Compassion Strengths

Workshops, consultations, education and support for care givers.


Transformation, emotional transformation, principles for transformation

“Through transformation, the nervous system regains its capacity for self-regulation. Our emotions begin to lift us up rather than bring us down. They propel us into the exhilarating ability to soar and fly, giving us a more complete view of our place in nature” (p. 103).

- Peter Leveine, Ph.D. "Waking the Tiger, Healing Trauma"

Compassion fatigue cannot be stopped, blocked or ignored. It must be transformed. As long as we do this work, empathically engage with others who are suffering or are exposed to vicarious trauma transmitted through the media, we will unconsciously mirror the emotions we sense and feel from others causing our bodies and minds to freeze. The cumulative effect of repeated freezing is "energy residue," that is stored in our nervous system making us more susceptible to freezing in a self-sustaining feedback circuit known as emotional kindling. 

Transformation is a process that requires basic principles and specific tools to recognize compassion fatigue as it is happening and transform the energy residue of the freeze response into a flow response. By applying basic principles and practicing simple methods we can regain our capacity for self-regulation.

Principles for Transformation

In my seminars I share three basic governing principles of the Healer-Warrior philosophy. These principles have provided the foundation for transformation for myself personally and for thousands of participants on three continents for over 15 years. They are: Self-honesty, personal responsibility, and self-expression.

Self-honesty is the key. It is the primary, essential process that allows a depth of access into parts of your personal self that cannot be attained any other way. In this context, self-honesty means self-transparency—the ability to look inward to cultivate “in-sight.” Self-honesty is both a process and a skillful activity that can be learned and nurtured.

What is most essential to developing self-honesty is a courageous willingness to suspend judgment, to halt the automatic response of immediately categorizing a concept or idea according to an already existing belief of what may be right or wrong, good or bad, possible or impossible.

It’s not an easy thing to do; it requires courageous willingness. Temporarily suspending your belief systems can cause you to feel uneasy, even lost. This is because most people rely on their unquestioned beliefs to try to make sense out of a world that is often unpredictable and traumatic.

Unquestioned beliefs have remarkable powers to shape our perception. What we attend to physically, mentally, and emotionally is selected and shaped to a great extent by what we unconsciously expect to experience.

To become aware of and suspend these beliefs is to invite you to look clearly and intently inside yourself with as much courageous transparency as possible. Resist the temptation to immediately judge and classify the ideas shared before you have the chance to “try them on.”

Personal responsibility is the continual willingness to take ownership of our personal experience. The problem we usually run into with personal responsibility our willingness to surrender the need to be right.

The need to be right is one of our strongest and most strongly defended intentions. This is because the need to be right is often associated with our need to be loved. As a result of the conditional love, praise and acceptance most of us received as children when we did the “right thing” or gave the “right” answer, we came to value being right over most everything else, including being happy, at peace and content with who we are.

“If being right is your goal,
you will find error in the world, and seek to correct it.
But do not expect peace of mind.
If peace of mind is your goal,
look for the errors in your beliefs and expectations.
Seek to change them, not the world.
And be always prepared to be wrong."

— Peter Russell: “Waking Up in Time”

Personal responsibility is the degree of our willingness to take ownership for our perceptions, thoughts, beliefs, emotions, and behaviors; our communication with self and others; all our relationships; and the conditions of our lives that we are now experiencing.

This is not self-blame. To blame yourself you must split yourself into both the part that is doing the blaming and the part that is getting blamed. This splitting yourself into opposing parts weakens your sense of self and distorts your perception of others.

The action of personal responsibility is looking, listening, and letting go. This is the art of surrendering.

Surrendering is the Warrior’s art. To surrender is to give in, not give up. Giving in is accepting the reality of the situation as it is without meeting your ego’s demand to be right. To surrender means, to bring your ego-perception more into alignment with your here and now, in the moment— in your body experience.

Self-expression is the magic of transformation. When you become clear and open to the intuitive signals— the music of your Natural Self—you will begin to experience a deep sense of enjoyment and empowerment. Self-expression is the dance of energy and enjoyment of the Natural Self when allowed to play.

The Natural Self is that place of connection between mind, body, energy in motion, intuition, and insight that is in a constant state of flow; it is both in the heart and from the heart. To express myself honestly and with responsibility is to engage and empower my Natural Self to create and re-create itself spontaneously in my life.

The Natural Self is a wise, gentle, powerful, and playful being inside each of us that is usually invisible to the ego’s eye. This is mostly because the Natural Self lives in the heart and the ego lives in the head. The Natural Self perceives the world in terms of “us,” while the ego sees the world in terms of “me.” The Natural Self senses connection and commonality while the ego notices separation and specialness.

Self-expression becomes the action of clearly tuning into the music of the Natural Self and allowing that music to move you moment to moment as you dance in ever-growing harmony and synchrony. Self-expression is the spontaneous alignment of who you are with what you are doing.

Tools for Transformation

Personal transformation requires specific tools that you can use to help shift your perception. After years of traditional psychotherapy I realized insight wasn't enough. I needed to make actual changes in my awareness, how I breathed, how comfortable and connected I felt inside my body and learn to train my imagination. I gradually developed a series of methods and tools that have been crucial in learning to transform exhaustion into energy, resignation into resilience. 
Somatic Awareness
Somatic awareness, body awareness, felt senseLearning to listen to the feelings and sensations that are constantly giving you information about your internal environment is the basis of interpersonal and intrapersonal intelligence. Learning to utilize the wisdom of your "felt sense" is the essence of somatic awareness. Read more...  
Mindful Movement
Mindful movement, Qigong, Martial Arts, FlowMotion,To move consciously, freely, joyously with full intent is the essence of mindful movement. With the attention focused fully on being inside the body and allowing the body to express itself spontaneously is the heart of FlowMotion.
Conscious Breathing
Somatic awareness, body awareness, felt senseBreath IS energy; physical, emotional, mental and spiritual energy. The way in which we breathe determines the quantity and quality of our energy. Conscious breathing allows you to direct your Energy in MOTION. Read more...
Creative Visualization
Creative visualization, transformation, imaginationCreative visualization is one of the most powerful tools we have for transformation. The problem is we most often visualize reactively rather than creatively. By learning to align who we are with what we are doing we can develop psycho-physiological coherence. Read more...

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