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I've been thinking a lot about embracing, rather than escaping...

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by Nicole J. Sachs LCSW, Feb 7, 2014.

  1. Nicole J. Sachs LCSW

    Nicole J. Sachs LCSW Therapist and TMS Author

    ...And then Philip Seymour Hoffman died, refocusing my attention to the fact that "escape" can take many forms. Sadly, TMS is our brains' way of diverting our pain from the psychological to the physical, not realizing it is hurting/killing us in the process. It actually thinks it's saving us! In Hoffman's case, drugs were the way to dull the pain. I really loved and respected this actor, far too young to die. As humans, we're all the same when we hurt. Embracing rather than escaping can end TMS, and ultimately could've saved Philip Seymour Hoffman's life. Click the link below to read my thoughts on the matter. And much love from me, to you.


  2. Msunn

    Msunn Well known member

    Thanks you for that post Nicole and the very well written blog . Being around artistic people my whole life I think your insights are definitely accurate. I also don't think that inner turmoil is limited to famous actors, musicians, writers, or artists. I think there is always what we hear or see in our heads, and what we actually do, that never quite match up.

    I know in my case coming from a very dysfunctional family, music was my escape. This was very positive at first, but it also had the negative side of having my whole identity and self worth wrapped up in being a musician. Add in the inner critic, perfectionism, self esteem issues, and it's a crazy mix of really loving what I do, and also being my own worst critic. I know this has been a major contributor to my TMS symptoms and I am making progress with accepting myself exactly where I am and giving myself freedom to get back to the more childlike enjoyment of music.

    I haven't had to worry about the fame issue:) but I can see where that would add a whole other dimension, as in Phillip Seymour Hoffman's case.

    It's an great topic for me to think about and I appreciate you posting it.
  3. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    Nicole, I'll look at your blog this afternoon. I'm interested in knowing what caused Hoffman's death.
    Maybe it was unintentional and he was badly influenced by others giving him drugs or medication.
    A doctor on tv said most people who are heroin addicts seldom live to be 50.
    But what drives anyone, including Hoffman, to heroin is a mystery to me. There are so many
    other less lethal ways to find relief from mental stress (not that I am recommending alcohol or
    tranquilizers) that may not be as fatal right away.

    msunn, music is more than an escape. I have friends who consider just listening to music is
    therapeutic. Think of young David playing the harp and singing psalms to King Saul.
    Music therapy goes back a long way and still works today.
    When I get anxiety or stress I play some CDs of classical guitar or piano.
    I also can lift my spirits immediately listening to Gilbert and Sullivan.

    I wish I played a musical instrument, but I still get the benefits of music therapy from recordings.

    You who play a musical instrument are really fortunate.
    Eric "Herbie" Watson and Msunn like this.
  4. Steve Ozanich

    Steve Ozanich TMS Consultant

    I don't want to hijack Nicole's thread so I'll combine both points. She has the right idea, face it, as opposed to diverting it. The conflict only has power over you if you take a stance against it. There can be no conflict if there's nothing conflicting. It takes two objects colliding to create a spark, which can be good or bad.

    Thich Nhat Hanh makes the point clear, embrace pain and accept it as part of you--sending it love instead of disdain. Andrew Weil has stated that the people who fight cancer seem to do much worse than those who accept it as a part of themselves that needs addressed. In a couple radio interviews I was on with Emile Allan, MD, who wrote a book called Eaten by the Tiger. I listened to his message which was to stop running, turn around and allow yourself to be eaten by the tiger, and your fear will fade. The same holds true for phobias, to face them is to dilute them. It takes great strength to let go.

    Music is healing. People still don't take full advantage of it no matter how much I try to steer them that way. It's a form of escape and of healing, one of those infamous fine lines in healing: shifting awareness without pretending something doesn't exist. Music shifts the mind's eye (ear) in mindfulness from the obsession, but it also allows for a harmony to be joined as the cells react to the vibration (eg, shin-ichero teriyama). Music also has therapeutic advantages as it soothes the system, releases good chemicals, ignites past neurotransmitters, and re-focuses awareness to the task at-hand.

    Our own MSunn is a fantastic guitar player. I have his CD "Secrets of the Sacramentos" and it's great. I've been listening to it non-stop as I've been doing my TMS work, for the past couple weeks. I recommend it to anyone who wants to calm down and relax; breathe and become still. Every song on it is beautiful with a very soothing and calming affect/effect. It's light jazzy and floats with an ease that probably is a projection of how he wants to feel inside. I would like to put it on my website as soothing audio. A few folks have asked me for audio healing stuff, but I normally send them toward Dr. Miller's massive healing-library. But MSunn's CD has the same effect on me, it soothes the torment of inner conflict, and heals.

    As far as Philip Hoffman, he was one of my favorite actors. It's clear on his facial expressions that he had deep conflict. He had the "forced smile" that superego demands from him. There was little peace in his face. Drugs, meds, alcohol, etc., numb the emotional experience. If the emotions are good ones we wouldn't want to stop that experience, so we must assume that his was a bad memory.

