Our minds and bodies move from an intelligence from the deep. The following podcast introduces the concept of Autonomy, launching a host of questions as to Who is the Movement, Where do our Thoughts Come From, How does the Body hold space for our Mental Architectures?
The Autonomic Nervous System is the aspect of the peripheral nervous system that allow for the self-regulation of our many key bodily functions: digestion, respiration, heart, reproductive organs. It comprises three parts: 1.) The Sympathetic Nervous System (SNS), responsible for our Fight, Flight and Freeze responses. 2.) The Parasympathetic Nervous System (PSNS), responsible for our Rest, Digest and Trust responses. 3.) The Enteric Nervous System
Fear or Trust? We make decisions to expand or contract, run away or to confront based on neurological conditions beset from childhood. We have basically learned to palpitate our heartbeats in the face of danger and in the moments of safety, we are allowed to slow down our heart's pulsating rhythms during our moments of rest.
In the innerdance, we enter the heightened capacities to allow ourselves to be afraid without being scared. In the workshop, the body is positioned in ways that activate the PSNS. Laying down with the eyes closed, the breath softens as acetylcholine and seratonin loosens the muscles that normally contract our many muscles in defensive "fight" modes.
And yet, as the music builds up, excitement builds amidst the openness achieved by a body that chooses to surrender. Epinephrine, Dopamine and Cortisol increase the heart and respiratory rate, muscles contract or shake involuntarily. Past research on Epinephrine and Cortisol most especially, show that there is a direct relation between these chemicals and fear.
Here is where our work is all about the ability to conjoin Trust and Fear. Such is the facilitator's skill. There are ways of touching the body that speaks simultaneously, the language of Relax and Excite. Such is Sound's Sorcery. Music especially in the post-modern digital age, can induce fight and love, at the same time in extremely harmonious ways. Coupled with ways of inducing the SNS and the PSNS through the other senses, our old memorable reactivities to traumatic and painful events are shaken and stirred.
The innerdance facilitator as change agent invites participants through the stages of forgiveness, witnessing, grief, generosity, anger release, illumination, renewal and so on. All of our emotions are patterns recognized repetitively in the body that is mainly shaped during our formative childhood years. As we reenter such life stages, new responses to old experiences bring about new experiences.
The following Khan Academy video provides a basic introduction to the Autonomic Nervous system: