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Emotional Resolution | Cedric Bertelli #636

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On the Regular Version …

Today I welcome Cedric Bertelli as we talk about his work with emotional resolution. We are all familiar with emotions, we all have them. But Cedric’s work focuses on the emotions that are triggered from things in our past, or fears, or worry.  

How do you actually heal from them, or make them stop happening? 

That’s what we discuss. Learn more about Cedric here

On the Xtended Version …

We keep the conversation about EmRes going – only turn it a little more personal.

Enjoy the show!

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Corey Allan: It's a real treat. Anytime I get a chance to interview somebody, particularly somebody that's got a fun accent, that adds a whole other flavor rather than my Texan, Midwestern voice that's on every episode. So Cedric, I'm so excited that you're joining me today and welcome to the show, man.

Cedric Bertelli: I'm very happy to be here. Thank you for having me, Corey. I appreciate it.

Corey Allan: Absolutely. So Cedric, let's just jump right in because your work is on the concept of emotional resolution.

Cedric Bertelli: Correct.

Corey Allan: And so I think first off, we got to do some defining of what does that mean? And then we'll go from there.

Cedric Bertelli: Yeah, so it's called emotional resolution because finding a label for things is not easy, so to speak. But what it does is resolving disruptive emotional pattern. Disruptive,

Corey Allan: Okay.

Cedric Bertelli: challenging emotional difficulties, so to speak, challenging emotions. That's what

Corey Allan: Okay.

Cedric Bertelli: it's all about.

Corey Allan: And so you're talking about when I have things that happen to me and I have this normal pattern in the way I would respond or react that it's because it's almost ritualistic that it becomes it's just rote, right? Where it's like I have this,

Cedric Bertelli: That's right.

Corey Allan: this happens, I react this way. And so your

Cedric Bertelli: That's right.

Corey Allan: work is about how do I disrupt that?

Cedric Bertelli: That's right, that's absolutely right. We have those emotions that keep on coming back. It can be anger, frustration, it can be anxiety, it can be depression. And over the years, very often, we learn to control them. We learn to bottle them down, to not show them. Or some of us don't. And we just show them to the world. You know?

Corey Allan: Right.

Cedric Bertelli: But these emotions there, I mean, they've been serving a purpose, maybe in the past, but very often, if we could decide consciously to not be triggered, we will. We will say, yeah, I don't need this anger. I don't need this frustration. I don't need this anxiety. So all those disruptive emotional pattern that do not serve us per se, we can resolve them.

Corey Allan: Okay. So how? Because that begs the question because again, this is that element of I'm in the same vein as you in the sense that I think a lot of the patterns we have when we originally created them, they made sense.

Cedric Bertelli: Mm-hmm.

Corey Allan: They were survival mechanisms, they were ways to get what I needed or avoid what I didn't or because I was a kid and powerless and so I figured out

Cedric Bertelli: Yes?

Corey Allan: if I withdraw, that makes me feel safe.

Cedric Bertelli: Yes.

Corey Allan: push back, it gives me room. But then we carry that forward and it doesn't serve us as well, but it's not as simple as just, oh, I just need to stop, right?

Cedric Bertelli: You're right. Your right is not as simple as that because if we just decide cognitively that's not gonna work. Now the process of resolution is very simple. We understand today neurobiologically how an emotional difficulties is created and we understand why it is staying in us. In a nutshell I can tell you we know today that at the origin of every single one of our disruptive emotional pattern what we just talked about at the origin it's always the same kind of event. It's always a trauma.

Corey Allan: Okay, so some

Cedric Bertelli: Now

Corey Allan: sort of an event

Cedric Bertelli: what

Corey Allan: that has brought this about something that's happened and that's what, that's where it was born from is what you're saying.

Cedric Bertelli: Yes, absolutely. And you know, when we talk about trauma nowadays, we think about, I don't know, being bitter, no, a trauma in the way that we understand it, the way that I understand it, is an instant that holds too much stress, physical or emotional, for

Corey Allan: Mm-hmm.

Cedric Bertelli: us to take on at the instant when we love it.

Corey Allan: Okay, so it's something happening, because I'm just gonna, just to clarify, I just wanna make sure I'm tracking

Cedric Bertelli: Yes.

