Healing Our Flight-or-Flight Response and Transforming Depression

Fight-or-flight is an ancient survival system programmed into our brain that helps us flee tigers or prepare to fight them. It is meant to turn on when we face peril, and off so we can relax again after the danger passes. But if you are born into a family that is not safe, your fight-or-flight system can be turned on even before birth, and keep you in a world that is not safe, where you cannot trust others emotionally and where you are certain that life will not support your dreams and endeavors. Your fears become a self-fulfilling prophecy, and depression sets in. Shamans discovered how to reset the fight-or-flight system so that you can live with a deep sense of safety in your life.

A deep depression held Sandy in its clutches. In fact, she had suffered from depression as far back as she could remember. She had sought healing from many sources: Rolfing, yoga, psychotherapy, acupuncture, hypnotherapy, and meditation. Consulting a shaman was her last recourse. After attending a lecture of mine, she decided to sign up for the Light Body Energy Medicine training only two weeks after.

During training, Sandy was the subject for a demonstration of the illumination process, a core healing practice. She shared her story – growing up in Alaska abandoned by her mother, who left her cold, alone, and afraid. Next she witnessed her mother having an affair and was asked to keep the secret “or there would be hell to pay.” Then she experienced a violent attack from her father. Those whose job it was to nurture and protect her had betrayed her. Added to her fear was a sense of guilt based on a lie. The betrayer! She had become the culprit, the bad girl – or more accurately, the scapegoat of her family. She had served as a distraction, pulling her parents’ gaze away from the sorrow and suffering they had caused each other and wanted desperately to ignore.

When Sandy came to see me for additional work, she couldn’t do her work as a yoga teacher anymore, as she felt drained of all energy. She had never known what it is to wake up in the morning without fear taking hold of her. All doctors did was to prescribe more meds. I could see that the drugs had taken a toll on her body. Drugs were not the answer, she had lost a part of her soul as a young child, and then another part later when she was a teenager. But she was not ready for a soul retrieval. First, I needed to clear her second chakra from heavy energy. The second chakra is associated with our sense of self-worth, our family of origin, sensuality, and the preteen and teen years – the years Sandy lost her sense of self.

I cleared the second chakra and performed an illumination, bringing divine light into the chakra.  But that was not enough, to address her nervousness and lack of energy we needed to reset her fight-or-flight response. When her father attacked her, she experienced panic. Since she couldn’t hide or run, she froze and became paralyzed. The fight-or-flight response that is supposed to help us escape, never resets itself. Her adrenals got stuck in the on position, keeping her in that heightened state of alert. I used a process called decoupling to reset her second chakra and inform the adrenals to stop dumping adrenaline into the bloodstream, which reduces the production of cortisol, a substance deadly to the brain. Later I also performed and extraction on Sandy.

If you would like to find out more about Sandy and all the work we did together, read more about her story in “The Shaman’s Book of Living and Dying:  Tools for healing Body, Mind and Spirit.”