house (Sanctuary) any time and I'll walk you through it.  Those that might have a hard time leaving on Monday, just let me know and we'll walk it together.  I'm not leaving till later in the afternoon on Monday so I'll be around.  Susan and Tab at Emerald Haven are tapping masters too and can help you as well.  Don't hold me to it but I'm going to try to have a tapping script printed and ready to hand out to all who think they might have a hard time with flying out and/or re-entry.  

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Neuro and Changes

J's Christmas shoes above

So much has been going on that it's hard to catch up in one blog post.

We were all down with the flu at Christmas, including my parents, so it was a very quiet holiday this year.  Slowly but surely we are all getting better except for the ever present lingering cough.

After Christmas it became very clear that some things needed to change.  I seemed to be angry and depressed all the time.  A lot of it came from some serious things happening in my family.  Some of it was leftover from years of forgetting myself.  Something had to give. Soon.

Changes are being put in place to get us out of our rut and to help get a little more healthy.  A vegetarian menu has replaced our regular dining fare.  A feat that is nothing short of miraculous since I love my meat with a side of meat.  So far I haven't missed it but the recipes I've been using I have been really satisfying.  More activity is being included in our daily routine.  Zumb* has been added and it's kicking my tail.  Not to mention I look flat out ridiculous since I don't have a coordinated bone in my body and absolutely no rhythm.  I could care less and just keep moving.  Eventually I will get it or not.  Either way is fine.

I have spent less time on the computer and more time engaged.  I am limiting the amount of negativity that I "hear" and "see." I am happier when I am more focused on the positive.  J and I have started a new thing that we do together.  At the end of every day we each list at least 5 kind and loving things we have done for each other.  I'll make a list of what I've done for her that was kind and loving, at the same time she's making a list of what she's done for me.  This has been interesting.  #1 It helps me make sure that I have not gotten busy with daily business and forgotten to be engaged with loving acts.  #2 J's list helps me see what she perceives as kind and loving so that I'm fully attuned to her needs.  Sometimes we have the same things on our list.  That's good too.  It lets me know I'm connecting with her where she needs me to.  #3 It's cementing the fact that she is indeed a kind and loving person AND helping her be attuned to my perception of loving kindness.  A reciprocal relationship.  It's always a good thing.

With all the changes I have come to realize that we had also gotten in a rut with our tapping routine.  Ummmm....note to HAVE to change up the tapping routine for it to work effectively.  Duh, Lisa.  I'm trying to make an effort to change it up at least every two or three weeks.  Maybe I should add a phone alarm to remind me or I'll get in a rut again.

J has started doing a tapping script (on her own) to help her to go to sleep and she has learned that if she wakes up in the middle of the night she can tap it and she'll fall right back to sleep, usually in the middle of her script. :)

We are still doing TRE with great results.  For both of us.  Such a simple, easy way to let your body release trauma.  I'm still astounded at the changes we have seen.  The book was helpful but honestly I've gotten more out of the DVD.  Kristy and I both think they should be doing these exercises in school.  Lindsay, Wendy and I are going to be doing a class on them in Orlando at ETAAM for those that are interested.  Speaking of ETAAM, there are just a few spots left if you're interested in going.  Email me if you're interested.

Next week we are starting neuro-reorganization.  We've done something a little similar in the past with The Learning Breakthrough Program and so much was gained through that program that I'm really excited to start with neuro-reorg.  Kara started it just last week and her family is already seeing some interesting (in a good way) results.

J's Newest Script (mine is below):

Even tho I want my life to be easy, I'm willing to work hard on my life.

Even tho I have challenges, my mom totally loves me.

Even tho I hate making mistakes, I'm human so I should make mistakes.

Even tho I want to be a perfectionist, if I were perfect that would make me boring.

Even tho I am still scared a lot of the time, I'm a totally great kid.

Just for today I will work hard on my life.

Just for today I will be able to show love and receive love.

Today I will do things that will make me proud of myself.

I can laugh at my mistakes today because I'm not supposed to be perfect.

I can be kind to myself.

I will let go of some fear today.

I will feel close to my mom today.

I will love myself and others.

I will let others help me when I need it and it's ok to ask for help.

When I start feeling wonky I will choose to tap to make myself feel better.

Today is a new day and I can choose to have a good day.

It's totally my choice to have a good day.

My new script:

Even tho I'm not perfect, I'm not supposed to be.

Even tho I hate making mistakes, that makes me human.

Even tho I screw up all the time, I accept myself.

Even tho I wish I had all the answers, I can just do the next right thing.

Even tho I've had a lot of losses, this is part of life.

Even tho I have so much anger, I totally love and accept myself.

Today I will be a kind and loving parent.

Just for today I will allow myself to make mistakes.

I will laugh at myself and my screw ups and repair them when I'm able.

Today I will be kind and loving to myself.

Today I will let go of the serious and embrace some fun.

I'm letting go of the anger.

I'm letting all the anger go and replacing it with happiness.

I will love myself and others.

I will let go of some of the fear.

I will ask for help when I need it and let others help me.

I do not have to have all the answers.

Today is a new day and I can choose to make it a good day.

When I start feeling wonky I will choose to tap to change things up.

Today I choose to have a good day.

Amazing how similar our scripts are, huh?