What’s a mere human to do? (Intro to TRE May 17)

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

Hi everyone,

April was amazing! Thanks again to everyone that came out to attend the “Remembering the Past Toward Healing our Future” events. Genocide is an incredibly horrific topic to deal with, and can rapidly take a toll on anyone trying to learn more about it, let alone the enormous (beyond description) toll it takes on those who have lived through it, or were born into a family that did. In line with the title, the question begs to be asked, what can we do to better address the need for healing in this world, in our own lives, and the lives of others? What can be done ‘toward healing our future’?

As we look around our world there is much that is in urgent need of sustained attention, committed engagement, and well-thought-through, wise action. We see alarming reports on global warming, numerous international conflicts, countless natural disasters, and an array of important additional long-neglected domestic issues.

Yet most people in our society are just trying to survive the overwhelm that comes from seeking to keep up on the many varied demands of everyday living.

With so much required of us, in so many different ways, what’s a mere human to do?
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Ubuntu Group in Orange County, February 2013


We are rhythm-bound organisms.
 – Bruce Perry

Hi everyone,

I’ve always liked that quote.  It is simple and succinct, yet a profound and apt descriptor of the very essence of our lives.

When our body grows tense, when stress consumes us, we tighten up and lose the ability to feel our own inner and bodily rhythm.  When we are able to feel it, it becomes the basis for being in rhythm with another; we resonate.  This mind-body resonance from one to another enables empathy and supports compassion.  Keeping our body soft and open enough to feel our own inner sensations is the key to feeling connected to one another.  Being in a grounded state supports us as we feel not only our shared connection, but the connection to the earth below our feet.

Last weekend, eight of us were at the Living Ubuntu 2013 Winter Retreat in Julian.  With grounding exercises each morning and Trauma Releasing Exercises (TRE) before bed each night, it gets easier to feel, and feel deeply.  The harder part is to keep it going upon returning home.

The Ubuntu group is only once a month, but our group TRE practice with shared vibratory experiences provides an important part of honoring the fact that we are rhythm-bound organisms.

I hope you will be there for the next one.

If you would like more information on how to join the Ubuntu group, please get in touch with us. : )

Warmly,

Barbara English
http://livingubuntu.org
(949) 891-2005

* * *

Ubuntu Group in Orange County, CA

Friday, February 15 2013
6:30p – 9:30p
TRE starts promptly at 6:30p

Optional:  bring veggie foods to share

We have been doing the Ubuntu group since the very beginning (2004).  Held on the 3rd Friday of every month, it is a time to connect with one another in an authentic way about whatever is happening in life, to share from the deeper self, from our most known truth.  For more information, visit http://livingubuntu.org/events or call (949) 891-2005.

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

Ubuntu Group in Orange County, December 2012

Giving material goods is one form of generosity, but one can extend an attitude of generosity into all one’s behavior.  Being kind, attentive, and honest in dealing with others, offering praise where it is due, giving comfort and advice where they are needed, and simply sharing one’s time with someone – all these are forms of generosity, and they do not require any particular level of material wealth.

– His Holiness the Dalai Lama

Hi everyone,

I saw the above quote on Suzanne’s Facebook page this morning (thanks, Suzanne!).  It suits much of my thoughts about the holiday shopping frenzy that seems to take hold of so many at this time of year.  For me, I find the over-focus of the materialistic aspects of the season quite agonizing.  There are so many others ways to be generous with one another that come from the heart, don’t require money in the bank, and are infinitely less damaging to this earth we live on.

When we keep our stress low, we can feel more.  When we feel more, we can resonate more with each other.  In the deepening of our connections with one another, more of our genuine needs can be met.  And in that way of living, perhaps some of the compulsion to acquire more stuff might not take hold in the same way.

Often the December group is the smallest of the year, so I thought I would send this out earlier than usual in the hope you will make sure to put it on your calendar and be able to join us.  For emphasis: I really do very much hope you will join us in December ; )

May we all be embodied enough for our hearts to be attuned to our inner rhythms, the rhythms of one another, and the greater pulsating rhythm of Mother Earth all around us.

If you would like more information on how to join the Ubuntu group, please get in touch with us. : )

Barbara English
http://livingubuntu.org
(949) 891-2005

* * *

Ubuntu Group in Orange County, CA

Friday, December 21 2012
6:30p – 9:30p
TRE starts promptly at 6:30p

Optional:  bring veggie foods to share

We have been doing the Ubuntu group since the very beginning (2004).  Held on the 3rd Friday of every month, it is a time to connect with one another in an authentic way about whatever is happening in life, to share from the deeper self, from our most known truth.  For more information, visit http://livingubuntu.org/events or call (949) 891-2005.

