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The effect of being bullied can have long-lasting effects and be very traumatic. It can lead to chronic anxiety and stress, and if it happens during childhood the effects can be even more intense. There have been many headline stories of young people ending their lives after being repeatedly attacked by bullies at school. What can we do to protect our children and ourselves?

An urban issue?

The world population has nearly doubled since the year I was born and since 2009 the majority of people on the planet are now living in city environments. This has lead to increased levels of tension, aggression and stress that we deem as the new ‘normal.’ It is the nature of the urban beast so to speak, so we have to live with it. The word scapegoat refers to a person who is compelled to bear the burden of someone else’s guilt, or to symbolically bear the burden of sin. It is essentially a release valve for tension and stress as well as aggression. I was watching a wonderful documentary, The Hidden Life of Wolves, by Jim and Jamie Dutcher and discovered that in wolf hierarchy there is an omega role. Although the observations of the omega have been made mostly in unnatural settings such as in captivity or living in close proximity to human observers (and so may be exaggerated to truly wild wolf behaviour), this mirrors the way most humans are now living in relatively unnatural environments that are enclosed and overcrowded so it is perhaps relevant.

A need for the omega?

According to the Dutchers, the social hierarchy of a pack is what maintains order dictating who makes decisions, who mates with whom, who eats first and who eats last. Although wolves are very affectionate and playful, this order is constantly reinforced by displays of dominance and submission. The lowest position in the pack hierarchy is one or more wolves, usually a male and a female, known as the omegas. These wolves are dominated and pushed around by all the other wolves in the pack. The only apparent consolation for the omega wolf is that they are typically the jester of the pack and are the one who starts up play and chasing games, perhaps to diffuse these very tensions.

You can hear the concern and worry in the Dutcher’s narrative about a favoured wolf that is given the role of omega.

“When I first recorded his howl, I was amazed at what was coming through my headphones. Lakota, eyes shut and head thrown back, was just pouring his heart out. His rich, mournful voice soared into the evening and hung in the air for what seemed like forever. I actually found myself welling up at the sheer beauty and expressiveness of his song. I felt as though I were listening to him sing the blues, giving voice to all the loneliness and pain that his social position brought him. Even when new pups were added to the pack in later years, no member of the Sawtooth Pack ever came close to comparing with the beauty and sadness of Lakota’s howl.”

Who is the omega?

Once the role is determined, the omega wolf seems to be left without any other options and he must play the role utterly and completely each and every day. He has been delegated to a role not of his own choosing. Even if it seems unjust or unfair, the only way his role changes is if another wolf is given a lower rank. As this omega bears the brunt of the tensions and aggressions of the pack one or many of the wolves assert themselves over him and he will flip over onto his back whimpering in surrender. Generally this is a bloodless exchange but at times, especially during the breeding season, it can get vicious and extremely difficult to watch. Essentially the softest and gentlest of the group needs to become assertive and aggressive to simply maintain his space, have access to food and not be attacked.

Watching the wolves’ aggressive behaviour around the omega is similar to the disturbing video I saw recently of a group of young people where the bully is beating on another girl, ending with the bully standing over her and hitting her while the girl is cowering and covering her face. The rest of the youth looked on, no one moved to get involved or stop the violence.

According to Glynis Sherwood, “Usually they are either sensitive, unhappy, vulnerable, ill and/or the outspoken child or the whistle-blower.” We make weakness, difference or threat to social order into something separate and maintain that isolation through violence and aggression. The role of scapegoat does not have to remain throughout life however. And the idea that we can stop bullying by campaigning and educating people about the bully’s behaviour only goes so far.

What we can do about bullying?

It is the inner world of the person that needs support, their perception of themselves in relation to the world around them is what is possible to change. A bully is a force of nature looking for an outlet, how can someone no longer be a suitable receptor?

I have seen in my own experience how a core homeopathic remedy can change our inner experience profoundly. The child who has an illness can be given a chance to regain their strength, the unhappy an opportunity to discover their joy, the vulnerable a means to develop their strengths, the sensitive an avenue to explore their talents, the outspoken support and encouragement for their voice. In my own experience a core remedy was like going from a 40-watt bulb to a 100-watt bulb. Suddenly who you are burns brighter and gives off more light.

This approach will not directly change a bully’s behaviour, but if it enables the bullied person to feel stronger and less vulnerable, then they often find that they cease to be the target of bullying. With an increase in self-esteem and confidence the cycle can be broken naturally without confrontation and blame. The child can then see a reduction of stress and anxiety and continue with other methods to help recover from the experience and to move on with their life.

