Trauma Fatigue: Responding to Stress During Difficult Times

Trauma Fatigue

We have entered a time in history when traumatic occurrences are happening so frequently, there is hardly time to process one event before another is shoved into view. After the world revolted to protest the death of George Floyd and support Black Lives Matter, more lives continue to be threatened by human ignorance and brutality. Observing the current political climate is painful and for many of us, intolerable. And over the last month, and ahead of a fire season that no longer exists, the West has seen unprecedented destruction due to climate change-driven wildfires, with over two and a half million acres already destroyed. On top of all of this, a global pandemic continues to affect the health and economic strength of the world, and leaders in science and medicine are continually vilified in order to fulfill political agendas. 

Although violence and destruction are part of the human experience, traumatic occurrences are pummeling humanity like a persistent over-head swell. We are not wired to repeatedly experience trauma and function efficiently, therefore there has never been a more important time to tend to our emotional shores. I realize the word trauma carries a lot of charge and is relative to the experience of the individual. So for the sake of this article, I will place trauma into three categories: Big-T trauma, little-t trauma, and debilitating external stimuli, all of which may affect an individual’s equilibrium by limiting functioning and blocking much-needed relational connection and healing.

The current influx of environmental and social destruction is affecting the global psyche and for many of us, it is becoming increasingly difficult to see the forest from the burned trees. Tending to our emotional shores means committing to staying present in the moment, sensing tension in the body, and nurturing awareness practices that honor our precious time here on earth. When we pay greater attention to our inner structure of defense and protection (fight/flight/freeze response), we become more capable of reacting to the world in a way that is beneficial to well-being. Constantly panicking about the world, feeding fear, and consuming excess media leads to a dysregulated nervous system. Choosing to operate in this manner is not helping you, nor anyone else stay healthy. We all go there at times because we are mammals wired to defend ourselves. It is important to have compassion for the part of the brain that is conditioned to anticipate predation, real or imagined. That being said, committing to daily practices that regulate the nervous system supports health by reducing cortisol and promoting healthy immune-response in the body. The more we become aware of how thoughts, feelings, and body sensations negatively affect us, the better armed we become to attenuate negative response patterns driven by fear and anxiety. When you are confronted with an internal or external crisis and feel unable to utilize supportive resources, think about your patterns of defense and how to work with them. 

Withdrawal

Withdrawal, also know as the “freeze” response, is a primitive defense function deeply wired in the brain to increase the likelihood of survival. When the system becomes flooded with negative information and uncomfortable feelings or emotions, many people unconsciously enter a state of physical or emotional immobility. We distance ourselves from the input we are unable to tolerate and in doing so, also distance ourselves from good feelings and experiences that are there to support and regulate us. The body may feel closed off, and interpersonal connection becomes limited or nonexistent. In this peculiar era of social distancing, it is important to pay attention to the part of ourselves that wants to shut down and tune out, especially since social contact is already limited.

The first step in healing patterns of withdrawal is noticing your behavior. 

When you feel sad, angry, or frustrated, do you shut down? Do you limit social contact and go quiet instead of reaching out to a friend or family member? Do you turn to substances to numb the pain? How does your mood change? Do you stop engaging in activities you would otherwise enjoy? Do you stop exercising or move less? If so, you are most likely attempting to protect yourself, yet are doing so in a way that may be disconnecting you from the healing your body, mind, and spirit so desperately needs for balance. 

When you withdraw, do you feel disconnected from your body? How does the breath feel? Is it shallow, tight, heavy, or barely there? Is there less sensation in your legs and feet and more in the upper centers of the body? Is there no sensation at all? It is through the recognition of darkness that we are able to look towards the light and disarm unhealthy patters of avoidance, somatic tension, and withdrawal. If you tend to withdraw when you feel compromised, do what you can to feel more embodied and connected to your thoughts and feelings.  After conducting extensive research on interpersonal neurobiology, contemporary psychiatrist Dan Siegel M.D. coined the phrase, “If you can name it, you can tame it”. By naming our experiences, we acknowledge what is happening in the here and now and become more able to reclaim a sense of self and belonging. By naming our experiences, we acknowledge what is happening in the here and now and become more able to reclaim a sense of self and belonging. 

When practicing somatic (body) awareness, individuals who withdraw or freeze often say things like: 

“I feel numb”

or,

“I am having difficulty identifying sensation”

“I feel like I am floating upward”

“I feel walled up”

What does walled up feel like? 

“…it feels dull, dense, and cold”

 

Anxiety (Fight or Flight)

When the system becomes flooded with negative input and uncomfortable feelings or emotions, many people enter a state of moderate to extreme anxiety. This response is often associated with what is known as the “fight or flight” response, instigated by the sympathetic nervous system branch, and frequently associated with states of heightened anxiety. Similar to an immobility response (withdrawal/freeze), this defense mechanism is neurologically wired in the primitive part of the brain, and was designed to help mammals move away from, or fight their adversaries. As the nervous system becomes flooded, it feels natural for people experiencing a fight or flight response to react to stimuli, rather than withdraw from it, although sometimes there is a fluctuation between all three response patterns. When the flight or flight response is in full-swing, it can feel as though we are being carried away by an internal storm that crashes over everything and everyone in its hyper-aroused path. Although what we desperately need is these moments is regulation and support, what we exhibit often ends up pushing away connection, therefore sabotaging the likelihood that deeply vulnerable needs get met. 

In this era of heightened arousal and anxiety, the first step in easing symptoms is acknowledging them. 

When naming the sensation, thought, or feeling, we are better able to disarm unhealthy patterns of reactivity, anger, and anxiety. From this place, it becomes more feasible to seek support, develop coping skills, and start moving towards connection.

If you struggle with symptoms of stress and anxiety, try slowing down and checking in with yourself. How many hours, days, or weeks have you been aware of the symptoms? Do you react quickly rather than pause, and take a few mindful breaths? Do you feel unsafe in your environment even when there is no tangible threat? Do you feel distrustful of others or demand that they listen to you? Where does anxiety manifest in your body? How would you describe it? Do something every day to get in touch with these feelings. 

 

Common things said by individuals who feel anxious or are operating from a fight or flight response:

 

“My shoulders and back feel tense and tight”

“I feel like something is pinching my chest”

“My mind won’t stop racing”

“It feels like there is a ball bouncing around in my head” 

“It feels like there are butterflies under my skin”

“I want to escape”

“I don’t feel safe” 

What makes you not feel safe? 

“…I feel like walls are closing in on me”

 

Few humans become nervous system-regulating Jedis by practicing stress reduction occasionally. Take time each day for either self-care or somatic (body-centered) awareness. It is a practice that needs to be cultivated. Your nervous system and loved ones will thank you. 

