Perception Vs Reality

One of my favorite movies is The Matrix. Not only because Keanu Reeves is totally hot, and the slow-mo action scenes are mind-bending, but because I believe The Matrix is absolutely, 100%, real. Not real like we’re all sleeping in pods of goop with wires to our heads real, but in the way that we are all living in a perception of reality that keeps us confined to a way of life that oftentimes doesn’t serve us and can keep us blind to our gifts, power, and purpose.

Let’s go down the rabbit hole a bit, yeah?

I am a believer that we are spiritual beings having a human experience and living in a matrix of our own making*.

Spiritual being = Soul & Divine Consciousness
Human Experience= Body & Earth
The Matrix = Our Nervous System and internal thoughts, patterns, and beliefs.

I say our own making but really, we didn’t have a lot to say about the matter.

Enter: Childhood

The nervous system gets its first dose of perception in the womb when it receives messages about the outside world through your mother’s body. It then continues when you’re a young child by mirroring the emotional capacity of your parents/caregivers. If your parents had a small “window of tolerance”, you will too. Meaning, if they struggled with expressing big emotions in a healthy way, chances are, you do too. This can be seen in how we respond to stress, anger, anxiety, overwhelm, grief, helplessness, etc.

You might be thinking- oh great! My childhood sucked and my parents are crazy!
But don’t worry. There’s still hope for you.

The nervous system is designed to keep us safe (we’ve all heard of fight-flight-freeze and appease) and these beautiful responses to a perception of threat are an amazing and sacred gift from our bodies- because let’s be honest, sometimes the threat is real, annnnd, we don’t want to die.

But as we get older, these automatic reactions can keep us contained in a box of reality that no longer serves our highest potential by tipping us into a reaction based on fear instead of reality.

Fear of public speaking
Fear of speaking our truth
Fear of uncomfortable conversations
Fear of setting boundaries
Fear of going for a dream
Fear of taking up more space
Fear of displeasing people
I really could go on here but I think you get the picture.

So, here’s the hope I mentioned earlier.

Our nervous systems and brains are reshapable. Yes, it’s true! We can literally expand the capacity of our bodies AND rewire our brains! Get outta here!

For the nervous system, it’s called our Window Of Tolerance and it’s what tells us when we are tipped into a state of reaction. We can be over the top edge of our window and tip into fight-flight. Or we can be at the bottom of our window and tip into dissociation, depression, and lethargy

Here’s the kicker, the way we expand our window is to experience stress and then use our tools to calm the nervous system so it no longer perceives a threat where there is none.

To do this, we must access the body. Not the thoughts.

To do that, we have to use tools that directly support the body like breath, EFT, somatic experiencing, movement, etc.

When we face stressful situations, find ourselves in a reaction, and then use our tools to calm our nervous system, over time our window of tolerance expands and we no longer find ourselves slipping back into the old patterns of responding to the perception of a threat. We become better able to support all of our feelings and make strides and expand our capacity.

Here is one extremely simple thing you can do to anchor into your body and calm your nervous system.

The 4-6 Breath

This breath can be done at any time and anywhere. Simple inhale through your nose to the count of 4 and exhale through your nose to the count of 6.

Elongating the exhale tips us into the parasympathetic nervous system which is a state of rest.





About The Author

Tanicia Baynes

I am a meditating mama, the Indiana Jones of unconscious spaces, your biggest fan and a tell-it-like-it-is maven. Here you can read the latest musing by me or fellow healers and artists.



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