How Trauma Patterns May Be Influencing Your Success… and what you can do about it! by James Woeber

What does trauma have to do with success?

You may be asking yourself, “what does trauma have to do with success?”  As it turns out… quite a lot. Let me explain. 

Our success depends to a great extent on how we respond to the challenges, opportunities and life events in our day-to-day lives. And our experience of trauma has a significant impact on how we are able to consciously and unconsciously respond to life around us.  In other words, if you are like most people, your success in life is being strongly impacted by the trauma that you’ve experienced and how you are coping with that trauma.

Hard trauma or soft trauma

Now you may be scanning through your memory banks, flagging memories of especially harrowing physical accidents and other life-threatening events—like a car crash or a physical assault—and wondering how those experiences might be impacting the way you are responding in your life. And it’s true that this type of event-based or hard trauma can leave lasting physical and emotional scars that alter how we respond later on in life.

But, there is actually a much more common, oftentimes overlooked form of trauma, called soft trauma. Most everyone has experienced soft trauma in one way or another and it can have a powerful impact, as well. Soft trauma is formed when a person experiences a consciously or unconsciously perceived life-threatening dynamic or environment over a period of time. This may arise from emotional abuse, parental neglect, abject poverty, systemic racism or sexism, environmental toxins, or growing up in a violent family or culture to name just a few potential factors.

Whose trauma is it in the first place?

It’s not even necessary to experience the trauma first-hand. We can be powerfully influenced by a trauma experienced in our family lineage—called transgenerational trauma—or in our communities, that when unresolved, can cascade down through the system impacting other members of the family or community.

How trauma patterns are formed

And whether these potent traumatic experiences are conscious or unconscious, hard or soft in nature, they get hardwired into our physiology, altering the neural pathways of the brain and body, forming behavioral patterns that tend to repeat themselves over and over in our lives.

How can you tell if this is happening to you? 

Most all of us have experienced some sort of trauma in our lives, it is a natural part of being a human being. And though, of course, most of us would choose to avoid trauma if possible, responding to trauma and challenging experiences play an important part of our learning and growing. This process serves an essential role in our surviving, thriving and evolving as a species. The important question is—how are you responding to the trauma? Are you feeling and releasing the trauma and the accompanying emotional and physiological responses through your body and being or are the traumas getting stuck as physiological and psycho-emotional patterns—or trauma patterns. 

9 Signs that you are going into a trauma pattern

So what are some tell tale signs that let you know that you are going into a trauma pattern? Here are some physiological and behavioral cues to watch for: 

  1. Shortness of breath
  2. Racing heartbeat
  3. Hyper-alertness
  4. Difficulty focusing, especially on near details (both visually and cognitively)
  5. Chronically tight muscles on the posterior side of your body (i.e., calves, hamstrings, lower back, neck and between shoulder blades
  6. Heightened, persistent anxiety
  7. Disproportionately outsized responses to the circumstances in your life
  8. Repeating the same strong physiological and emotional response again and again in life even when the circumstances do not warrant the response
  9. Jumping to conclusions about the people or circumstances that you are engaging with rather than seeing their true nature and/or intentions

Though each of these signs is not necessarily in and of itself a reflection that you are going into a trauma pattern, if you find yourself experiencing 5 or more of these on a regular basis, you are probably shifting into a trauma pattern.

How might this be impacting your success?

Shifting into the survival mode of fight, flight or freeze is essential for when you are in real danger, but when you are lapsing into these survival modes as part of a persistent pattern it can have a detrimental effect on your decision making, how you show up and how well you interact with others. 

Here are some specific ways chronic triggering of trauma patterns may be impacting your success:

  1. Being in a constant state of emergency dulls the senses and makes you less discerning when you are facing true danger and making key strategic decisions.
  2. Causes you to see everyone and everything as an adversary or threat which leads to outsized, unhealthy responses to situations, conflictual relationships, and a closed view of what’s possible in a given circumstance.
  3. Lessens your ability to see the gift, opportunity or benefit in a situation.
  4. Makes you less present, engaged and responsive to the life circumstances you are facing.
  5. Eventually makes you more exhausted and less capable of performing at optimum capacity, once you’ve experienced the rollercoaster ride that your stress hormones take you through when you are chronically experiencing fight, flight or freeze.
  6. Causes you to be less resilient and responsive to challenging situations by wearing you out physically, emotionally and mentally. 
  7. Creates difficulty in seeing “the forest through the trees” (e.g., getting tripped up over details/unimportant minutiae and not seeing the bigger picture).