Quick and powerful breath practice: Antara Kumbhaka

Antara Kumbhaka aids relaxation, decreases stress, improves concentration, and increases physical and mental energy.

  • Set a timer for 5-10 minutes
  • Inhale through your nose
  • Hold your breath for a few seconds (or more)  
  • Exhale slowly through your nose (a bit longer than your inhale)

Although these are challenging times, we have an abundance of resources at our finger tips. You owe it to yourself and your cause to continue taking loving care of yourself and others. 

Self-care ideas: Exercise, nature exploration, camping, meditation, getting more sleep, calling a friend, gardening, yoga, writing, cooking, creating or listening to music, being of service, activism, reading, sitting with feelings, reducing media consumption, learning something new, podcasts, educational videos, hot baths, sunshine, crying, resting.

Romi Cumes LMFT, CMT is a leading professional in somatic psychotherapy, intuitive healing, bodywork, and yoga. She has been passionate about healing work for over twenty years and created Transformative Healing Arts in 2005. Her private practice is located in Santa Barbara, California.

The Neurobiology of Mindfulness

Cultivating Interpersonal Attunement through Sensory Awareness & Mindfulness Practice: The Neurobiology of Intimate Relationships

Abstract

Current research shows that individuals who practice mindfulness meditation on a consistent basis improve their quality of life through the cultivation of inner attunement, loving kindness, and empathy (Seigel, 2007).  The benefits of meditation are not dependent on religious belief systems alone, and research supports the viability of myriad approaches (2007).  Emotional dysregulation plays a significant role in interpersonal discrepancies experienced between two people in an intimate partnership.  Current neuroscience has revealed that mindfulness-based meditation practices are able to effectively regulate mood disturbances due to significant neurological pathway alterations in the brain (Hanson, 2009).   This paper posits that neurobiological changes induced by mindfulness meditation are beneficial, and support individuals to sustain healthy, romantic relationships.  Inner attunement will be observed as a barometer for interpersonal success.  Emotional regulation, communication, receptivity, attention, empathic awareness, and proprioception will be examined through the somatic lens of mind/body holism, in order to illuminate how mindfulness practice is a gateway for interpersonal health and longevity.

Key Words: Mindfulness, Meditation, Sensory Awareness, Inner Attunement, Empathy, Attention, Relationships, Neurobiology, Mirror Neurons, Emotional Regulation

 

Cultivating Interpersonal Attunement through Sensory Awareness & Mindfulness: The Neurobiology of Intimate Relationships

For thousands of years, human beings have struggled to maintain stable intimate relationships.   Emotional dysregulation plays a significant role in how people interact in an adult partnership.  Relational dynamics can evoke a wellspring of neurobiological responses that inhibit inner and outer attunement.  According to Siegle, an individual’s inner attunement is defined as the ability to be mindfully centered, with integrated left and right brain hemispheres (2007).  Interpersonal attunement relates to a felt sense of empathy for another person, as well as an experience of “coherence”    (2007, p. 164).  When human beings experience coherence, they feel more connected, harmonious, receptive, compassionate, and empathic (2007).  Mankind has not yet discovered a universal panacea to heal all relational challenges, however we have fostered ancient esoteric methodologies to support health and wellbeing.   Neuroscience supports the hypothesis that individuals who meditate are able to effectively regulate mood disturbances by way of neuropathy modulation (Hanson, 2009).  According to Jon Kabat-Zinn, the operational working definition of mindfulness is, “The awareness that emerges through paying attention on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally to the unfolding of experience moment by moment” (2003, p. 145).

The roots of meditation can be traced back to many cultures, and most world religions adopt the belief that it is important for human beings to stay present in the moment (Siegle, 2007).  Meditation is interconnected with the religious context within which it is practiced.  Written records of meditation date back to 1500 BC in Hindu Vedantism, and it is believed that from 500-600 BC, Taoists in China and Buddhists in India began to develop culture-specific practices (Hanson, 2009).  Although meditation is often associated with a religious orientation, mindfulness-based skills can be taught outside of any particular group affiliation (2007).

 

Mind/Body Holism

In the 1950’s and 1960’s, perspectives began to evolve in psychotherapeutic and holistic communities (Benz & Weiss, 1989).  The somatic theory of Mind/Body

Holism suggests that people relate to themselves and each other as a unified and integrated whole, not separating mind and body as disparate entities (Kurtz, 1990).  According to Selver et al., (2009) the body is an instrumental part of meaningful, lasting psychological change.  Mind/body holism postulates that there is not something intrinsically wrong with a person, nor something that needs to be fixed.  Similar to Eastern spiritual philosophers, Charlotte Selver, Ron Kurtz, and many other body-centered therapists believed that people strive for wholeness by way of reorganizing the core material that is no longer appropriate for them in the present moment (1990).  Mind/body holism is theoretically congruent with mindfulness-based approaches.  It suggests that when individuals observe their experiences, their interactions with others, and their feelings during such experiences, they are more capable of seeing themselves holistically, and more likely to cultivate inner attunement and interpersonal equanimity (1990).

Despite the theoretical benefits of mind/body holism, approaches reflected through its proverbial lens are not widely promulgated across most cultures (Kurtz, 1990).  In the United States for example, life is fast-paced and production-oriented.  It may be challenging for a person unfamiliar with mind/body holism, to actively pursue a mindfulness practice for personal or interpersonal enrichment.  Although mindfulness is represented through mainstream media, and various cultures embrace ancient approaches, a majority of the world’s population does not view mind/body holism as an intrinsic way of life (Hölzel, 2008).

In order to elucidate the relationship between mindfulness, inner attunement, and relationships, I will review literature relating to neurobiology and emotional regulation. The first section will describe benefits of mindfulness practice as they pertain to intimate relationships, including: emotional regulation, communication, receptivity, attention, listening skills, empathic awareness, and proprioception.  In the second section, the neurobiological implications of mindfulness practice will be applied to a somatic-based approach called Sensory Awareness, which is considered a vehicle for interpersonal development.  The intrapersonal limitations of Sensory Awareness will also be examined.

 

The Benefits of Mindfulness: Using the “Right” Brain in Relationship

It is said that what moves through your mind can sculpt a person’s brain (Hanson, 2009).  According to Schore (2007), unconscious emotions drive all human emotion. Being able to regulate emotion supports balanced living and increases intrapersonal attunement and interpersonal ease (Hanson, 2009).  Mindfulness practices directly shape the activity and growth of the parts of the brain responsible for relationships, emotional regulation, and psychological response to stress (Siegle, 2007).  Areas of the brain activated during meditation include the limbic regions, temporal lobes, medial prefrontal cortex, posterior cingulated cortex, and the precuneus (Brefczynski-Lewis, Davidson, Johnstone, Lutz, 2008).  In their meditation study, Brefczynski-Lewis et al. (2008) confirmed that there is stronger activity in the right hemisphere than in the left hemisphere.  Mindfulness practice supports individuals to experience the moment for its own sake, without judgment or analysis, by activating the more self-reflective part of the brain, also known as the right cortex (Levine, 2011).  Right brain function cultivates inner attunement by supporting people to attend to feelings without the neurobiological disadvantage of emotional dysregulation (Siegel 2007).

