Sunday, September 12, 2021

Resting your nervous system

I’m often asked about the role of the nervous system in healing, and how things like trauma and relational wounding affect our capacity to feel safe, intimate, and connected with life. As well as about the relationship between spiritual transformation, unintegrated emotional-somatic experience, and things like our attachment organization and the effects of early (mis)attunement on the developing brain (and little heart).

I’ve recently created an 18-hour self-guided home study course - Resting Your Nervous System - to explore all this, weaving together teachings and practices from the fields of depth and somatic psychologies, trauma studies, relational neuroscience, and the meditative traditions.

You can work through the course at a pace that is right for you, from the comfort of your own home. The course consists of 12, 90-minute video sessions, each of which include guided practices and exercises, talks and presentations, and responses to commonly asked questions. The material is also offered on audio as well as through written transcripts, which you can download.

Some of the topics covered in the course include:

• The importance of resting the nervous system, especially in uncertain and transitional times
• How any integral approach to our spiritual lives must include awareness of and sensitivity to trauma and relational wounding
• How the felt sense of safety is the foundation for psychological growth and emotional healing
• The essential role of the body in healing, especially in times of overwhelm and stress
• A not-too-technical, experiential understanding of the nervous system and its role in paths of transformation and healing
• A fresh look at what trauma is and how it is more common than we might think
• The relationship between trauma and feeling unsafe, and how “safety” is the ultimate medicine when it comes to trauma recovery
• Trauma, the nervous system, and the workings of implicit, emotional, and bodily memory
• How and why we cannot “think” our way out of trauma and other types of relational wounding
• The meaning of integration and how trauma is a dis-integrating experience, and the need for experiential process in healing the emotional brain
• Neuroplasticity, caring for ourselves in a new way, and the encoding of new neural circuitry
• The role of the “other” in healing - self-regulation and regulating with another
• Neural integration and the importance of linking together the layers of our experience
• The unconscious investment we may have in not healing and honoring the realities and implications of what true healing will always ask of us
• Establishing a list of specific, individualized practices and exercises you can engage in the moment when you notice yourself activated and overwhelmed
• The importance of understanding our own “window of tolerance” and learning to navigate and widen our window over time
• The role of contemplative practices such as mindfulness, breathing, and yoga - and discerning when they are being used in healthy vs. less-than-healthy ways
• How mindfulness- or meditation-based practice is not always the most wise, skillful, or compassionate approach to working with trauma and other relational wounding
• How spiritual beliefs and practices can overwhelm our nervous systems and can also serve as unconscious pathways of self-abandonment and even retraumatization

I find this material to be rich and multi-layered and essential for those of us interested in an embodied, contemporary, emotionally-attuned, trauma-sensitive approach to spirituality and healing, a spirituality that will really filter down into our bodies, relationships, and out into the neural circuitry of the world.

I hope you find the course beneficial, if you do end up joining, and I look forward to staying in touch over the months to come.

Learn more about the course here