Corey Allan: with where you're going with this. That if an event that happens, and it's too much for us to quote unquote handle, physically, emotionally, mentally, whichever, that's trauma, that's what you're describing.

Cedric Bertelli: Yes,

Corey Allan: Okay.

Cedric Bertelli: correct. Absolutely. That's exactly what it is. And so that start very early on that can start in the womb, that can start at birth, that can start during the first years. It's most of the time the first two years of life, meaning from conception to out of the womb. It's a quote unquote wonderful garden for trauma because we're so vulnerable to our environment.

Corey Allan: Okay.

Cedric Bertelli: and coming out of the womb for the body physically, right? It's very traumatic for the baby

Corey Allan: Yeah.

Cedric Bertelli: and for the mom as well. It's physically traumatic.

Corey Allan: Absolutely.

Cedric Bertelli: So, and so that we understand at the origin of our pattern is always an instant of trauma. But what is happening during this instant of tumor stress? What is happening is if the cognitive, if the prefrontal cortex is already developed, When there is too much stress, there is an instant of dissociation.

Corey Allan: Okay.

Cedric Bertelli: It's a normal, it's a normal mechanism. So we don't suffer too much during a drink that let's say I'm in a bus, I'm 12 years old and a bunch of boys comes to me to beat me up.

Corey Allan: Mm-hmm.

Cedric Bertelli: I'm being bullied. If I get, if I get punched during this moment of, of being bullied, I'm going to have several pieces of dissociation

Corey Allan: Mm-hmm.

Cedric Bertelli: because it's too much for me. Boom, boom, boom. So. In one event, of course, often I'm going to have several dissociations. But what's happening with the dissociation is quite fascinating. The prefrontal cortex become inhibited. So we

Corey Allan: Mm-hmm.

Cedric Bertelli: don't suffer too much, but the prefrontal cortex is what use we use to filter information.

Corey Allan: Mm-hmm.

Cedric Bertelli: What you and I are aware of consciously is about 2000 bits of information per second.

Corey Allan: Okay.

Cedric Bertelli: The subconscious mind has a potential to gather 400 billion of bits of information per second.

Corey Allan: Right. Yeah, because there's so much more going on that it's aware of than our, than our prefrontal is aware of.

Cedric Bertelli: So much more and

Corey Allan: Yeah.

Cedric Bertelli: the speed of processing is very different. We process things consciously at about 100 miles per hour. Subconsciously, we process data at a speed of 100 000 miles per hour.

Corey Allan: Mm-hmm.

Cedric Bertelli: These are the numbers from the Penn University and it dates from 2012. But if you go on the net or look for different research, it's always on the same type of

Corey Allan: Okay.

Cedric Bertelli: ratio so to speak. But what is happening is during a... a trauma, during an instant of trauma, there is no more filter. So it's like your subconscious is wide open and it gathers all this information present within the five senses. What you see, what you smell, what you taste,

Corey Allan: Mm-hmm.

Cedric Bertelli: the texture around you. And the physical sensation present in your body during this instant of trauma is like the gate is open, you gather

Corey Allan: Mm-hmm.

Cedric Bertelli: all that. But in a non-logical way. is non-linear, is just a bunch

Corey Allan: Right.

Cedric Bertelli: of information coming. So that's what's happening during an instant of trauma, and we lived tenth and tenth of these moments in our life.

Corey Allan: Right.

Cedric Bertelli: I'm convinced of it. I mean, I see

Corey Allan: Oh

Cedric Bertelli: it

Corey Allan: no.

Cedric Bertelli: every day with people, you know, and you know that too, I'm sure.

Corey Allan: Oh yeah.

Cedric Bertelli: You know? So now what we understand is, another big part of the job's brain is to predict. We constantly predict based on past events. based on past experiences. An example that I always take is if you had a Granny Smith apple before, the next time and for the rest of your life, before you bite the Granny Smith apple, you already know exactly the experience you're about to have, you predicted.

Corey Allan: Right.

Cedric Bertelli: It is exactly the same process for emotion. After... our trauma, so to speak, our trauma plural. When the body is exposed to one or several elements that were present during one of our trauma, a smell,

Corey Allan: Mm-hmm.

