Blog: The Observation Deck

In this blog, I’ll be sharing snippets of intuitively discerned guidance on “life 101” as well as observations about my favorite topics– human behavior and healing, which is why I’ve chosen to brand myself an “intuitive behaviorist” until I think of something better. When I can’t resist the urge, some acerbic comments on current affairs might challenge you to examine your current beliefs versus current social, psychological, spiritual and holistic trends.

Sometimes posts will explore the unfolding archetypal power struggles we face when our ego, identity and personal and professional power clash with our relationships, values and spirituality. In the long-term, depending on the level of resilience (emotional sturdiness) one has, that kind of inner conflict creates stress that can lead to illness.

Paradigms, Change Agents and Visionaries

A paradigm is a standard perspective, a set of ingrained perceptions that represent a common viewpoint among a group of individuals or the worldview of an entire culture. Since paradigms have multiple deep roots, they can take generations to evolve. The German physicist Max Planck, who was awarded the Nobel Prize in physics in 1918, put it this way:

“A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but because its opponents eventually die and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it.”

For example, most people believe that therapy involves emotional pain, lots of time and money and probably anti-depressant or anti-anxiety medications in order to end up with insights and coping skills for their trauma. They’ve never been exposed to a new healing paradigm that can heal deeply, relatively quickly and painlessly, without drugs. The field of Energy Psychology provides powerful but gentle healing methods, one of which is evidence-based, that can do that.

Since change agents are outside-the-box, innovative, creative thinkers, as most inventors are, they need to be independent, confident and powerful enough to defend their ideas about change from the gatekeepers of the paradigm, which generally resist change, even good change. For example, the ACME Mousetrap Company which has 90% of the market share will not be thrilled to find out that the competition has in fact invented a better mousetrap.

When the Heimlich maneuver was initially introduced, it was stonewalled for years before the American Red Cross finally endorsed a fast, effective, no-harm procedure anyone could perform to save people from choking to death.

Change agents aka “paradigm shifters” are independent thinkers who tend to ignite movements that result in fundamental changes to “standard” beliefs about the way things should be done. Visionary change agents are those whose courage, innovation, and pioneering, entrepreneurial spirit have birthed “radical” ideas as well as radical inventions into mainstream acceptance. Who would ever believe we’d have driverless cars? In many cases, visionary change agents such as Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King have altered the course of history. Without the passion to power one’s way through the cycle of resistance, ridicule and rejection, and the perseverance to stay the course no matter the obstacles, innovation dies.

You’ll become very familiar with the ACE Study, Adverse Childhood Experiences, which links childhood trauma and the development of life-threatening illness in adulthood.

Get your personal ACE Score in 6 minutes

I’ll be posting excerpts from my next couple of projects– some true case histories from the second book in the Compass series, Family Compass, about how negative family dynamics affect us, and Out of the Kill Zone, about how trauma impacts combat troops, cops and civilians and how to heal. See the reviews from the first book in the Compass series, Spiritual Compass: Practical Strategies for When You Feel Lost, Alone and God Seems Far Away.

Recent Posts

Trauma and Resilience

After nearly 20 years in private practice specializing in trauma and resilience, I thought as I watched the news about the “worst mass shooting in modern American history,” that I could easily maintain the detached yet compassionate presence I routinely hold with my clients. Not today. After watching almost an hour of  morning news about mass murder in Las Vegas, I entered the overwhelm zone.

At first I felt glued to the TV the way people rubberneck while passing a gory car crash—compelled to watch yet repelled in the same moment. To protect myself from the horror and grief, I had to detach and flee instead.

Shock, Overwhelm, Trauma and Terrorism

As I sat alone on a semi-deserted beach, numb with shock, feeling vulnerable and anxious, I felt compelled to do something to reverse the anxiety, to regain resilience through some perception of control. But what can we actually do other than donate blood, express outrage, and send “thoughts and prayers” to the victims? A reasonable person might helpfully add, “call your Congressman/woman to demand they outlaw possession of military grade semi-automatic weapons and the do-it-yourself machine gun conversion kit loophole,” but that’s a topic for another day.

When we’re suddenly hit with any kind of physical and/or emotional tidal wave, aka shock, especially as a victim or witness to random terrorism, it can be an overwhelming experience. The shock and terror literally ricochets through the nervous system and hits the body and brain like a lightning strike. Stress hormones spike our blood pressure and heart rate, and the fight/flight response can take hold.

