Road rage and so much more: How does this happen?

Hi everyone,

Did anyone see Dr. Drew Pinsky on Erin Burnett OutFront on CNN this week? If not, make sure you watch the video clip below.

They were discussing a recent, tragic incident of extreme road rage, yet in a week where many are feeling disturbed by the government shutdown, it’s easy to find additional relevant applications.

Pinsky’s words brought a bit of relief and a spontaneous deep breath for me. Erin wanted to know about the road rage, in other words: “How does this happen?”

Dr. Drew talked about it as “a symptom of how unregulated we are“. He also said, “it’s all about how we raise our kids” and how “unregulated aggression is something we should really be thinking about“.

Our society’s lack of emotional regulation doesn’t often wind up in TV news discussions, let alone a reference to the root of the problem, i.e. “it’s all about how we raise our kids”, but it should.

Here’s the tricky part, adults who have trouble with self-regulation lack what is needed to raise children with that capacity. Frequently the culprit is chronic or traumatic stress, or their own unresolved difficult childhood experiences.

So… what are we going to do about it?


Barbara English, LMFT
Founder & Executive Director, Living Ubuntu
(949) 891-2005

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

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

“No more hurting people. Peace.”


8-year-old Boston Marathon bombing victim, Martin Richard, holding the sign he made when his school organized a ‘Peace Walk’ in May 2012.

Hi everyone,

Monday’s frightening and tragic bombings at the Boston Marathon exemplify the kind of mass violence we would wish would never occur. Yet, in some odd way, it also feels like it came ‘too soon’.

Incidences of mass violence are happening way too often, leaving an inadequate amount of time to fully process the last one before there is another one to contend with. We are left with the shock, the outrage, the numbness, the fear, the heartbreak, the resolve to bring change… and then… the next one…

Monday was a prime example of this. How could it be that runners from Newtown seeking to commemorate 26 Sandy Hook shooting victims by running the 26 miles of marathon didn’t even get through the race without being in the midst of yet another national, mass, violent tragedy?

Did you hear about 8-year-old Martin Richard waiting at the finish line for his Dad?

A year ago he participated in a peace walk with his school. He made a sign that said, “No more hurting people. Peace.”

Martin didn’t survive the explosion, but his message did.

This might be the best any of us can aspire to accomplish in this life:

No more hurting people.


This Friday, April 19th, Golden West College will be holding its 7th Annual Peace Conference. The theme for this year is Sustainable Peace. Come say ‘hi’ to us at our Living Ubuntu booth.

Then on Sunday, April 21st, Jewish World Watch (JWW) is holding their 5th Annual Orange County Walk to End Genocide.  Hope you can be there too.


Barbara English
Executive Director, Living Ubuntu
(949) 891-2005

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

10 years on in Iraq, the toll and torment of PTSD

“Shock & Awe”. Baghdad, Iraq, March 2003.

Hi everyone,

Ten years ago today, it was a Wednesday evening I will never forget. I was filled with anxiety and dread throughout the evening, attending an event in Santa Monica where Gore Vidal was promoting his recently released book, “Dreaming War: Blood for Oil and the Cheney-Bush Junta”.  Headed home afterward, south on the 405 sitting in the passenger seat, there it was, my worst fears confirmed.

The radio’s news announced the U.S. had begun a military assault in Iraq.  We were officially at war… again.  I stared in the direction of the ocean, transfixed on the night-lighted landscape of refineries and began to cry.  I pictured the view as if explosions were occurring here locally and I felt throughout my being the extreme and horrific destruction and loss of life about to occur far away.

Ten years later, I still feel the deep sorrow of that moment, and the decade of tragedies that unfolded day after day, to this very day.

When a war ends, then what?

The roads, bridges and buildings get re-built. But how does an entire society recover from the heartbreak, devastating loss, and the Post-Traumatic Stress that holds them imprisoned in the past, even when they desperately want to move forward?  PTSD symptoms often rule the lives of people that don’t know what PTSD is, and often stigma prevails so even the limited resources available for help are not sought out.

And often it doesn’t end there. Substance abuse takes over. Tempers flare. Domestic violence increases. Children get neglected and abused. For many reasons, unresolved trauma is trans-generational.

(caution: this clip includes graphic descriptions and imagery)

We can’t afford to ignore the implications of these ill-attended to invisible epidemics. The paradigm needs to change.

Last December, we completed research to assess how many refugees living in San Diego are suffering from post-trauma symptoms.  We will send an update soon about the results and the next phase of our project to launch a Trauma Recovery Program for this high-risk, vulnerable community.  We are going to need your help to make it happen.


Barbara English
Executive Director, Living Ubuntu
(949) 891-2005

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

Why do we put down “feelings”?