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

Ubuntu Group in Orange County, November 2012

We are all substantially flawed, wounded, angry, hurt, here on Earth.  But this human condition, so painful to us, and in some ways shameful  –  because we feel we are weak when the reality of ourselves is exposed – is made much more bearable when it is shared, face-to face, in words that have expressive human eyes behind them. 

— Alice Walker

What is that you express in your eyes?
It seems to me more than all the words I have read in my life. 

— Walt Whitman

Hi everyone,

If you’ve been on this list long enough you might notice the occasional re-using of a quote sent previously.   Generally, that means it’s a quote I really like.  The quote by Alice Walker is a prime example of that.  For me I feel it just says so much of what it’s all about.

We are flawed, wounded, and in pain.  When we come together, it makes the pain more bearable.  And when we really connect, really see each other, there is a world of energetic expression and exchange that comes through the eyes.  So often the very thing we long for and the thing we fear most are one in the same:  to really be seen, and embraced as who we are.

The Ubuntu group is this coming Friday.  Hope to “see you” then.  RSVPs are not required, yet, always appreciated : )

If you would like more information on how to join the Ubuntu group, please get in touch with us. : )

Most warmly,

Barbara English
http://livingubuntu.org
(949) 891-2005

Ubuntu Group in Orange County, CA

Friday, November 16 2012
6:30p – 9:30p
TRE starts promptly at 6:30p

Optional:  bring veggie foods to share

We have been doing the Ubuntu group since the very beginning (2004).  Held on the 3rd Friday of every month, it is a time to connect with one another in an authentic way about whatever is happening in life, to share from the deeper self, from our most known truth.  For more information, visit http://livingubuntu.org/events or call (949) 891-2005.

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

Ubuntu group – OC | June 2012

The defenses we erect to protect us create the very condition we are trying to avoid.
Thus, when someone builds a castle to protect his liberty, he ends up as a prisoner in his own castle because he dares not leave it.
– Alexander Lowen

There’s no conversation without vulnerability.
– David Whyte

Hi everyone,

For most of us, beginning very early in life, we learned to fear vulnerability.  Having been hurt by others when feeling vulnerable, we concluded it is vulnerability that is to be avoided.  Our walls, defenses, and facades made more sense.  Yet, we have come to fear the wrong thing.  Only within vulnerability is there any possibility of genuinely connecting with one another; only within vulnerability is there any possibility of living an alive life.

At the beginning of every Ubuntu group, before we seek to relate deeply with one another, we start out with the group practice of TRE.  We seek to come back into our own skin, vulnerable, yet grounded.

The next Ubuntu group will be on Friday June 15.  I hope you will be there.

If you would like more information on how to join the Ubuntu group, please get in touch with us. : )

Warmly,

Barbara English
http://livingubuntu.org
(949) 891-2005

Ubuntu group – OC
Fri Jun 15 6:30p – 9:30p (TRE starts promptly at 6:30p)
Optional:  bring veggie foods to share

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

More on: the pain of being forgotten… the power of being remembered

Update 5/9:
We have 1 open spot for our upcoming retreat in Idyllwild.  Click here for all details.

In an Iraqi orphanage, a little boy drew a picture of his mother so he could sleep in her arms.

Hi everyone,

Last September, a seemingly benign, routine situation proved traumatic, and brought to my attention that some of the early painful events in my life, long lying quiet and dormant, were in desperate need of additional exploration and healing.  The result of that was not only to re-commit myself to things that had helped me recover initially, but also to once again commence life review, examining situations that had both helped and hurt me.

In my reflective state, I realized how many times over the course of my life I needed someone to be there with me, emotionally present, warm, caring and available, holding me in mind, having my best interest held securely within their heart and intentions.  Yet many times that isn’t what happened.  Beyond times of feeling unimportant or forgotten, there were times I felt actually “blanked out” by those I needed to be remembered by.  Sometimes this left me overly vulnerable and unprotected, meeting with harm from others.

Dealing with experiences of having been forgotten or cut off from someone are not easy, yet seeking to heal after having felt “blanked out” is an even more complicated process.

How do we heal the deep heartache, the sense of alienation that comes via severe disconnect?  And what of the accompanying sense of betrayal, and breach of trust that comes with being forgotten or abandoned?  What do we do with the excrutiating pain?  The inevitable anger or rage?  The paralyzing fear of it happening again?

More troubling still, how do we make peace with the malevolent perpetrator that has come to live within us?  Victimization and perpetration are invariably inter-linked.  How do we live comfortably in our own skin knowing that the same annihilating energy used by another for the purpose of eliminating us from their psyche now lives on within us?

While gaining sufficient insight into these things can be helpful, it is not enough, and we will not only remain stuck, we will be likely to treat others as we have been treated, keeping the destructive cycles of pain alive.

