“This is not a kiddie ride! Aaaaaaaaaaah!!!”
We have been having a wonderful family reunion over Christmas break with my sister and her in-laws. My wife has been suffering from anxiety and depression over the past few years, and she displays symptoms of PTSD from her childhood as a Vietnam war refugee and the trauma of being married to yours truly. The fact that I’ve been investing our life savings to support Spliff and Jimmy and to build a constantly pivoting software project hasn’t helped either.
At Disneyworld, my wife got on the Barnstormer kids’ roller coaster with us and was terrified. She was screaming in terror the whole ride. It was definitely a release of some energy.
The Fear and Joy Cycle
Through various modalities of healing and light work over the past few years, I’ve come to understand tools to release buried trauma, and they all seem to require a cycle of Fear (or Intensity), Courage to push through the Fear, a Release of Energy, and an experience of Joy (or Love) that leads to:
the process of releasing, and thereby providing relief from, strong or repressed emotions.
The Vagal Tone
In the past year, since my yoga teacher training in Costa Rica, I’ve been hearing about the Vagal tone and the Vagus nerve and their roles in the healing trauma. A passionate conversation about the Vagal tone in San Francisco with Cage led to the Wonderland Gambit and that journey, which also led us to Gandalf.
When trauma isn’t processed, we end up stuck on LOW, feeling depressed, numb, or wanting to die. In order to make a change in behavior and mindset, it requires an emotional connection to change thought, and fear and joy are the most universal and strongest emotions. By triggering fear and joy back to back, it seems we can jump start the parasympathetic nervous system, and restore emotional balance.
“Fear is your best friend or your worst enemy. It’s like fire. If you can control it, it can cook for you; it can heat your house. If you can’t control it, it will burn everything around you and destroy you. If you can control your fear, it makes you more alert, like a deer coming across the lawn.” –Mike Tyson
For Spliff, it was facing heartbreak, death, and fear on the mean streets of Sacramento, intense code, and joyful blaze sessions. My modalities were plant medicine journeys, meditation, yoga, and personal development seminars.
It’s been interesting to experiment with transcendence of fear…
What’s on the other side of fear?