Friday, September 1, 2017

FEAR is a powerful motivator and the media knows it.

We live in Dallas, Texas. Some 400 miles north of the Hurricane Harvey aftermath and flooding currently overwhelming our southern most neighbors in greater Houston and southern Louisiana. Our hearts go out to them as they work to recover from the sheer magnitude of this event.

As a Medical Qigong Therapist, I have the opportunity to see first hand what fear can do to the body in every patient I see. Short, medium and long term.

Short term it creates an elevated state of sympathetic nervous system response which promotes tunnel vision, a deeply driven need to move away from the perceived danger and strong motivation for self preservation. These are programmed so deeply into our human nature that it is almost impossible to avoid some level of fear response under the right circumstances.

With medium term exposure to fear, we find ourselves able to "manage" the prolonged fear response in a way that allows us to function more "freely" in our day to day. Sure we are anxious, our blood pressure may be elevated and we are quick to overreact to situations, usually inappropriately but we are functioning none the less.

With long term fear response, our nervous system has been in a state of sympathetic overdrive for so long that it is now the only place we "feel safe". We are on constant alert, usually have heart palpitations or arrhythmia, trouble sleeping, frequent headaches, a short fuse, reacting either with anger or retreat to even the slightest stimuli, and proper digestion is a distant memory. Pain levels are elevated and unrelenting with personal and professional relationships deteriorating and now vulnerable to collapse.

At first, this state of fear response feels "hot" and uncomfortable but over time, we acclimate and become "comfortable" with these more intense feelings. Or maybe "familiar" is a better word. We now feel that if we are not in this heightened state, we will somehow lose the edge necessary to feel safe, not consciously realizing that we truly do not feel safe, ever, and this is what keeps the viscous cycle going. 24/7.

The news media exploits this part of our human psyche as a way to stimulate viewership which then allows them to charge more for advertising and make more money. Not unlike the more readership a newspaper has, the more they can charge for advertising. So when a "big event" like Hurricane Harvey happens, they know that the most reliable response to generate viewership is fear. Sensationalist imagery, promises of more detail to come, and the threat of impending doom are hallmarks of our current model of news media. In Dallas, this week, we are experiencing a panic around a media outlets FALSE PREDICTION that we have a MAJOR GAS SHORTAGE looming large. This has caused people to line up around the block, start fist fights for cutting in line, fill extra containers and scramble on social media to find a tank of gasoline. The fuel companies have been hard at work to calm people down after this report with little to no success. Remember the tunnel vision I mentioned? The ball is rolling are we are chasing it down the hill. Cant stop now! The same theory applies to the people we see on the news who have driven into too deep water and now need to be rescued. While there may be some arrogant people who think they can make it, the vast majority are operating on fear and the fear in their minds is greater than the fear of driving through high water, during that myopic moment in time. Of course, hind sight is 20/20 and we, from our couches can see that this is a bad idea but in that moment, in their minds, they see no other reasonable choice.

We can not control the news media except by turning them off, and we certainly can not control mother nature but we do have the ability to control our Autonomic Nervous System (ANS) and its response to external stimuli. Depending on the level of intensity you personally experience, it will take training, deeper awareness and maybe professional guidance but you can train yourself to strengthen your connection to your innate fight or flight response mechanism (ANS). Medical Qigong Therapy combines physical, mental and emotional training to help guide your path to wellbeing. This is a path of personal empowerment, not a quick fix, with truly amazing results. Fear is not an enemy to be conquered but a friend to be understood. Are you ready?

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Since before the election I have been spending less time on Facebook; not to bury my head in the sand or block out the "truth" but to create a health boundary for myself from the barrage of false information and abusive rhetoric being handed out by all sides.

The see-saw, back and forth attacks and complaining about each other solves nothing and shuts down everyone.  I can not explain loud enough or call anyone the perfect insult to help them see my point of view. Or at least realize that they are wrong and I am, of course right.

A hallmark of healthy communication requires that each side creates a safe space where each perspective can be shared and used to educate the other. Each person in a discussion must feel free to express their deepest ideals in order to have a chance at being understood, and accepted. This is how, as social creatures, we recognize and accept each other. Ignorance breeds fear and with it, hate. 