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How does holistic treatment support healthy living? Why try homeopathy? Having a life long study in the principles of nature and healthy living, Lauren Trimble is happy to share her knowledge and experience. The art of retuning the body’s natural healing capacity & developing consciousness in a compassionate and gentle way is the gift that homeopathy brings to her current holistic practice. If you enjoyed this article find out more at Birdsong.

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Anxiety is an individual experience

Extreme anxiety can arise with no apparent reason in certain children, but usually a child is susceptible to specific situations or events. These can include a major life change such as moving to a new city or school, or changes at home such as the parent’s separation or a new relationship. Other susceptibilities can be witnessing a distressing event, or being in an upsetting situation such as emotional abuse or bullying. If the child is different in some way such as being LGBTQ or having a visibly noticeable difference such as a birth mark, that can also trigger anxiety. However, we have all observed that what upsets one child has no effect on another child.

What to look for?

How can we tell if a kid is experiencing anxiety that is unhealthy? With young kids we tend to give a lot of tolerance for personality and individual character or for situations that are obviously difficult. Usually we can say, ‘just give it some time and they will find their footing.’ Or we can discuss the situation with them and then see if they outgrow a phase. There are things we can look out for such as sudden changes in behaviour that seem out of character or are not the usual growing pains. If a child has unexpected changes of their feelings, such as a happy child that is suddenly worried, guilty, angry or fearful this is something to observe closely. When the emotions do not shift naturally and seem to get stuck on only one ‘channel,’ that can point to a lack of adaptation and spontaneous response. Hopelessness and rejection can be signs of something deeper, and if left unaddressed may lead to more serious issues such as depression, a desire to self harm or even of suicide in later adolescence. Also, for older children, the use of drugs or alcohol, especially when they are alone can signal a need for soothing, coping and numbing out uncomfortable thoughts and feelings.

It is also important to notice if they are complaining of physical symptoms like frequent headaches or stomachaches, if they have problems eating or sleeping, or have a general lack of energy. Take notice if they start to make odd or repetitive movements such as when they are playing or resting. It is good to observe as well if they start to avoid things that before they enjoyed or liked, if they are suddenly less social or interested in being with others. And if they show any signs that they are having trouble coping with regular activities and normal everyday challenges.

What if I don’t have a diagnosis of anxiety for my child?

Observable signs and symptoms determine unhealthy anxiety in children. In older children they may also be able to provide their inner experience of physical symptoms as well as thoughts, imaginations and dreams. An official diagnosis can be difficult since behaviours such as shyness, anxiety nervousness, strange eating habits, and outbursts of temper can occur as a normal part of a child’s development. It is important to be able to discern if they happen very often, last a long time, occur at an unusual age, or cause significant disruption to the child’s and/or family’s life.

It can be reassuring to have medical tests and a diagnosis since a child is unable to fully express or understand their own symptoms and inner experience, but in some situations they may be too costly or unavailable. When there is a diagnosis and the doctor is doing tests, this can help to direct the course of action to take. With homeopathy however, there is no need for a specific diagnosis of anxiety, a serious concern is enough to warrant a trip to the homeopath. Then in collaboration with the parents, they can see if there is a general remedy to help with the stage and adaptation that the child is struggling with. In more serious cases when something is definitely wrong, it can be good to give a deeper, more individualized core remedy to help the child with all aspects of their life and to give them an opportunity for more healthy development and balance.

Homeopathy is a completely natural approach and instead of prescribing medications or lengthy therapy, a few sessions can often determine the situation and resolve the issue or with the suggestion of a remedy or remedies this can help the child to naturally resolve their issue. By naturally adapting to their current situation a child can develop greater resilience, a stronger immune system, develop their individuality and reduce the level of toxicity or stress that medications may cause.

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How does holistic treatment support healthy living? Why try homeopathy? Having a life long study in the principles of nature and healthy living, Lauren Trimble is happy to share her knowledge and experience. The art of retuning the body’s natural healing capacity & developing consciousness in a compassionate and gentle way is the gift that homeopathy brings to her current holistic practice. If you enjoyed this article find out more at Birdsong.

 

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“Help, my child has anxiety!”

According to the Canadian Mental Health Association anxiety disorders have been found to be the main mental health problem affecting young children and adolescents today. Although anxiety is a perfectly normal response to everyday stressors, not every child copes with or experiences anxiety in a healthy way. If left unaddressed excessive anxiety can affect how children do at school, how well they form relationships with others and can disrupt normal development, all of which might affect them later in life as adults.

