To Be Real
Life in modern society is busy. Many people complain that they “don’t have time” to learn how to be more healthy and this includes learning the technical ins and outs of nervous system health. But really…I believe YOU MUST make time for learning, that is, if you’d like to have more conscious control over your health and vitality and support the health and vitality of others.
Understanding more about how your nervous system works can revolutionize the way you go through your day, your workouts, your relationships and solving conflict within them, as well as how you parent your children. It’s THAT important! You don’t have to be sick to be better and everyone needs help lifting the heavy weight of being human. ALL people can benefit from understanding who they are– and who you are is a human nervous system.
I have tried to simplify scientific and neurobiological information, here, on my website, in my workshops, and for my individual clients (and share resources from other experts in this field) in a way that is accessible for people to quickly access, learn, and apply practices in their every day living to improve self-regulation and stress management. All of this is for the purpose of encouraging and supporting people to be more true to themselves, more alive, and more healthy. So…read on to get motivated to learn and then explore more resources about mindbody health including nervous system education, mindfulness, and becoming more response-able at LandscapesforLearning.com
AWARENESS, EDUCATION, TOUGH LOVE & COMMITTED ACTION
A lot of the information I draw from and share about trauma healing and nervous system health is useful for ALL people, not just those suffering from the worst traumas or those who work with a therapist. Why should we therapists keep all this information to ourselves and only use it with clients who seek our help? I’d like to make it available to all– for the main reason that I see how people suffer with other people, how they judge and ridicule other people’s behaviors, and how people fail to respond with love and compassion because they are simply ignorant about human behavior and what informs and shapes it. I see this ignorance within the realm of social media and politics and in family and peer conflict and within individuals themselves. WE DON’T KNOW WHO WE ARE! I think it’s a problem that can be solved! Nervous system education is needed as is mindfulness for developing response-ability.
I hope to teach people about the WHY and the HOWS to embrace their suffering and face their pain and challenges in their lives as the way to become more fully realized and actualized (as a healthy and regulated nervous system). You’ve got to identify and understand what you’re challenges are, what you are dealing with, that is– what your experiences are (thoughts, emotions, sensations within you), and then learn how to ADAPT and RESPOND in ways that promote wellness rather than reacting unconsciously and habitually in ways that make things worse! This is first and foremost exposure therapy– exposure to your own inner landscape for learning. Most people are too afraid to “go there.” But we need insight and understanding and familiarity with how our nervous system functions to gain more conscious and intentional control over our RESPONSES to our experiences. This is the OPPOSITE of reacting mindlessly or panicking with anxiety and worry that comes from uncertainty and the unknown!
You can become more mindful and able to respond when your nervous system is regulated.
As a counselor, coach, and yoga teacher, I use a mirror to expose people to themselves. Most people struggle and resist this– yet within this process of coming face to face with their resistance to their experiences and direct exposure to the truth of who they are (warts and all, their “full catastrophe,”) the learning and growth and breakthroughs happen. This is what it means to be alive– learning creates vitality!
PROCESS, NO QUICK FIXES
People cannot simply change their behavior because someone advises them to. And therapists don’t simply give advice to clients– we teach and provide tools and support you in finding your “whys,” so you can make more informed and conscious choices about whether or not to change your behavior, set your own goals, and offer you some “hows” to do follow your path. This is a PROCESS of learning and it can be challenging and arduous, but hacks and short cuts simply don’t get you to the truth and to REAL health. Quick-fix mentality is bogus. Commitment is key. Use the mantras: “one day at a time” and “just show up” and “the only easy day is yesterday” and “no mud, no lotus,” if you’d like to pursue truth and health FOR REAL.
EXPOSURE & MOVEMENT
I know it’s a hard sell to convince people to do what’s uncomfortable– exposure therapy– especially in a society that values and sells pleasure and distraction at every turn, and I know facing problems and conflict is difficult and scary, but the wisdom of our human ancestors have already shown that there is no other way to be alive and thriving as oneself in this world than to know who you are at your core, beneath the social conditioning of modern culture. Your nervous system has a brain and body designed to MOVE. Mobility and action are at the core of HEALTH.
