“As we do the work of digging into and honoring our stories, we begin to gain insight into why we struggle to stay in our WOT (window of tolerance). As Dr. Daniel Siegel writes, ‘The mind we first see in our development is the internal state of our caregiver. . . . So we first know ourselves as reflected in the other.’ “- Aundi Kolber (emphasis author’s)
“Because he bends down to listen, I will pray as long as I have breath.”- Psalm 116:2 (NLT)
As Aundi Kolber moves on in Chapter 4 of Try Softer, she notes one important step as we work to recognize our own window of tolerance. We need to understand what drives our bodies to move in and out of our WOT. Above all, the vagus nerve influences our responses in different emotional states.
Most significantly, the vagus nerve = the longest cranial nerve in the body. It extends from the brain into the face and ears. Then, it runs down to the major organs in the chest and abdomen – including the heart, lungs, intestines, and stomach. And one section of this nerve, the ventral vagal complex, controls our social engagement system. It’s responsible for enabling us to stay in our WOT.
In addition, scientists discovered that our bodies respond to threats in a specific order. Our bodies react involuntarily based on three factors: our attachment styles, physiology, and life experiences.
However, Aundi counsels, many of us carry deep shame around our feelings of anxiety or loss of connection. Hence, we chide ourselves for our lack of strength or lack of ability to ‘get over’ our fears. But, Aundi wants you to hear this:
“It’s important that we honor our stories, and it’s vital that we understand and have compassion for the biological responses our bodies now have because of those stories. . . . Trying softer allows us to recognize that we must figure out how to establish safety for our bodies. . . . It is slow work, but friend, nothing could be more worth it.”
Today’s question: What most helps us do the work of digging into and honoring our stories? Please share.
Tomorrow’s blog: “The dynamics of our childhood – no choice”