childhood trauma

No one can “abandon” you unless you’ve already abandoned yourself.

The ultimate intent of this program is Awakened Adulthood.   That’s the honest truth. But the safe way to approach it is through achieving dynamic balance FIRST. That means either dealing with the “lower” more foundational drives: survival, sex, power.  Or dealing with the emotional drives: love, fear, and anger.   Connect to the well of love, and then let that spread to the lower drives, then once anchored, spread to the higher drives to find expansion and altruism (identification with Other as Self).  Either works.  But the attempt to “awaken” the higher levels without grounding can be like building a house atop a cess pool.   I got a very typical note from a spiritual aspirant today, who deals with self-loathing (wounded heart) and has begun a new relationship (sex) and has uncovered some sadly common twisted wiring in the process…


Dear Steven.

I found my soulmate – 100% sure…

Now the “shock” – twofold:

1) I am scared to be abandoned again

2) She hast tremendous sexual experience – its hard for me to handle that – she is a fantastic woman, but a part of me is judging her as a “whore” – which is stupid of course – she is a free woman – and she is in a different “mode now”..

Any idea how to handle that?

Love and THANK YOU for the soulmate program.



Simple, really–but not necessarily “easy.”

  1. No one can “abandon” you unless you’ve already abandoned yourself.   They can leave–that’s the risk with relationships. But the “I am abandoned” feeling is the Needy Wounded Abandoned child part of your heart.   This is why the Ancient Child technique is CRITICAL.  You have to love yourself, and nourish yourself, and nurture yourself deeply enough that you have zero doubt that you would be happy and healthy no matter what.   What you WANT is her.  What you NEED is you.
  2. It is not “stupid” to judge her sexual experience.  It is, however, non-optimal, and a sign that you are dealing with conflicting instructions regarding sex.  Where did you get your original programming regarding sexuality?  Parents?  Church?  Friends?  Society?   Clearly, you have a “split” that doesn’t allow you to freely connect your animal, human, and spiritual selves, and see that the energy is all the same thing.   Someone poisoned you against yourself.  I won’t ask you to accept my attitudes, but I WOULD like you to contemplate the following, and see what kind of mental dialogue comes up for you:
  1. Is sex a natural, normal animal hunger? Why or why not?
  2. Is it possible to isolate sex from love, to deal with it as a simple appetite, an art-form in itself, or a stress reduction behavior par excellence?
  3. Can you forgive yourself for mistakes you made in the past, or are they a part of your nature forever?
  4. Is pleasure a positive value?   Is it conditional?
  5. Are two adult human beings free to express their emotions and physicality?  Who has the right to sit in judgement upon them?
  6. Are women the same sensual beasts men are?  And if so, is that a good thing?
  7. Where did you get your attitudes about sex? What exactly are they?
  8. Would you have consciously adopted these attitudes as an adult?
  9. Would you deliberately give these attitudes to your own most beloved child?

Write down the answers to these questions. Engage with them during your meditations.  Do NOT stop your morning ritual. A 100% natural trick the ego uses is to tell you “ah!  Things are better now!   We can stop all this meditation nonsense.”

That is exactly like saying: “ah!  We’re cruising in the fast lane on the freeway.  All is well.  We don’t need this car any more.”

BEWARE.   Begin with love.  Connect your body to your heart.  Then connect your head to heart and body.  You are no longer a child, vulnerable to imprintation by family and strangers. You are an adult. An adult heterosexual female wants an adult male.   The “abandonment” fear suggests that you have maturing to do before you can meet her on her own energetic level.

Do the work.  Then…enjoy the fun.



You can either have a shell, or a spine. The choice is yours.

Yesterday I posted a note  about looking at all three-four major arenas of your life.   Unless you have balance and joy in all of them, it is best to assume you have work to do.  But the ability to speak the truth about the damage is dependant on loving yourself, cherishing yourself enough to believe that it you look deeply, you will find something beautiful.  If your belief is that if you flip that flat rock a horror will come crawling out…you won’t look.


And these core attitudes are often set in childhood. I received this note:


“My upbringing was extremely negative and my family still is very dysfunctional. I have little or no contact with them and feel guilty.  Every time I try again I just get attacked or beaten down.