  5. BruceMC

    BruceMC Beloved Grand Eagle

    I think this last portrait of Phillip Hoffman, taken on January 19th of this year, at the Sundance Festival in Utah says more than we can ever say or really know about his inner pain:


    "Through a glass darkly"?
    1 Corinthians 13:12
    His story reminds me a lot of people in college in the late 70s who partied all the time, but some of them were creating a biochemical "enemy within" that would come back to haunt them as they faced mid-life crises. Of course, some of them graduated, quit, and got on with their lives. Others became members of what W.B. Yeats called, "the tragic minority" like Lionel Johnson or Ernest Dowson.
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2014
  6. Eric "Herbie" Watson

    Eric "Herbie" Watson Beloved Grand Eagle

    Nicole I love the Blog you wrote . That really made a lot of sense to me, thanks. Steveo that is some good teaching you have there pal. Read and heal everyone this is Awesome. Love this post and all the replies Nicole. You done got a good thread fired up. Awesome
  7. Eric "Herbie" Watson

    Eric "Herbie" Watson Beloved Grand Eagle

    BruceMC im speechless at your art you find. Awesome
    God bless Phillip Hoffman
    Msunn likes this.
  8. Msunn

    Msunn Well known member

    Walt, I didn't mean to imply music was only an escape. It's hard to put in words what music has meant to me, but it has touched in many deep ways. I definitely get the healing aspect. I feel fortunate to have played music most of my life. In recent years I seem to gravitate toward writing and listening to music that has a healing or calming effect.

    On the other hand when my whole self worth and perfectionism got tied up in being a musician it also can be used to fuel my neurosis! I know from being around musicians my whole life that's not an uncommon experience. I think many artistic people have childhood and emotional issues. It seems many of us with TMS also have similar backgrounds.

    Steve I've already told you, but thank you for your friendship and guidance. What a blessing to know you. If you want to use the music on your website, that would be awesome.

    That photo of Phillip Hoffman says a lot. Thanks for posting that Bruce
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2014
  9. chickenbone

    chickenbone Well known member

    There is an awful lot of truth in what Nicole is saying " I help them to understand that discomfort is only uncomfortable while we avoid embracing it." Guy Finley is saying basically the same thing, that we only suffer pain when we serve up resistance to whatever Life brings us in the moment. Instead of embracing it, our mind gremlins are saying that, whatever it is, we don't want it. (Because out minds think they know, when they don't). What Life does is constantly bring us experiences that allow us to achieve a higher level of understanding, and therefore being, but we resist. This resistance is actually what fear is. This is also a big part of staying in the present moment. Whenever we resist, we have allowed our minds to take us out of the present moment. Most of the problems we experience is the result of being in the wrong relationship with Life. This is the basic meaning of the spiritual truth "What you resist persists".
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2014
  10. Lily Rose

    Lily Rose Beloved Grand Eagle

    *blinks in surprise and wrestles with iTunes*

    Ohhhhh. I didn't know this. How lovely! I've added this cd to my wish list. The samples are beautiful!

    with much grace and gratitude,
    Eric "Herbie" Watson and Msunn like this.
  11. Msunn

    Msunn Well known member

    Beautifully expressed Chickenbone. Thank you.

    Thanks Lily:) I really value knowing you.
    Eric "Herbie" Watson likes this.
  12. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    The posts about resistance, acceptance, and facing our fears are great.
    It's like being in the same room with everyone and exchanging ideas.

    Hoffman's face sure does tell it all. The poor guy. He needed help but didn't get it.
    Eric "Herbie" Watson and Mermaid like this.
  13. chickenbone

    chickenbone Well known member

    Thanks to Nicole for bringing this up. We can all learn something from the loss of Phillip Hoffman. The world will miss him.
    Eric "Herbie" Watson likes this.
  14. Nicole J. Sachs LCSW

    Nicole J. Sachs LCSW Therapist and TMS Author

    Thank you all for caring enough to comment on my post. It makes me feel less alone seeing that others thought about Hoffman as I did, and can acknowledge that we are "only as sick as our secrets." TMS is everywhere, and takes every form imaginable. Although the varied (and at times, debilitating) pain we experience is as REAL as it gets, knowing that we have the power to exact change in our own lives is a gift I still struggle to appreciate enough. Keep fighting the good fight! xoxoxo, n.
  15. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    So many people need friends like those in the TMSWiki, to help them over rough times.
    My favorite author, F. Scott Fitzgerald, relied heavily on friendship but never got the real help
    he needed. He wrote in his later years something that, "When you're forty you realize that
    even friends can't help you." Poor guy, like Hoffman he didn't find the right friend.
    I've been very lucky in that, having and having had some friends who helped me over
    some very rough times. And I think I've helped them, too.

    The exchanges of postings on the Wiki are amazing for how everyone is genuinely interested
    in each other and offering help.
    Msunn and Eric "Herbie" Watson like this.
  16. Eric "Herbie" Watson

    Eric "Herbie" Watson Beloved Grand Eagle

    You have sure helped me a lot friend. Thanks Walt for what your doing and to all my friends at the wiki.:)
    Msunn likes this.
  17. Leonor

    Leonor Peer Supporter

    I was also very sad when I read of his death. I wonder what makes them escape into such a lethal habit. According to Gabor Mate they have a void. All addicts have a void. Like somebody said not only celebrities became escapists.
    It is very difficult to confront our deep pains. It happens to me, whenever I remember my intense suffering after the military coup when I was a child I become again a child, a very hurt child. I have done work with it but it is still there. I tend to just avoid it and enjoy life, but it always come back. I can't get it out of my system and I know it is not healthy. I am still working on it and I can understand how people that don't have the tools we have surrender.

  18. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    Leonor, your childhood being a victim of a military coup is bound to be a painful one that stays with you.
    It's in your repressed emotions, and since you already know that, your unconscious may just need time to absorb it.
    Meanwhile, think and do HAPPY to drive out the old demons.
    Eric "Herbie" Watson likes this.
  19. Leonor

    Leonor Peer Supporter

    Thank you Walt. I think the same. I am hanging in there and taking it easy. I just remind myself that it will go away and that I am working on my emotions.
    Eric "Herbie" Watson likes this.
  20. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    It must be very hard to put the traumatic childhood past behind you. Have you tried praying and asking God to help you?
    Eric "Herbie" Watson likes this.

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