When Life’s Moving Too Fast

Written by Amy on January 23rd, 2015

Slow Down

Have you ever been in a hurry and knocked over your tea, jumped for a rag to mop up the mess… and knocked over the whole tea pot instead?

Yup.  You know what I’m talkin’ about.

Things change.  Sometimes unexpectedly.

We like to think we can catch up with life when it’s moving too quickly, but….  It’s just not humanly possible.  Why is that?

On a philosophical note, I could say it’s because we’re not gods, and only gods think they know what speed “Life” ought to move at, or imagine “I” am in control of “catching it”.

On a more earthy note, we human beings are animals.  Yes, human animals with a large pre-frontal cortex, but animals just the same.  Quick or unexpected change is simply hard for our animal system to digestWe need time to orient.  Time to see where we are.  Time to be here.

I don’t know about you, but 2015’s been jam-packed with changes so far – planned & unplanned.  A few days ago I found my mind reeling with overwhelm.  So…

I ….     slowed …      down ….

I gave time to orient, see where I am.  Guess what I felt instead of overwhelm?  Yes.  Gratitude.  A clear head.  A lighter heart.

I hope you enjoy these slow photos

And tell me, what do you do when things are moving quickly?

Take a moment to scroll down & leave a comment.  How do you slow down?

Slowing down is simple, but it’s not always easy.  Especially if you have trauma, or anything approaching trauma, in your body, you know that despite your best intentions, it can be hard to slow down.

If this is true for you, I want to invite you to take a look at my individual work. Why not free yourself from these patterns? You can click here to read the page, then we can have a conversation to see if this is a good fit for your needs.

Creativity + Expression + Energy + Awareness = Unstoppable

Grounding in the New Year

Written by Amy on January 1st, 2015

Feeling Your Feet

Receiving the Earth

May your tender heart hopes manifest here on the ground!  May we cultivate what we celebrate in hopes for the future, bubbles, balloons, things that rise, circulate and percolate, further even than our imagination.

Speaking of bubbles, in Qigong (Chi Kung, energy work) the depths of winter are associated the Bubbling Well energy point – a power point of energy, sexuality, & creativity. This main point of the Kidney meridian is located in the center of the foot, just below the ball.

Why is the Bubbling Well important?  Humor me here and think about thoughts for a moment. You know how in cartoons, thoughts are in little bubbles?  It’s like we know they could just float off at any moment.

All those “New Year’s resolutions” get a bad wrap because we tend to relate to them like a child holding onto a balloon – if you don’t hold tight, the good intentions will just float off… and if you do hold tight for long enough, you’re holding a flabby deflated balloon.

The Bubbling Well is the earth’s spring source of vital energy.  It’s not magic, it’s just something that we feel when we connect with the earth – which is pretty magical!  When we’re grounded, our intentions & thoughts are more powerful because there’s some manifestation energy to get ’em into action.

In Gratitude for the New Year, here’s the audio gift: The Promise of the Earth.  It’s a short recording you can listen to once or every day to help feel your feet… and receive the Promise of the Earth.

Please scroll down and share on my blog: What do you notice when you feel your feet for just a few moments?  How do you feel in the rest of your body?  What happens to the quality of your thoughts?  What happens when you give yourself to the earth and allow yourself to receive the ground?

All of these concepts sound simple. As concepts, they are simple. But if you have trauma, or anything approaching trauma, in your body, you know that despite your best intentions, it can be hard to feel grounded.

If this is true for you, I want to invite you to take a look at my individual work. Why not free yourself from these patterns? You can click here to read the page, then we can have a conversation to see if this is a good fit for your needs.

Movin’ News:

As for me, my feet are carrying me to Ohio, my home state, to be with my family & especially my mother as she walks through her journey of Alzheimer’s.

While Ohio’s going to be Home Base for the foresee-able future, I will also be spending a good deal of time in NYC and the Hudson Valley for Somatic Experiencing, Zen, and Qigong events.

Sooooo…. I’m available for SE Introductions in Ohio & New York in 2015!  If you know of a group of 8-20 professionals who would be interested in SE, please let me know.  Here’s a brief description of the presentation:

Introduction to Somatic Experiencing

Amy Shoko Brown, Somatic Experiencing Practitioner and NYC SE Training Coordinator

About the presentation:
Attending this Somatic Experiencing presentation will provide you with a basic theoretical overview of the SE model and how it complements and augments traditional approaches to working with trauma. In this sense, you should be expected to gain an introductory understanding of the SE theoretical model, how this SE model fits with and expands current trauma treatment, and how attending the SE Professional Training may support your interest in learning more effective ways to treat your clients and patients.