Cedric Bertelli: a taste, a situational situation, when we are present, when our body is exposed to one element or several elements that were present during a trauma, it is going to automatically instantly predict what you are about to feel

Corey Allan: Mm-hmm.

Cedric Bertelli: based on what's felt during a traumatic event. So when I say it is going to predict what you're about to feel, it is going to predict the physical sensations that you're about to feel. This physical sensation we call that interoception.

Corey Allan: Mm-hmm.

Cedric Bertelli: We know that we have an emotion because we feel it in our body, because there are sensations in our Now what we discovered is that, we don't know if we discovered it, what we really enlightened, right, highlight is that the physical sensation that we feel in our body during an emotion is an obsolete, an outdated prediction from the brain.

Corey Allan: Okay.

Cedric Bertelli: And what is happening is, we'd never let this prediction play out until the end. One way or another, we control either way our emotion or our environment, the environment that creates the emotion that we experience.

Corey Allan: Okay, say that again, because I think we're

Cedric Bertelli: Yes,

Corey Allan: on

Cedric Bertelli: yes.

Corey Allan: to something pretty deep here, and

Cedric Bertelli: Yep.

Corey Allan: we'll unpack it more, but say that again.

Cedric Bertelli: Yes, yes, I'm going to back off a little bit. You know, we always talk about the Impala being chased by the lion. And when the Impala escape, it's back in a safe place. It's shaking the body and then the Impala graze like nothing happened.

Corey Allan: Right.

Cedric Bertelli: That's something that we all know about. It's a natural capacity that we all have as mammals. We do too.

Corey Allan: Mm-hmm.

Cedric Bertelli: The problem is we never let this time of recovery. Every time we experience an emotional difficulty in our life, it's another opportunity to let the body go through the update of the prediction, but we don't do it. When

Corey Allan: Okay.

Cedric Bertelli: we feel anxious, what do we do?

Corey Allan: Yep.

Cedric Bertelli: When we feel anxious, we take some breath, we have a glass of water, we have positive thinking, we try to control what create, from, I mean, I have a two-year-old and I have an 11-year-old, and I know that and I still do that sometimes, right? We teach our kids to control their emotion. If

Corey Allan: Mm-hmm.

Cedric Bertelli: you feel stressed, this is what you can do. If you

Corey Allan: Mm-hmm.

Cedric Bertelli: feel afraid, Listen, you don't have to feel afraid, so we try to control to make sense of things. It is counterproductive to healing.

Corey Allan: Right.

Cedric Bertelli: So what we... What MRes is all about is to let the body experience the full prediction, the full realm of sensations, without

Corey Allan: Okay.

Cedric Bertelli: interfering with them. Without trying to control it in any way. Or without trying to... control what's going on around you

Corey Allan: Mm-hmm.

Cedric Bertelli: Until the end of the prediction now what's important is you have to do that in a safe place Your body has to feel safe when you do that. If not, it's not going to work But another bit of information that's important to say I think is This prediction that we feel in our body Take between two seconds and 90 seconds never more

Corey Allan: Okay.

Cedric Bertelli: So if we can let the prediction plays out without interfering, without trying to understand, without thinking our way out of it, if we let the sensations change in our body until they're done changing, at the end of the prediction, the brain is expecting to be hit by some kind of danger. But at the end of the prediction, during a session, or if the person learned to do it on themselves, at the end of the prediction, nothing is happening. Your self and sound, at that very instant, what was taken as a stimulus for the brain, is updated. This emotion will never come back. It's simple.

Corey Allan: Well, yeah, you're speaking my language in the sense that it's simple, but it's incredibly difficult to do because of what it requires of us, right? It means I have to turn towards, because you're speaking a lot of the language I love, Cedric, in the sense that when we're talking about trauma, because the world we're in now, at least this is the experience I've had with some of the guests we've had over the years, most recent years, and then for sure what kind of culture is everything is big capital T trauma. Right. And it's, and now therefore that should take precedence and we should be able to create this safe environment, right? That like, that the world will become safe. And if anything, the pandemic taught us, we don't live in a safe world. There's, there's, there are things out there that will just kill us. It is just in, in maim and debilitate us. Absolutely. And not even including other people. So when we're dealing with these kinds of events, the counterintuitive thing like you're describing, this is what I love about it is, I have to turn towards it and learn to deal with it. In that moment, that's how I kind of gain new ground, as you're saying.