Is there a natural option?

Homeopathy can help with various issues related to anxiety including the more extreme types such as hyperactivity, OCD, oppositional defiance, anger issues and developmental delay. The professionally chosen remedy can help to improve the child’s concentration, moods, sensitivities, irritability, and can improve the overall wellbeing of the child. Homeopathic remedies are usually quick acting, easy to administer and are given infrequently. When individualized holistic treatment is followed the improvement can be long lasting and often negates any need for long-term medications. Although each child’s situation is different, anxiety and related issues often improve within a few weeks. The symptoms will tend to reduce in intensity and frequency, and then fade away. If they return, several options are available such as repeating the remedy, selecting a new remedy or increasing the potency of the original remedy. Often, as the child grows and develops their experience changes and different remedies are given in each new stage.

Why a natural approach is worthwhile?

Besides the basic developmental and intellectual growth, parents want their children to be happy and emotionally self-regulating. In the process of learning and experimenting, a range of anxiety, frustration and mood swings are expected during the growing years. Some of the things that cause anxiety can be new situations, the craving to excel and improve, and the discomfort of not understanding or of not being able to do something. These can lead to crying, fretting and whining. A healthy child gets fully into the reaction and then gets over it quickly. They are open to being comforted and to learning about their experience. If the reactions are pronounced, overly repetitive, continuous or a general hindrance to a generally happy life, it is time to consider that there is an unhealthy level of anxiety occurring for some reason and a visit to the homeopath can be in order.

It is important that children develop the appropriate age related skills and learn how to experience anxiety and other difficult emotions. It is important to understand that homeopathy is not a way to remove or suppress this discomfort. What it can do is to reduce the extreme reactions and improve the adaptation and resilience that children need to develop and grow. It can also help with the delicate individuation process that allows a child to develop into their inherent potential, to improve their vitality, to build up their natural immune system that is intrinsically tied to their individuality and to ensure a healthy and happy adult life. This individuation process is governed by unconscious playful learning, conscious exertion and by contracting and recovery from childhood illnesses.

The use of medications and other suppressing treatments can disrupt this delicate process. Young children were never given the number of medications or the types of medications they are getting today. A natural and more holistic approach using homeopathy and naturopathy can provide the necessary tools that encourage healthy growth and development for each child and improve their general health and well being. Anxiety does not have to be a lifelong debility for your child or affect them later on in life.

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How does holistic treatment support healthy living? Why try homeopathy? Having a life long study in the principles of nature and healthy living, Lauren Trimble is happy to share her knowledge and experience. The art of retuning the body’s natural healing capacity & developing consciousness in a compassionate and gentle way is the gift that homeopathy brings to her current holistic practice. If you enjoyed this article find out more at Birdsong.

 

 

FINDING ADDICTION’S ROOTS finding our passion

This series of PDFs are free to download, simply send a message on the contact page or at the Birdsong Holistic Facebook page, and I will send you a link to download this fifth download.

This exercise is designed to help you safely explore what the roots of your addictive behaviour may be. Gabor Maté defined addiction as any behaviour that is associated with craving and temporary relief, and has long-term negative consequences, and yet a person is not able to give up. In his experience, addiction provides a coping mechanism that helps us to get through another day, or in other words sooths, comforts, distracts or protects us from some sort of pain.

There is a direct link between the energy that drives us towards our purpose and towards our preferred addiction. This quote by Maté helps to explain this, “The difference between passion and addiction is that between a divine spark and a flame that incinerates.” When we know what is driving us to addiction, we can know more about who our inner passionate, creative self is. He also said, “Passion creates, addiction consumes.” This is as much a self exploration, as a way to resolve the reasons for our addictions.

If you are working with a Homeopath or Naturopath it is also good to understand that addiction is part of your process. It is understood that addictions can suppress our susceptibility and therefore interfere with the action of homeopathic remedies. We can also consciously or unconsciously change the effect of a remedy if we are not ready or resistant to the change that is occurring by increasing or returning to our addictive behaviour. This can slow down or stop the process. This exploration can be very helpful for the continuation of your process.

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How does holistic treatment support healthy living? Why try homeopathy? Having a life long study in the principles of nature and healthy living, Lauren Trimble is happy to share her knowledge and experience. The art of retuning the body’s natural healing capacity & developing consciousness in a compassionate and gentle way is the gift that homeopathy brings to her current holistic practice. If you enjoyed this article find out more at Birdsong.

 

… to heal the human body.

This is the intro to following 2015 Ted Talk.

Through treating everything from strokes to car accident traumas, neurosurgeon Jocelyne Bloch knows the brain’s inability to repair itself all too well. But now, she suggests, she and her colleagues may have found the key to neural repair: Doublecortin-positive cells. Similar to stem cells, they are extremely adaptable and, when extracted from a brain, cultured and then re-injected in a lesioned area of the same brain, they can help repair and rebuild it.

This is a remarkable discovery and is another case of using the theory of extracting human stem cells to heal injuries. In 2009, researchers developed a therapy that releases a flood of stem cells into the bloodstream, which could then stimulate the healing of serious tissue damage caused by heart attacks and even repair broken bones. Their ultimate goal was to use a patients’ own stem cells to regenerate damaged and diseased organs.

It was long believed that the heart and the brain, unlike other organs like the lung or liver, were unable to regenerate once damaged. In 2011, researchers discovered that the heart could indeed regenerate injured tissue. “The cells that are capable of this healing are already there in the epicardium. They just need to be tweaked and primed and the effect scaled up. If this works, we might be able to heal cardiac injury caused by heart attacks without resorting to stem cells.”

Now there are research and theories on how the brain too can heal from injury. But again, it is not due to an external drug, herb or surgical procedure, it is thanks to what is already present in the brain of each human being. Doublecortin-positive cells represent four percent of cortical brain cells and during the development stage in fetuses they help the brain to fold itself. Later in life they can be found in higher concentration close to brain lesions and it was concluded that therefore they had something to do with brain repair. These were the cells that Bloch’s team used as stem cells to re-implant in health and unhealthy brains in a process called autograph.

If we consider typical medical approaches, this kind of research is marking a shift in understanding the potential of medicine in the 21st Century. A shift from saying only the external application of a pharmaceutical medicine or surgery can heal and save a life, to how can we help the body to heal itself. In the words of Bloch, “With a little help, the brain may be able to help itself.” A little later in her talk she says, “I really hope to show you that the human brain is giving us the tools to repair itself.”

I would ask the ultimate question, “If the brain could already heal itself and has the tools it requires to do it, what is getting in the way of the natural process of healing itself? Why could these cells not proliferate naturally and do the work of healing the injury of the brain?” When we can start to answer these questions, medicine will be well on its way to cure and to do what was always the fundamental request, to do no harm.

 

https://embed.ted.com/talks/jocelyne_bloch_the_brain_may_be_able_to_repair_itself_with_help

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Forgiveness Journal. A way to self acceptance

This 31 day journal is a means to explore, develop and practice forgiveness. Practicing forgiveness is a way to reduce anger, depression and stress and encourage greater feelings of hope, peace, compassion and self confidence.

What can happen?

  1. Forgiveness is not excusing responsibility but is about taking responsibility for our own lives.
  2. Forgiveness is a way to let go of negative thoughts around situations or person that is affecting you so you can find peace and separation from them.
  3. Practicing forgiveness leads to healthier relationships with others and ourselves.
  4. Forgiveness influences our attitude and opens us to kindness, beauty, and love.
  5. Forgiveness is a major stress reducer.
  6. Forgiveness helps bring you back into the present instead of dwelling on the past.
  7. Forgiveness keeps us in the present moment where joy, peace and gratitude are experienced.
To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you.
Lewis B. Smedes
Each day has a quote and an exercise to follow. Two sample days of the journal.

Day 23. Forgiveness is not always easy. At times, it feels more painful than the wound we suffered, to forgive the one that inflicted it. And yet, there is no peace without forgiveness. Marianne Williamson
Being able to forgive is a basic core value for relationship harmony. You can also practice forgiveness by taking responsibility to rebalance your inner mental and emotional disturbances and create inner harmony. Forgiveness helps re-create a harmonious flow between yourself and everyone. Have you noticed any changes in how you are relating to family, friends and loved ones this month?
It took me a long time to learn to forgive myself for my flaws, because I knew that once I did — I would have to forgive other for theirs. Emina Gaspar-Vrana

Day 24. The power of forgiveness is huge; it is really big, and it can save this world. Immaculee Ilibagiza
Forgiveness is a way to reach a deeper understanding of events or of ourselves and other people. Notice how in the state of forgiveness you might be more open, creative, and aware. Make a note of things you have learned about yourself so far while going through these exercises. Take a look back over your journal entries to help you with this exercise.

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This series of PDFs are free to download, simply send a message on the contact page or at the Birdsong Holistic Facebook page, and I will send you a link to download this fourth free download.