To those that say this is nambie-pambie or weak argument, I say just try it. Take the time, with someone you love who does not feel understood and create a space where no matter what they have to say, you do not react or respond, you create a place where they can feel truly heard. You do not have to agree with them, or even accept their position as factual, you simply listen and accept that this is their truth and their perspective on a very complex and personal issue.

Please post results of your Listening Energy conversation. Ill be listening. 

Saturday, September 10, 2016

September 11, 2016

9-11-16. This day, 15 years ago set us on a very difficult and painful path which continues, even after all this time. That morning, I was in a meeting with my boss's boss, Roger Staubach when the news broke. We all rushed into the main conference room, with the large projection screen TV, to see the horrors of that morning unfold. We stood together, silent. Roger sent us home to be with our families. The drive home was silent. I held my family tight and went out on the back patio to sit, in silence. It was then I was struck with the incredible silence all around me. No traffic on the roads, in the skies and even the neighborhood dogs seemed to know we all needed quiet to wrap our minds around the magnitude of what we had just witnessed, as a nation. In the days, weeks, months and years to follow, we would move through the many stages of grief and begin wars in far away places with a certainty that left us all, uncertain. I personally was laid off, and spent the next few years in contract jobs for a small movement education company, FEMA the FBI and others just trying to keep my family living above the poverty line.

In October of 2009, I began working with Active Duty Military in a regional behavioral treatment center designed to help them find their way past their particular traumas. I experience the painful reality of the struggles they came home to, through 5 years of weekly groups and thousands of painful stories. In October of 2012, we began working with Veterans, in weekly educational groups, through the VA Health Care System, and began to realize just how long these painful realities would stay with our men and women military members and their families, after their returns home. It became painfully clear to us that if we do not address these issues early with consistency, patience and love they would never fully go away, leading to a lifetime of struggles and personal suffering for our Veterans and their loved ones.

On Friday, 9-9-2016, we started a new chapter in the evolution of SimplyAware; The Medical Qigong Therapy Center. While the clinic is open to all who wish to work beyond the symptoms of their particular issues and identify the roots so they may fully heal, are welcome; we plan to specialize in trauma. The kind of trauma that hit us on 9-11-2001. The kinds of trauma that our military men and women come home with and struggle to talk about or come to terms with. The kind of traumas that stay with you and beg for your attention, day and night, until you finally listen. We are here and we will listen with you and provide tools and perspectives which will help you find your way through the traumas. While our clinic is a huge milestone for us. it is but another step on a lifelong commitment I personally have to helping those who have sacrificed so much to afford us the freedoms we often take for granted. These are my brothers and sisters in arms and I will never fail them. While the VA has seen fit to cut funding to our very successful programs, SimplyAware is working with our Veteran program graduates and community leaders to create a foundation which will continue this important work far into the future.

On 9-11-2001 we were silent, trying to understand the magnitude of what had happened. Today we continue to struggle with the aftermath of that day physically, mentally and emotionally as a nation but our silence has turned to action.

I pray for the families who suffered such tremendous loss on that September morning, and that the lessons we have learned from this painful experience make us better, as a people, for each other.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Its "Practice What You Preach Time" again...

While it has been quite some time since my last blog entry, life has continued, and my ability to hold the 8 Qigong Principles aligned is still challenged, daily.

Fayne and I have been blessed to have been working with Veterans within the North Texas VA Health Care System since October 2012. Fast forward 4 years and we have worked with over 800 hundred Veterans with thousands of issues from PTS(d) and chronic anxiety to chronic pain and depression. The transformations we have witnessed in quality of life, are nothing short of amazing. In all the measurements we take on physical, mental, emotional and social levels, through our detailed questionnaire, our Veterans are reporting no less than a 44% improvement, in every measurement taken. Additionally, we have had no complaints filed against us and no reported suicides of our students and many are reducing or eliminating their symptomatic medication loads for pain, elevated blood pressure, anxiety and depression.

