What are Neurogenic Tremors?

Neurogenic tremors

It is not uncommon in many cultures to hear phrases such as, “I was so frightened my jaw was quivering,” “I was shaking all over my body and I couldnt calm down,” “When I was giving that speech my legs were really shaking,” “My hands were shaking so bad I couldnt hold anything,” “I was so angry I shook all over.”

The experience of trembling is not only commonplace in our culture but it is a common experience to many mammalian species. This familiar, albeit disconcerting, experience is known as neurogenic tremors.

It is well-known and documented that neurogenic tremors are a common result of a traumatic event.

The tremors are the central nervous system’s innate way of discharging excessive tension through the rapid muscle contraction and relaxation of the tremors to calm the body down from an over excited adrenal state. Continue reading


Dr. Robert Scaer, thoughts on Tension & Trauma Releasing Exercises (Video)

Stress and the phenomenon of muscles holding tension is very hard on one’s thinking process. It gets in the way.

Above is a interview with Dr. Robert Scaer where he shares thoughts on Tension & Trauma Releasing Exercises (TRE).  It was conducted by Chris Balsley, a TRE Trainer based in Denver, Colorado.

Highlights from the interview:

  • He has been doing TRE for over 10 years.
  • It helps him deal with chronic back pain.
  • TRE helps him release the tension in the Psoas muscle, helps calm the autonomic nervous system and get more clarity of thought.

Continue reading

What does it mean to be “grounded”?

Meditating Lemur

Our family determines how we find our ground, how we form our territory.  If we do not have plenty of touching and holding, we may never be sure of ourselves emotionally, of the ground we stand on, since we cannot trust others to hold us.  It’s been my experience, as well as others’, that people who are not held enough have a fear of falling and hold themselves stiffly away from the earth.  Those who feel shame for their sexuality and dislike for their bodily responses never really hold their ground with others.

– Stanley Keleman, The Human Ground

Being ungrounded in this world is dangerous.  The invisible energy that grounds or leaves us ungrounded plays a critical role in our successful functioning.  Some people appear to accompany their bodies as if riding like a parrot on their own shoulder.  Other people treat their bodies like a possession, a rental horse driven over rock and hill and then abandoned to the stable.  The body is attended to, exercised regularly, but the pleasure is mainly an ego experience.  The rider and horse appear to be one, but there is no heart in the relationship.  How can they be grounded when they are so reluctantly embodied?

To be ungrounded is to be unstable and unsupported by the very earth we walk on.  We have no foundation.  We are lightweights disconnected from our feeling and unrelated to others.  An ungrounded person, oblivious to surroundings, trips over himself and other people’s feelings.  Such a person is likely to lack a sense of inner support and to suffer a loss of confidence.  The ungrounded person holds too rigidly to a viewpoint or capitulates quickly to avoid conflict.

The warriors of the world, the athletes, have paid enormous attention to grounding, to establishing firm footing and balance, since it is not enough to plant oneself down like a tree.  We must be able to move and stay grounded, to put down roots and pick them up again.  I knew someone who found it necessary to travel frequently and made each hotel room his home.  Each night he unpacked completely and placed family pictures on the bedside table.  If he were a wolf, he would have declared his territory by urinating on the four courners to declare his boundaries and establish his ground.  If he were a dog, he would circle the place he lies down in, a magic instinctual, protective circle.  To establish our territory and protective boundary is the inevitable accompaniment to grounding.

A grounded person feels she has a right to stand here, to be here, to be heard in her silence or her voice.  A grounded person need not speak to be heard while an ungrounded person may talk endlessly without result.  Being grounded inevitably leads to developing boundaries, allowing oneself a protective space which challenges unwanted intruders.  Being grounded is the prerequisite for feeling centered and being fully in contact.  And if we are loving toward others and seek peaceful relations with the life around us, the attention to boundary heightens our awareness in relationship so that we are respectful rather than intrusive.  We are intrigued by the delicate interplay of closeness and distance.

How do we become so ungrounded? 

Growing up we may have been faced with developmental tasks that were too difficult to accomplish satisfactorily.  Perhaps we learned to stand independently, for instance, but not with confidence.  We came into our genital sexuality, but we were distressed.  We learned to function sexually, but never with pleasure and ease, never as fully related to ourselves or out lover.  Our sexual grounding is a powerful key to our being “at
home” in our body.  Our sexual life reflects our strengths and injuries and the functional and durable nature of our sense of self.

Grounding is quite rightly cooperating with the earth, accepting the pull of gravity and learning to do that gracefully.  But we are not rooted like trees, so that I prefer to think of grounding as a function of movement, as a moving wheel that touches the earth.  Grounding is about relatedness, not only the rim as it touches, but the connectedness through the spokes of the wheel.  We cannot be grounded and be disconnected in our bodies.  Just bringing our energy down into our feet and legs in a grounding exercise won’t do.  We contain polarities which must not be disowned.  We reach for the sky, extending up and out, as well as root in the earth.

