Polyvagal theory: Interpretation of the prosody of vocalizations are wired to our heart. We are constantly projecting our heart in our voice and in our face. It is biologically rude if someone looks away and continues to talk. Reciprocity which is an energetic dance in a relationship is needed. The main agenda of life is to engage our social engagement system along with compassionate inquiry. The amplitudes of sounds connected to safety in music is included in the SSP, a musical intervention and a trauma informed theory creating a safe place for true social engagement to take place. Included in this protocol cues of safety are highlighted while eliminating sounds of danger. Facial expressivity – echoes
our vagal system. In positive relationships one sees eyes light up – poor relationship there can be tension around the jaw. Our wiring is simple yet complex where we detect cues of safety and of danger consciously and unconsciously at a somatic response. Neuroception happens with an awareness of bodily reaction along with narratives/perceptions. This exemplifies the need to respect feelings, honour feeling and be with the feelings. Our body contains our biology and biography. Walking up a flight of steps engages the sympathetic system into a fight or flight response resulting from rapid breathing. Awareness of bodily reactions – play with clenched fist, rolling of the toes, bouncing of the leg. Respect he human. Not trusting is being a human. How do I become good? How will I be loved? Neuroception happens consciously and unconsciously. We ignore our responses at our own peril. Stephen Porges says everything is done in the service of survival. The polyvagal theory is based on our survival responses based on our fight, flight and/or freeze/dissociate of responding for survival. The reptilian response (freeze/dissociate) is explained as dorsal vagal. When I am in dorsal vagal, I have no anchor and cannot find boundaries. This happens when I am in bed in the morning and find it hard to get out of bed to the point of feeling numb, dissociating even paralyzed. There is no schedule and creating a menu to get out of bed when I am paralyzed with no incentive to move. When I am in dorsal vagal, paralyzed the thinking mind (ventral vagal) is not accessible. So I have learned to create a menu and write it down. On my menu – make sound even if it is a sigh. My biological nervous systems during this time needs to work towards ventral vagal to access the rational mind. Self regulation and co- regulation are needed. Once I begin my yoga practice, I connect to myself, my day. Bringing back to life what is already wired into my nervous system. The mammalian development of the vagus nerve our autonomic nervous system (ANS) included – fight or flight. When in sympathetic vagal (fight/flight) I am active, agitated, confused, me against the world. More fight than flight along with hypervigilant. Again need to find any practice or tool which assists the return to ventral vagal (parasympathetic). When my nervous system is responding to an overabundance of cues of danger which have overpowered cues of safety I am to open my toolkit – yoga, breath, meditation. Learning the cues of when I am in a state of fight, flight or freeze to find ways to return to a balanced state, be in ventral vagal. I am finding a menu of what might work in times of stress. The problem is knowing when I am struck in dorsal vagal or sympathetic vagal. While in ventral vagal – we get glimpses of what it is like to reach homeostasis, co-regulation for a fraction of a second then leading to a glimmer and with experimentation finally glow.
In Hakomi we speak of turning down the noise so other thoughts can bubble to the surface. Meditation has a person develop a point focus often the breath. So much information has come to light of the power of the breath – taking a relaxed inhalation followed by a long slow exhalation cam calm a person down, bring a person out of a panic attack, relax enough to be aware of cues of safety.
Many of us have a goal to feel safe in life. This is wired within our biology. Learning to instill an essence of safety in my life. I understand how even the intonation of vocalization can be a cue of safety or danger. Trauma history is related to a violation of trust – ie car accident unconsciousness, hip replacements – unconscious. In my trauma history I was often taken to a place of immobilization, told to be still and I was safe. I am slowly exploring this so my body gets used to the idea that being very still does not need to paralyze me. It is incumbent upon me to notice what is happening while it is happening whatever it is. Feel the feelings. My history needs to be called a history of feelings rather than a history of events. Working with the SSP my sleep pattern is improving ie only getting up once during the night and falling asleep faster. Bringing challenges to the surface, looking at them, embracing them. An act of surrender is needed for me as I uncover. I remove the cover – this little light of my mine I am going to let it shine, shine, shine. I have slowly embraced, excavated to release my little Miss Fix-it. Time has slowed – I have reached a place of having lesser anxiety leading me throughout the day. Stillness is me coming and looking into the abyss – wanting to feel alive, self regulation. I create cues of safety so I feel safe, secure, and loved. I am loving towards self, honour my feelings, take time for self care. I share what I am passionate about. I read my body cues around safety. When I sense I have reached a place of immobilization movement is important. Even realizing that fake it until you make it comes to mind. Three long slow smooth continuous exhalations to connect to my parasympathetic nervous system. The dorsal part of the vagus nerve relates to immobilization and the regulation of the viscera below the waist. Being aware of the state of my bowels is a clue for me either through diarrhea and or constipation. There is a component around numbness in my body. I watch the numbness in my left little finger and left little toe. Does this relate to when I was little and had fell between the pillons (into a dark hole, into the void) and part of my body went to numbness for survival. I was told to be still, I was okay. Also, my car accident in 1972 where I totalled a volkswagon camper, was thrown from the van and woke up in the hospital and hip replacements while unconscious I was unable to move. I am waking up, owning my work and becoming curious around my relationship with my vagus nerve. Stillness is not falling into a bleak, unknowable abyss. Stillness means danger and so while meditating the abyss, the void, is danger. When with my senior yoga teacher that abyss is possible, at first only by putting my big toes in before jumping in and giving myself permission to fly so that I do not fall like a lead weight, in dark holes. My unconscious does not always have to mean danger. I can be still and be safe. My trauma history is part of who I am. Trauma happens below the diaphragm. As I gain a better sense of my trauma, more of me has come on line. Life is interesting, life is fun. Gradations of being messed up can be called life. I have gratitude for the life I have had and my survival instincts which have kept me safe. I search to find a way to get reciprocity in a healing feedback loop. I am past just coping and want to move on to a rich unique authentic life. I can drop down into safety. I have resilience for responding rather than reacting. I am creating a narrative of understanding my life, my triggers. I stand in my vulnerability which creates windows of opportunities. My acoustic channel is a portal – muscles to eat, social engagement, can sense when I am full – not fake hunger. My neuroception, my autonomic nervous system is honoured, sensed, and felt as I find the rules of engagement.