How do you find love when you are not able to get it from where we all should feel safe…”


This is precisely what I saw working with a succession of ultra-high performing clients at Moonview sanctuary in Santa Monica.   Amazing success in one arena, wrapped around a deep sense of lack or even corruption.   Abuse, neglect, failure and lack of support and nurturance can all trigger this.


The “‘Ancient Child” technique was designed to “work around” the damage, and allow you to re-create a healthy childhood.


Here are some steps you can take (and it can take weeks to move between the phases, so don’t worry):


  1. Begin by practicing “heartbeat meditation.”  Just sit quietly and listen to your heartbeat.   When you can feel and hear it and remain calm and centered for several minutes at a time (total time 15-20 minutes, but it is natural to “go in and out” of focus)…
  2. While feeling the heartbeat, visualize yourself sitting in front of a mirror.  “See” pinpoints of light swirling inside your reflected images.
  3. Condense the light into a solid mass.  It tends to average at about ½ your full size.  If you have suffered abuse, you may get no more than a few dabs, possibly even a single point.  No worries.
  4. Morph that mass of light into a human form: from a teenager down to a single fertilized cell.  Focus on feeling  the “heartbeat” in this form.
  5. Become very quiet, and listen for its voice.    If it is “old” enough to speak, take what it says seriously.  You may wish to write down its words using your non-dominant hand.
  6. Whether it can speak or not, swear by all you hold dear and holy that you are now the mother/father of this tiny being.  That you will die before you ever let it be hurt again, and you will live the rest of your life providing a safe place for it to thrive, play, and dream.   “Mommy/Daddy is here” is a great thing to say.    If you have ever held a newborn child, or puppy or kitten, evoke the same protective instincts.  Call forth from yourself the “Tiger” mom or dad that will stand at the mouth of the cave and bare its teeth at anything that would cause your “child’ harm.


This is the basic process I used to heal my own heart, and has worked with countless students.  While an elegant and powerful implementation of this can be found in the “Ancient Child 30-Day” program, if you will just follow these directions, you can teach yourself everything you need.  Somewhere inside you is the memory of having been held and protected and loved–otherwise, “failure to thrive”, people.  You would have died.


Trigger that memory, or genetic potential for nurturance.   Apply it to yourself.  Do this EVERY DAY for a month, and you will love the results.  Your motivation will increase (actually, its just removing your brakes).   You will take less crap from people.  Feel freer to speak your mind.  Feel more love and passion.  Feel like you have more “center” and less “wall.”  Less “shell” and more “spine.”


You will begin to own your own precious life.  Please–begin today.  The life you save may be your own.



Taming the elephant in the living room

Bullying scars for life.  Whether you were the victim or the perpetrator…and I think we suspect that most perpetrators are themselves victims.  But not all–some are pure predators.   Others are simply seeking their place within a hierachy, without enough healthy “push-back” to show them the limits of their actions.


There is a story about a game preserve in Kenya, where the young elephants were attacking  people, animals, other elephants and structures.  The debate had begun to accelerate: should they be destroyed?  They simply didn’t seem to know what to do.  Some observant and wise person noticed that, due to several factors, there were no older male elephants in the herd.  So they tried something unique: they brought in several older bull elephants.


The young ones fought against them, and not surprisingly, lost–got their butts whipped.  And…gentled right down.  Stopped the violent behavior and became responsible members of the herd.  The “bullies” became “protectors.”


Hmmm.    This concept applies within human beings, between human beings, within societies, and between them.  Endless applications.


We have the responsibility as human beings to “balance the humors” in an emotional, symbolic sense.  To complete our childhoods in a healthy way, regardless of whatever damage we received actually growing up.  There are endless therapies, meditations, and disciplines dedicated to dynamic balance and clarity. It is your job to find your own way to this.


In a way, “Writer’s Block” could be seen as nothing more than “bullying” by the “editor” mind over the “flow” mind.  That weight issues are the tyranny of the abused inner child. That relationship dysfunctions are disruption of the inner family (no “protective father” energy?  No “nurturing creative mother” energy?).  That inability to balance the checkbook or save money is lack of “grandparent” guidance leading to a grasshopper “live for today” mentality.