Cedric Bertelli: That's correct. That's absolutely correct. And you said it right, right? We spend our lives trying to step away from the emotion.

Corey Allan: Mm-hmm.

Cedric Bertelli: Blame, understand, self-blame, you name it. We have a whole battery of coping mechanisms. Sometimes

Corey Allan: Mm-hmm.

Cedric Bertelli: they self-arm. But what you said is that, you have to lean into it. So it takes courage.

Corey Allan: Right, right. Absolutely.

Cedric Bertelli: It takes

Corey Allan: It takes

Cedric Bertelli: courage,

Corey Allan: courage.

Cedric Bertelli: yeah. I call that slaying our dragons, right? Like, we spend our lives... these emotions that we talked about at the beginning of our conversation, the anger, the anxiety, like... and we spend our life trying to fight our dragons, and often that's anger, to hide from our dragons, that avoidance or escape, to control

Corey Allan: Mm-hmm.

Cedric Bertelli: our dragons, or to tame our dragons, to please them, to seduce them. But that doesn't get the dragon to go away, the only way to slay the dragon is to get in its mouth. You've

Corey Allan: Mm-hmm.

Cedric Bertelli: got to get in... You got to feel it, you got to fall into the emotion, you got to fall into the sensation of the emotion. And that's from the stomach of the dragon. When you're inside the emotion, when you feel the sensations,

Corey Allan: Right.

Cedric Bertelli: when you don't try to be out there, that you can slay the dragon.

Corey Allan: Mm-hmm.

Cedric Bertelli: And the dragon rests forever.

Corey Allan: So you made a comment as we as we kind of wind up this segment, then I got away. I think we should pivot on a little more of a personal side of this with the extended content. But you made a comment of for us to deal with the prediction, right? Because I have something I have an event happened to me or a smell. I had this happen of I was moving some things in the garage years ago and there was a smell and in that smell was embedded some something from my past. It triggered it right away. And then we were on this long drive and for like the first two hours of that drive, my whole gut is in turmoil, right? Because it just threw me off.

Cedric Bertelli: Yeah,

Corey Allan: And

Cedric Bertelli: yeah.

Corey Allan: I finally had to talk it through and just out loud. I mean, my wife was there, kids were in the back, but they were little with headphones on, so it wasn't a big deal. But I'm like, I need to just vent some things out, I got to kind of deal with this and also feel it. Right. And so you're talking about, you have to create a safe space. And yes, that can be done in a, in a professional relationship, therapy, coaching, et cetera. But

Cedric Bertelli: Yes.

Corey Allan: how do you also find it within yourself?

Cedric Bertelli: Yeah, it's a great question. In a way you don't have to create a safe space, you have, we have to ensure that the body feels safe. And there is, there is an easy way to do that. We learn that by watching animals. Because believe it or not, but we do MRS with horses and cows.

Corey Allan: Okay.

Cedric Bertelli: The first sign of fear in an animal, do you know what it is?

Corey Allan: Tell me.

Cedric Bertelli: they don't blink. When an animal is exposed to any kind of fear or threat, they stop blinking. So we took this observation for humans as well. In order to know if your body feels safe to do a resolution, the first thing you do is you do it's closing your eyes and you know if your body feels safe or not if you can remain with your eyes closed without wanting to open them.

Corey Allan: Okay.

Cedric Bertelli: So if you can close your eyes and you don't want to peek, for example, driving will not be a good idea,

Corey Allan: No,

Cedric Bertelli: right?

Corey Allan: don't do

Cedric Bertelli: Because

Corey Allan: this driving.

Cedric Bertelli: you...

Corey Allan: Absolutely.

Cedric Bertelli: No, but you can park, go in the bathroom, for example, and you can even take your wife with you because maybe she makes you feel safer. You know? But

Corey Allan: Mm-hmm.

Cedric Bertelli: it's... You close your eyes and if you can close your eyes without wanting to open it or without any effort, then you know that your body feels safe enough to go through the process.

Corey Allan: Okay.

Cedric Bertelli: So for kids,

Corey Allan: That's good.

Cedric Bertelli: for example, we teach, before the pandemic, we stopped now, but before the pandemic, we taught in school here in San Francisco, how to do that, how teacher can do that with kids and how kids can learn to do that on themselves. And so they have an MRes Corner. We created an MRes Corner with like pillows and stuff. And when they have an emotion, they have the suggestion to, hey, do you wanna go to the MRes Corner? And so they go and they see, they do whatever they want and they feel safe there because they created for themselves. and they can close their eyes and do the whole process by themselves. But it's, do we know that their body feels safe? Often I talk about spiders, like somebody who is really afraid of spiders. If a spider is two meters away, it doesn't matter if you tell them oh the spider is not going to jump on you. If you ask them to close their eyes and they know that the spider is two meters away, they're going to want to look at the spider just to make sure. It's not

Corey Allan: Right.

Cedric Bertelli: going to work. If you want to work on your arachnophobia, you're going to have to step away, close the door maybe, You're still going to feel the fear but you're going to be okay to close your eyes because there's a door between you and the spider. Then you can resolve the arachnophobia.

Corey Allan: Okay, and that's the idea of just now all of a sudden I need to feel it, I need to experience, I need to like actually turn towards it or to use your example with the dragon, I'm just going to climb in it and slay it from the inside. Okay.

Cedric Bertelli: That's right. And I know it's counter-intuitive, but you don't want to talk about it almost. The only thing you want to talk about are the physical sensations in your body.

Corey Allan: OK, that's

Cedric Bertelli: You

Corey Allan: a good

Cedric Bertelli: really

Corey Allan: point.

Cedric Bertelli: have to create this bridge as like, what sensations are my feelings in my body? And the other secret is, you've got to feel at least two sensations at once.

Corey Allan: Okay, why is that?

Cedric Bertelli: Because if you only pay attention to one sensation, you're going to have room to think.

Corey Allan: Ah, okay.

Cedric Bertelli: And you need to have your mind, your cognitive mind, in quote-unquote, full attention to what's happening within the body, physically. So for that, the trick is to feel two sensations at once, and those sensations are going to start moving, changing, transforming. Remain in attention as it's changing within you.

Corey Allan: Okay. So basically

Cedric Bertelli: That's the

Corey Allan: you

Cedric Bertelli: prediction.

Corey Allan: start to become more, yeah, you just come attuned to you and what's going on rather than adding labels to it in the sense of wondering where this is coming from and why do I feel this? And instead it's just, here's what I'm feeling. I kind of just become totally mindful and aware.

Cedric Bertelli: Why it's there and what's gonna happen is irrelevant. The key, remember, is to let the body go to the end of the prediction without interfering with it. With thought, with breath, you know people sometimes, you know, I feel my emotion, but I start to take deep breath. No, if you take deep breath, buddy, you are controlling. You're taking deep breath because it's uncomfortable.

Corey Allan: Okay.

Cedric Bertelli: So we have to stay in the discomfort.

Corey Allan: Yeah, absolutely. Well, now you're definitely speaking my language because I think that's where we grow is when I lean into discomfort relationally, and in this conversation, physically, emotionally,

Cedric Bertelli: Mmm. Yeah.

Corey Allan: mentally, when I lean into that, I expand my capabilities in my presence.

Cedric Bertelli: That's right. That's

Corey Allan: Okay,

Cedric Bertelli: it's

Corey Allan: Cedric,

Cedric Bertelli: all about that.

Corey Allan: so tell people how they can find you as we wind up this first segment.

Cedric Bertelli: Yep, they can go to, that's my personal website, or for the main website for MRes emotional resolution.

Corey Allan: and MRes is E-M-R-E-S.

Cedric Bertelli: That's right.

Corey Allan: Just so everybody's familiar with that. Okay, well Cedric, thank you so much for the conversation thus far. And

Cedric Bertelli: Thank you.

Corey Allan: I look forward to keeping it going here in just a second.

Cedric Bertelli: Thank you, Corey. Thank you very much.