Life is a Journey of Love and Self-Acceptance
May you greet yourself with love and compassion.
May you become whole.
May you find inner peace.
May you greet yourself with love and compassion.
May you become whole.
May you find inner peace.
This is a great question to ask yourself.
But don’t jump on the first response.
If you had what you most wanted, how would you feel?
Would you feel happy, content, satisfied, safe, victorious, empowered?
Or something else?
What is your heart’s deepest desire?
By asking the deeper questions, you are seeking a deeper response.
You will discover your deeper motivations.
You will discover your core values.
There was a time in my life that I felt very conflicted and confused. I was unhappy in my situation. I was in an abusive environment. After connecting with a deeper part of myself, I adopted the statement:
And I strove to do that. Not always successful, but it changed my life. I discovered that by staying in the situation, I was not being loving to myself. I also was able to disengage and move away from where I was. I was also very respectful as possible to others as I did this. It simply felt good to me. I was able to leave with my head held high and knew I did the best I could. It gave me a sense of Inner Peace.
Consider it an act of self-love and self-care.
Honestly, that is a very vague question. So, let me clarify.
The real question is, where are you in regard to your nervous system and how does that impact your life experience and fibromyalgia? And what can you do about it?
Our Autonomic Nervous System controls much of the activity in the body. It has two branches, the Sympathetic Nervous System and the Parasympathetic Nervous System and the Enteric Nervous System.
Today we will focus on the Sympathetic Nervous System and the Parasympathetic Nervous System. Both have a direct connection to the organ systems in your body.
In a healthy person, these two nervous systems balance each other. The Sympathetic gets us up in the morning and keeps us moving during the day so we can function in the world. The Parasympathetic nervous system slows us down so we can sleep, and the body can rest and repair. They both are connected to the organ systems in the body to make sure they function properly and can rest, repair and rejuvenate.
The two naturally work in harmony with each other to keep us healthy.
When we have experienced trauma, negative life experiences and ongoing stress, the automatic nervous system becomes disregulated. We can become stuck in either the sympathetic or parasympathetic or take wild swings from one to the other.
For women with fibromyalgia, this is important because a dysregulated nervous system can be a contributing factor to our fibro symptoms and/or can block healing and recovery from fibromyalgia.
If you know “where you are” meaning “where is your nervous system”, you can take steps to regulate your nervous system and bring it back into balance. That is a big step in fibromyalgia recovery.
Your nervous system can be in a state of Sympathetic Dominance, or Parasympathetic Dominance, or swing wildly from one to the other. Or sometimes both are activated. Or it can be in a balanced or regulated state.
The lists below for each state will provide information for you to consider as you observe your experience. This will help you to understand where your nervous system is.
If your sympathetic nervous system is dominate, you will be in a state of hyper-arousal or fight or flight. Some of the signs of being in Sympathetic Dominance are:
Signs of hyper arousal:
If your parasympathetic nervous system is dominate, you will be in a state of hypo-arousal aka Shutdown or Immobilization. Some of the signs of being in Parasympathetic Dominance are:
Signs of Hypo-Activation
What you may not know is what it feels like to have a normal balanced nervous system, that easily flows from one to the other as needed as your move through your day. If you have had trauma, ongoing stress, or negative life experiences in early childhood, you might have never experienced a balanced nervous system. I certainly didn’t.
What is the experience of a balanced nervous system?
As you read over the lists, what resonates with you? Which state or states do you experience frequently. Here are some questions to consider:
Keep in mind that you will naturally have ups and downs in life. The nervous system will keep moving from parasympathetic to sympathetic naturally. And that both are needed to navigate the normal, natural ups and downs of life. The problem is when one or the other dominates and we get stuck or have wild swings from parasympathetic to sympathetic.
Take sometime this coming week to become more aware of “where you are” in relation to your nervous system as you go through your day. Print out the lists and post them where you can see them or carry one with you.
Awareness is the first step in creating change. Simply by being aware of where your nervous system is will begin to create change. Over the last several blogs and newsletters, I have provided some simple practices that can bring you to a balanced nervous system. The change can be subtle, and it can take some consistent practice over a period of time.
Also in my upcoming programs, Reconnect with Your Calm Inner Presence and An Introduction to the Integrative Wholeness Experience, we will go more deeply into how to create and maintain a balanced health nervous system.
May your nervous system be balanced and healthy, 💕Bindu
Our body was designed to survive. Part of our inner survival mechanisms is to constantly be scanning our inner and outer environment and even other people. This is called neuroception.
It is the way our nervous system listens to the world within our self and outside of our self. Your nervous system is constantly perceiving the world inside and outside.
It is listening to what is happening in your body, heart, lungs, digestive system, your muscles. Also, your emotional state and your mental state.
It also perceives what is going on around you. Sights, sounds, smells, movement, and sensations.
Your nervous system also perceives other people and what is going on inside of them.
There is way more going on inside and outside than our mind can capture, understand, and integrate.
Especially when it comes to our health and happiness.
When your nervous system perceives a threat, it automatically responds to that threat. Your fight or flight or freeze or shut down kicks in automatically. Your body is preprogrammed to keep you safe and alive.
When your nervous system perceives safety, it relaxes and allows the body to relax.
When we have been traumatized, the neuroception can perceive potential threats based on your past experience.
For example, a big burly man with red hair and a yellow shirt hurt you or traumatized you when you were young. Your nervous system may send you into fight or flight or shut down any time you see a big burly man or a man with red hair, or the color yellow.
Even if there is no real threat in your current environment. This leads to anxiety and stress even when there is no real threat.
This neuroception is also listening to what is going on in your body, so if you have suppressed emotions your nervous system will activate fight or flight or freeze or shut down almost continuously.
This is a factor in anxiety disorders and severe depression.
