Week Two SRW

Let’s Review Quickly

Sacred Relationship is the knowledge and belief that all of life is sacred and should be revered and respected. Sacred relationship is our true default state. It is the state in which we come into this world. It is the state where we are our most healthy, happy, successful self.

We are born to connect with one another. It is a biological imperative. Our brains are hardwired for connection and need connection to others in order to develop and organize optimally.

At birth, the brain is hardwired to “ask” the Big Brain Question, “Am I safe?” If the brain receives more “yes” answers than “no” answers, the brain will develop and organize optimally. If it receives more “no” answers, it will not develop and grow optimally. It will have more neural network connections to the fear regions of the brain, causing barricades to love, to connection with others.

Judgment is perceived in our brain/nervous system as a threat.

Neuroception is the perception by the brain below our consciousness.

An Introduction to Polyvagal Theory 

The vagus nerve consists of efferent (sending) and afferent (receiving) fibers that run from the brainstem down to the internal organs, providing activation for everything from the neck down to the G spot. It is part of the Central Nervous System, and part of the 12 cranial nerves.

The two pathways that we are interested in as we study Sacred Relationship, is Ventral Vagal and Dorsal Vagal.

Ventral Vagus works from the diaphragm up, and Dorsal Vagal works from the diaphragm down. Ventral Vagal is part of the parasympathetic nervous system and is the what is responsible for our being able to be relaxed, calm, and socially connected (love!)

The Dorsal Vagul is part of the parasympathetic nervous system. It is responsible for our being frozen, or shut down due to a perceived threat, whether through neuroception or interoception (unconscious or conscious perception.)

The VV is social connect, the DV is protect (via freeze, or hypo-arousal).

There’s more to PVT than the Vagus!

Dr. Stephen Porges, the father of PVT, really should have called it Polyvagal Hypothalamus Pituitary Adrenal Axis Theory. The Hypothalamus Pituitary Adrenal Axis or HPA for short, is part of the sympathetic nervous system and is responsible for another type of reaction when a threat is perceived. The adrenals are activated in two ways, one by nerves, which send a signal to release adrenaline for a quick response, and the other is via the bloodstream to release ACHT, a stress hormone.

Ventral Vagal is calm, connected. It’s found the Goldilocks sweet spot, so to speak. We are in a connect state.

Dorsal Vagal is immobilization (freeze). We are in a protect state.

An adrenal response, otherwise known as a sympathetic response, is mobilization (fight or flight). We are in a protect state.

Our brain sends signals to either of these systems and we are either in connect or protect. This goes on to one degree or another, all day long. It is up to use to learn when we are what state and how to effectively move to Ventral Vagal. It is our responsibility to learn to communicate and behave in ways that invite others to move into or remain in ventral vagal.

In this weeks Power-point presentation:
we will go over in more detail about PVT and the sympathetic-adrenal response. Plus we will discuss ACES and re-emphasize the importance of the Big Brain Question and the effects of “Yes” or “No” answers. We will also discover what drives our internal dialogue and sometimes our view of the world.

Journal Assignment

  1. Can you tell when you are calm in your mind/body so that you can connect with others on a meaningful level?
  2. What causes you to move into either dorsal vagal or trigger an adrenal reaction?
  3. Can you see how we need to become conscious of nervous system responses so that we can change our state to ventral vagal when we are feeling a false positive threat?