When we operate from a place of mindfulness, we balance the verbal and non-verbal sections of the brain, are less driven by fear, and are more capable of experiencing inner attunement (Windinger, 2011).  According to Levine (2011), non-verbal [right] vs. verbal [left] parts of the brain function individually.  Life occurrences, including trauma, can consistently activate a person’s limbic system, also known as the “animal” part of the brain.  Limbic activation can lead to emotional dysregulation and can give a person the feeling that the world is not a safe place (2011).  In terms of intimate relationships, nervous system modulation becomes a valuable asset when a lover is provoked by inter-personal disputes.  What ordinarily would set off an aggravating limbic system response, can be dealt with in a more regulated manor when an individual is more attuned with themselves.

Neurobiological imaging studies of empathy have shown that by observing another person’s emotional state, part of the neural circuitry underlying the same state becomes active in oneself, whether it is disgust, pain or social emotions (Brefczynski-Lewis, 2008).  Mirror neurons in the brain inform the social engagement process, and suggest that we are able to perceive intentional states of others (Iacoboni & Siegel, 2006).  This perception supports the notion that an individual may become positively or negatively affected by the intentional state of those around them, and that interpersonal quality of life may be improved when inner attunement is evident.  Moreover, the well being of one partner in an intimate relationship is inextricably linked to the well being of the other.

A larger interpersonal field of intimacy is able to bloom when people become more mindful.  The emotional awareness of the right brain can support a person to tune into subtle emotional changes, a beneficial tool for preventing interpersonal miscommunication and strife (Siegle, 2007).  Mindfulness practices support couples to become more attentive, therefore ameliorating communication and attenuating ineffective defensive structures. According to Selver (2009), mindfulness nourishes the attention centers of the brain and opens people up to their inner indicator, also known as intuition.  One study held by the National Academy of Sciences analyzed how attention is mapped throughout the brain.  The main control center is located in the intraparietal sulcus, and is what gives people the ability to shift their attention  (Anderson, J., Ferguson, M., Lopez-Larson, M., Yurgelun-Todd, D., 2010).

Increased attentiveness also supports individuals to improve their listening skills.  In terms of an intimate relationship, Selver believed that most people want to, “do something to or for their partner, instead of just being there for him or her” (2009, p. 36).  She believed that this kind of effort leads to negative reactions within relational exchanges. When individuals are able to compassionately receive their partner’s words, and can empathize with their belief systems, mindfulness practice becomes a tool to soften the arrows of verbal attack (2009).  Daniel Levison, a staff researcher in the psychology department at the University of Wisconsin, meditated for three months as part of a study about brain phenomenon.  After three months, Daniel stated, “I am a much better listener. I don’t get lost in my own personal reaction to what people are saying” (Hölzel, 2010, p.1).  A female client of Charlotte Selver, the pioneer of a somatic-based approach called Sensory Awareness, had a similar experience after committing to a mindfulness practice.  After working with Selver for a few months, Selver’s client “Joan” noticed an improvement in her ability to listen to her husband (Selver, 2009).  Joan would ordinarily interrupt her husband when he spoke slowly and could not wait for him to finish his sentences.  After practicing Sensory Awareness for consecutive months however, her attention span increased and she felt more patient.  When Joan’s capacity for retaining and receiving information increased, her husband also became a more effective listener (2009).  Consistent mindfulness practice supported Joan and her husband to restructure their communication patterns and experience more ease in their relationship.

Integrating sensation-based awareness practices also improves connectedness by awakening the propriocetive capacity of an individual (Selver, 2009).  Proprioception is defined as the awareness of the position of one’s body (http://dictionary.com).  Carmodyc, J., et al. (2011) implemented a study on the positive effects of meditation on the brain. Seventeen individuals without meditation experience underwent Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) programs for eight weeks.  This was a controlled longitudinal study that investigated gray matter concentration in various areas of the brain, both before and after the MBSR programs occurred.  Results showed an increase in gray matter concentration and increased function in the areas involving the regions of their brains involving learning, memory processes, and emotional regulation (2011).  These areas include the left hippocampus, posterior cingulated cortex, temporal-parietal junction, and the cerebellum.

Overall, one of the most important benefits of meditation is an increased sense of empathy, love, and sensitivity (Psychiatry Research, 2011).  Such prolific changes in the brain, when present in a close interpersonal exchange, can improve the quality of connection between two people and increase the longevity of a relationship.  When an individual is able to regulate her emotions, and retain and receive information with greater ease, she is more likely to empathically interact with her companion.  One study revealed that when a person feels a sense of compassion, the insula cortex becomes activated and its function improves (Brefczynski-Lewis,Davidson, Johnstone, Lutz, 2008).

Compassion for our own fear and shame opens us to others… Love is our true nature, but as we have seen, it is covered over by a protective layer of fear. Even though this love is innate, the [Buddhist] path also uses systemic trainings to cultivate this love. They strengthen our capacity for love, compassion, joy, and peace. (Kornfield, 2009, p. 386)

 

Sensory Awareness

Various modalities share the core intention of supporting individuals to feel more in balance with their inner selves. Holzel describes mindfulness practice when stating,

The main idea is to use different objects to focus one’s attention, and it could be a focus on sensations of breathing, or emotions or thoughts, or observing any type of body sensations…But it’s about bringing the mind back to the here and now, as opposed to letting the mind drift. (2011, p. 1)

Included in the global amalgam of mindfulness-based approaches is Sensory Awareness, developed by the late Charlotte Selver in the mid 1950’s (Selver, 2009).  Sensory Awareness is a body-centered meditation approach that draws from the spiritual principles of Taoism and Buddhism (Benz & Weiss, 1989), and is an effective healing tool that addresses somatic dysregulation, including mood and anxiety disturbances.  Similar to Buddhist meditation traditions, Sensory Awareness assists people to cultivate mindfulness and bring awareness into everything they experience (Kabat-Zinn, J., 2003).  Selver, like many other body-centered practitioners, strived to shift the old paradigm of psychological understanding.  Her method theoretically drew from mind/body holism, and was bolstered by new forms of social expression that supported independence and mutuality (1989).  Selver believed that allowing things to “take their course” assists couples to work creatively and patiently (2009, p. 36).

Embodied mindfulness practices can shift perspectives from self-oriented to other-oriented  (Brefczynski-Lewis, Davidson, Johnstone, & Lutz, 2008).  One of the fundamental principles of Selver’s work was to “learn to give up this doing” (Selver, 2009, p.36).  Rather than teaching people spiritual rhetoric that emphasized the process of ‘letting go’, Selver was interested in the process of ‘taking in’ (2009).  Based on the work of Elsa Gindler and Heinrich Jacoby, Sensory Awareness advocates various body-centered experiments to assist people to get in touch with their most authentic state of being.  Just as Buddhist practitioners focus on “Loving Kindness” (Kornfield, 2009), Sensory Awareness practitioners focus on “Conscious Sensing” (Selver, 2009).

Similar to other mindfulness practices, Sensory Awareness also utilizes sitting and breathing practices. Practitioners can close their eyes and become receptive to whatever they experience.  The key intention of this practice is to allow sounds and sensations to enter freely, so they can be experienced in a holistic way, rather than being analyzed and immediately identified (2009).  In almost all contemplative practices, there is an initial use of the breath as a focal point, which aids in the centering of the mind (Siegel, 2007).  According to Siegel (2007), breath is a major factor contributing to brain activity and regulation.  With as little judgment as possible, a Sensory Awareness practitioner observes, notices, brings awareness, and attempts to accept things in the present moment.

Despite current research that advocates somatic-based mindfulness practices, there is a global avoidance of sensation awareness that has reached epidemic proportions.  Humanity’s pervasive disinterest in sensing has become a limiting factor for this work to be effectively utilized for interpersonal development on a global level.  Trauma trains the body to avoid feeling processes (Kurtz, 1990).  Given the high number of traumatized people on this planet, mind-body disconnection is commonplace (1990).  Disembodied individuals are perfect candidates for Sensory Awareness, however their willingness is imperative. For individuals unwilling or unable to practice on their own, facilitation may be necessary, as it can create a safe environment for people to address core issues.  Group-based Sensory Awareness work can take participants to a deeper level of healing given the interpersonal context (Selver, 2009).

Some may argue that sensation-based meditation approaches are limiting for some bodies, including immobile individuals, or individuals incapable of movement altogether.  Sensory awareness is indiscriminate, and is an innate practice of conscious being.  It is a mindfulness practice that asks people to experience life from a space of receiving and allowing.  Participants can delve as actively or inactively as they choose, as long as they are experiencing themselves from the inside out.  Similar to various meditation approaches, observation is the key, however the participant is also not limited to sitting alone.  Sensory Awareness is active and inactive all at the same time.

 

Discussion

Humanity is more affected by emotional regulation and attunement than we may have previously thought.  Current research now confirms that individuals can markedly improve their quality of life when they are committed to a mindfulness-building routine.  Neuroscience confirms that the processes of the mind extend beyond the individual, and that our perception is part of a large interconnected matrix (Weininger, 2011).  Our efforts to become more attuned can be profoundly received by the people most close to us, and mirror neurons remind us that we are implicitly connected to other human beings.

Mindfulness meditation improves romantic relationships by nurturing: emotional regulation, communication, receptivity, attention, listening skills, and proprioception.

An individual’s ability to be empathic and sensitive to the needs of their partner plays an important role in the longevity of any relationship.  The mindfulness practice of Sensory Awareness can support balanced, attuned living and is an effective tool for interpersonal communication.  Individuals who practice Sensory Awareness are more likely to experience supportive intimate relationships, and to have positive interactions with others. There are limitations to mindfulness practices such as Sensory Awareness, due to the fact that awareness practices are not commonplace, nor unilaterally accepted by many cultures. Sensory Awareness requires a willingness to feel and experience sensations and this process can be difficult for traumatized individuals.

Intrapersonal harmony can ensue when we slowly and attentively allow the waves of mindfulness to roll through our daily lives.  People can make a dramatic difference in their social environment when they commit to healing themselves at an intrapersonal level.  The importance of mindful development cannot be stressed enough and it is humanity’s duty at this juncture to improve holistic infrastructure, develop effective psycho-educational environments, and cultivate the courage to look within.

 

References

 

Anderson, J., Ferguson, M., Lopez-Larson, M., Yurgelun-Todd, D. (2010) Topographic maps of multisensory attention. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1011616107

Baumeister, R., Masicampo, E., (2007). Psychological Inquiry; 2007, 18 (4), 255-258

Benz, D. and Weiss, H. (1989). To the core of your experience. Charlottesville, Virginia: Luminas Press.

Brefczynski-Lewis, J., Davidson, RJ., Johnstone, T.  Lutz, A., (2008). Regulation of the neural circuitry of emotion by compassion meditation: Effects of meditative expertise. PLos One, 3(3). doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0001897

Carmodyc, J., Congletona, C., Gardab, T., Hölzelab, B.K., Lazara, S.W., Vangela, M., Yerramsettia, S.M. (2011). Mindfulness practice leads to increases in regional brain gray matter density. Psychiatry Research: Neuroimagine, 191(1). 36-43.

Hanson, R. (2009). The practical neuroscience of buddha’s brain: happiness, love & wisdom. Oakland, CA: Harbinger Publications.

Hölzel, B. (2011, January 28). Meditation and the Brain. The New York Times. Retrieved from http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/01/28/how-meditation-may-change-the-  brain/?scp=1&sq=meditation%20and%20the%20brain&st=cse

Lacoboni, M., & Siegel, D. J. (2006). Mirror neurons and interpersonal neurobiology in psychotherapy. Presented at The New York University Biology of Mind Conference, New York.

Kabat-Zinn, J. (2003). Mindfulness-based interventions in context: Past, present, and future. Clinical Psycholog y: Science and Practice, 10(2), 144-156.

Kornfield, J. (2009). The wise heart. New York: Bantam Books.

Kurtz, R. (1990). Body-centered psychotherapy. Mendocino, CA: LifeRhythm

Selver, C. (1999). Sensory awareness and our attitude toward life.  Mill Valley, CA: Sensory Awareness Foundation, Collected Writings, Volume 1. 17-38.

Schore, J. & Schore, A. (2007). Modern attachment theory: The central role of affect regulation in development and treatment. Clinical Social Work, J. DOI 10.1007/s10615-007-0111-7

Siegel, D. (2010). The mindful therapist. New York: W.W. Norton & Company.

Siegel, D. (2007). The mindful brain. New York: Mind Your Brain, Inc.

