we are a bundle of nerves…2-4-24


I am a bundle of nerves.  They course through me,
ancient delivery system, giving and receiving. 

Our autonomic nervous system: evolutionary miracle. Fight, flight, freeze have become part of our everyday lexicon.  We are for sure intimate with our built in stress response. Did you know Freeze came on line first, a survival strategy 500 million years old?  Think turtle, whose brilliant ability to be still and disappear passed down genetically.  What a successful saving grace.  Freeze manifests in infinite ways—collapsed, hopeless, not belonging, unseen and alone—and is moderated by the dorsal vagal nerve.  Informs us to slow down and rest and digest.  Faithfully sends signals of protection whether we’re moving too fast or verging on overwhelm.  Connect with this energy by placing hands on front body south of your diaphragm. Breathe.

Some days my inbox is so full of foreboding that exiting
the warmth under cover feels downright dangerous.
I surrender to the depths and honor this envoy
who has my well being at heart.
It has taken a lifetime to trust this internal sheaf of nerve tissue
steeped in a wisdom based in reality
my feeble mind could never grasp.

Fight and Flight emerged next, 400 million years ago.  The sympathetic nervous system maintains us in steady awareness, alert and ready for action.  But if we feel threatened it amps up our heart and breath rate and floods us with adrenaline.  It sounds the alarm and prods us into hypervigilance.  Imagine a shark in attack mode or a fish darting away from that shark.  Back up to your chair and connect with this back body energy from shoulders to waist. Breathe.

Some days the messenger rides on my back body,
whipping me into action that can border on frenzy
if I dare let go of the reins.  Careful here, I must be careful here,
too many incidents of tripping over my own edge.

In addition to fight, flight, freeze we actually have another F word operating system: Friend.  The ventral vagal system emerged 200 million years ago, unique to us mammals.  Imagine talking to a trusted friend, marinating in the natural world, gently petting your cat. When we anchor in this ventral sanctuary the unknown is fascinating instead of threatening.  We connect with others, meet our day in presence, go with the flow.  When we are full on ventral we can actually be a regulating influence for others.  Connect with this system placing hands over heart space.  Breathe.

And some days all is quiet in nerve bundle land.
My heart is light and free and a beam that shines wherever I turn.
What a wonderland I am.

We surf the continuum between protection and connection every day, spend time in all three states.  Our personal story shapes which states predominate.  When you’re in danger or stressed, do you get charged up or do you disappear?  We have all the wiring necessary to actually recognize when we are in sympathetic mobilization or dorsal shutdown.

I love to picture all the intricacy inside: the filaments lining my gut,
the vast cord nestled in my bony vertebrae,
the orb of convoluted grey matter situated in my skull.
And all the fine hairy fingerlings weaving magic through every organ, muscle, bone, carrying songs of hurt and pleasure, tingles of ache and juicy,
tales of yes and no and maybe, warnings to run and hide and seek,
invitations to be still, go forth, be with, red flags shouting no, not that one,
giving the go ahead to reach out, reach in, move this way and that way
and and and.

Resilience is a function of how often we’re pulled into nervous system protective mode, whether it be collapse or agitation, how intensely we succumb and how long it takes us to find our way to connection.  Connection to ourselves, to another, to our environment, to spirit.

Even in my sleep these busy bees do not rest,
retrieving and re-working the storage of memory into phantasm of dream.
Right now I am in deep listening of these messengers of the deep.
They have arisen as bridges to those hidden heart spaces,
communicating in a learnable morse code,
giving this slow learner access to a landscape
that has been eluding me for way too long.
Bundle of nerves.  Blessed bundle of nerves.

Developing resilience is a path to FREEDOM, excited to be offering this workshop in Grass Valley February 25.  Because being stuck in protection can be so painful.   Body bound up, heart locked down, mind going sideways. It hurts. Despite its negativity, this is potent energy we can unleash. 5Rhythms is a map to dance your way from stuck to freedom, release the power of this pent up vitality. It is our brilliant birthright to feel fluid and released, surrendered and connected. Getting unstuck opens space for feeling good, for freedom. And pleasure comes alive in the wake of freedom.

Let’s move all this energy together somewhere soon.