The heavy lifting – safety

By Dave Henning / June 10, 2023

“Your body is constantly shifting and adapting to help keep you safe.  I cannot overstate the foundational experiences of safety and supportive connections in our healing journey. . . .  Importantly, it is safety — not pushing through — that does the heavy lifting to bring us into our WOT and ultimately toward integration.”- Aundi Kolber (emphasis author’s)

“Feeling safe is the treatment, and creating safety is the work.”- Dr. Stephen Porges

In Chapter 3 (“Safety is the Magic Ingredient”) of Strong Like Water, Aundi Kolber notes that it’s very human to do whatever we can to get through something difficult ASAP.  Because we just want to move on.  We don’t want whatever caused us pain in the past to affect us.

However, Aundi counsels, there’s no bypassing the information from our bodies.  Above all, she cautions:

“We cannot ‘logic’ ourselves into safety or out of trauma.  Telling our bodies that we’re safe and feeling safe are two different things.”

Next, Aundi talks about the body’s ‘autonomic surveillance’ system of neuroception, a term coined by Dr. Stephen Porges.  God wired us with neuroception to help us survive.  Hence, the system constantly accesses our environment, ourselves, and the way we interact with others.  It looks for cues of either safety or threats.  So, when we feel calm and connected and our neuroception pathways fail to detect danger, we feel safe.  Sometimes this is called ‘felt safety.’  Consequently, even when the world is tumultuous or hard, it’s possible for us to work toward felt safety.  With ourselves and others.

In conclusion, Aundi observes, we can leverage this key system of wiring to work for us.  As we do, we gain perception on the reality of our circumstance.  And we then act accordingly.  Most significantly, with care and attention our body gains this capacity.  To more accurately assess the present risk we face.  Rather than allowing past experiences to exert undue influence over us.

Today’s question: What most helps you develop the safety to do the heavy lifting?  Please share.

Tomorrow’s blog: “Our innate plasticity”

About the author

Dave Henning

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