In so far as we refuse to relate to others, the outer world, or inner agents of our own character which remain in shadow, disowned or undeveloped, we unplug from our grounded nature.  Groundedness demands that we honor the polarities in our nature.  When we center ourselves in the hub of the moving wheel, we feel the edges of our being through a relaxed connectedness and enjoy for that moment a sense of wholeness which extends far beyond ourselves.

Excerpted from The Body In Recovery by John P. Conger, pages 61, 62, 63.  Compiled by Barbara English for Living Ubuntu. 

The tshirts have arrived!

What is Ubuntu? Kickstarter by Ashley Strong

Fundraising is the gentle art of teaching the joy of giving.
– Hank Rosso

Hi everyone,

The first week of our Kickstarter campaign was great.  We passed the 50% mark and raised over $500.  Thank you so much for your support!

Some of you have asked questions about the tshirts.

What do they look like?  Are all photos on one tshirt?  Or are there multiple tshirts?
We just got a first batch of sample t-shirts earlier this week.  Here are pictures featuring our lovely models – Joese Gloria and Kasi TeYana – wearing the “Interconnectedness” tshirt.  Thanks guys!  This tshirt is the first in the series of five.

Interconnected with models 16x10

Joese Gloria and Kasi Teyana wearing the “Interconnectedness” tshirt

Are there separate men’s & women’s styles?  How do I specify the size?
T-shirts are available in men’s & women’s small/medium/large.  Once the Kickstarter campaign ends, if we have met our goal by December 18th, we will send a survey to all backers asking for their choice of design, style and size.  If you’d like any other sizes, please let us know.

By reaching our Kickstarter goal of $1000 in pledges by December 18th, we will have the funds to print the first batch of t-shirts.

The campaign ends in 9 days.  If you were planning to order (pledge), please do so now.  Half of all proceeds will go to supporting our Trauma Recovery Project for Refugees & Immigrants.

Can’t purchase a tshirt at this time?  No worries.  Please tell your friends about this campaign.  Forward this email to them, post it on Facebook, or Twitter.  You could even consider the old-fashioned way, send them a hand-written card… but you better get it in the mail today as the postal service has had an awful lot of letters to Santa this year… ;)

We appreciate your involvement and support.

Barbara & Anshul
Founders, Living Ubuntu
(949) 891-2005

“What is Ubuntu?” kickstarter campaign by Ashley Strong

What is Ubuntu? Kickstarter by Ashley Strong

Update 12/20:
Yay! We reached our Kickstarter goal.

Update 12/16:
48 hours and counting…

Update 12/9:
The tshirts have arrived!

Hi everyone,

Time after time, when we meet someone new, we get asked — “What does Ubuntu mean?”

When we started Living Ubuntu back in 2005, we knew trauma wasn’t well understood by many people, and it certainly wasn’t being adequately addressed.  In our culture there are a lot of things we don’t know how to deal with very well.  We ignore our trauma.  We ignore our grief.  We ignore our need to heal.  But we’re good at keeping busy, and we just keep going…

Ubuntu is at the heart of our philosophy about healing.  We are all in this together.  To heal, we need each other.  Healing does not happen in isolation.  What affects you, affects me.

For the past 9 months, we’ve been working with Ashley Strong, a talented local photographer and artist, to design 5 tshirts that explain — What is Ubuntu?

Ubuntu refers to the way we are human together.  It means many things including, Interconnectedness, Empathy, Compassion, Authenticity and Forgiveness.

To capture the essence of these themes has been a challenge, yet Ashley’s photographs and design are highly effective in conveying the message of Ubuntu.  We are happy to have met our goal — to create an attractive, premium $30 tshirt that everyone would want to wear.

See all 5 tshirt designs by Ashley Strong »

What do you think?

Here is how Kickstarter works:

  • If you’d like to purchase a tshirt (or the entire set of 5), please put in your order by December 18th.
  • If we meet the minimum fundraising goal of $1000 by December 18th, tshirt orders will ship in early January.  If we don’t meet the goal by that date, your credit card will not be charged.

So, please help us spread the word, so that we can be successful in this campaign :)

Half of all proceeds from the tshirts will go toward funding our project to address trauma (PTSD) among refugees and immigrants living here in Southern California.

Thank you for your support.

With gratitude,

Barbara & Anshul
Founders, Living Ubuntu
(949) 891-2005

[Ubuntu] n.
Every human being truly becomes a human by means of relationships with other human being.

Living Ubuntu Winter Retreat (January 2013)

“If only . . .”

Grief and the long, long, long road to acceptance…

“If only I was prettier, then he’d want me.”
“If only I could find the ‘right’ way to say it, then she’d understand.”
“If only I can be there for her enough, I could save her.”
“If only I keep quiet, it’ll all work out in the end.”
“If only I just keep going, I know it’ll be ok.”
“If only I could get a better _______, my family would be proud of me.”

Some aspects of life are hard to accept ‘as is’, yet, there are limits on what we can influence or control.  In this society, we frequently go to great lengths to avoid painful realities, and we avoid the very thing that would help us reach acceptance, being at peace with ‘what is’.  Far too often, we don’t grieve. 

