Learning to hold ourselves with resonance
Self-regulation is learned co-regulation
“We can internalize the experiences of warmth and accompaniment that others offer us, teaching our brains to be warm with themselves. Start the journey of self-resonance in this 7-minute guided meditation, Finding Your Resonating Self-witness.
I am so excited to introduce you to one of my favorite healing tools: The Resonant Self Witness. The best way to truly visualize how this works in your body is to be able to understand a bit more about how our brains work in relation to each other.
Our skull-brain Our skull-brain is hard-wired to be run by the amygdala, the emotional alarm system of our nervous system. That’s how we are born. Then we have to learn to grow neurons that let the prefrontal cortex (PFC) reach out to the amygdala in the limbic system, to be able to swoop in to regulate it: similar to how a sweet parent swoops up a crying infant.
The PFC and limbic system are in a dynamic attachment relationship. If you’re having trouble visualizing this, you can act it out with your hand.
Hold your open hand up vertically, and tuck your thumb in across your palm. Your thumb is your limbic system, which is a brain area deep inside the skull-brain that helps us with emotions, memory, bonding, and watching for danger. It’s tucked into the center of the brain.
Now take your four fingers (which are currently straight up) and wrap them gently over the top of your thumb. Your four fingers are your brain’s cortex, which interprets our world and stores all of our sensations and perceptions. Feel into the sensation of your fingers over your thumb: This is how your PFC, when healthy, cradles your limbic system like a loving parent.
What we learn from fMRI scans is that skull-brains that have less neural connection between the PFC and limbic system are more prone to feel unresolvable anxiety and distress, similar to a lost young mammal whose parent has disappeared.
We also learn that when we practice resonance, with ourselves and with others, these neural connections are strengthened. This is why I I say that resonance helps us grow the “neural fibers of attachment”: because it literally does.
When we re-parent ourselves with warmth and understanding, we strengthen the connections that run from the prefrontal cortex (PFC) to the limbic system. The neural fibers that our warmth grows cause us to become less reactive over time, which helps us integrate the parts of ourselves that have become stuck in traumatic loops.
This is how our bodies heal from trauma: with resonance.
And resonance is something that we can learn to do with ourselves, because our brains hold the capacity to be in multiplicitous relation with themselves. What that means is that we are able to both act and observe our actions at the same time.
I wrote my first book, Your Resonant Self, to support people in learning how to offer themselves self-resonance by internalizing warmth, compassion, and self-attunement.
Introducing the Resonant Self Witness
Self-resonance is the process of re-parenting ourselves through resonant self-witnessing and resonant language. It is the process of building a warm internal parent within our neurological pathways who is able to respond to our distress calls with kindness and care.
Our brain has a lifelong capacity to grow the neurons that allow us to turn toward ourselves with affection and understanding.
This internalizing of a warm parent-figure is key, because it allows us to both experience our emotions, and witness ourselves experiencing our emotions. Which is something that our brain-body has immense neuroplastic capacity for.
This ability to be both experiencer and witness is the basis of emotional self-regulation. It is how we are able to notice ourselves when we are distressed and not go off the deep end into shame, judgment, collapse, fight, flight or freeze.
In the first meditation, we practiced having warmth for our own attention.
In the second meditation, we practiced having warmth for a part of ourselves, just one little cell.
In this third meditation we’ll practice bringing warmth to our entire selves through meeting our Resonating Self Witness.
I hope you can find some time today to give yourself the gift of meeting your resonant self witness. I look forward to sharing more in the next email in this series!
With so much warmth,