Survival and WomanhoodNov 26, 2021
I've been sharing all about my experience of the nervous system.
Let's talk about Fight.
The “fight” in me is real and alive. Always has been.
It's very different now than in my past. Present day...it's palpable. Strong. Mostly at rest, not always on the surface anymore, but available if needed.
Alive and well!
This is ideal. Anyone who tells you anger is bad for you, read When The Body Says No, by Gabor Mate. I LOVE his explanation of the physiology of anger and anxiety. Reading that gave me all the permission I needed to drop into my belly and root and let that fiery anger soothe and empower me. It's satisfying (and physiologically healthy and "warming" per Gabor).
Look at this world. People have reasons to be angry. With the toxic positivity currents we're swimming in, one of the most important messages I give to my clients is that at times it's healthy to be angry. Almost every woman I work with moves through learning how to embody, accept, and move with anger. It is often one of the most challenging processes. To allow oneself to be on fire and deeply angry. Fierce. Worked UP. Hot. Powerful....is no small task considering most of the role modeling we've all received regarding anger.
Anger isn't a problem unless it gets stuck (I believe this is a key contributor to inflammation and inflammation is a real problem).
Anger is healing fire.
Rage is different than anger.
Rage is a whole different ballgame (not bad, just different).
Addressing anger in the body is one of the routes to making sure rage doesn't inflict major harm (internally or outside in our lives). It's a challenging one to learn.
When I first did my type of work (pelvic inner tissue work) for myself years ago I encountered much inflammation and tension, very much "fight flight" (a system that's consistently pumping and dumping stress chemicals, mainly adrenaline & cortisol, basically becomes toxic to oneself....it's unsustainable).
After that, I had years of what happens once that toxicity unravels and "moves out" (more on that below).
After that, some real coasting.
And now, the next layer is here. Some of what I see in my clients' journeys matches my own (we're all different...I feel best sharing about myself and not my clients' details):
1. Unwinding of toxic stress / inflammation / fight flight chemical overload = a big reduction in anxiety, tension, and heat. I's like a top layer of film that melts and that allows the deeper layers (psoas, to name one) to talk!
2. Sometimes there is a crash after this. As a mental health professional, I believe anxiety and depression exist on a continuum and are highly connected to our nervous system / endocrine / immune function in addition to brain chemistry. Sometimes people crash and experience feeling "depressed" for the first time ever. For me, this was wild! I was accustomed to having tons of energy, anxiety, quickness...but me? Depressed? Down? Not enough energy? Not motivated to do my regular things? Sleeping tons? Eating tons? Super calm? Lethargic? Who is this person! I'm so glad I stayed curious about it and about my inner world (disclaimer, if you are experiencing severe depression, this statement is not meant to say "staying curious is all you need to do", you absolutely should seek mental health support if you are in need).
I believe all humans experience anxiety and depression on some level... It's ok. It's just our nervous system learning how to be in this world. It's ok to acknowledge that we all have needs that are probably unmet on some levels because of society. What does that do to a human body and brain? Where do we turn to address these inner truths that appear universal?
(Hint: talking about it doesn't do much, I truly don't believe. After years in the mental health field, I believe talk therapy falls short as a stand-alone experience. Seeing all that is surfacing about the body and neurosciences, I think it's safe to say a lot of therapists believe now we NEED to incorporate addressing the body, somatic work, and nervous system. I believe we need to address the full internal world, not just the brain.
3. Sometimes it's the opposite, I've see people go from a lifetime of being somehow "down" to having a ton of energy. This can be anxiety provoking and something new to learn to tolerate. It can be just as tricky as being "depressed" after never having been on the downward slope before.
4. My concept of this is...the "freezy fainty" response mobilizing into fight flight needs to happen so the shaking / tremoring of the body releases old imprints of stress. And/or sometimes fight flight comes first, the crash comes after, before the body can find true equilibrium and ramp up those inner reserves.
5. This is all very real. So many practitioners and people are realizing it as our collective requirement of addressing stress in the body is big now. We simply don't have the reserves to be storing it all away because of what we have to respond to "the now". We need all of our energy for the present, not the past. The past is stored in our system. On some level, we know this. Time to unravel....safely.
6. Some version of the above needs to happen before true expansion / joy / heart opening / all the good stuff comes alive. We have to "feel it to heal it" and "get it out". All the sayings are here for a reason. "The only way out is through". Whatever has lodged itself in our bodies and neural pathways, can be addressed through many forms of somatic work. I've chosen to orient to working with the core / nervous system / pelvis as I find it most efficient, due to the pathway and efficiency of addressing vagal tone (the vagus nerve is the longest nerve in the body, traveling form the brain down to the pelvis, and is sometimes referred to as "the trauma nerve".)