My direct experience of my own existence and as a tough-love mother of 4, a school teacher for many years, and yoga teacher and psychotherapist has lent me more than enough proof, repeatedly, over time, that exposing people to their experiences and helping them learn, rather than avoidance and resistance is the path to health and how we express our true nature as human beings. Excuses are a form of defense, avoidance, and denial of what is true.
THROUGHOUT YOUR NERVOUS SYSTEM
(whether you believe this or resist it or not!)
Knowing yourself is different than the roles you play in society and the masks you’ve been conditioned by your culture to wear– getting lost in the chase for material goods and power and success within the confines of day-to-day ego-centered life of competition and comparison. Living with your attention focused on these “social games” is most likely causing unnecessary problems in your life and in your relationships with other people. In the world of personality and ego lives what I call “the wanting and wishing self.” This is the small-minded and narrowly defined social self that identifies as its own thoughts and emotions and rarely accepts life as it happens. It is small because the world as the ego knows it comes only from this tiny self-perceived separate individual perspective — this one spec of dust in a gigantic universe of ever expanding energy. This egoic-focused person tries to force life to happen as they desire, through continual attempts at control. These attempts require a ton of energy from the mindbody system against the massive ever expanding energy flow of the universe. Good luck with that!
The egocentric person muscles his or her way through life, rather than allowing life to flow smoothly, that is allowing energy of all that is and all of who we are to flow throughout their mindbody systems just exactly as it flows naturally throughout the universe. The egocentric person misses their basic natural intrinsic goodness, as beings in the world, because they live on a level of ego and desire and resistance. You and I came into the world that already existed, just another manifestation of energy in nervous system form, in human being form. All you are is energy. Your tubes are made from the same stuff as whatever flows through them. It behooves you to know this truth, so you can accept the truth of who you are and be full alive and well.
STOP WASTING TIME
We are not here that long and we are all going to the same place— into the ground from which we came. Why spend time blindly doing, doing, doing, and getting carried away unconsciously by strong emotions, getting lost in inaccurate and unhelpful thought patterns, spending effort and energy resisting pain and other challenging sensations within the body, and suffering with a lack of discipline and integrity, when you can be who you TRULY are with a bit of insight into your own human being and a commitment to your fullest actualization?
YOU ARE A BUNCH OF TUBES
So to know who you are is to know that you are a nervous system, a bunch of tubes through which energy flows, in and out; you are a mindbody being in the world that has an inner environment and an outer one. It benefits you and everyone else if you learn more about this and how you, specifically, adapt inside and out to your experiences. Your experiences and your perspective is your world.
If you can understand a little bit more about how you function — that is—how your senses convey experience within you, how your thoughts are part of the system of knowing, how your emotions and mood and temperature fluctuate and manifest within, and how all of this automates your urges and reactions and responses and adaptations — and thus, how you behave, then you will be less of a mystery to yourself (less anxious) and you can more consciously and deliberately create the life you want. The wise ancestors of the East and modern Holistic health experts purport that all mental health diagnoses are some version of nervous system dysregulation. Anxious, depressed, attention deficit, autism, OCD, and on and on… ? Learn about yourself as a nervous system.
Additionally, when you know more about how you function as a nervous system, other people and their behaviors may be a lot less puzzling to you, and you will be able to show them understanding and more compassion and respond to them, using your new, more insightful and informed perspective, in ways that are creative and productive rather than based in fear and destructive. Look at that– nervous system health supports and promotes more healthy social engagement and relational health.
KNOW WHO YOU ARE = MAKE THE WORLD BETTER
Finally, to know yourself inside and out, as a nervous system, is to make the world a better place. It’s our responsibility to others, the group, and to the world, to nature, to the universe, to know who we are– to self-realize and actualize our fullest potential. There is suffering involved in the exposure learning process; laboring with burdens and obstacles; fear in facing challenges and much wisdom to be gained. It’s all very hard, very, very hard. Your alternative? Do nothing, be the victim, go to bed and stay there immobile, beat your breast and cry out to the gods, why me?! But that path is full of suffering and pain too. Acceptance and taking responsibility for knowing yourself is the hard way and the right way.
But you get to pick your poison. You have that choice as a human being, and making that choice is owning your life. To be or not to be more aware and informed about who you are as your nervous system– that really is the question.