This presentation is designed for professionals who work with the effects of trauma including: mental and medical health professionals, body workers, first responders, educators, clergy, and other professionals in the healing arts.  Learn helpful information to benefit your practice.

About Somatic Experiencing:
Somatic Experiencing® (SE™) is a gentle and potent psychobiological approach to the prevention and resolution of trauma and stress-related conditions.  Developed by Peter A. Levine, PhD, bestselling author of the book, “Waking the Tiger: Healing Trauma,” SE is based on the study of how animals in the wild process and recover from threat. It offers a framework to assess where your client is “stuck” in the fight, flight, freeze, or collapse responses and provides clinical tools to resolve these fixated physiological states that underlie so many trauma symptoms.

Bio of presenter:

Amy Shoko Brown, Somatic Experiencing Practitioner and NYC SE Training Coordinator.

People come to see her for Somatic Experiencing when they have suffered from an event, whether large or small, that afterwards even if they can talk & understand it, their suffering persists. This deep body-awareness based process helps resolve the residuals of a painful past so that people can move freely and enjoy life.

For people who want healthy relationships and vibrant work.

Creativity + Expression + Energy + Awareness = Unstoppable

The Best Presence

Written by Amy on December 23rd, 2014

The Best Present…

May not be a thing

When someone asks me “what’s the best Christmas present someone ever gave you?” I remember my brother Michael singing.

Our family lived in Ohio, he’d gone off to the Big City (New York that is) to study, practice, and perform singing and dancing.  When he came home for Christmas, his bags were light and there was lightness in his eyes too.

He didn’t have much to carry because he hadn’t bought Christmas presents for us… instead, he had carefully chosen and prepared a song for me, my oldest brother, our parents, and performed them for the whole extended family on Christmas Eve.

They weren’t random songs – he chose songs that struck the deep wounds and joys of each relationship, as only music can do. And he sang directly to us.

Michael sang these songs more than 25 years ago, and about 5 years later he passed away.  Every Christmas, I still feel his Presence.  I can’t imagine any other present he possibly could have given that would have brought him to life for us through all the years!

Take some time now to consider the Present of your Presence.  What do you want to give?  How do you want to be with people through the holidays and into the New Year?

I’d love to hear from you about the gifts of Presence that you’ve received throughout your life.  Please share your thoughts below…

Warm wishes to all,
Appreciating your Presence in my life,

Gratitude Always Comes First

Written by Amy on December 10th, 2014

The Gift of Gratitude

When Receiving is Giving

Tis the season… for the supposedly jolly, yet somehow often angst-ridden gift exchange. It all seems fun & straightforward – you get to give and receive presents.  But have you ever had that odd experience when someone gives you something, it’s so thoughtful, heart-felt, or just what you want or like (but you hadn’t even thought of for yourself, and they did!).  Yet when you open it, you feel…. awkward.

Even though we want things, receiving can be tricky.  Why is this?  To not just take something, but to really feel and express gratitude is difficult, isn’t it?

While we may like the idea of receiving, the giving position has distinct advantages…

When we give:

  • we’re in control of what we’re giving, when we’re giving it, and to whom we’re giving it.
  • we have freedom to give – or not – it’s all our choice.

The combination of control and freedom feels good!  In fact, control and freedom are hallmarks of power.

When we receive:

  • we’re not in control of who’s giving to us, what they’re giving to us, or when they give it.
  • we may not feel like we have a choice in the matter.

And when we’re not in control, and don’t feel like we have free choice, most of us feel vulnerable.  No wonder receiving can get awkward!

Hold on a minute, here, though, you do like getting things, yes?  Food, beautiful objects, fun tools & toys.  Hugs, kisses, smiles, songs.  Air, water, breath, light.  All good to receive, yes?  So enough with the awkwardness, let’s get back to the attitude of gratitude.

We usually think the time to say “thank you” is after receiving a gift.  Not so.  Gratitude always comes first.

Alright then, for the following scenario, let us assume a situation of being offered a gift from someone you know and trust.  If being in the “receiving” position is ever awkward for you, try this:

  • When someone gives something to you, say “thank you” before you open it: Sometimes I actually say “thank you so much for thinking of me!” or I do a little happy dance.  It’s way of acknowledging, to myself and to the giver, I’m here, in the spirit of joy, I’m ready to receive.
  • Let yourself feel that “thank you” in your bones before you open the present.  Someone thought of you.  They wanted to give you something.  No one has to give, it’s always a choice. Regardless of the reason, they chose to give you something.  Feel the warmth of that in your bones.
  • And, yes, just like momma told you, “say thank you” upon receiving.  And be true, be present with your presence, as you say thank you.  Let yourself turn towards the person who gave, with warmth and appreciation.  This is your giving.
The tradition of gift-giving and receiving exists in all different cultures because it meets a human need: to connect with each other, to share, and contribute.  We all need connection.  So when someone wants to give to you, be humble.  Be kind.  Allow yourself to be here.  Receive.When you truly receive, they feel it.  Your appreciation feeds them.  The cycle of giving continues.Bringing the magic alive this season isn’t so hard.  It’s just feeling grateful now.  And grateful now…. And grateful now….

