Much of the time we’re living and perceiving life from perceptions, imprints and beliefs laid down in the foundational period from preconception to infancy, and early childhood. It’s normal for us to shift between younger states – such as our inner baby, child, toddler, etc and our adult self, on a daily basis. Often when we are emotionally triggered we are operating from a younger self. Many of us are unaware of this internal shifting because we don’t have the awareness, support or internal resources to be in choice about it.
Our level of internal resources begin with what we receive from our family-of-origin, and can be increased by our life experiences, personal growth and consciousness practices. Here are 7 ways that internal resources support increased consciousness and excellent self-care:
- Ground and centre ourselves at will in any situation
- Be aware of our needs and communicate them effectively
- Feel connected to, and trust, our felt-sense, intuition and instincts
- Take good, consistent care of ourselves
- Know when we’re triggered into an old imprint from baby/childhood
- Shift from old imprinting back to our adult self and settle our activation
- Self soothe/regulate or co-regulate (with another who is regulated) our nervous system and return to neutral/calm
A regulated nervous system means that we are calm, relaxed and in neutral. When we are living out of old imprints our nervous system can be dysregulated by anxiety, fear, and mistaken beliefs. We all need a regulated nervous system and the ability to return to equilibrium after a disturbance, upset, or trigger into an imprint from the past.
Our nervous system, part of our Soul Body, constantly gives us good information about our level of relaxation and dysregulation if we are able to receive its wisdom. I use the term Soul Body to convey that we’re primarily embodied souls, as distinct from just a biological body. Listening to our Soul Body and responding with good self-care is an essential internal resource. To read more go to: The Soul Body.
Our Soul Body is constantly receiving and transmitting information and is our best resource if we can develop the ability to act on that information in our best interests. This is good self-care in action. We can also discern, through our Soul Body, what’s happening outside of ourselves, around us, and with other people including our children and family. Trusting our intuition, instincts and felt-sense are ways to access good information, and sometimes we need help to connect to ourselves in this way and trust what we hear.
Noticing when we’re dysregulated, and returning to feeling settled is a necessary resource for us all, but especially if we’ve lived our life on the roller coaster of dysregulation. If we are in fear, anxiety, overwhelm or activated into an old imprint our nervous system is usually dysregulated. Returning to neutral brings us out of the old feeling state, back to the present and into our adult self. Only in our adult self can be we practice good self-care, and feel sovereign over ourselves. It is our adult who has the developmental maturity to do adult tasks well.
A simple practice to become present:
Remember your current age in the present, e.g. 36 – and then look around the room, or wherever you are, with your adult eyes – on purpose. You are looking through your 36 year-old-eyes on purpose with the intention to return to your present time perception. In this presence practice you are:
a) Looking around at your environment with your current adult age eyes
b) Taking in where you are in present time
c) Holding the intention to become present
Increasing Our Awareness:
Young parts of ourselves are often running our lives, relationships and our parenting, which does not go well because these are adult jobs. Triggers are mostly from the past, so coming back to the present is a good initial way to resource. Increased somatic awareness is key because it’s only through tuning in to our Soul Body that we can discern where we are inside ourselves. Each part of us – prenate, baby, toddler, child, adult – has its own felt-sense. When we find ourselves consumed by a younger undeveloped part of ourselves, we need to be able to:
- Track our Soul Body using somatic awareness
- Know where we are in ourselves through our felt-sense
- Differentiate the past from the present, e.g. “I know you (baby self) felt unsafe back then, and now I am caring for you and you are safe”
- Get back into our adult and regulate our nervous system
These are internal resources that can change our lives. If our parents were not adequate, or were parenting from their young selves (immature), therapeutic relational support grows a stronger sense of adult, whilst hearing the inner little one’s who had to grow up without adequate resources.
Early Imprints and Resourcing
Our nervous system is calibrated during our time in the womb as our mother teaches us how to manage life. If our mother was resourced and had a well regulated nervous system, we’ll also have that positive imprinting in our nervous system. Unresolved trauma from the womb, birth or infancy can also affect our ability to be present and regulated. Even though we may not have had the benefits of a well-regulated mother, we can learn how to have this at any time in our life. This takes relational support, somatic work, and a willingness to practice somatic awareness daily. These are resources that I teach in my practice throughout all of my services.
