A tree blows in the wind with a woman's face superimposed. The woman is calm, has her eyes closed, and her face is pointed skyward.

About Our Central Nervous System

Roots and Branches

Inside each of us is a beautiful system of intricately woven fibres that resemble the roots and branches of trees. The central nervous system is the body’s neurobiological and electrical wiring system.

Information, neurons and impulses travel through the ganglia from the brain stem along the spinal chord, out beyond the organs toward the extremities.

The human system comes with a gas pedal and brakes; the sympathetic function springs us into action while the parasympathetic eases us into dreamland.

New experiences build new neural pathways in our brains. These routes (or roots) become strengthened through learning and repetition, like the trails we carve as we walk through the natural world. We’re designed to be efficient, so we take familiar paths rather than thrash through the brambles.

Harmful events are recorded in data points to help detect and protect against future impending threats. So, if you were once attacked by a person wearing a green shirt, your system could respond by raising the threat level every time you see a green truck or a green house, setting you on edge.

It’s a purely physiological response that happens behind the logical mind’s back.

Ancient Libraries

If you could view a cross-section of the human psyche, you would see how we also age like trees, growing layer upon layer of new skins around us. If you learned to interpret tree rings, you’d see which years there were drought, infestation, or fire; and the years that enjoyed more sun or shade.

Just so, the person we used to be; the child who was neglected, the teen who was bullied, the young adult who was harassed never goes away, but is stored inside of us always as a permanent record of what happened. The new route becomes learned and then strengthened with repetition.

We are not merely the mature and majestic trees that stand before us today. Within us is the tree we were last year and the year before and the year before that; right down to the green little sapling we began as.

Wildfire seasons and blue beetle storms offset the ring patterns for years to come.

What Forests Hear

Just like trees, we appear separate in the topside world but if we could see beneath the surface we would know the truth; that separation is an illusion, we’re all connected on a deeper level.

Important information is transmitted among the collective through our underground connections. Nervous system silently communicating with nervous system.

Because we are connected our nervous systems can co-regulate. Imagine the feeling you have when someone walks into the room on speed or caffeine. Do you feel agitated and anxious? Now imagine the energy you feel when you’re in the room with someone asleep. Does that feel softer and sweeter?

The next time you feel yourself responding to someone else’s energy, ask yourself, what story are their tree rings trying to tell you? What wildfire from the past are they defending against?

 

By Kari Gundersen
BA, RYT, RTCc
Therapeutic Counsellor

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