E022 - From Self-regulation to Co-regulation (from Me to We)

trauma vocal liberation Jul 20, 2020

Hello, welcome to another blog. This one is about the movement from Self-regulation to Co-regulation (from Me to We).

Watch the video below, or enjoy the written version!

So who's in charge of your nervous system right now? What's happening in your nervous system? What's happening in that energy field as we speak?

Let's just take a deep breath and really tune in.

So, really grounding down into the lower half of our body, feet and thighs and buttocks and all the lower bits. Then also just tuning in to our stomach and solar plexus and chest too. What's going on in the head? Busy or quiet? Are you speeding or slow? Are you up or down?

So here is the thing. It's certainly the way I was brought up: we weren't really taught how to work with and live with our inner state. In fact, in general our culture taught me to ignore it as much as possible and pretend that anything negative was definitely not happening. And so in this episode, we are gonna look at self-regulation and it's more developed friend, co-regulation and talk about how to do this.

So self-regulation. Much talked about but here's the essence of it. The essence of it is our nervous system doesn't just happen to us. And while it's really important to lean in, deeply lean into all the feelings within us. It's also important to know that there is a lot we can do with those feelings. And it's kind of a delicious paradox. For example when we feel anxious, the one thing that will definitely perpetuate it is avoiding the feeling of anxiety and pretending it's not there, because then it'll just wind itself up even further. So on the one hand we wanna lean into the anxiety and really feel it, but on the other hand we wanna self regulate our nervous system and if we aren't empowered with a whole bunch of tools for essentially taking charge of our nervous system, then we remain victims of both our internal and external landscapes. I'll give you an example.

So let's just say I read the news. There's distressing things in it, and my nervous system feels somewhere between overwhelmed and hopeless. Now that's not a very pleasant feeling in the body, and for those of us addicted to news, that's a very familiar feeling. And so the next thing that we can do, however, is deal with that whatever is going on in the nervous system. Now, you might have a kind of a heightened anxious desire to flee. Or you might be filled with rage or a combination of the two or some might feel this kind of overwhelming sense of depression and hopelessness. I can't, I can't even. All of these are familiar nervous system states, and it's one of the great joys of life is that we can self regulate.

We can regulate the way we feel down towards a delicious baseline state. Now, what is this baseline? Do you know the baseline? This baseline I would say is a state of comfort, connection, love, peace, groundedness. And I'm gonna go one step further to say it even contains interconnection. And so here's the thing. So much of my own work is about learning how to self regulate including how to self regulate your voice.

In other words, I walk into a social environment. I feel myself shutting down. Then what are the self regulation tools I can learn to open up and discover safety in myself in that moment? But I think a deeper kind of regulation is being called for and that would be co-regulation. So here's the thing. Self-regulation is "I am feeling out of whack, let me regulate myself back". Co-regulation suggest that we can and should do this together, that in fact our highest form of safety is an interconnection and interdependence. That our highest nervous system function is an interdependence and interconnection.

So let's try and do that right now just by breathing and connecting and grounding and opening ourselves up. Literally I open myself up to you and you can do the same with me. And we allow our mirror neurons or our energy fields to read each other. We allow ourselves to be read and felt, and we allow ourselves to feel into and just know a little bit somewhere inside what the other one feels like.

And as we begin to co-regulate, something different happens. It's not just me and my pain or me and my anxiety. It's us.

And at a deeper philosophical level, there's something in Western culture that's been striving and driving over the last many hundred years for the exaltation and the rights of the individual. All about me and my self-development and my realization and my spirituality and the glorification of individual rights over the needs and the rights of the group. In African culture, Ubuntu is spoken of where the weave of the culture is very important. In western culture, we've forgotten that a lot. And in my heart, I feel that that loss of a sense of us allows us to do what we do on the planet ecologically and socially. It's not about us. It's about me and how much money I make and my spirituality and my yoga practice. And yet, at the same time I feel in Western culture and in my culture and in me this deep yearning that if my spirituality and my practice is to be worthwhile, It must be about us. It must include all of the people. What use is self-realization if it's not about all of us?

So maybe that's just how I feel, but I feel that if I am gonna be a gift to the world and give my energy and life towards the greater good. For me it's about us, all of us, especially and including those who don't have access to resources and have been excluded for a long time.

Just to say I'm really just working this out in little steps at the moment.

So where do you stand on this? I love to know. How do you feel about the movement from me to we? Let's just enjoy this a little bit and open up. Connect with each other, but also open up a sense of connection to everything to the people, to the ecology, all the beings.