“Your Resonant Self” by Sarah Peyton

book cover

Subtitle: Guided Meditations and Exercises to Engage Your Brain’s Capacity for Healing

Recommended to me by: Amy Bennett

This book hooked me with, “The inner voice can be a constant flow of emotional warmth.” Yes please! Where do I sign up? It did take me a couple of months to get all the way through it, and would have taken longer if I hadn’t decided to finish reading it and write an article about it for May.

The book has a lot of detailed information about different parts of the brain, how they work together, and how trauma isolates them from each other. It’s not clear which parts of this are Interpersonal Neurobiology, but that’s in there. There are lots of TLAs (Three Letter Acronyms). Also lots of NVC (Non-Violent Communication), guessing about feelings and needs, which is one way to express empathy, but not the only way.

Emotional warmth is defined as being met or meeting others with affection and welcome, with a feeling of being cared for, nourished, and nurtured.

Resonance is defined as sensing that another being fully understands us and sees us with emotional warmth and generosity. Resonance is a two-person relational experience, being a “we.”

“We are social animals created to live in groups, like honey bees, ant colonies, or parades of elephants. Our brains are meant to be soothed by other human brains.”

The Default Mode Network (DMN) is the part of our brain that talks to us when we’re idle. It can be warmly kind, neutrally factual, or viciously negative.

We can choose to speak warmly to our attention as we watch it in meditation. We can begin to be warm toward parts of ourselves. We can find a part called Resonating Self Witness (RSW), and have that part resonate with other parts that need hearing and healing.

There are chapters on the inner critic, anxiety, editing old trauma narratives, anger, fears, dissociation, attachment, self-hate, depression, addiction, and community. There is a huge amount of material in the book, and I’m barely touching on what’s there and my responses to it.

The guided meditations that go with the chapters can be downloaded from yourresonantself.com. You get added to a marketing-heavy mailing list, but it’s easy to unsubscribe.

The way that criminality is associated with disorganized attachment sounds like the way some people say abusers abuse because they were abused themselves. No, plenty of us were abused and don’t go on to abuse anyone. Plenty of us had disorganized or disorganizing attachment and don’t end up in prison.

The Resonating Self Witness is similar to Self In Presence from Inner Relationship Focusing. That system’s way of listening and reflecting feels like a better fit for me than the questions about feelings and needs that this book suggests. Perhaps for people who do not yet have words for their emotions and needs, the NVC approach is more helpful.

I like the model that healing from trauma is about getting isolated parts of the brain back into connection. After working through all the guided meditations, I feel like I did learn more about how to be warm in relation to myself. I like the idea that resonance is available inside us rather than being dependent on finding it externally. I continue to be suspicious of the idea that internal resonance is just as good as interpersonal resonance, or even good enough, but I’m sure it’s better than nothing.

Recommended if you’re curious about interpersonal neurobiology and want to spend some quality time investigating and changing how you relate with yourself.

Available at Powell’s Books.

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