What is feelingawareness?

What is feelingawareness?
Working with Sam
About Sam
Contact, Location
& Fees

The Original Self
The Causes
The Basic Needs
Reconnecting is Healing
feelingawareness Work
The History of feelingawareness Work


feelingawareness is a word that describes the natural state of being.

All living things are designed to be in this state—fully connected within themselves—and with life as-it-is.

Most of us are not in a state of feelingawareness because various circumstances in our lives have disrupted our natural integrity. This dysfunctional state makes adult life appear confusing, disjointed, and full of struggle.

To escape this dysfunctional condition, we need to apply attention to our feelings, thoughts, perceptions, and overall approach to life.

Sam Turton can assist you with feelingawareness through:

• Whole life assessment and development
• Feeling-friendly psychotherapy
• Zen mindfulness
• Mentorship and coaching

feelingawareness work can help resolve many difficult states and issues, including:

• grief, depression, anxiety, rage, and shame
• relationship dysfunction, parenting issues, career and life direction
• childhood traumas of abuse and neglect, PTSD, addictions

feelingawareness work can lead to:

• greater understanding and control
• decrease in dysfunctional emotion
• less worry and circular thinking
• greater ease and life appreciation
• increased health awareness and action
• more effective self-advocacy and problem solving

feelingawareness is a convergence of:

mindfulness • psychology • intellect • health

Let your own nature be your guide.

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The Original Self

In their natural state, human beings function as an integrated whole—in balanced communication and interaction within themselves and with the world at large.

feelingawareness is the natural state of being.

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When we experience unavoidable, painful situations, humans, like other animals, have the capacity to survive the overwhelming stimulus by disconnecting from it internally. This disconnect, if not immediately resolved through support, action, and physical and emotional release, results in trauma—pain held in the system.

If this pain is not resolved and is compounded by more traumatic pain, it remains buried, and our originally integrated system of feelingawareness is disconnected and broken.

When we are disconnected from ourselves, we often feel:

• confused and doubtful
• unhappy and searching for the answer "out there"
• over- or under-emotional, with flatness, sadness, fear, anger, and shame
• unwell and not knowing why
• stuck in struggles and dramas
• empty and looking for relief

We hurt because we carry pain inside.

The cause is hidden so we search for the solution outside.

We try everything, but nothing works.

It feels like something is missing.

Something is missing—our whole selves.

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The Causes

The disconnection from feelingawareness is caused by three possible factors:

• trauma
• negative conditioning
lack of positive conditioning


Trauma is an event—or damaging daily occurrence—that is impossible to manage, get support for, or escape from, and is so overwhelming that our system has to internally disconnect. Neglect, abuse, and injury are common causes. Disconnection occurs more easily if our systems are more vulnerable, which is why the most traumatic damage is sustained the earlier it happens in childhood.

Fainting during a stressful event is a simple example of the system reacting to overwhelming stimulus. Forgetting the actual impact of an accident is another.

This disconnection mechanism is intended to work like an electrical circuit breaker. the breaker trips (switches off) when an oversized electrical surge arrives. By tripping, the breaker does not allow the surge through to damage the system and possibly start a fire. The breaker trips and saves the system.

After the breaker trips, the circuit does not function—temporarily. The intention is to remove the problem (an extra appliance, for example), and switch the breaker back on. Then the circuit returns to its connected state and the lights and appliances all work.

The human system is intended to work the same way:

• an overwhelming event occurs
• parts of our brain disconnect to save us from the full force of the event, and some or all of the experience is hidden from normal consciousness
• the cause of the event needs to be removed and replaced by a safe environment
• after safety is returned, we reconnect by feeling and releasing the hidden parts of the event, often by crying and other expression
• we then return to full feelingawareness

THE KEY: For this process to work effectively, the overwhelming cause needs to be removed and replaced by a safe environment.

But what if the cause is not removed? What if there is no safety? What if, as is often the case with children, our parents are neglectful and don't know how to provide safety? What if our parents, the ones who are supposed to protect us and provide safety, are the ones abusing us? Then our emotional "circuit breaker" never turns back on. Part of our "house"—our bodymind—remain disconnected, "in the dark". The more times this happens the more disconnected and dysfunctional we become.

Pain that remains hidden—held pain—is called trauma.

Trauma is held inside, waiting for a safe place to be released and resolved.


If, as children, we live in a family that is dysfunctional, we not only sustain traumas of neglect and abuse, but we are surrounded by a constant modelling of negative conditioning:

• confusing or poor communication
• aggravated conflict and/or denial of problems
• excess anger, depression, and anxiety
• physical, emotional, and sexual abuse
• addictions to drugs, alcohol, food, gambling, etc.
• excessive control and authority and/or permissive unpredictability
• destructive life goals

Like a fish living in toxic water, these dysfunctional behaviours enter us and shape the way we think, move and behave, setting like concrete, from thousands of repetitions, into the "character" we believe we are. These patterns are not hidden like traumas—they are front and centre in every thing we do—but unnoticed because of their familiarity. These negative patterns, however, interfere with our feelingawareness.


A lack of positive conditioning is not just the inverse of negative conditioning. Every child, even those fully feelingaware, need to be surrounded by a constant modelling of healthy behaviours—positive conditioning—to guide them into adulthood. If children grew up without negative conditioning—but also without positive conditioning—they would grow up confused and adrift.

