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Wait, What Nervous System?!

We all have feelings, a heart, and emotions as well as intelligence, a head and logic. Respecting both is part of being balanced and healthy. A lifetime of denying my feelings and constantly living in a Red Alert stage of my Sympathetic Nervous System, SNS, drove me to disturbed sleep, digestive issues, for some people it also leads to heart palpitations, cold sweating, etc. When we are ruled by our SNS, life and our physical existence, become more uncomfortable. We resort to suppressants and diversions. We are looking for what our Parasympathetic Nervous System, PNS, is waiting to give us, peace, calm, health.

Over time, if our bodies remain in a constant, chronic, state of stress, the Autonomic Nervous System, ANS, becomes overwhelmed/tapped out and emotional and digestive disorders can develop. It is out of balance, weakened and toxins build up creating internal pressure. Our ship, ANS, is taking on water, it is sinking and we begin thinking about escaping. We are looking for a lifeboat.

In another metaphor; our ANS is the ocean, our SNS is the waves, tides and storms. While our PNS provides the depth, stillness and abundance of our ocean. It is in the depths that we can tap into peace and calm. Our PNS is where we heal; where our body restores harmony and serenity, our heartbeat slows, our breath deepens. It is in the realms of our PNS that our brain waves and patterns calm and change. This is what makes it possible for our imagination and creative thinking to expand.

While completing my Divine Sleep Yoga Nidra teacher training, I experienced profound digestive improvements and enjoyed refreshing sleep. We were being guided through Divine Sleep Yoga Nidra at least once, sometimes twice a day. It was a very healing experience. One I am convinced we can all enjoy more of with a regular Divine Sleep practice.

To attain this healing state, to move into PNS, we have to relinquish control. Coming to understand my ANS has given me the ability to let go of controlling life experiences and utilize holistic therapies for #healingforward.

Yoga has been one of the holistic therapies/tools I have used. It helps me understand the connection between my breath, mind and body. To a degree, a regular, physical yoga practice has helped me on my journey. It has been a stress reliever/manager, for which I am dearly grateful. Developing a regular meditation practice has been instrumental in helping me be more mindful/aware and in the present moment more often. By discovering yoga nidra, I began to release long held muscle tension during body scans. It was then that I wanted to know more about how to share this healing gift with others and I discovered Divine Sleep Yoga Nidra. This experience has shown me I am whole just as I am. My life experiences are just that, experiences. They don't define me. For example, "I have gluten intolerance. versus, I am gluten intolerant.".

I have learned it is possible to be calm and positively responsive in the midst of life's storms without reacting or being tossed about by the current. It is possible to live in the moment with the intention of peace and abundance, with favor.

Another valuable lesson on my #healingforward journey is, I am no longer limited to regulating my emotions with suppression, diversion or distraction. My learned behavior of suppressing/stuffing my emotions has only led to life long digestive challenges and chronic muscle tension. Truly, the body keeps the score.

My unhealthy choice to distract from stress with food, alcohol and/or getting lost in entertainment have been a means to take the edge off. But they do not help. Sleep was not refreshing and muscle tension was still my constant companion. However, yoga guides me to turn toward my pain, to be aware of the stress, to see and fully feel my sensations and eventually come to understand my pain and myself. By using my breath as my focal point I cultivate attention to my mind. I learn to witness truth and manage life experiences with more clarity and less judgment.

Uninterested and unwilling to be held hostage by fear or the past, I am learning to embrace the sensations, honor them, and not identify with or walk into the story. I am a work in progress. More and more often I let go of control: stopping, suppressing, distracting and just feel. I give myself permission to feel and be okay with my feelings. I notice thoughts as thoughts, knowing they aren't real.

#healingforward includes honoring and embracing life experiences instead of controlling them. It is here my emotions regulate themselves and my PNS calms me.

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