Ultimately, it is our body that bears the brunt of unresolved emotional wounds.  The very strategy that once saved us, is no longer necessary or helpful, yet it has consumed our very being.

It would be best to deem the old ways obsolete, but how?  What do we do when we have lost access to the deepest core parts of who we are, and despite the struggle to break free, we are inevitably held captive?

In our deadened state, we have grown accustomed to our racing heart, shallow breathing and tension in our jaw.  In our numbness, we fail to notice how chronically tight the muscles in our neck, shoulders and back are.  We mistake the limited sensation and minimal feeling for being “fine”.

Clinging to “familiar”, we call it “comfort”, and make the mistake of thinking it is where safety lies, fearing the unknown that comes with change and possibility of “better”.  We tolerate chronic overwhelm and quiet desperation, and only notice extreme crisis as our wake up call.

Beyond “blanking out”, it is commonplace in our society to “tune out”.

We are perpetually distracted, hyper-busy, and fake it when someone needs our attention, hoping that they are likewise so non-present that they won’t even notice that we weren’t really there.

Text emoticons have replaced genuine face to face gestures of expressive communication.  Being cold, cut off, dismissive, emotionally distant and turning away from others have become the new norm.  Petty squabbles, reactivity, hyper-competitiveness and posturing for dominance are routine.

In our rationalizations and resignation, we seldom question if better exists, what it might look like, let alone, how to achieve it.

We have forgotten the essence of being human, that we need each other, and must have consistency in giving and receiving warm embodied contact and connection in order to really live our lives. 

Our unprocessed wounds have gotten in the way of being able to stay in touch with ourselves, and each other.  In the absence of genuinely being present, we are limited in giving and receiving love.  We are limited in effectively bearing witness, inter-personally, and globally.

Living life in a perpetually deadened state can be both dangerous and missed opportunity as we’re frequently not in touch with our own power to heal or to harm.

My recent reflective process influenced choosing the pain of being forgotten… the power of being remembered as the theme for our upcoming retreat, Friday May 25 – Sunday May 27.  What I witness day to day in society solidified this selection.  We are perpetually living within and co-creating each other’s lives.  The importance of living with consciousness of this fact cannot be emphasized enough.

We can’t heal alone and we can’t do it by ignoring what is held within our body.  That is why Trauma Releasing Exercises, Bioenergetic Grounding Exercises and additional self-expressive body-centered methods will be interwoven into our exploration of these issues at the retreat.

Sometimes it takes getting out of our routine to feel safe enough to explore things in a deeper way.

As a plus, the retreat will take place within the beauty of Idyllwild.  The trees, squirrels, blue-jays, raccoons and the sky full of stars at night help us remember ourselves as part of the whole, interconnected with all that is living.

Complete retreat details can be found here:  the pain of being forgotten… the power of being remembered.

In order to preserve the sense of intimacy at the retreats, we limit the number of attendees to being only a small group.  We still have a couple of openings.  I hope you will join us.

Warmly,

Barbara English
Executive Director, Living Ubuntu
http://livingubuntu.org

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.

Ubuntu group – OC | Friday, April 27, 2012


If the road to joy is through the surrender to the self — that is to one’s feelings — the first step in the therapeutic process is to sense and express one’s sadness…  To express that sadness, one needs to cry…

To express sadness leads to an awareness of loss and evokes longing.  
To long for someone or to need someone leaves the person open to possible rejection and humiliation.  
Not wanting or not feeling desire is a defense against possible hurt.
– Alexander Lowen

Hi everyone,

Whether we like it or not, it is held within our very nature to be interconnected and interdependent.

The quest for living a consistently independent life is often pseudo-independence, created by blocking out the pain of a lifetime of unmet needs.  The head-strong-ego-driven-will insists we are just fine on our own.  Contempt and disgust surge within us at the very mention of the words “needy”, “weak”, “vulnerable”, or “dependent”.  Our head reassures us that these words only apply to others.  Our contempt indicates we lack acceptance of our own normal, natural human needs and feelings.  Within our deprivation, blocked longing for contact and connection only compounds the difficulty as we pull away from opportunities where we actually could get these needs met.

Plain and simple: we need each other.  And our relational wounds only heal within relationships.

Don’t forget we changed the date for the Ubuntu group in April.  We will not meet on the 3rd Friday; we will meet on the 4th Friday.

I hope to see you there.

Warmly,

Barbara English
http://livingubuntu.org
(949) 891-2005

P.S.  The deadline for the retreat deposit is coming up soon. We have a few openings left.  If you are interested in joining us, even if you don’t know for sure yet, please let us know.  We would love to have you join us. : )

Ubuntu group – OC
Fri Apr 27 6:30p-9:30p (TRE is part of the shared group experience and starts promptly at 6:30p.)
Optional:  bring veggie foods to share

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