Yet in light of this wall of evidence that our Training Mindfully with Qigong Principles extended group education program works very well, The VA has informed us that they will not be renewing our contract for 2017. We have been told that this is strictly a budget issue and that they now have people “trained in Qigong” that can “do it in house.” For them to tell us they can train internal staff in a few weeks to do what we have been training almost our whole lives for, is hard to take. For them to say that we are too expense is to grossly underestimate the skill we bring to the group training environment, the quality of the TMQP program, and the incredible success of our graduates. Plus the fact that our per Veteran served cost is less than $15.00 per class, including the many off classroom hours of administrative requirements involved in managing our formal VA Clinics, is hard to accept.

To say this is a blow to Fayne and myself is to understate the impact on our family. As of this week, we now have two young men in college (out of state) and this contract represented about 80% to 90% of our annual income. Yes, you could say that we put too many eggs in one basket and I would agree, however, the demands on our time to manage this government program, and the roller coaster ride working with the VA has been, in great part, created this vacuum. Extending our programs into Fort Worth two years ago year, then taking it away this year with a potential promise to return, plus the requested addition of a new Plano class and a seated Spinal Cord Injury Program for 2017, had us choosing not to backfill our teaching schedule as we planned to serve more Veterans weekly. This conversation from our Director carried forward into late June. Then, suddenly, we were told they were opting not to offer SimplyAware new contract.

We could be bitter and resentful but we are not. We are mostly sad, and hopeful. Sad because we have grown quite fond of working with these amazing people, from all walks of life, we call Veterans. We cherish the opportunity to meet them where they are, sharing perspective shifting insights and traditional Qigong training to help them find their physical, mental and emotional alignment. From this place of alignment, they are able to make choices that are firmly in line with their true, most beautiful nature. Fayne and I are hopeful, because if we practice what we preach and stand in our Qigong Principles, we know deep in our hearts that if this door is closing, the universe has something even more powerful in store for SimplyAware, and our family.

We know, our Training Mindfully with Qigong Principles program empowers people to step into their truth and maybe that is what was most uncomfortable for the VA. We witnessed many of our Veterans shedding years of pain and suffering, greatly reducing, and in many cases, eliminating their symptom relieving medication load while reconnecting with their friends and families with an authenticity which is beautiful to see. So if the 4 years we had within the VA’s medical, military and government bureaucracy did nothing else, it gave us a mound of evidence that this training works very well.

When we broke the news to our current classes, they were understandably very angry. In their experience, the VA has a history of taking away programs which prove beneficial. We encouraged them to use the tools they have been working so hard on these past few months. We told them to stand in their Qigong Principles, align themselves, speak their truth in a manner which honors them, and then, most importantly, TRUST that this transition will work out best for all involved.

We we first received this major, life changing news, Fayne and I checked in with each other and both said, I’m not scared. Is this scary? Yes. But we are not scared because over the past 14 years we have witnessed so many significant shifts in our world that turned out to be exactly what was needed, in that moment, that now we simply TRUST that everything will work out as it should. That does not mean we will just sit back and let the money come rolling in from...wherever. It means that it is again time to sit quietly, align ourselves within our Qigong Principles and listen for the next steps on this beautiful journey. Stay tuned!

Monday, May 26, 2014

A Flag Draped Box... Original Poem by Sifu Chris Bouguyon

A Flag Draped Box
Today we honor those carried home in a flag draped box,
with them a foot locker full of memories behind a simple lock;
The stories of their efforts are often left untold,
Leaving us to wonder what secrets they did hold;
Where did you go?
What did you do?
Why did this harm come down on you?
Families are lost, confused and unsure of what comes next,
The one whose never coming home has left an awful mess;
The ones they left behind to carry on for them, 
Are often much to young to truly understand
“When is Mommy coming home? She promised me a dress”
“When is Daddy coming home? I haven’t learned to catch”
These questions are the start of a new reality,
One where loved ones lost, are just a memory.
Let us never forget the pain that runs so deep,
it keeps their children up at night while we so soundly sleep.

For my Brothers and Sisters in Arms who are no longer here to read this, I offer my love, deepest respect and gratitude for your precious gift to me and my family.

LCB 5/26/2014