Weininger, R. PhD, MD & Karney, M. M.D. (2011). [Revisiting Empathic Engagement: Countering Compassion Fatigue with Exquisite Empathy]. New Beginnings Counseling Center Trainee/Intern Training. Santa Barbara, CA. Unpublished raw data.

The Healing Power of Somatic Wisdom

Transformative Healing Arts is offering a special yoga and somatic healing workshop this Thanksgiving Thursday. Join us at the Santa Barbara Yoga Center 9am-11am. Sign up Here

Join us Thanksgiving morning for a gratitude-filled yoga and somatic healing journey. Yoga in essence, is a somatic healing practice, as it is profoundly healing and regulating for the body, mind, and spirit. Somatic Psychology is the study of the lived experience of the body as it pertains to psychological exploration.This workshop will assist you to get in touch with your most authentic state of being. From a place of somatic authenticity, we become more present, and can therefore show up in the world in a more peaceful and powerful way. We will do some experiential work to tap into innate body wisdom, and work with some yoga postures to explore how somatic awareness is inextricably linked to yoga and other mindfulness practices.

Neuroscience now proves how important it is to not only be in touch with our bodies, but to be in touch with how we relate to others while sensing and being in our bodies. Somatic and relationally-based awareness practices can support us to elucidate innate body wisdom, while uncovering valuable insight about emotional processes. Similar to yoga, such practices assist us to ease protective or adaptive mechanisms, often manifested as body armor, tightness, pain, and emotional distress. These techniques are distinct from specific yoga and cognitive therapies however, in that there are no scripted asanas or directive protocols utilized to observe the body. We sense into the body, and listen to what it says.  Join us next week for a unique, body-centered  exploration.

 

Do Something for Its Own Sake: Living with Authenticity

healing, somatic, somatic healing, somatic psychology, yoga, santa barbara healing, somatic psychology

Authenticity

Writing blog posts and staying connected to clients and friends virtually is an interesting process. I want to stay connected and remind people of what I offer, all the while trying not to bombard them with extraneous articles or self-promoting spiritual rhetoric. It can certainly feel inauthentic and counter-intuitive to “sell” healing-focused services, yet people do it every day and business is business, right? Not really. I think a lot about authenticity and what it means for each of us. I especially ponder this in the morning, just before having coffee and figuring out how much time I have to either meditate, stretch, or frantically run around and get shit done. My father has more integrity than anyone I know and he always tells me to “do something for its own sake”.  Even when my ego puts a banana peel underneath my integrity, I strive to have that statement be my life-mantra.

Attempting to market something as intimate as psychotherapy, bodywork, and healing can feel like inter-psychic tight-rope walking. Authenticity is important and it cannot always coexist with ego-driven marketing approaches; at least not for me. I have an enormous amount of respect for individuals who are able to professionally put themselves out there while operating from the heart. It is a meaningful skill and something to be proud of.

There are so many ways to express meaning in our day-to-day experiences, yet often authenticity seems to slip through the cracks of good intentions and productive life goals. Have you ever found yourself moving along the path, mostly in alignment with what you are meant to do, yet somehow forgetting how you got to that path in the first place? Or do you wonder what would have happened if you took a different route? It is natural to question things and challenge ourselves to do better and be in alignment with our destiny. It is also important to stay in touch with the lived experience of life in the body, as not to get swept away by critical thinking or mental confusion.

In other words, challenge yourself to be authentic every single day, but also cut yourself a little slack.

Some steps to tap into AUTHENTICITY and support LIFE FLOW.

Gratitude

Take a moment to pause and be grateful for what you have. Visualize what you’re grateful for, honor it, and be thankful for it.

Breathe

One great practice is taking slow breaths for a minute or so, and then doing an easy pranayama: Inhale 4, hold 8, Exhaling 4. Practice for five + minutes.

Sense

Where do you feel sensations? What do they feel like? Assign adjectives to the sensations. Are there emotions you can associate with those sensations?

Write

After taking some minutes to do the above, write out your goals or authenticity-driven plans for that day, week, year. Then check back in with your body. Does it feel spacious and connected to what your are writing? Or restricted and lacking resonance? Usually our bodies will inform us of what we need to know and if what we are working on is in alignment with our path. This isn’t to say everything we do professionally or personally must always feel peachy. Life is full of ups and downs and it’s our biologically job to ride the wave as long as we can; ideally guided with compassion and insight. Body awareness and mindfulness enable us to live with more authenticity and grace. It’s that simple. The next time you are questioning what is going on in your life, or how to be more authentic, slow down and sense; and then maybe grab a pen and get curious about your next steps.

Other tidbits about Romi can be found on Facebook or Instagram @romicumes

(Upcoming Workshop) True Self Exploration: Introduction to Somatic and Relational Psychology

Santa Barbara Psychotherapy, Santa Barbara Healing, Santa Barbara Yoga, Yoga with Romi, Healing with Romi, Healing in Santa Barbara, Holistic Health Practioner in Santa Barbara, Mindfulness, Psychology , Somatic and Relational Psychology, Psychotherapy in Santa Barbara

True Self Exploration: An Introduction to Somatic and Relational Psychology; Tools for Empowerment & Growth

Sunday March 19, 1:00 – 3:00pm

Location: Santa Barbara Yoga Center. 32 East Micheltorena St.

Cost: $45 

Somatic Psychology is the study of the lived experience of the body as it pertains to psychological exploration. Somatic and relationally-based awareness practices can support us to elucidate innate body wisdom, while uncovering valuable insight about emotional processes. Similar to yoga, such practices assist us to ease protective or adaptive mechanisms, often manifested as body armor, tightness, pain, and emotional distress. These techniques are distinct from specific yoga and cognitive therapies however, in that there is no pre-planned asana or scripted protocols.This workshop will assist you to get in touch with your most authentic state of being. From a place of somatic authenticity, we become more present, and can therefore show up in the world in a more peaceful and powerful way. This workshop will offer both a lecture, and experiential exercises to support participants to tap in to innate body wisdom. We will also work with a few basic yoga postures to explore how somatic awareness is inextricably linked to yoga and other mindfulness practices.

