Is it okay to be me?
Sundays 10AM Eastern January 3 through February 28
Zoom No. 582 534 511 Passcode 469878
Join us! I have waived fees for these classes during the Pandemic
Okay, I finally get the courage to know who I am and say what I really feel. Maybe I even like myself. What now? Am I just going to be rejected or ridiculed the way I was so many times in the past? I’m beginning to understand that what happened when I was a child wasn’t my fault. But … is feeling all this pain worth it? I know from a lifetime of experience that people will hurt me. Is it worth reaching out again? Is it even possible to be free?
Neuroception is our unconscious perception of danger and safety. It is an ongoing involuntary response of our nervous system and it drives more of our life experience than we might realize or want. Our system is set up with a negativity bias to avoid danger. This is how the primitive brain evolved to increase our chances of survival. It makes a split second analysis and doesn’t stop to consider options like our more developed pre-frontal cortex, our thinking brain. And wow, does this ever get us in trouble!
The polyvagal theory was developed by Dr Stephen Porges. Check out his new Polyvagal Institute – the art and science of human connection. We learn about the primitive dorsal vagal, our gut reaction and freeze response. Humans later developed the sympathetic nervous system that drives fight and flight, then made the huge leap to the ventral vagal, our system of social engagement, trust and connection.
Our higher level brain and social engagement is what we identify as unique to being human. We still have our reptilian brain and our impulse to flee when trouble is coming. Fighting back these days includes social and emotional more than physical but we are all vulnerable to being left out or ostracized.
Danger is the reason we get triggered into a survival response. What feels threatening to you? The science of neuroception opens up a vast and deep field to understand our human responses. The most important fact to understand is that our nervous system responses are involuntary and that our perception is threat is highly associated with past experience seen through the primitive brain negativity bias lens of better safe than sorry.
Signals from our primitive survival brain can override our higher level brain development and our social trust system. In relationships, we don’t show up authentically as ourselves and end up lonely and disconnected. We feel pulled and pushed around by flight/ fight/ freeze/ fawn mechanisms. Fear in our nervous system drives catastrophic and compulsive thinking. These are involuntary and often unconscious but they don’t have to run our life.
Freedom comes when we understand our nervous system, we know how and practice self-regulating and being grounded, and we take appropriate risks in a bid for connection. We engage our ventral vagal – this beautiful system that inspires us to connect with each ourselves and each other.
The key to happiness and freedom is not to avoid or suppress our nervous system responses. Our nervous system is working as it is meant to function to keep us alive. Being hypervigilant when our experience in life is that people hurt us makes sense. Feeling trusting and connected makes sense if that was your predominant experience growing up or if you are healing into that now. We are not responsible for our childhood conditions. We are not inherently damaged or broken. We had difficult experiences that formed our nervous system. We can now take a fresh look, understand our operating system, and bring our neuroception up to date.
Developing a regulated nervous system is the most important work we can do to heal from our past. With this steadiness and confidence, we still move up and down on the polyvagal ladder between freeze, fight/flight, and trust and connection. We allow ourselves this movement without shame. We recognize early signs of flight/ fight/ freeze and move into repair. We see when we turn our backs on ourselves and we know how to reconnect. We are rewiring our brain and nervous system to feel comfortable with authenticity and truth. We are becoming free.
Let’s explore this together Sundays in January and February. 10AM Eastern for 75 minutes. It’s free during the pandemic.
Zoom 582 534 511 Passcode 469878