Self-defense, Trauma and Resilience 

Whether it’s breaking news of terrorism or a devastating phone call, we need to protect our psyche and our health from shock and  withdraw to our internal panic room, a safe yet temporary respite from the sights and sounds of, in this case, mass murder. We  have the right, indeed we must, recoil from the helplessness and overwhelm then shelter in place.

“Take care of yourself” is not a routine pleasantry in these anxiety-laced times. Rather, supporting our resilience, literally the ability to bounce back, is vital to our mental and physical health. Short-term stress, if it’s severe enough and/or the person facing it is emotionally compromised already, harms the immune system, whether it is increased susceptibility to the common cold or, as the ACE Study has proven, a correlation to increased risk of life-threatening illness, depression, etc.

Regain Control: Heal with EFT

So as I sit on this beach, supported by prayers for protection and guidance, comforted by the ebb and flow of the waves, in less than five minutes I re-balance myself with EFT, Emotional Freedom Technique aka “tapping”. I still feel empathy and concern, but the tapping shifts me back to a sense of control– present but detached– calm yet mindful of those we lost as well as those of us who are left behind.

Click below to understand why resilience is crucial and how to increase yours in a stressful world.
Understanding Trauma and Resilience: Why Some Veterans and Civilians Get PTS and Others Don’t

Older Posts

When Parents Criticize: Unintended Consequences, Unintended Damage

There’s a difference between parental criticism and discipline. Discipline, done in a healthy, balanced and consistent manner, is about guidance for children to learn appropriate behavior and values as they also hopefully see their parents model appropriate behavior and values. Parental entitlement, (“Do as I say not as I do”) doesn’t cut it. Parents who bully their children may gain rapid compliance, but their children also learn to bully others to get what they want.

Gangs and Bullying: A Virulent Societal Plague

Bullying, whether it’s primarily emotional, physical, racial, cultural, sexually motivated or all of the above, is spreading through the world. Terrorist gangs are better armed and more lethal version of street gangs and play by similar rule books, even killing people, including cops and rival gang members, to protect the viability of the gang. The […]

How to Not Make Bad Decisions — Avoiding Scammers and Manipulators

This post explores the ins and outs of critical thinking, deductive reasoning and discernment, issues that should concern everyone in the voting booth, on a jury and to protect both heart and checkbook in personal and business relationships. In my intuitive healing practice, I help people identify and heal the vulnerabilities that make them susceptible […]

Hoarding: The Metaphors Behind the Madness

  “Eric” a successful businessman in his early 50’s, came to my office burdened with a shameful secret. He reluctantly admitted that no one had been inside his home for over a decade. Unlike many hoarders, Eric was not in denial. He nervously handed me a stack of photographs of his home and garage in […]

Navigating Grief and Loss

Everyone wants to know how you’re doing. The answer can vary from day to day or minute to minute. Most people don’t know what to do or say. They want to show concern and support, but they’re afraid that if they do, they might cause more pain. Death, dying and grief in this country is awkward. […]

Anger, Injustice, Unforgiveness and Cancer

Holding anger and grudges have biological consequences. They create anxiety, a form of stress, which contributes to the stress hormones cortisol and adrenalin eroding the ability of the body to produce T-cells, the “foot soldiers” of the immune system. According to this article, 61% of cancer patients have toxic loads of unforgiveness/anger/stress. This speaks to […]

New Facebook Community: Military with PTSD Out of the Kill Zone

We are announcing the launch of a new Facebook community as an international directory of resources and free or low-cost treatment for veterans and traumatized civilians who want to heal their trauma, not talk about it endlessly in counseling or suppress it with dangerous, toxic and potentially life-threatening drugs. My book of the same title […]

Yoga is Not Against the Law in Encinitas, CA Judge Rules

One ultra-conservative Christian couple here in San Diego tried to use the legal system to force their narrow beliefs on an entire community and school system. That’s what extremist Muslims who believe in Sharia law are trying to do, minus the bloodletting. Yoga is an exercise, not a Hindu belief system, unless one practices it […]

Why Change is Hard: Keeping New Year’s Resolutions

Have you heard the saying  “people resist change?” We do resist, because an element of change is the unknown, which implies a possible lack of control. Any perception of lack of control produces anxiety. That is a  recipe for resistance, whether the anxiety is conscious ( job change) or unconscious ( “Dad left  when I […]

Can Chronic Stress Make You Sick?