Gratitude definitely begets gratitude, so please, take a moment and Notice the small moments and everyday opportunities to receive – a smile, a cup of coffee, a beautiful sunset, the presence of a friend. What happens when you allow yourself to truly receive?  Click below to post a REPLY here on the blog.

All of these concepts sound simple. As concepts, they are simple. But if you have trauma, or anything approaching trauma, in your body, you know that, despite your best intentions, it can be hard to get to gratitude, or other healthy feelings, much less stay there.

If this is true for you, I want to invite you to take a look at my individual work. Why not free yourself from these patterns? You can click here to read the page, then we can have a conversation to see if this is what you need.

The Gratitude Dance

Written by Amy on November 28th, 2014

It starts with an attitude of gratitude and…

The same thing it took for the musician to get to Carnegie Hall.

Yup, you know it (groaner but it’s true) Practice, Practice, Practice.  Doin’ it!  Being Grateful, taking the time, giving the space to feel it in your bones.

Gratitude practice is the single most effective form of “self-help” you can do.  Isn’t that funny?  We’re usually think we have to figure out what’s missing… which leads us to?  Re-enforcing the habit of looking for what’s missing.  Wanting more and wondering “what else, what’s missing?”

Consciously practicing Gratitude fosters more gratitude, aliveness, and joy.  And guess what?  That all leads to naturally wanting to give.  Which pretty darn good to remember at this time of year, yes?

Ok, let’s break it down. Gratitude is a Dance. It’s a 2 step. If you skip a step, you’re hopping & moving, and that’s a start… but let’s get to dancing:

Step 1: NOTICE what you have, however humble it may be. Your breath, being able to see the sky, feel the chill of winter, warm companionship, the ability to work.

Step 2: FEEL the nourishment of what you notice. Awaken your senses, notice how you feel in your body, in your bones, in your eyes.   What happens inside as you remember something you’re grateful for? Bask in Gratitude.

Yes.  Pause and do it now.  Just think of one thing that is true and good, no matter how humble.  Breathe & Feel into the nourishment of that one thing.

In the spirit of taking time to reflect on what we’re truly grateful for, I notice and offer my appreciation for:

  • Encountering a path of healing so profound on all levels: physical, mental, emotional, spiritual.
  • The pain that drove me to search.  Without the chronic fatigue, pervasive depression, and alienation I felt years ago, I never would have found the joy of being fully alive.  I am truly grateful!
  • All of the wonderful teachers I’ve been so lucky to study with – from rigorous Zen, to flowing qigong, to the neurophysiology of Somatic Experiencing
  • All of you: students, clients, friends, colleagues, who I get to share these practices with! What a gift!!

I feel a warmth in my belly, the corners of my mouth slightly curling upward. My breath deepens, and eyes feel softer. I send you all a smile of appreciation and wish you well for the rest of this holiday season!

Gratitude definitely begets gratitude, so please, take a moment and share here: what do you notice that you’re grateful for?  And from hoppin to dancin: how does gratitude feel in your body?

Sick and Tired of Being Sick and Tired?

Written by Amy on April 23rd, 2010

When we’re tired, working on deadline or under emotional stress,  we can push through the tiredness and get the job done. But when pushing through becomes a habit, we end up pushing through tiredness to the point of fatigue. The whole body/mind system is exhausted and when we ignore the exhaustion, we risk long-term health effects.

Do you try to push through fatigue only to find yourself feeling more fatigued? Try these 4 easy steps to feeling less fatigue now.

  1. Quit fighting – even if you win the fight, you lose the battle. Fighting creates more stress and exhaustion.
  2. Welcome the fatigue – feel it. That may mean sleeping more, resting more, or just slowing down your daily activities. When you feel the fatigue now, you will not linger in it as long.
  3. Close your eyes whenever you can. This is the simplest way of taking cat-naps! Enjoy the sensation of your closed eyelids, the darkness, the lack of stimulation.
  4. Give yourself permission to relax. Meditation and simple body awareness are proven techniques to establish the relaxation response.

While these steps are easy, if our “push” habit is strong, then it may be very difficult to learn how to relax. A teacher, guide, or mentor can help you break the “push” habit and remember how to relax. When you relax you will have the energy you’ve been wanting, ready to return to work and relationships rejuvenated and with pleasure.