When overwhelm happens, we have a tendency to pull away from connection in order to protect our tender hearts. It’s a reaction programmed into our autonomic nervous system, not unlike pulling our hand away from a hot stove.
My heart knows this disconnection reflex well. At the first sign of "too much," it beats loudly in my right ear and then contracts physically and emotionally. After that, it's a quick drop down the nervous system ladder to a dorsal vagal autonomic experience, best known as the freeze response.
Work emails go unanswered. Friends' prompts to meet up unreturned. It’s harder to hear or speak. Harder to decide anything. And the vibrant part of me that shines my light retreats to the background, out of reach.
It may go on for moments, hours, or on-and-off for several days, months, or years.
I had grown so accustomed to the automaticity of freeze in my nervous system that I was actually shocked to discover that I absolutely adore connection.
I love connecting with birds, breezes, and the warm sun on my face. I love connecting with the sound of my father’s voice and my mom’s colorful emojis. I Iove connecting with you in these newsletters and in sessions when we talk about some of the hardest stuff in life. And I absolutely love connecting my heart with yours in awe of our shared human tenderness.
If it was safe enough to connect, what would your heart love to connect with?
That “hot stove” can take on any form, like news about acts of violence, a post about recession, or the barking of a neighbor’s dog. In reaction, we may pull away from life, loved ones, and our own selves. But we can also come back. We can come back into connection, following the nature of our hearts, and reach out for life again. And again. And again.
A RECIPE FOR RETURNING TO CONNECTION:
As summer, which is the season of the heart, arrives, how can you honor your own reflexes of disconnection and connection? Here are some ideas.
May your heart know safe connection and shine brightly with your light,
P.S. Want to learn how to recognize your patterns of disconnection and return to connection quicker and easier each time? Let's study your nervous system together in the safety of one-on-one sessions. Info @ https://bit.ly/35aVFpv. Not sure? Email me.
I am an acupressurist, educator, and practitioner of complementary medicine. My background in literature, teaching, and Yoga Nidra informs my wellness practice. My approach is personalized and holistic, tailored to each individual's unique needs and goals.