What are 5 things you can do about it?

Of course, if you are having severe anxiety or PTSD symptoms then you should consult a trained healthcare professional. That being said, we can all benefit from a practice that supports our body and being to release stress and trauma patterns so that we can cultivate a greater state of balance, connection and flow in our lives.

Here are some important first steps:

  1. Take deep breaths – One of the first things that happens when you go into a trauma pattern is you hold your breath. Deep breathing resets your physiology and shifts your nervous system out of a sympathetic survival response to a more relaxed parasympathetic state.
  2. Practice mindfulness – Gently relax into the present moment and allow yourself to connect and become aware of your own body and being. 
  3. Embrace your feelings – Rather than suppressing or denying what you are feeling, allow yourself to hold space for whatever emotions bubble to the surface as you relax and connect with your body. Your physical and emotional being is incredibly adept at finding a state of balance and flow; allowing space for your emotions supports this natural coming to wholeness.
  4. Give yourself your deeper need – Ask yourself, “What is the deeper need here?”, so you can give the traumatized part of you what it needed in the first place.  One 
  5. effective way of doing this is to imagine the adult side of you giving the younger traumatized part the love, acknowledgement, safety, etc. that it is deeply craving. 
  6. Cultivate gratitude – Every night before going to bed write down what you are grateful for from the day.

Developing greater awareness around your trauma patterns and cultivating a daily practice of these basic self-care techniques can greatly reduce your stress levels, release debilitating trauma patterns, and open you to the full expression of your brilliance and gifts out into the world. Here’s to your success and those you serve!

James Woeber is a best-selling author, international trainer and consultant who for the past 25 years has helped thought leaders and socially-minded entrepreneurs to manifest their greatest dreams and serve as powerful change agents in the world.  As a master trainer and facilitator in family constellation work and energy healing he supports individuals and organizations to thrive through personal, transgenerational and systemic trauma.

Collaborative Leadership Through Constellations

We are fast approaching the North American Systemic Constellations Conference in Virginia Beach, VA on October 5-8, 2017. I’m excited to be presenting there along with a wonderful line-up of speakers from all around the world! Here is an interview with Linda Comeau discussing the conference and the presentation I’ll be giving on Collaborative Leadership Through Constellations.

 

Hot Women Rock – Helping Women Find Their Entrepreneurial Mojo

Pat Duckworth is doing amazing work helping women find their midlife entrepreneurial mojo so they can bring their dreams to life. It was a wonderful honor to be featured on her show and share how constellation work and the programs we offer at Art of Heartful Living can empower thought leaders and entrepreneurs to bring their brilliance and gifts out in service to the world!

Featured on the Wealthy Wednesday Show w Luci McMonagle

james-woeber-wws-banner

My good friend Luci McMonagle featured me as her guest on the Wealthy Wednesday Show. It is a weekly show where Luci has expert guest interviews that empowers ambitious women entrepreneurs and small business owners that want more money, more freedom and more joy in their lives by having expert guests that provide spiritual and practical tips, tools and personal stories for you. We had a wonderful conversation… take a look below!

 

Moving Up on UPtv – Interview with James Woeber

I just recently had a wonderful experience being interviewed by Nick Psaila at UPtv! We had a great conversation about how constellation work and energy work can empower entrepreneurs and thought leaders to be highly successful with their heart and passion infused businesses. Nick Psaila is a thought leader, keynote speaker and business coach, and is founder of the worldwide phenomenon the UPology Movement. It was great to connect with a kindred spirit who shares my passion for bringing together heart and business in the world!

An “Aha!” Experience: Marrying the Benefits of Energy Healing and Constellation Work

When I was first introduced to Family Constellation Work over a decade ago, I was enthralled with how this elegant and comprehensive modality supported change and healing. The “constellations” that were set 900219436up had nothing to do with “astrology” or “stars”, I discovered.  Rather, they provided a very wonderful, experiential way of exploring the underlying dynamics that create health and well-being (or dysfunction), in our families, relationships, workplaces, communities and other groups or systems that are integral to our lives. “Constellations” refer to the various interconnected elements within these groups or systems.