Because our nervous system is social, we can come into neutral/regulation when we’re with a person whose nervous system is regulated. Our nervous systems are communicating with each other non-verbally. Likewise, if we’re with a dysregulated person and are unable to hold our own nervous system steady, this can be disruptive. As parents we can influence our child’s state simply through awareness, and regulation, of our own nervous system.
Our early imprinting can predispose us to seeking the familiar, which can mean we attract, or are drawn to, people with a dysregulated nervous system. The antidote is to become more conscious, resourced and aware so that we can make different choices in the present. Once we learn how to self-regulate, and have practiced enough, dysregulated people won’t throw our nervous system off. We may feel their disturbance in our own nervous system without becoming dysregulated, or we may become momentarily dysregulated, realise it quickly, and return to equilibrium. In this way our nervous system becomes a resource to help discern who we want to spend time with, and who is good for us.
As a prenate and newborn the resources we have available to deal with a stressful, challenging or traumatic environment, or event, are very different from adult resources. Many adults are using methods to resource themselves that were learned in the womb, or during birth or early infancy. Responses, defences, and beliefs imprinted from our early environment may no longer be serving us. Our resources back then were limited to what we could access at that early stage of development. As adults we have a much wider range of resources, more choice, and far healthier options. We can only be in ‘true choice’ when we can choose not to act-out from a past imprint, and we have the skills and resources to be able to return our nervous system to neutral and act from our adult self. These resources can be learned so that we can have true choice.
E.g. If unwanted as a baby we may perceive ourselves in relationships, and in the world generally, as not wanted – even though we are wanted now. When we notice a disparity in our life such as this – e.g. we can see that we are wanted, but we don’t feel wanted deep inside – there’s a high possibility of an earlier unresolved imprint at work. We may be living from a mistaken belief that our Little One (inner baby) formed a long time ago about life and people. Little One’s get stuck in old mistaken beliefs and experiences and it feels very real in present time when these feelings arise. This kind of imprinting can be very isolating and feel familiar. With some healing and new internal resources our early challenges can be integrated and our mistaken beliefs no longer running our lives. New ways to resource can be learned that enable us to take care of ourselves, and take charge of our lives.
It’s a Practice:
We can achieve a healthy flow when we regularly practice: good self care (including self-regulation), receiving care and support (co-regulation), and giving care – all from a healthy, neutral, centred position. Get support to learn new, and more adult, internal resources. Growing new internal resources takes waking up to how we’re operating in the present, and a commitment to practice new ways of perceiving ourselves, and others. Working through early imprints can help us to feel more resourced because it decreases the charge in the imprint leaving us less consumed by the activation when it arises.
Each person can discover what resources them, for some it’s connecting with themselves, slowing down, centring, moving, dancing, contact with another, sitting under a tree, breathing, meditating, working with our chakras and energy system, etc. It’s the resourcing activity, and the practice of mindfulness, that brings us back to neutral/present. Ecstatic dance was a major resource in my healing journey because I had the opportunity in a held group space to tune in and track my Soul Body.
There are many mistaken belief’s that arise out of our early development: “I have to do it all alone”, “I will be abandoned”, “Life is a struggle”, I’m not safe”, or “I’m not wanted”, etc. These imprints are very powerful and can run our lives. Building new resources is an important part of changing and healing these tender places.
It’s our felt-sense that tells us where we are in ourselves, and it’s good to have a floating awareness of whether we are acting from our baby self, our child self, or our adult because each place has differing levels of resource. In discovering where, and how, we are holding old imprints in our Soul Body, we can make better choices for ourselves now, and choose resourcing and regulation. Somatic awareness and tracking gives us access to our resources. As we heal and integrate our imprints and grow our new resources we become more conscious, and learn to have a good connection to ourselves, to others, and to our community. We can advocate well for ourselves when we are present and in touch with what our Soul Body is telling us about ourselves and others. This is also a top-of-the-list conscious parenting tool!
© 2021 Karen Melton