7. When this physiological unwinding happens, it can be emotional, tender, confusing, relieving, mood shifts, and takes real stamina and support. There are many reactions to it all. It can be associated with "old experiences" as well as recent, fresh ones. I believe it's all neurological (brain) and in the body (nerves, tissues, and structures). Freeze / faint "wakes up" and fight / flight is finally allowed to mobilize. Fight / flight sometimes settle down into depressive tones (sometimes collapse will happen). This is all part of the nervous system finding homeostasis and a new sense of equilibrium / resiliency.
8. Eventually, typically, a well of deep inner heat opens up.This is the depth of inner and sustaining fire. My belief is....this deep inner heat is life-force. It's nourishing. It grows through the cells and nerves and organ tissues (fascia is IN organs! how incredible, this anatomical truth proves the concept of semi-permeable boundaries which is very helpful for boundary work).
It can be emotional and it can be beautiful. It's not superficial or right under the skin. It's as deep as one can get in the tissues of the core, the psyche, the primal animal self.
9. I believe this is sometimes involved with the dialogue of the soul / the spirit / "the cosmos", and the way that looks is different for everyone.
The real reason I write this.
The reality of this world is that some women (and there is a wide variety of expression of gender) get drugged, abused, invaded, left for dead, everyday. All over the world. I believe we all feel this on some level. What goes unacknowledged inward and outward DOES go somewhere. The "collective unconscious" is one of the oldest psychological frameworks in the western psychology field.
The fight / flight / freeze and "glitching" of the human nervous system and how this communicates with brain function is embedded into human beings. My skills to navigate this in myself and support others in it has taken extended time to build.
Inner and outer sight (eyeballs are connected to brain function), acceptance, joy, expansion, safety, and "landing at home in one's body" is a profoundly satisfying human experience. Many experience this as a direct result of addressing their root (pelvis).
We all want and need to be uplifted. We want expansion. We want to rise. As individuals and as a collective. Those of us who really want that, it's time to do the inner work. Touch the pain. I truly believe this. I see it in myself and I see it in clients and loved ones. If we run, avoid, numb, self-medicate as the only tactic (sometimes we need to, and sometimes we need to stop)...nothing will shift or we will simply break down like anything does that goes uncared for.
All of what I experience now, so much health and beauty and intimacy and pleasure, I attribute to my willingness to touch my own pain and make it through to the other side. Over and over and over again. This is a privilege that many in this world don't ever come by. Touching this pain is part of the journey of humanity.
The clients who do the best work with me approach things in this way. They are willing to feel inside themselves, ask the big questions, experience big unknowns and uncertainties, feel their "true self" shine through the pain of conditioning and society and inter-generational trauma and DNA patterns, cry and shake and shed big flowing tears while also staying grounded in their body, build inner resources and skills, laugh about the cosmic joke of it all, and remember that we truly just don't know why we are here. This work often means diving into the great mystery.
What I've learned through my own journey….I believe conditioning (neural pathways and nerve pathways among other influences), human development, inter-generational genetic and DNA patterns, human relationships, environmental factors, bonding, the nervous / endocrine / immune / neurological dialogue of the brain & body can either allow for a human's core truth to express or it can shelter / protect / cover / mute / hide it.
I believe most of us go through many waves / phases of this cycle of expression and protection. I believe "spiritual awakening" is neurologically oriented (which is nervous system oriented).
I believe this dialogue lives in the body. In organs. In nerves. In the brain. In the heart. In the cells. In a person's "field" (research states the electromagnetic "field" around the body is real and extends about 6 feet beyond out skin). One's tissues, structure, and "energy" (for me energy work is based on the nervous and endocrine systems).
It is often very painful and takes training to truly transform. Trauma work is not glamorous. It takes courage. Just like learning something new, practicing yoga for the first time, getting a ski lesson or whatever else is so normalized in this world. It's the same with our "inner work". It's our pathways. Like roads on the inside. Practice, repetition, communication, and rest. We need it. And we need our basic needs met and to have a baseline of stability in life for "trauma work" to be successful, I believe. Without safety and stability, entering trauma work can be harmful and more destabilizing.
** It’s also great to remember that being addicted to transformation is real and it’s great to simply chill and enjoy life!
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