People don’t think any more, they feel.  ‘How are you feeling?’  ‘Oh, I don’t feel comfortable.’  ‘Oh, I’m so sorry, we the group were feeling…’

Do you know one of the great problems of our age is that we are governed by people who care more about feelings than they do about thoughts and ideas?  Now thoughts and ideas, that interests me.  Ask me what I’m thinking…

– Margaret Thatcher in the film, The Iron Lady (2011)

Hello everyone,

Once upon a time, in a place not far from here, a group of Darfur, anti-genocide activists went to visit a Congressional aide.  When a member of the group delivered an impassioned plea for intervention and tears came to her eyes as she expressed her heartbreak and anger that innocent children were being bombed by the Sudanese government, contempt for feelings ruled the day, and arrogance reigned supreme as she was told by the aide, “these decisions need to be made by grown-ups”.  A few sentences later, the aide added platitudes, referencing the role of the U.S. government as “we’re doing all we can.”

Having witnessed the above exchange, I couldn’t disagree more with Ms. Thatcher that, “…one of the great problems of our age is that we are governed by people who care more about feelings than they do about thoughts and ideas.”

Why are we so afraid of feelings?  Why so much disrespect and suspicion of them?

I don’t know what happened in Margaret Thatcher’s life that led to such contempt of feelings, but she is not a rarity in her perspective.  Yet, she is targeting the wrong enemy.  Feelings, per se, are not the culprit.

It is a myth that we lose the ability to think rational thoughts, have sound judgment, choose wisely, or are ‘less adult’ when we are emotional.  Feelings are not irrational, immature or mere ‘fluff’.  There would be no warm, empathic relating, or enjoyment of life without them.  Feelings are a necessary companion on the path to knowing who we are and in the pursuit of compassionate wisdom.  They take us beyond the dry and dull to infuse ideas with passion and ‘life’.  Feelings contribute the heart and essential humanness so that we do not fall victim to the cold, calculating, slice-and dice, cut-off automaton influences of a left-brain-only, logical, linear thought process.

Where we get into trouble is when we are not in a well-regulated state, or lack sufficient groundedness in our body.  Then we are at risk to be unable to contain our emotional states.  Feelings can become overwhelming, hi-jack our senses, and unplug the rational.  Chronic stress, and unresolved traumatic experiences only make it worse.

We live in a society that over-values the head at the expense of the heart.  We pay too high a price if we just go along with that.  To counter-balance this, able to feel our feelings and keep our heart open, we’ve got to be able to stay in tune with the body’s sensations.  But how?

That is what we will be working on in our upcoming body group series – Sometimes ‘a head’ just isn’t enough: Bringing the body back to life.  All details are below and on our website.  I hope you will join us.

Warmly and with feeling,

Barbara English
Executive Director, Living Ubuntu
(949) 891-2005

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Sometimes ‘a head’ just isn’t enough

Bringing the body back to life

Sometimes ‘a head’ just isn't enough

Why is there so much resistance to feeling our feelings?

Why do we have such a love/hate relationship with our bodies?
Why do we obsess about how we look rather than how we feel?
Why is it so hard to slow down?
Why don’t we stop to feel our tiredness?
Why do we pursue success and accomplishment at the expense of relationships?

Living Ubuntu Body Group
February – May 2013
6 sessions on Sunday afternoons (2p-4:30p)

Orange County, CA

Starts Sunday, Feb 24th
see all dates »

Find out more at

Questions?  Please contact us at (949) 891-2005 or


“If only…”

“I followed all of the rules, man’s and God’s. And you, you followed none of them. And they all loved you more. Samuel, Father, and my… even my own wife.”

– Alfred to his brother Tristan in the film, Legends of the Fall (1994)

Hi everyone,

I have always loved the scene from the film, Legends of the Fall quoted above. It’s agonizing to hear Alfred as he finally puts his heartbreak into words after a lifetime of trying to be good by following all the rules. Despite all his efforts, it didn’t bring him what he longed for. Love never came, not from his father, his brothers, or even his wife. In anger and disbelief, he tells his rule-breaking, rebellious brother Tristan (Brad Pitt), “…they all loved you more.”

There are many times and in many ways that no matter what we do, we don’t get the result we hoped for.

  • How do we know when to stop trying to change a situation?
  • How do we ‘let go’ when it means facing agonizing disappointment and heartbreak?
  • How do we accept the many situations in life where we are ultimately helpless or powerless?

Learning to grieve well is an essential part of living, yet, it isn’t easy when we live in a culture that tries so hard to avoid it.

The Living Ubuntu Winter Retreat, will be Friday January 25 – Sunday January 27, 2013 in Julian, California. Our theme for this next one is — “If Only… Grief and The Long, Long, Long Road to Acceptance”.

Yes, actually, we did chose this topic on purpose to come right after the Holiday season.  All details are below and on our websiteTo create an emotionally safe, secure space, we are limiting attendance to 10 people.  Please let us know if you would like to join us.


Barbara English
Executive Director, Living Ubuntu
(949) 891-2005

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“If only . . .”

Grief and the long, long, long road to acceptance

2013 Living Ubuntu Winter Retreat

Friday to Sunday, January 25-27 2013

Julian, CA

Click here to find out more »

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