Children need positive conditioning such as:

• healthy female, male, and family role models
• clear and compassionate communication
• balanced conflict resolution and exploration of problems
• responsible expressions of emotion
• physical protection and safe affection
• healthy lifestyle
• balanced parental authority and family democracy
• inspiring and functional life goals and activities

A lack of positive conditioning, as a monumental neglect, is often even harder to notice than negative conditioning. A person who doesn't know who they are, what they want, how to respond, what to do, how to even be—is highly disadvantaged, but does not experience the extreme pains of trauma or the dramas of bad conditioning. They often look for leaders and guides—substitutes for the good parents they needed—instead of realizing that the solution is within.

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The Basic Needs

To become functional, feelingaware adults, children have 4 basic needs:

1) physical support: safety and protection with sufficient food, clothing, and shelter
2) emotional support: unconditional love, appreciation, respect, and affection
3) family support: acceptance, stability, and guidance
4) freedom within structure: to explore perceptions, feelings, creativity, and boundaries

Of all these things, safety is the most important. Safety is the protective shell within which a developing being is free to fully grow and develop. When children feel safe, their systems grow and learn at the optimum rate.

When these needs are not met due to neglect and/or abuse, development is inhibited and the natural state of feelingawareness is disconnected by the debilitating effects of trauma and conditioning.

To reconnect and resolve this dysfunctional state, we need an environment with as many of the 4 basic needs as possible—safety being essential.

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Reconnecting is Healing

The words "heal," "health," and "healthy," come from the Old English hal, and the Greek, holos: "to make whole or complete." To reconnect is to heal, have health, and be fully healthy.

Feelingawareness is health and wholeness.

The natural process of healing begins with a safe and supportive, therapeutic environment.

The ideal therapeutic environment provides:

• Safety—from harm, negative judgment, criticism, interruption, boundary violation

• Acceptance—without judgment, coercion, or manipulation

• Respect—where you are welcome and all of you is accepted as you are

• Presence—where you get compassionate attention, are listened to and heard

• Stability—in relationships that are constant and reliable over time

• Freedom—to explore, share and express whatever is necessary and true

• Choice—the power to say no, and choose without intimidation

• Guidance—realistic presentations of options and outcomes

These elements provide the essence of the 4 basic needs of physical support, emotional support, family support and freedom within structure that we needed as children.

The childhood need for "sufficient food, clothing, and shelter" requires financial stability, and for adults to seek feelingawareness, this also needs to be addressed for the system to feel safe enough to process difficult issues of trauma and conditioning.

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feelingawareness work

When the right therapeutic environment is found, nature begins the return to feelingawareness.

The return is the exploration and resolution of the three main causes of disconnection and dysfunction:

• trauma
• negative conditioning
• lack of positive conditioning

The roots of these problems are always found in the discomfort and pain of present day problems that repeat and will not resolve.

The elements of the therapeutic environment—safety, acceptance, respect, presence, stability, freedom, choice and guidance—provide the ideal container to explore these difficult situations and feelings.

The dysfunction in each of us is a unique construction of thoughts, behaviours, feelings and sensations that were laid down, event by event, day by day, throughout our individual history. The dismantling and replacing of that old structure with a new, and healthy one is an organic process as unique as you are.

And so there is no specific order or set of techniques to follow—you follow you. The experienced facilitator you have chosen follows you as well, listening, asking questions, offering focus, and presenting options you can choose or pass on.

Every confusing or uncomfortable element in our life—if followed—takes us back to its origin. Every unresolving problem now connects to an unresolved problem then. There are many thoughts to be shared, many emotions to be felt, many patterns to be challenged, many insights to be seen, many new and healthy steps to take.

If a child hurts herself in the playground and does not feel safe or supported, she will hold her tears and run home. If she can feel safe with her family, she will cry the pain out, get the care she needs—and be okay. If however, there is no safe home to go to, she may hold her tears, as if frozen in time, forever—unless she can find a safe place to let them out.

That is feelingawareness work—where every tear can be cried, every shadow can be seen, every worry can be said, every sound can be heard, every tension can be released, every movement can be made, every destructive thought be noticed, every should can be questioned.

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The History of feelingawareness Work

Disconnection and dysfunction can be witnessed in animals who experience trauma, in the legends of aboriginal cultures, and in the writings of the earliest civilizations. The stories and myths have many examples of losing something essential and regaining it, or living in paradise, being cast out, and then struggling to return. Various methods for regaining wholeness—feelingawareness—are the basis of every spiritual tradition, and are, in some way, a part of every culture. True feelingawareness work may be hidden in modern culture, but it exists in every cell of our bodies, just waiting—like a seed for water—for the right opportunity to grow.

Feelingawareness work, in its most simplified form, involves the development and expansion of awareness and the discovery and release of difficult feelings.

The awareness portion is best engaged with forms of mindfulness and cognitive insight, just as the various spiritual traditions have done. The feeling portion has also been a feature of religious traditions, and is now a significant element of the psychotherapy profession. In too many cases, however, awareness has been sacrificed for feeling or feeling has been sacrificed for awareness. Our true nature is the union of both—feelingawareness.

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