We see it in:

  • the chronic seeking to win acceptance of those who have rejected us by pleasing, performing and doing everything possible to try to finally be deemed worthy, loveable and good-enough.
  • the downcast eyes and low energy of collapse when resignation has set in.
  • the oppressive wielding of power as a weapon, heels dug in, tightened fists and jaw defiantly refusing to give up, insisting they are going to “make it happen”.
  • those who perceive ‘justice’ as ‘revenge’.
  • the refusal to be vulnerable.
  • the denial of normal human limitations.
  • the defense against recognizing the helplessness of life and accepting the fragility inherent in living an ‘alive’ human life.

We give up when we ought to hang in there, and we refuse to let go when surrender would be best.  Either way, we lose.

If we don’t grieve well, we stay stuck in our illusions. We fight the wrong demons. We’re chronically unfulfilled because we reach for the thing that isn’t what we really want.

Underneath, we have angst. We have quiet desperation. We stay busy because we don’t know what else to do.  We have lost access to the natural rhythm of life.  We can’t even hear our own wise inner-knowing.

We don’t really live.  We don’t really love.  At least, not in the ways we could…

We need to grieve… and… we can’t do it alone.

This is what we’ll be addressing in our Winter Retreat in January.  All details are below.  To create an emotionally safe, secure space, we are limiting attendance to 10 people.  Hope you will join us.

If only we could think of the right thing to say, people would come to our retreat…

:) Barbara & Anshul
Founders, Living Ubuntu
(949) 891-2005

“Some of us think holding on makes us strong; but sometimes it is letting go.”
– Hermann Hesse

* * *

2013 Living Ubuntu Winter Retreat

The retreat will be in Julian, CA. Click to see more pictures of the cabin.

Friday to Sunday, January 25–27 2013

Julian, CA.  Here are the cabin details.

$195 per person. This includes food and lodging for the weekend.
If there is any financial hardship, please get in touch with us. We will do our best to accommodate your situation.


Barbara English is a licensed Marriage Family Therapist with over 20 years of experience in the field. As a Certified Bioenergetic Therapist, she works from a mind-body perspective, and utilizes relational somatic methods as part of the process toward healing and a sense of well-being. Much of her training has focused on Early Development, Infant Mental Health, and healing after abuse or trauma. She is the co-founder and Executive Director of Living Ubuntu.

Like at our past retreats, we will:

  • Arrive at the cabin by mid-day on Friday and leave for home on Sunday afternoon. We will arrange a carpool to drive up together (leaving Friday morning).
  • Lunch and dinner will be provided, as well as supplies for breakfast (on your own).  Meals will be vegetarian, and organic as much as possible.
  • The daily schedule will include multiple sessions of body work (e.g. Bioenergetic grounding exercises, and TRE).
  • Most bedrooms will be shared (i.e. with roommate).
  • To create a safe, secure space, we are limiting attendance to no more than 10 people.

To register, please contact us at info@livingubuntu.org or call (949) 891-2005.

Space is limited and 50% deposit is due by December 21, payable to Living Ubuntu, 1151 Dove Street #210, Newport Beach CA 92660.

* * *

Are you a refugee from East Africa living in San Diego?

Life in a conflict zone can be traumatizing, and moving to the U.S. doesn’t make it go away. In order to develop better services for the local East African community, we need your help.

Are you a refugee from Ethiopia, Somalia, Burundi, Congo, Sudan, South Sudan, Rwanda, Eritrea, Uganda, Kenya, Liberia currently living in San Diego?

If you are 18 years or older, please come at one of the times listed below and complete a questionnaire about trauma. Each participant will be given $15.

The questionnaire will be offered in the following languages: English, Swahili, Arabic & Somali.

December 2012

When:  Sunday, December 2

St. Luke’s Episcopal Church @ 11:30a
3725 30th St.
San Diego, CA 92104

– or –

Southern Sudanese Center of San Diego @ 2p-3:30p
4077 Fairmount Ave
San Diego, CA 92105

Please show up at either times above. It will take approximately 15 minutes to complete the questionnaire.  As a thank-you, each participant will receive $15.

November 2012

Saturday, Nov 3 between 11am – 3p
Sunday,  Nov 11 between 2p – 6p

Southern Sudanese Community Center of San Diego
4077 Fairmount Ave
San Diego, CA 92105

Wanna help?
Please help us get the word out to the East African refugee community in San Diego.  Click here to download the flyer.

Partnering organizations

Our team includes leaders and staff members from various organizations based in Southern California.

  • Southern Sudanese Community Center of San Diego
  • Sudanese-American Youth Center of San Diego
  • Horn of Africa
  • International Rescue Committee (IRC)
  • National University
  • Southern California Institute for Bioenergetic Analysis
  • Living Ubuntu


We are doing this research to figure out the rate of PTSD among the refugee population in San Diego.  This is our first step toward launching a novel, community-based Trauma Recovery Program for Refugees and Immigrants in San Diego.

Online fundraising for What is the rate of PTSD among refugees in San Diego?

Questions?  Please contact us at info@livingubuntu.org or (949) 891-2005.