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What Is Trauma & How Does It Effect My Life?

"Being Traumatized is an illness of not feeling alive in the present. 

A cure is feeling fully alive right now." ~ Pierre Janet

Trauma is a natural and regular part of every creature on earth's life... including us. It is built into the nervous system as an automatic process and its sole purpose is to guarantee that you and I get to live to see another day. I am sure we can all agree, that is a very good thing.

But, as the saying goes, one can get too much of a good thing.


We've all heard about fight and flight and most of us have heard the terms autonomic, sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems.


When we are threatened in some way we will either choose to run away or fight. Wisely, in the animal kingdom, the first choice is always run.

Fight, Flight & Freeze

Weird how even the most ornery critter in the jungle has more sense than most guys in a bar.  The emotions we feel when those responses are triggered are anger for fight and fear for flight. It is important to point out that these are automatic. You don't have any say in the matter. There is no such thing a s a fraidy cat. They're just following the prime directive.

But what about that other one, freeze.


Fortunately, this automatic response has been getting more attention of late, especially because of the work of Peter Levine and Gabor Maté, but it still lags behind it famous cousins. The thing is, of the three, it is the most important because it it is the one that is the most devastating to human lives. 

Why is that?

Every creature that walks the earth is in natural balance with all the functions of the nervous system... all but one. We humans have the dubious honor of being the only critter that can interrupt the natural discharge of the freeze response and thus get stuck in a perpetual lockdown. When we do it is called a word we have all become familiar with... TRAUMA.

Trauma, especially childhood trauma, is the most devastating illness there is. This may come as a shock to you but it has been undeniably, causally connected to every major illness our modern society suffers from; cancer, ALS, autism, ADHD, every form of mental and emotional illness, childhood illnesses. <SITE THE STUDIES HERE>

So yeah, it's important that we get to the root and heal it.

This is why we have decided to focus a great deal of our energy and resources on exactly that. GP and Lisa are directing the bulk of their teaching efforts to:

  • Educating people on the symptoms and original causes of traumas

  • Educating people on the environmental factors that are currently maintaining the trauma in their lives

  • Providing tools and techniques for regulating the nervous system and bringing it gently out of freeze mode

  • Making changes to people's ways of life that will eliminate recurrences of traumas and make them trauma proof

  • Enhancing one's sense of purpose, vitality and spiritual life

Freeze - The Mystery Guest

The Possum Ain't Playin

Yep he really does look dead. His breathing is undetectable. His vitals signs would need an EKG to show up. He has created the perfect ruse.

Predators usually require some degree of resistance in order to trigger their inherent instinct to kill and eat. The possum, appearing to be dead is causing their natural reaction to go offline.

They simply lose interest and walk away.


But our crafty little friend isn't playing. This isn't a carefully designed plan. It is pure instinct. He is not in control. The nervous system has simply taken over. Survival is job one and that is what it is doing.

I hate to break it to your fragile ego but... the same thing happens to us. And the time is happens most is when we too are the most vulnerable. When we can't run away. When we can't fight. And when everyone is bigger than us and can hurt us. In other words, when we are children.

And then, when we are threatened the very same mechanism takes over and the very same freeze response kicks in.

Let me Tell You a TRUE Story

I was a severely abused child. I was tied to my bed, every night, from the age of 2 until about the age of 6. I was routinely scolded, belittled, gaslit, diminished, intruded on and shamed. If I liked something, it was taken away. If I expressed a thought, it was contradicted. My mother was mentally and emotionally ill. She never looked upon me with loving eyes. She vacillated between neglect and intrusion. Boundaries did not exist. Her illness hung over the home like a dark cloud.


I can remember, every now and then, I would just disappear into... I don't know where. I don't know how else to describe it.

I would sit on the couch staring out the window. There was no feeling at all. All was blank. I was aware of everything. I was there but not there.

Although my eyes never moved, I would see my mother flitting around me, frowning, asking what I was doing, telling me to get up and do something, but nothing moved me, there was no reaction, no response.

I was dead but conscious.

I was quite consciously aware of everything that was happening, but there was no reaction. It was actually very peaceful.

I don't remember coming out of it or how long it lasted. But, now that I know what freeze is, I know exactly what happened.  I know that it was not anything I consciously did. So I know, first hand, exactly how powerful this totally natural and completely automatic function of life is.

There were many other times when I would just collapse, exhausted from trying to resist, trying to hold on to a shred of dignity, trying to have something that was mind.

The brilliance of 500 million years of survival took over against life threatening (and soul threatening) situations and kept me alive when there was no way I could do that for myself.

And Now What?

In my case, and in the case of millions of others, the circumstances (and thus the condition) wasn't like our little possum friend. The predator didn't walk away. It was in the next room. You had to see it for dinner. You had to rely on it for food, shelter, education, medical, every material need. The threat wasn't a temporary condition that, once the danger had passed, the nervous system could shake it off and return to a balanced state, the ventral state in the Poly Vagal Model.


It's often pictured like a ladder. This picture was developed by Deb Dana and the Poly Vagal Theory by Stephen Porges, both of whom I have borrowed liberally from in this and I have enormous gratitude for.

As the ladder illustrates, the animal moves out of the frozen or dorsal state up through the sympathetic or fight/fight state, still aroused and vigilant until it is assured of safety and then finally back into calm and equilibrium.

The abused child can only get as far as fight or flight. He or she NEVER gets up to calm, safe and social. Moreover, much of the systems that were so severely shutdown don't reopen.

Remember, during Covid and the lockdown, all the little cool stores, with the cool people you really wanted to do business with, went out of business and the big, ugly, impersonal, automated stores run by people hundreds or thousands of miles away stayed open? 

It's like that.

Woman with Tablet

"Hi G! I'm So grateful to you and so grateful that I can find freedom through your teachings. This path of Awakening brings up so much intense stuff, but then you guide us back to our Natural Self so seamlessly. Today I went from profoundly deep suffering to incredible lightness of being just as a result of your guided meditation. Just in case you wonder if your efforts are having effect."

- Jill Kelly (from YouTube)




"“Knowing oneself comes from attending with compassionate curiosity to what is happening within." - Gabor Maté

Healing is a Miracle that Takes Time

"Being Traumatized is an illness of not feeling alive in the present. 

A cure is feeling fully alive right now." ~ Pierre Janet

Anyone who has been engaged in genuine healing work for any amount of time can't help but recognize an unfathomable intelligence at work. Call it what you will there is a profound order and interrelatedness to all the elements of life that are simply beyond the reach of human categorization.

Whether you are the healer or the one seeking healing (or both) this is the realm in which we are all playing.

So the sake of simplicity I have broken the process of healing from these deep traumas down into 3 main parts. Of course, there is nothing cut and dry about it all 3 will be happening simultaneously. I have found over my life that one may require my full attention for an extended period of time. Well, as I learned a bit ago, the energy of life calls the shots.

The Domains of Healing

  1. Somatic

  2. Energetic

  3. Relational

Note: I purposely left out spiritual from this model. Although spirituality is a healing element, it is so as a consequence of its essential, existential focus. So I chose to cover it separately.

"Gosh you’re GOOD!!! Thank you! It’s much easier to see in how you explain it."

- AKT (YouTube Comment)

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