Ducks, Swans, Science and Compassion for Yourself

Exploring your life and discovering the seen and unseen gifts and challenges that come with existence can enrich your experience. This helps you, medical  your loved ones and the rest of the human family.\n\nToday let’s explore the process of appreciating yourself as you are in the present moment. This is close to what is called Self-Confidence. You may recall earlier times when you had not come as far in your life journey as you have today. You are not the same now as you were then.\n\nYou’ve been through many transitions already. These include learning to walk,  reading, puberty, various school times and the events of your adult life.\n\nYou may have played on sports teams, you may have excelled at solo pursuits. You may have had major responsibilities early in life. Various traumas may have changed your life.\n\nThink of the ducks in this picture as playing with their duck friends. They are splashing, moving as a group and seeing what happens at the next place they arrive.\n\nThe picture of the swan gracefully swimming alone gives you a chance to think about the story, The Ugly Duckling. [Pause…] We are talking about birds with those two images, so we need to differentiate this from the human and mammalian drive to manage the pros and cons of shared moments.\n\nOne of the most promising developments in recent decades regarding self-image, self-respect and belonging to the larger family and society is the collection of observations that are part of what some call The New Brain Science. I’m pleased to know Stephen Porges, Ph.D., whose work is a major part of the new understanding of the brain. His work with autism and brain health helped him to expand the understanding of what is called the Autonomic Nervous System.\n\nDr. Porges’ \”Polyvagal Theory\” is based on the neurophysiology of mammals. We are \”hard-wired\” to first seek support and nurture when we perceive threat in our environment. My page on New Brain Science includes a video and an audio interview with Dr. Porges, as well as several other approaches to building a healthier brain. I’ve embedded that video below but there is more on that page. [See also: My introduction to Dr. Porges.] Note: This scientific concept of the Social Engagement System does not mean that every person will have the same personality — not all people are better solo, neither do all need a lot of hugs.\n\n\n\nWhy did I title this \”…Science and Compassion for Yourself\”? Recently I’ve been studying Dr. Van Nuy’s [his site] Positive Psychology Course [Zur Institute] at the same time as watching the weekly webinars sponsored by Sounds True, Inc., The Compassionate Brain [free: Sounds True Archive]. In case after case they tell the stories of people who had different ways of dealing with traumas, \”disabilities\”, good fortune, challenging relationships and more. A major theme that got my interest was the importance of understanding that our past may have changed us, but that we each are deserving of Welcome to make what we can from what we have to work with in the present moment. Now that you’ve grown up and have already had many transitions, it may help to think about your unique qualities.\n\nSometimes our uniqueness makes it so that we can’t splash and dash around exactly like some others may be able to do. But we can learn to enjoy discovering just what are the creative abilities that our uniqueness makes possible.\n\nEarlier blogs: Sports Trauma and Resilience | Veterans and Trauma Spectrum.\n\nAs a naturopathic physician I trust each person’s individual Vis medicatrix naturae [my description] to guide their creative healing process as it interacts with the natural world and the people around them.\n\nSometimes it may be helpful to run laboratory tests such as are taught at the Academy of Functional Medicine and Genomics [my introduction]. Another possibly life-changing experience could be the brain imaging studies that I introduce on my Amen-Affiliated Education Center. \”Personality\” items and \”quirky behavior\” may actually be caused by biochemical or neuro-structural functional differences.\n\nI’ve been impressed with the important improvements in people’s self-respect and in their ability to manage their relationships once they understand that there are unique differences that can affect their moods, their neurotransmitters and their ability to perceive the needs of others. They aren’t \”broken,\” rather they are differently-abled. The HANDLE approach describes \”neurodevelopmental differences.\”\n\nI have videos and more including a definition of \”The Mind\” [on my Body-Mind page].\n\nPsychiatrist Clancy McKenzie’s insights about schizophrenia [my introduction here].\n\nI am not talking about being nice to yourself while at the same time you are telling yourself that you’re doing it \”even though I’m broken.\” This is especially important for anyone who has been changed by trauma, of any kind. Also this distinction and compassionate understanding is important for the families of children who’ve been given labels such as \”autism spectrum\” or Asperger’s syndrome.\n\nOn the physical function level, once you know more about naturopathic medicine and natural health systems such as Acupuncture, Ayurveda, Homotoxicology and more, you can understand more about physical problems that may have puzzled you. [Blog pages: Living Inside the Box: Your Body as Temple | The Community That is You.] Your illnesses and your dis-ease situations are not your fault. Your whole self is doing the best that it can with what it has been taught and with what resources it may or may not have.\n\nYou are who you are at this moment. You could learn a lot by using a search engine for the term, Self-Compassion. Following are still more inputs that I’ve recently discovered that I think will add to your Self-Compassion:\n\nA wise teacher whose life shows what it can be like to be fully present with his own characteristics is Sensei Nick Walker, M.A. He is a teacher and consultant in somatics, autism, neurodiversity and more. His interview by Dr. Van Nuys includes his own experiences being bullied, learning Aikido, dealing with autism and traumas [here, on ShrinkRapRadio].\n\nKrysta Tippett’s recent interview with Sherry Turkle, Ph.D., director of the MIT Initiative on Technology and Self is titled, \”Alive enough.\” [On the site, On Being.] This is a classic Krysta Tippett event, drawing on the wisdom of a recognized expert in an aspect of the human condition. This interview includes a look at how much humanity has been changd by technology (cell phones, computers, robotics, email) and helps us think about how we can create new ways of being sovereign in the midst of the chaos that might happen to families and individual identity as a result of technology.\n\nOne more picture of birds: This time it is of a cloud of birds in the air. These are not the flying-in-formation utilitarian Canadian geese, who gain lift by forming a \”V\” pattern so that the front bird works the hardest. [My Game Biologist father often took our family to watch the Canadian geese stop in the Michigan fields to rest and eat as they migrated from Canada.] The birds in this photo are showing the cloud style of relationship, which can wheel smoothly often as one unit. This could be called a \”flock\” but it is different from the V formation style. It is more like \”play\” [my blog on Play]. I am convinced that the members of this cloud are communicating through a \”field effect\” and not via typical visual/nervous system methods. The members are sensing the fields of others and are moving within a larger field beyond their own body.\n\nAs humans we can choose who we relate with. We have intersections of our awareness of others, of course. But I’ve been impressed with authors and researchers who describe models of human life that include our being affected by aspects that we can’t see. I recommend that my clients take time to sense and to think about how they are affected by others, as well as how they choose to act and think about others.\n\nI extend a Welcome to you. My information site and my clinical site may have the clue that you have been seeking. You can read my Creating Your Own Health Menu report and start using the free FlexAware self-assessment and practice logs that are included.\n\nYou are welcome to contact me — call, email — for a brief coaching or longer consultation. There are several options so that you can choose one that fits your needs. In this season of Thanksgiving I’ll be glad to help you learn more about your healing capabilities.\n

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