Other elements of this workshop:

-Review of Polyvagal Theory (evolutionary stress response, social communication, self soothing behavior)
-Tools for interpersonal connectedness
-Utilizing somatic awareness in your yoga and mindfulness practices
-Partner exercises exploring nervous system response
-Relaxation/Guided mindfulness practices

Romi Cumes MA, MFTI, LMT, is the founder of Transformative Healing Arts, which offers counseling, yoga instruction, bodywork, performance art, workshops, and international retreats. She received a masters in clinical psychology, with an emphasis on somatic psychology from the Santa Barbara Graduate Institute and The Chicago School of Professional Psychology; and completed advanced training via the Three Fold Way program in Southern California. Romi is currently a psychotherapist part-time at Hospice of Santa Barbara and is completing hours towards a California M.F.T. license. Romi has been a certified yoga instructor since 1998 and a massage therapist since 2001.

www.RomiCumes.com

Facebook Page: Transformative Healing Arts

Instagram: @romicumes

 

Dreams, the Election and a Breath Practice

For the last three elections I have been offered several dreams that have subversively displayed the results of a major election about four to six months before November. Last night I received a second of two dreams that may be clarifying the end result of the election. I received the first dream about six months ago, which circuitously referenced both a mass shooting and Mrs. Clinton in the same sequence. Various points in the dream showed her “being in charge” after this terrible shooting. How she presented to me in the dream was not ideal, but it was what it was and she was in the lead. My intention for her is that she will choose to work with other democratic leaders, such as Bernie and Elizabeth Warren, so we may evolve into our next global phase of consciousness.

I received an additional dream last night which leads me to feel certain Trump will not win in 2016. The metaphor was that he is on a lower floor, he is not on top. As many of us sense, he is young spiritually and at an introductory level with much to learn. And, when observing another’s spiritual path or “flaws” if you will, it is also important to remember how we each have our own lessons to learn in this lifetime, many of which are about growing away from operating systems fueled by ego and power. Regardless of the level or floor we are on, we still need to treat others with kindness, hear their story, listen to their needs, and work together rather than separately to serve humanity and meet goals. There is no “better” and “higher” and my sense is when we really get that on a body and soul level, we will see great changes in this world. And yes, some people just aren’t on the top floor yet, and have a lot more work to do, no matter how many penthouses their portfolio can afford. We still need to be humble, kind, and accepting of others. This dream also showed me that on a soul level, Mr. Trump knows about his narcissism and that it will limit his development. A part of him is choosing to be below right now. Election-wise my sense is he will not end up on top.

And lastly, although I don’t usually write so much about politics, I do want to take a moment to honor Bernie and all he represents for humanity. He has been leading with authenticity and love for decades and whether he is president or not in this lifetime, his efforts are being received by the Whole. He is another keystone in building a more conscious, expansive, and unified future; one where violence and greed will no longer be what guides people of power. Thank you for that Bernie, you have helped so many and I hope you get to take a nice long vacation before your next circuit of inspirational speeches.

Mindfulness and Somatic Inquiry

I will end this with a question for you. What are you doing each day to support yourself to feel more balanced, loving, and centered? If time is an issue for you, remember that even a ten minute mindfulness practice can reset negative thinking, calm your nervous system, and support you to show up in the world in a more peaceful way. Those minutes you take not only impact you, but positively impact the world around you. Studies have shown that twenty minutes or more of daily mediation can shift grey matter in the brain, so the more minutes the better. That being said, five or ten is still better than zero, so remember to do something today to mindfully take care of yourself. If you don’t have a favorite meditation or yoga teacher, there are many free guided resources on You Tube, as well as free and low-cost guided meditation Apps. For a brief yoga session, go to “Yoga Anytime” online. I will be posting a free guided audio/video meditation in the next few days. See below for the written version.

In addition to being physiologically beneficial, breathing exercises (pranayama) are especially helpful if you have an active mind and need something to focus on while meditating. Breathing exercise can support you to feel more balanced and physically spacious, as well as regulate the nervous system and sooth the sympathetic branch of the nervous system (fight/flight/freeze response).

Ten Minute Mindful Breath Exercise (set a timer)

Breathe in slowly through the nose for four counts, then breathe out for four counts. Repeat that 5-10 times until you sense a rhythm and flow. Make sure you are comfortable in a seated or supine position.

Next: Inhale through the nose for four counts, hold (retain) your breath for four counts, and exhale out your mouth slowly (also about four), as if you are fogging up a window with your breath. Relax your mouth and face and visualize tense energy moving out of you and also imagine energy grounding down towards your feet and the earth. You don’t have to understand this cognitively, just feel your breath and imagine energy moving in and out and in and down (grounding).

Repeat the above for the next eight minutes.

Practitioners can also hold the breath double the amount of time (for eight counts) before exhaling. Start with holding 4 and move on to 8 after practicing this a few times.

This practice focuses on utilizing a clearing breath (exhaling out the mouth), however exhaling out of the nose also works well here and has a calming effect. Exhaling out the mouth more directly assists the jaw to relax and clears stuck energy. Feel out which type of exhale feels right for that day’s practice. In Yoga, exhaling out the mouth is often referenced as a “cooling” breath.

Beginners please note: When practicing additional Hatha Yoga with asanas (poses), not just pranayama, it may be beneficial to discuss your practice with an instructor. Feel free to message me with any questions. 

Adding a somatic focal point can also be helpful here. Choose an area in your body that needs some extra support, space, and love and focus there while you breathe.

Notice how that area feels when you begin; is it tense, tight, loose, tender, hot, cold, dense etc.? As you approach the end of the session, notice how it has changed. If your somatic awareness wants to travel to another area in your body, allow it to.

Taking just ten minutes to do this each day, or any other mindfulness practice you reasonate with, is a powerful step for creating more ease and joy in your life. I will be posting videos of these practices soon on this blog. Stay tuned, literally 🙂

Have a beautiful day,

Romi

 

 

 

 

The Power Hungry Games

Peace, Bernie Sanders, Consciousness, Santa Barbara Healing, Transformative Healing Arts, Love, Community

by Romi Cumes MA, MFTI

 

“I am who I am, and what I believe in and what my spirituality is about, is that we’re all in this together”

-Bernie Sanders

 

Battles against humankind are as old as time, yet never before has science fiction so symbolically depicted the absolute insanity of American politics and its media-driven counterparts. Being mammals, we have experienced or thought about mythological, allegorical, or literal power themes more than once in the course of a lifetime. Such tales of good vs. evil and light vs. dark have pervaded indigenous knowledge systems, history, literature, and fiction for as long as humans have been guided to transcribe them, and possibly long before that. These stories represent a human experience that is still being lived today: A hero confronts corrupt leadership, or a heroine speaks out against an icy queen; poor civilians become refugees, threatened by political violence; mythical dark forces attempt to overtake peacemakers and shamans; religious or social extremists prostrate to their belief systems and their cause means more than life; world leaders go to war with ‘evil doers’ and ecosystems, driven by power and oil; obstreperous dictators commit genocide and build palaces with funds that could feed starving children; a disheartened populace revolt against the brutality of their government… You get the idea.

Within each of these power-driven stories, life depicts myth and myth depicts life and it is as if there is always a new, yet similar story to tell.  Although tales of struggle and darkness seem to be woven into the fabric of the individual and collective psyche, consciousness also prevails, and many of us are ready to experience a more compassionate and broad-minded way of being.

