“Think about everything you’ve survived in your life. These moments are your Ebenezers — ‘stones of help’ that signify what you have walked through and the ways in which God has been with you and loved you every step of the way. And even though you continue to grow and change, dear one, those stones are yours to keep, reminders of how far you’ve come.”- Aundi Kolber
Aundi Kolber concludes Chapter 19 of Try Softer as she returns to her study of the vagus nerve, first discussed in Chapter 4. First, Aundi reminds us, once we know how to stay in our windows of tolerance (WOT), we can begin to expand them. And, this happens as we literally exercise our embodied brains. Specifically, this involves the vagus nerve.
Consequently, it’s possible to actually work to keep the vagus nerve in optimal health. A healthy vagus nerve functions essentially as a measure of how quickly our bodies recover to a normal physiological state after going through stress. In other words, a healthy vagal tone undergirds learning to tolerate, or even enjoy, experiences once seen as overwhelming.
In addition, Aundi lists a number of practices researchers identified that help improve our vagal tone. One such practice is called diver’s response. It’s possible to replicate this response through splashing cold water on your face while holding your breath.
Finally, Aundi exhorts, think about your ‘stones of help’ — your Ebenezers. Because the courage and perseverance you’ve drawn on to survive are beautiful. Aundi adds:
“You can continue to connect with those parts of yourself that are brave and strong. That is the beauty of cowriting a new story with God. We get to choose what to cultivate and what we must learn to forgive in ourselves. I encourage you to see your story through a generous lens.”
Today’s question: What stories name your ‘stones of help’? Please share.
Coming Monday: the annotated bibliography of Try Softer
Tomorrow’s blog: “Multiple callings in this world”