My first constellation experience was an eye-opener. A client and student of mine had breast cancer and was undergoing several allopathic and alternative treatments. I’ll call her Debra, for the sake of anonymity. Our work together involved energy healing, which is extremely effective in addressing the deeper roots of physical, emotional, mental and spiritual challenges. I discovered that the constellation work integrated beautifully with the energy work and other modalities she was using. It also added a whole new dimension to her healing process!

The depth and specificity revealed in the constellation was breathtaking. The “constellation” started with Debra discussing the issue she wanted to explore with the facilitator. In this case, she wanted to know the deeper psychospiritual and ancestral dynamics related to her cancer.

Several volunteers from our circle served as “representatives” for various elements that were being explored. In Debra’s constellation, a representative for Debra and a representative for cancer were chosen (the representatives were unaware of what they were representing). They were asked to stand up and feel the subtleties of their bodily sensations and dynamics with one another as they stood in the center of the circle, or the “field.” As the constellation unfolded, several representatives for Debra’s family members were brought in as well. Since, the energetic dynamics of all of life are always around us, constellation work provides a ritualistic way of connecting with these undercurrents of life, and animating them so they can be used for edification and healing. The representatives are simply availing themselves of this resource.

98be5308-e9aaDebra’s constellation ended up providing a tremendous healing for her. Though many things came to light, her central insight was that she had been blocking herself from feeling certain traumatic dynamics that had happened when she was young (which was a common pattern in her family), and in turn was rejecting the more feminine, nurturing parts of herself as a way of aligning with that family pattern.

As the representative for Debra was able to finally receive the love and strength as it was passed down from her mother and father, and hand back an issue that was not hers… fascinatingly, the representative for cancer exclaimed, “I don’t feel like I belong here any more” and slowly drifted out of the circle. It was a powerful reflection that conditions and crises can serve as messengers to point us toward what creates greater healing and well-being in our lives, families and communities. Once they have served their purpose, and we address the imbalance, the messengers either leave or our experiences of them change dramatically.

At the end of the constellation, Debra stepped into the constellation herself, and was able to viscerally experience this deeper healing truth that was being offered to her. It changed her life and mine, as well!

I was instantly captivated by this amazing healing system! Since this first experience, I have immersed myself in constellations, attended trainings and workshops from top trainers and facilitators worldwide, traveled internationally to conduct workshops of my own, and deepened my passion and involvement as the Co-Director of the upcoming 2015 North American Systemic Constellations Conference in November.

In my private practice and workshops I use the constellation work on a regular basis to compliment the energy healing work that I’ve been doing for nearly two decades. The results have been wonderful and there seems to be no end to the creative ways in which these two very flexible, powerful modalities can be used to support us and our healing process.

Constellation work, in partnership with energy healing, becomes an especially potent duo. The constellation work adds layers of insight and understanding regarding the ancestral roots and systemic dynamics related to the issue that a person is delving into. And energy healing provides a powerful set of tools for perceiving the systemic dynamics and deepening the healing movement occurring within our own beings and in relationship to the myriad systems of which we are a part.

In my subsequent work with Debra, we were able to go much deeper with her healing process using the energy healing in combination with the constellation work.  The constellation opened deep passages of untapped grief and hurt from the family dynamic. The energy healing worked beautifully in providing Debra loving support and guidance, and healing energy, so that she could feel, honor and release these old wounds that no longer served her in her life.

I’ve discovered that the dynamics you can explore with this combo of healing systems are truly endless… they can be used to support most any modality and explore any issue.

what-is-forking-in-cryptocurrency-The-CoinFront-your-news-source-for-bitcoin-altcoin-digital-and-cryptocurrenciesDo you want to find a deeply fulfilling romantic relationship? Constellation Work with Energy Healing can point the way. Are you at a fork in the road in life and wondering which life choice that’s facing you is most in alignment with your soul path? Or, are you ready to release a challenging family pattern that is holding you back from stepping into a new career? Constellation Work with Energy Healing can reveal the root cause of your blocks and open you to greater healing and potential.

I can say from experience, that the only way you’ll really know the beautiful impact that these modalities can have in your life is to experience them yourself. I think you’ll find the combination of constellation work and energy healing to be as wonderful and life-changing as I have.

To have your own experience of these powerful healing modalities please contact James Woeber at james@artofheartfulliving.com or call 858-395-4918.

– James Woeber