To really inquire of the self is to push the boundaries of one's comfort zone, to challenge our nervous system to grow and expand our conscious awareness of being.
The term proprioception, refers to our bodies ability to tell where we are in space + time. An awareness and appreciation of both space and time are essential components to providing ourselves with the self-compassion we need to care for our whole self.
The First Step
Exploring the self is not always a comfortable experience... in fact it rarely is.
Embodiment integrates the physical and mental aspects of who we are with the larger categories of identity and interaction with others. By slowing down and being open and aware of who we are and how we are we can enrich our existence. It requires introspection, looking inward, and questioning what we think we know. This is difficult, but with a support system (that's me if need it!) so extremely valuable and worth it.
No matter where you find yourself, in this moment take some time to stop and settle. Before you can figure out where it is you would like to go, it's important to know where you are,
to Identify and Assess the situation of your self.
You gotta start somewhere so it can be helpful to know your motivation.
What are your short (less than 6 months) and long (6 + months) goals?
In addition to knowing these goals, do you have a way forward to achieve these goals?
The Bio-Psycho-Social Approach
The bio-psycho-social approach (BPS) is a pain science model that acknowledges the importance and influence of our biology, our psychology, and our social constructs and interactions. It's another framework of incorporating the different aspects of our existence into our navigation of self.
One of the things that makes human beings unique in the animal kingdom is our ability to hold on to stress. We are so amazing that simply by thinking about (or ruminating) on past experiences or future worries, our nervous systems get tricked and activated into behaving as if we are currently being threatened by said event (stressor).
Stress is not inherently bad. It is a challenge to our systems and it can be either positive or negative.
Positive stress fosters creativity and connectivity.
Negative stress can even be healthy in the sense of activating our body systems and nervous system to protect us and remove us from a harmful/stressful situation. The danger is when our modern society tricks us into thinking we are surrounded by danger and threats to our life. There needs to be harmony a return to balance so that our nervous systems act to protect us when necessary and not continuously (which impacts our physical health in a whole bunch of unpleasant ways). For when this happens, we find ourselves in a constant state of vigilance which impacts our behavioral and mental states.
Identifying your stressors is a great practice in building awareness of how often and to what degree you are living with stress.
Once you are able to identify and assess your situation you can begin to take steps to address your situation and explore your experiences in an embodied way.
Still more to come!
the importance of the polyvagal theory
practical application practices of PVT