How does holistic treatment support healthy living? Why try homeopathy? Having a life long study in the principles of nature and healthy living, Lauren Trimble is happy to share her knowledge and experience. The art of retuning the body’s natural healing capacity & developing consciousness in a compassionate and gentle way is the gift that homeopathy brings to her current holistic practice.

Refugees in Canada

New immigrants to Canada can carry trauma that impedes their future progress

Refugees come in various shades and are people that must leave their home and current location for reasons of safety and survival, often with no opportunity to return. They are people who are oppressed, displaced, persecuted or fleeing natural disasters, and often need to find a new home by immigrating to another country and culture. This is never an easy process, neither the events leading up to the decision to leave and the process of getting to a safer destination nor the transition period of acculturation and resettlement.

The United Nations defines refugees as “persons who are outside their country and cannot return owing to a well-founded fear of persecution because of their race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group.”

Refugees can have many physical wounds or illnesses related to a period of time where they lacked of basic needs and as well may be emotionally traumatized. The grief at leaving their home, the loss of their native country and culture, estrangement from family and friends are forefront in their experience yet often their emotional needs are put aside for the immediate material priorities such as food, housing, work and integration into the new surroundings. After the initial basic needs are met, but if the emotional needs are not, there can be isolation, depression, anxiety, poverty, long-term inadequate housing or nutrition, anger and addictive behaviour. If there is a loss of values or faith there can be hopelessness and despair. The risk for PTSD and depression is high for refugees and if there is considerable stress and trauma then learning a new language, finding work and developing social connections can be challenging.

“It is unfortunate and ironic that most refugees flee in order to escape human rights violations and violence, yet their vulnerable situation as refugees exposes them to additional human rights violations and violence. Walking away from danger with one’s valuables makes a refugee vulnerable to robbery from armed marauders. Young boys are always susceptible to being kidnapped and forced to fight for a military group. Women of all ages are potential rape victims. Children are no longer assured of receiving an adequate education. NGOs have trouble ensuring the safety of those who live in refugee camps. Refugees also occasionally have problems receiving food and water because such resources are often in short supply and are major targets of armed groups.” www.beyondintractability.org

Refugees that have trauma require greater mental and physical care and yet they can face social-economic or cultural barriers to healthcare resources such as language, cultural perceptions of health and illness, and an unfamiliarity with the available healthcare system. As a minority in a new country they can also experience what is known as isolation stress. This includes:

  • Feelings of loneliness and loss of social support network
  • Discrimination
  • Experiences of harassment from peers, adults, or law enforcement
  • Experiences with others who do not trust the refugee child and family
  • Feelings of not fitting in with others
  • Loss of social status

Integration with many forms of support

Most Western governments offer social services to help refugees pick up the pieces of their lives and start over again. In Canada there are language training programs, employment services, community organizations, and support services for childcare, transportation, translation and interpretation services, and short-term crisis counseling.

Homeopathy can be part of the complex recovery and settlement process experienced by refugees. At a basic level it can help the body to heal long standing physical issues and injuries. It can help to bring about long term emotional resolution of recent and long past events related to war, violence or persecution. The experiences related to these difficult situations are all traumatic, yet some people are able to cope with difficult experiences and move forward in healthy and productive ways. However, for others, a traumatic experience can have a profound and lasting effect on daily functioning. This is no mystery to a trained homeopath who understands the concept of individual susceptibility and perceptions of similar events.

We find that homeopathy can help with developing greater resiliency and to very quickly reduce anxiety, stress and fear that keep a person in a chronic state of stress. The inquiry process does not require reliving the past experiences and retelling the difficult stories, but instead explores how what happened has affected the person, their inner experience and how this presents as current symptoms. There is no need to re-traumatize a stressed person in this method. The support that homeopathy naturally provides means getting beyond the level of basic needs is easier and no longer as challenging. The person can begin to find their potential and meaning and better adapt to their life as it is now. In this way, they can also contribute more to their families and to the community.

To help with resettlement stress, change and adaptation, homeopathy can be a helpful treatment for refugees along with other social programs and health services.

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How does holistic treatment support healthy living? Why try homeopathy? Having a life long study in the principles of nature and healthy living, Lauren Trimble is happy to share her knowledge and experience. The art of retuning the body’s natural healing capacity & developing consciousness in a compassionate and gentle way is the gift that homeopathy brings to her current holistic practice. If you enjoyed this article find out more at Birdsong.

 

 

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