This is where mindfulness and practices that calm and balance your nervous system can be helpful.
Mindfulness is the practice of being present with what is really happening in the moment, in our environment and in our body.
So, if you are being mindful, you will notice your anxiety level rise. You will also notice what is happening in the environment outside of you. And you can evaluate your environment to see if there is a true threat or only a perceived threat that doesn’t exist.
If you have an ongoing mindfulness practice, your nervous system will be more grounded in the present and less likely to overreact. If your nervous system is overreacting, the next step is to apply one of the practices that calm and balance the nervous system. See my recent posts for simple and easy mindfulness practices. And here are some other suggestions that may be helpful.
My preferred practice is to slow down and deepen my breath. That will take the edge off anxiety and bring you into the present moment.
Other simple practices include:
Be creative. Ask your heart what it needs to feel safe.
Enjoy exploring ways that you can self soothe and calm your nervous system. Self-care is essential in today’s busy world.
May you soothe and calm your inner experience, 💕Bindu
For the last several weeks, we have been talking about trauma and how it impacts us, our body, our emotions, and our mind.
Today, we will explore some ways that we can rediscover and ground our self in a calm grounded center. There are many ways to do this. As we are all unique, we must find what works for us.
Over the last few weeks, I have offered a breath technique, the hug, and placing your hand on your heart. This is a wonderful starting place. Today, I’ll share another possibility.
Another way to nurture a calm grounded center is to remember memories from your past where you felt loved, safe, secure, heard, respected. And the list could go on, but I think you get my drift. It could be anything that leaves you with a pleasant feeling inside.
1. Who is a person or pet that you feel welcomed and/or safe with?
I have my three beloved cats who surround me with their love. And some close friends that I feel very safe with and can share my heart.
2. Is there an object that helps you to feel safe?
This could be a piece of jewelry, a teddy bear, maybe a warm cup of tea. Let your creativity have some fun with discovering an object that would help you to feel safe.
3. Is there an action or activity that grounds you or brings you into a pleasant or calm state of body and mind.
I love working in my yard and planting beautiful plants and watching them grow. I like to go for walks and appreciate nature around me or listen to an uplifting song or podcast.
4. Is there a place where you feel welcome and content?
I love my home. I feel safe within my home. Being in nature helps me to feel grounded and content. And I love teaching my yoga classes which brings me great joy and connection with others.
5. What words can you say to yourself that give you comfort? Is there something that you can say to your inner child to reassure yourself? What did you most want and need to hear as a child? Can you say those words to yourself.
This is just a very short list of the possible external places, people, events and activities that can assist in returning to a balanced state. Use your creativity to discover what works for you. As you discover what works for you, consider how you can integrate them into your life.
I understand that overcoming trauma is a long-term process. Many times, it may feel like you are not making any progress. Yet every kind word, grounding breath or hug takes us one step closer to recovery.
May you feel welcome, safe, and loved, 💕Bindu
Thanks for your patience.
I am having a challenge in getting the time together to finalize the program.
Do you ever feel like you can’t do anything right?
Do you feel like nobody likes you?
Do you criticize yourself?
Do you fail to stand up for yourself?
Do you ‘what if’ yourself related to past regrets?
Are you ashamed because you have fibromyalgia?
And shame is one of the symptoms of trauma. Shame is a result of trauma.
Guilt says we have done something wrong.
Shame says that we are wrong, that there is something inherently wrong with who we are. We don’t deserve respect. We don’t deserve love. Sometimes that we shouldn’t even exist.
Childhood shame is particularly invasive. Especially if we had a parent who physically, mentally or emotionally abused us. Or neglected us.
The shame becomes part of our identity. It influences every aspect of our lives. Our careers, our relationships, our sense of family, our parenting.
It can seem that nothing goes quite right no matter how hard we try. If something does go right, it doesn’t last.
Even adult trauma can create the wound of shame. We can feel that an accident or illness is our fault. That we did something wrong or could have prevented it. That is where the “if only’s” come into play.
That isn’t real. It isn’t your fault.
I think that shame is one of the most difficult things to overcome in our lives. But with patience and persistence we can over come shame or at least take the edge off of it. And most importantly, not let it control our lives.
First and foremost, we need to acknowledge the shame. Recognize that there is a part of us who feels undeserving, unlovable and simply wrong.
The next step is to embrace that part of yourself with compassion. To give that part what you didn’t get as a child . . . unconditional love. Even the part that can’t fully love and accept yourself needs compassion.
There are some very simple tools that can help to heal shame.
1. Simply place your hand on your heart. Feel the connection between your hand and your heart. If you like, you can add your other hand. And breathe.
2. Find a phrase that is comforting to you. It might be “I love you” or “I forgive you” or “I understand” or “I hear your pain” or “I am sorry you hurt so bad.” Or another phrase of your choice.
3. Think about what you most wanted to hear as a child. Or what you would like to hear someone say to you now. Say that to yourself.
4. Place your right hand under your left armpit. Then place your left hand on your right upper arm. Give yourself a gentle squeeze, a gentle hug.
These might not seem like much, but your body, your nervous system and your heart doesn’t distinguish between who is giving the love. If you gently hug yourself, that counts. If you say, I love you to yourself, that counts. The physical touch is particularly a good way to offer love to yourself.
If you are just beginning to express loving compassion to your wounded heart, it might not trust it in the beginning. Your inner child has not learned to trust.
Practice accepting yourself as you are with all your fears, anxiety, crazy, and idiosyncrasies. You are unique. You are special. You just don’t remember that yet.
When the shame arises, remind yourself that it isn’t who you are, just a wounded part that needs love too.
My upcoming programs are a great way to receive support from a loving community of like minded individuals. Stay tuned for more information.
May you know that you are loved, 💗Bindu