Look at yourself, in whatever way you represent these things.  If you were to look at:







And considered balance in each to be important, where would your wounds show most clearly?    How do they manifest?


These are just conceptual tools. The amount of time you spend arguing about whether they “exist” or what they “should” be may not be a useful expenditure of your time, and function as distractions from the work.


Used properly, they can help you see the back of your own head, the elephant in your living room.    It’s bad enough if it is peaceful and friendly.  Don’t let it go rogue.



Loving yourself is the root. Loving others is the flowering


One of the reasons I love Facebook is that it is like a never-ending gathering of friends and acquaintances, and that I get to evesdrop on conversations of all kinds.  Yesterday, I say a thread where the original poster was speaking of the damaging messages received from parents in childhood, and the conflicts and stress those instructions have caused.


The basic wiring of the human psyche is to grow, seek pleasure, learn, and avoid pain.   When expressed healthfully, and given the right resources, we explore the world, imitate our mentors and role models, discover our own essence, and discard whatever is “not us” and begin to express ourselves as works of living art.


We develop the capacity to hunt and gather (make money), find love and sex with integrity, and most of us bond and raise families.   About the time our parents die, most of us awaken to the actual flow of life (the more fortunate ones accomplish this earlier) and we deal with our own fear of mortality, often by focusing on what we will contribute to, and experience of, the world before we leave it.


But  our parents, the god-like figures who provided food, shelter, and love…who were sources of affection and discipline, have a very special place in our lives.  In our early days, our neurology is totally “open” to their programming.  We trust them because we must, and are genetically programmed to do so.


What happens if their instructions are poison?  If our childhood homes were not safe?  If we received conflicting instructions or philosophies (“find love!” vrs  “relationships are pain!”.  “Be free!” vrs  “Seek security.”)?  If we were manipulated with guilt and pain and fear, and haven’t the energy and focus to break free of that toxic orbit?  Locked into a web of co-dependent relationships where we cannot approve of our own lives, but must eternally seek the approval of people who cannot or will not give it?


Then we will either live a life of pain, our dreams crash and burn. Our relationships are struggles, our bodies dump sites for our emotions.    It can be awful to watch, and worse to live.   We must find a way to break free, to heal and nurture ourselves, love ourselves ruthlessly, and find or fight or grow our way to freedom.


The daily ritual of meditation and motion, of creating an avatar of an “inner child” to nurture and protect; simultaneously learning to move our bodies as if we were healthy animals and move through the world like autonomous adults; and at the same time keeping our eyes on our ultimate spiritual reality…


Well, we can extract the positive lessons from our childhoods (and trust me, they exist, or you wouldn’t have survived) without being defined by the negative.  Not being your parents, nor not-being your parents, but rather simply being yourself.   Some of what you are will be like them, some will not.  It is only a matter of interest, not a confinement or predestination or adolescent rebellion. Just…being you.


This is something worth seeking and cultivating, and totally possible, if you’ll just spend a little time every day listening to your heart, embracing your deepest dreams and values, and raising your energy.


You’re worth loving. You’re worth fighting for.

Make 2015 your best year ever!



Steven Barnes

Tell the truth about your own life, and you become much harder to lie to.


Reading this research study on adverse childhood experiences, which begain in an obesity clinic, I 100% agree with what this article says: behavioral dysfunctions are a form of PTSD, often related to childhood trauma. This is one reason that the “Morning Ritual” concept incorporates both the “Ancient Child”, heartbeat meditation, physical motion, and focus. Why I believe so strongly in dealing with the fear that lies at the base of all negative emotion. Sigh.

I can tell you the first time I realized how bad it was, and how I needed to trust instinct rather than the surface or “presenting” stories. I was a GOH at a convention in Texas, and teaching a morning Tai Chi workshop. There was a lady on the periphery of the workshop, trying to do the movements. She was extremely obese, and more, her teeth were rotted out. My first impression was that she was like one overweight person pushed into the middle of a second one, a very sweet small face and bright eyes in the middle of a puffy cocoon of fatty tissue. Over 300 pounds. (more…)