This Woman Got Breast Cancer From a Bad Marriage.   Here’s a story that illustrates the painful damage just one negative, limiting core belief can do to a person’s life. This woman “didn’t believe in divorce” and stayed married to a man with a mental disorder who wouldn’t work for 15 years. According to tons […]

Obituary For a Cruel and Abusive Mother, Written by Her Adult Daughter

 A gut-wrenching obituary about an abusive mother The obituary below, written by the daugher of an abusive mother, has gone viral. The story is gut-wrenching and tragic, but  sadly, in my experience treating childhood trauma for the better part of 14 years, it’s not unusual. Abandonment, rejection, abuse, cruelty, shaming, torture and beatings disguised as “discipline” have scarred the lives of millions […]

Why Hoarding and OCD (Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder) is so Hard to Heal

The Secret and Shameful World of Hoarding With the advent of the Hoarders and Hoarders: Buried Alive shows on A & E and TLC, the previously secret and shameful world of hoarding has gone public. Hoarding is a particularly chronic and difficult to treat manifestation of OCD, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Conventional psychological approaches including Cognitive […]

Left Behind: He Left Me–To Go To War

It’s 1 a.m. and I can’t sleep. My Army reserve husband returned safely from Afghanistan and is back to his old self, but the part of my heart that went with him still aches for those who suffered horrific injuries or who didn’t come home at all. On this Memorial Day, I want to speak […]

Food Sensitivities, Autoimmune Disease and Unhealed Trauma—Is There a Connection?

Studies have shown that chronic stress affects everything from your gums to your heart and can lower your immunity to everything from the common cold to cancer. In the 1930s researcher Hans Selye first coined the term “stress” to describe the damaging effects that the stress hormone cortisol had on the long-term health of rats. […]

Why People Don’t Heal

There are many reasons why people don’t heal. Some blocks to healing are emotional or spiritual and can be overcome. Sometimes illnesses have genetic components that resist healing until gene therapies advance. Emotional blocks to healing can be subconscious or conscious. Here are some examples of blocks to healing that I find frequently during intuitive […]

Can Stress From Unhealed Trauma Cause Autoimmune Diseases and Chronic Pain? Science Says YES.

Traditional psychotherapeutic approaches to trauma and PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) which focus on cognitive “restructuring” and insights too often supply clients with coping skills for their pain instead of healing. Likewise, medical treatments that do not diagnose and heal the cause but instead rely on symptom suppressing medications and treatments that do not also address […]

The ACE Study–link between autoimmune diseases, chronic stress and childhood trauma?

According to the landmark ACE Study, Adverse Childhood Experiences, (, the connection is unmistakable. In 1992, doctors at Kaiser Hospital in San Diego, CA and the federal Centers for Disease Control began a collaborative and still on-going study that would eventually involve over 17,000 people in the Wellness Program at Kaiser and offer solid evidence […]

The Many Faces of Panic

  When a doctor takes your physical history and notes your symptoms, she’s comparing the symptoms you report against a list of symptoms of various conditions she suspects and looking for a match that fits your specific symptom profile. When she gets a hit, she might follow up with tests to confirm the diagnosis. Or, […]

What’s on Your Hard Drive?

There’s nothing more important that we can do for our present health and future happiness and well being than self-heal the viruses and stealth programs on our internal hard drive. According to the landmark ACE Study, (Adverse Childhood Experiences, there is a strong graded correlation between our personal body/mind storehouse of toxic unhealed childhood […]

Two Cases of Chronic Back Pain: Grief and Heartache Held in the Back

When I first started my practice, it seemed like a first year internship. Most people had what appeared on the surface to be simple issues: back pain, phobias, anger, grief, etc. I had yet to learn that most emotional issues, especially those that have somatosized (taken root) into the body, are more like icebergs where […]

Energy Medicine: A Multi-Dimensional Healing Paradigm

There are several missing links in the current paradigm of emotional healing today.  Conventional psychotherapy such as cognitive-behavioral therapy is time-consuming, frequently taking months or even years, and is, clients tell me, painful and re-traumatizing.  It’s also expensive, and has a hit and miss reputation in terms of changed lives and the long-term release of […]