Currently, a next-level power battle exists within American politics, and nefarious characters disguise themselves with personality disorder-driven antics perfectly suited for mainstream cinema. Reality television stars are somehow allowed to become presidential candidates and Ivy League trained attorneys are on deck to promulgate religious extremism. Well-vetted politicians have dibs on delegates, as if their influence is predicated upon a superficial popularity contest.  These men and women demonstratively parade narcissistic personality disorder and xenophobia like a boy scout badge, while many of us sit back and wonder what the hell is happening. How did we get here and did we actually go back in time?

“We are going to have to build a wall to keep people in the country if one of these radical candidates is elected”

     -Professor Jennifer Holt Ph.D, University of California, Santa Barbara

Each century, complicit acts of power and dominance create a repetitious cycle, and it is as if we are at war with an apparition because the battle appears endless.  It is no wonder why science fiction, albeit frivolous with it’s computer generated exaltation, is depicting what is happening in politics and mainstream media today. And it gets really frightening when we realize how sneaky modern-day villains and villainess’ can be. Strewn across this nation is a bunched up, tangled mess of power, and with mythological and historical roots this deep, we will need to collectively pull proverbial all-nighters to change the story-line.

The 2016 United States presidential race is not unlike the movie, The Hunger Games. Our current media displays are reminiscent of the scene where the lead competitors of the games are brought on stage to be showcased by the powers that be, otherwise known as the “Capitol”. The main character Katniss – a fearless and morally-driven heroine archetype – becomes enraged by the media-infused insanity she is trying to abscond. Within the confines of the Capitol’s pretentious display, the heroine walks among troglodytes, victims, and narcissists; all of whom are prompted by inauthentic media. Sound familiar? The heroine is forced to play a part in a production that is cruel, flagrant, and detrimental to the individual and collective psyche – that is, until she fights back.

We do not yet know what will transpire politically in November, but collectively, many of us understand that the misuse of power, and choosing structures that dominate, rather than unify, is ineffective for the growth of humanity, consciousness, and the environment. And we can look to the theoretical and practical aspects of social, physical, and biological science to shed light on the idea that we, as a society, are capable of shifting consciousness. Here are just a few examples:

~ When observing the biology of microorganisms, we can view the unique presence of the microscopic world and how it directly connects with macro-expression. In essence, what exists internally is instrumental in the creation of the external world.

~ Somatic and relational psychology is based on the belief that human beings are the most authentic and conscious (with self and other), when we tap into the lived experience of the body, also known as the “felt sense”. From a space of somatic intelligence, we are more capable of being kind, showing up interpersonally, and rewiring neuropathways associated with ego, pain and trauma.

~ Quantum physics has revealed theories about the holographic mind-body or mind-matter interface; how infinite pure potential becomes actualized as human consciousness. In other words, mind becomes matter.

~ From a depth psychology perspective, the darkness or shadow we experience is an unconscious aspect of the personality and the more we can embody and consciously express our shadows, the less negatively dominant they become. In other words, greater harmony can be achieved when one confronts their inner darkness, gets acquainted with it, and expresses it in a way that does not harm others.

The above ideas elucidate a general theme present in nature and consciousness: how we choose to embody our inner experience and the world around us is profoundly associated to what manifests outside of us, particularly for those of us who believe in interconnection and are committed to creating positive change for the Whole. Just as the immune system has the ability to thwart off disease, we have the ability to transmute the negativity we experience. We can choose to operate from a place of presence, love and connection, rather than one of fear and control, and the impact of that choice is far more potent than most people realize.

Out beyond glittering lights, fake political smiles, and pretense, exists authentic human beings who wish to make the world a better place. Love and harmony can be felt in the presence of solidarity and we are able to rest when embodying the power of inner sanctum. Perhaps ask yourself today what you plan on doing to contribute to the well-being of one person, or a group of people.  When we are lit up with compassion and service, every gesture, no matter how small or how funded, is meaningful and noticed by the collective spirit of humanity.  What is your cause? When this question arises within you, check in with your body.  For example, what makes your heart feel full and warm, and what acts of kindness and service support you to feel alive and at ease in your solar plexus or core? And at the root of passionate service exists a stable human being. How are you taking care of yourself?  Can you integrate nourishing self-care practices into your daily routine? And finally, are the individuals in your life making you more or less of who you are?  Take a few moments each day to envision and participate in a peaceful, meaningful life. And on this journey, may we all connect with people who fuel inner vibrancy and inspire creativity, service, and compassion.

“What the American people want to see in their president is somebody who not necessarily can win every fight, but they want to see him stand up and fight for what he believes, take his case to the American people”.

-Bernie Sanders

The Magic of You

Sedona, Santa Barbara Healing, Myofascial Release Southern California, Healing, Connective Tissue, Romi Cumes, Healer, healing Santa Barbara, Cranial Sacral, Mind-Body, Fractals, Consciosness, Interconnected, Spiritual Healing

Happy New Moon in Aries and Spring Equinox from Sedona!

Today marks a special phase in our seasonal cycle, as we celebrate a full solar eclipse (was visible this morning in parts of Europe) and the beginning of Spring. This is a day to welcome new growth and transformation and say goodbye to the colder, more binding aspects of the self. During this magical phase, it is a good idea to spend quality time on the land and take in the aromas and sounds of the plant and animal kingdom. As you walk or meditate outdoors, soften your eyes and with practice, you will be able to see the soft outer layer of vibrational energy surrounding the landscape and all living things. This is life force energy and is what we are all composed of. Its essence is high-octane, juicy, energetic, invigorating, and alive.

As humans, we have endured and continue to endure challenging circumstances that take a toll on mind-body-spirit. Such traumas may be pre/post natal, developmental, accident-related, or inflicted by others, and each incidence reaps havoc on the body’s vitality and systems (muscular, respiratory, nervous, emotional, endocrine etc.)  The beautiful matrix of energy that we are composed of, that surrounds us, and that connects us with all living things can become disrupted like an beautiful spider web torn by a wind-swept branch. Repair of our inner web is needed.

sedona low resMetaphorically speaking, this web houses the unseen: emotions, memories, intellect, and mental pathways. Within the physical plane of existence, this web is tangible and wraps around every living cell in our body. It is called fascia (connective tissue) and it is one of the most psychedelic, wondrous substances you can get your hands on. Within us exist a fractal of liquid, crystalline energy that takes the form of collagen fibers. It moves, shifts, tears, and transforms depending on what kind of impact has been placed on the system. It can sustain two thousands pounds of pressure per square inch and either houses, or composes every structure in the body.

Why is this important?

