I think most of us already know “We’re on the highway to climate hell,” as the UN Head told world leaders yesterday. We can’t always find words for what’s happening inside and around us, but personal and interpersonal neuroendocrine systems are responding to the ever-increasing danger. Fear is not just a good idea; it is a neuroendocrine response that impacts our souls, our intimate lives, and our relationships in communities. Even as we plan for a possible future, as if climate hell wasn’t already here, or imminent, we are manifesting embodied awareness.
There are unprecedented dangers we cannot escape. With that, there is the question: can we live and die with a full-spectrum neuroendocrine response? Instead of responding to danger with the most contracted parts of our nervous system, as capitalism and colonialism have taught us, can we learn to respond with the more expanded parts of our nervous system? I am attaching a diagram of the nervous system that I hope invites a reach beyond our threat-management responses. We can build our capacities for feeling fully, and expand in both courage and serenity. Experiences of ecstasy and orgasm can be refuge for us – AND they can also be resources. Orgasm is a trustworthy guide of non-equilibrium states, that could help us navigate the frightening, far-from-equilibrium states of the social sphere, the biosphere, and our own intimate spheres. Can we draw on experiences of courageous ecstatic states, as we navigate unprecedented dangers?
For decades I’ve taught somatic strategies that help us calm our personal nervous systems, so we can inhabit a neural “Window of Tolerance,” and better tolerate and be tolerated… But in the ongoing global emergency, we need more than tolerance. We need to grow capacities for transformation, in personal and interpersonal nervous systems. If we learn to better inhabit the full-spectrum of our personal and interpersonal nervous systems, will that resource us? If we acknowledge our enormous grief, will that help us grow right-sized rage, at the injustice? Might many experiences of ecstasy, and despair, resource us in knowing of our transpersonal belonging, to each other and the biosphere? I had fun creating these graphics.