"...within every adversity there’s a gift, there’s a benefit."
- Dr. Lisa Cooney
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and Me
OCD makes me feel camaraderie.
For one thing many people have come to see me about it, and that’s an honor.
And then I myself am on the low scale of autism. You might not know that. It gives me some of the tendencies of an OCD diagnosis.
The way I structure my day is one example. Or when playing billiards, I can actually see the line from the cue stick to the white ball to the other ball.
I’ve found some gifts in my condition, some awarenessess that are useful. I’ve used my own tendencies to create resourcefulness in my life. Go into my office in the next room!...
"If you’re dealing with attention problems, I encourage you to sit and explore awareness."
- Dr. Lisa Cooney
I spent a lot of years as a therapeutic coordinator for an adolescent treatment center.
And seemingly every kid there had a diagnosis.
There were conduct disorders, hyperactivity, ADHD...something “wrong” about most every one.
When I look back on those days in that position, I never really sat with them and talked about them as wrong. I just talked to them about the energy they were being. Maybe they felt hyper or that they couldn’t focus. I asked what they were aware of. I asked their body to speak. I showed them how to physically and safely release the emotions. They re-centered and problems...
"What fear do you allow to keep you from creating?"
- Dr. Lisa Cooney
Fear: All Too Familiar
So many clients come to me with issues around fear, anxieties, panic attacks. It was a fixture of my practice in San Francisco.
In working with people I made a big observation: these fear issues didn’t just start one day. It was more that my clients would suddenly wake and realize...OMG, this is upon me! They’d been suffering with something just outside of their consciousness, something they could not or would not face up until a breaking point.
It’s a little like a thyroid problem that cropped up for me. It took ten or fifteen years of breakdown in my endocrine system before I finally gave it my attention, sought help, and took new...
"Part of moving beyond the cage is the discovery that you are more than your abuse. There is a you separate from the abuse and separate from the abuser. There is a you beyond anything that has ever happened to you."
“You are already kind, generous, grateful, and loving.”
- Dr. Lisa Cooney
Escaping the Cage
I’ve worked with innumerable survivors of abuse. My desire was simply to open them back up to life, a life even richer than they imagined.
The Cage is my name for the confines of life where abuse survivors find themselves. The Cage is an aloneness, a sadness, a hopelessness, and it’s so elusive. It’s hard to even realize it’s there.
Today, though, we’re talking about escaping it....
The Cage Is Automatic
Remember the Cage? That invisible shell of aloneness, sadness, hopelessness that appears after experiencing trauma?
Last week we talked about areas of life where you can glimpse the Cage: in emotional patterns, and in one’s relationship to their body.
Now we’ll look at a broad feature of the Cage.
Until we perform the work of awareness, the Cage is a step ahead of our best decisions.
Triggering The Cage
It’s like the Cage has the reflexes of a peak-performance athlete. We make a move, and the Cage already has anticipated it.
What’s that all about?
Traumatic experience can be such an overwhelming moment that it crowds us out.
We just can’t be present for an...
"There is a strange comfort in the confines of the cage, however much you desire to live beyond it." - Dr. Lisa Cooney
Last week we talked about the Cage.
It’s my name for what life looks like after somebody experiences abuse, and it’s a big part of Creating After Abuse.
In the Cage life looks limited, pessimistic. And it looks like it’ll always be that way. You morph your cellular functioning to accommodate the lies of your traumatic experience.
It also looks...kinda nice.
Wait, what?! Weird, isn’t it?
The Cage means not having a life though, and that means not having responsibility, not having big decisions. That’s much less work than a radically, orgasmically alive life!
It’s also much...
Creating After Abuse: My New Book Is Coming Soon!
"What if everything in your past was a post-traumatic growth possibility?" - Dr. Lisa Cooney
This month's blog posts are dedicated to Creating After Abuse, my forthcoming new book!
The book is divided into three parts:
- Locked in the Cage of Abuse
- Struggling in the Cage
- Escaping the Cage — Beyond Abuse & Living Radically Alive
I started writing the book to take you within the bars of my own Cage.
And what do I mean by the Cage?
When you suffer abuse life takes on new qualities afterwards, but they are invisible. Rules come out of nowhere, things are prohibited, don't go there, don't try that.
Abuse imposes confines on life afterwards, and the abuse survivor is the last to...
The strangest thing about abuse is that we don’t walk away from it.
It’s a pain to which we keep turning.
Years after abuse happens - even decades - it reappears in veiled form.
I’ll give you an example. People often ask me, “why do I abuse myself?”
Part of me wants to say, “Yeah! It’s the craziest thing!”
But this is the long lifespan of abuse. I speak from experience here, of course.
I thrive beyond my own abuse now, but it wasn’t always that way.
I spent decades perpetrating abuse I once received, in my body, in my business, in my spirit.
Family members once criticized my physical appearance, hit me, yelled. Later I had a fundamental belief in my own wrongness, my own badness, the personality of “I am damaged goods.”
What is Spread Your Wings?
Spread Your Wings with me!
Spread Your Wings gives you a look at the ROAR technique®.
In Spread Your Wings, I start by following the energy: I pick someone to demonstrate the ROAR technique®.
What happens next?
I help them break free from their cage.
Now what do I mean by cage?
I’m talking about the old beliefs, the old patterns, the stuckness. The pane of glass in our lives that is stopping us from continuing to develop.
How does ROAR work on that?
The Origins of ROAR
Much earlier in my life, I was driving in Northern California.
It was lovely outside, but I was enraged. I had just gone through a painful breakup.
I was so upset I had to pull over. I couldn’t go on without examining my feelings.
Where was it in me? I...
Choosing and Committing Are Everyday Things
One of Dr. Lisa’s students summed up the big realizations of change for her.
“Choosing is really in everything I do, every single moment of my life.” She realized the need to be more selective - to ask for what she needed, and what she wanted.
She went on, “I always loved to collaborate, and with these new aspects of choosing and committing, it makes everything about change more fun and much easier.”
Change - even BIG change - as a fun thing, that’s what Actualizing Your Asks can deliver.
The student added, “I never thought of myself as a very creative person - haha! Following through with my asks and with the guidance of Dr. Lisa, I saw there was a big change in my life. I came to realize that...
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