First of all, it is trippy as hell and when you really dive into your body’s inner matrix, mind-blowing things start to happen. But more importantly, once you start to understand what your inner world is made out of, and how it responds to stimuli from the outside world, your path to healing becomes more clear and user-friendly. As you start to understand how to heal yourself, injuries and pain become less frequent, and for some, non existent. This healing process is completely congruent with that kind of presence you bring to your own life, including learning about your nervous system and how it responds to past trauma and present challenges.  

I began studying bodywork and teaching yoga in 1998 while I was in college at U.C. Santa Cruz. I had been a gymnast my whole childhood and started practicing yoga in my mid teens. Like many people starting off with Vinyasa-flow and Ashtanga, I thought that was the yoga path for me. As gymnastics and power-yoga injuries started to flare up, I “pushed through” because I thought yoga would eventually correct those injuries. I was wrong. I continued to practice the same kind of yoga for another eight years until my SI/L4 strain and shoulder instability finally got their messages across. My conscious mind, drive-centered acrobat, and pseudo-yogini ego had a hard time listening to these messages. Eventually, I got it, and now after twenty years of practicing yoga, I have learned to slow down, work gently with the areas of strain, and stop practicing forms of yoga and movement that feel forceful or invasive. I practice for my body and my needs and teach others to do the same. 

I became a massage therapist in 2000, which is when I also began working with healing from an esoteric perspective. For years I studied and practiced energy healing and deep bodywork modalities. Although those approaches offered good results to my clients, the effects were temporary. Something was missing (massage therapists reading this know what I am talking about). People felt better after their sessions but were they really transforming their system, or understanding why they hold their patterns in the first place?

In order to better understand that question, I went to graduate school to learn about the body in reference to psychological processes, and received a clinical degree in Somatic Psychology. I work with all ages, but primarily college-aged young adults between the ages of 17-28. The work is profound, yet does not target the physical structure, just as most physical bodywork modalities target some kind of structural component, but do not address the psyche and patterns of imbalance in the inner matrix.

Finally after twenty years of yoga, movement, bodywork, and in the last six years, psychotherapeutics, I found the missing link for all these beautiful approaches: Myofascial Release (MFR). It is difficult to explain this work, as its true essence is about moving into the unknown, unseen, and non-intellectual aspects of the system, both inner and outer.  It is a hybrid of structural work and deep somatic-emotional release. Myofasical release targets the profound, ever-changing, liquid matrix of our inner selves, both physiologically and psycho-somatically. Transformation is powerful, succinct, never injures, and the body’s inner intelligence is given a voice. This is not unlike a somatic psychotherapy session, where the therapist utilizes subtle, physical interventions to elucidate sympathetic nervous system responses. Yet in addition to having a sounding board like one has in psychotherapy, the inner system has a tangible experience of transformation, as indicated by movement in the fascial system. The entire experience can be completely non-verbal.

In MFR,  the therapist facilitates piezoelectricity in the system, and a phase transduction can occur (like ice to water).  The vibrant, fluid energy that our beings are composed of can flow more freely, like water flowing over rocks in a canyon (John Barnes, 2015). In as little as one myofascial session, clients will feel more ease in their body and a light, magnetic buzz, which is the body vibrating from new-found space and vitality. This work eliminates pain, reduces stress, and supports you to become more aligned with who you truly are. Consistent treatment also ameliorates innate body wisdom, which therefore assists us to eventually treat ourselves without a practitioner.

A whole mind-body shift can occur when we make an active choice to dive deeper into the parts of ourselves that have been injured, neglected, abused, and avoided. I am thrilled to have added this powerful healing tool to my belt and invite you to book a session with me soon.

Much love and Happy Spring,

-Romi

Book an appointment

Upcoming Workshops:

Introduction to Yoga Weekend

Where: Santa Barbara Yoga Center
When: April 24-26

True Self Exploration & The Art of Somatic and Relational Psychology: Tools for Self Empowerment and Growth

Where: Lucidity Festival
When: April 12th, 2015

Yoga Retreat to Peru: May 21-30

 

 

Transformative Healing Arts: Writing, Yoga Retreat Recap, Bodywork & Energy Healing in Santa Babara

Peru, Yoga in Peru, Yoga Retreat to Peru, Romi Cumes, Romi Cumes Yoga, Yoga Retreat with Romi Cumes, Healing and Spirituality, Spirituality in Peru, Yoga Retreats

We had such an amazing time with Peru this year, doing yoga, laughing, connecting with the community, and galavanting around sacred sites. What a blessing. I am currently starting the planning stage for our Retreat to Peru and Machu Picchu, 2015. Email me if you would like more information.

My article “Attractive Love Through Self Love: A Somatic Inquiry” was recently published online on Rebelle Society Click Here to Read

I am currently in Santa Barbara, California seeing private clients for massage, healing work, counseling, and yoga instruction. Email or call me for an appointment. Current group yoga class offerings include: Mondays & Wednesdays at the Santa Barbara Yoga Center 5-6:30pm. 32 East Micheltorena St. 93101.

Much love,

Romi

10153927_10152123501676395_5399786546946820301_n 10264049_10152166004741395_2078218094593282705_o 10269565_10152129924246395_7806196367721840931_n10353130_10152132125926395_5003476332631870511_n10363754_10152123498806395_3018957010809318703_n

Lucidity Festival Workshop ~ Relational & Somatic Psychology

Santa Barbara Psychotherapy, Santa Barbara Healing, Santa Barbara Yoga, Yoga with Romi, Healing with Romi, Healing in Santa Barbara, Holistic Health Practioner in Santa Barbara, Mindfulness, Psychology , Somatic and Relational Psychology, Psychotherapy in Santa Barbara

We had a beautiful time at the Lucidity Festival this year. This is the kind of gathering where people come together not only to have a good time and to express themselves, but to serve their fellow man and woman with love, important information/technology, and creativity. Anyone who has experienced this kind of festival would agree that the environment sets a tone for social and environmental change.

In the meantime and ’till the next Lucidity (or Lightning in a Bottle or Burning Man), keep finding the sparks that make you come live and awaken your inner creativity and life purpose. There is so much to draw from in this life to make the world, and your life, a better place to exist in. Keep stoking those sparks and being you. And remember: Dressing up a little crazy is fun and necessary 🙂

– Romi

 

1617709_10152054466602894_2462651635193290473_o OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Santa Barbara Psychotherapy, Santa Barbara Healing, Santa Barbara Yoga, Yoga with Romi, Healing with Romi, Healing in Santa Barbara, Holistic Health Practioner in Santa Barbara, Mindfulness, Psychology , Somatic and Relational Psychology, Psychotherapy in Santa Barbara photo 4 photo 3(1) photo 4(1) photo 1 photo 3 photo 2