I’m Harmony Kwiker and I’m the founder of the Institute for Spiritual Alignment, where we offer ongoing learning opportunities for therapists, coaches, and anyone who’s passionate about bridging the divide between traditional psychotherapy and coaching and spiritual transformation. If you’ve been conditioned to ignore your alignment, to ignore your subtle energy body, and to ignore your deeper, intuitive knowing, and you are ready to honor these aspects of you as sacred and to learn how to live from this deeply sacred place within you then this video is for you.
Before we dive into that I want to share with you my new book, Align: Living and Loving from the True Self. Align offers a comprehensive map for how to come back home to the truth of who you are and how to live from this essential place, and how to stay in your alignment in all of your relationships, including your deepest intimacy.
I also have these new, self-guided alignment cards that I’ve just released. Each card has a wisdom teaching and a sentence STEM. There are 48 cards in the deck, and they will support you in living and loving from your true self.
When I first became a psychotherapist I was really ambivalent and unsure if this was the path for me. I wanted to support the deepest transformation of my clients and bring them back to the deepest repair within their system. I was unsure that a clinical space like psychotherapy and counseling was going to be the space for that. I thought that I would be limited by clinical psychology, even though I went on to study clinical psychology. I had been raised by a family of healers where there was so much beauty and growth in the transpersonal, spiritual, and esoteric practices that I was raised with. I wasn’t sure how I could bring that transpersonal, more transcendent experience, into a clinical container in an office space.
So I’ve spent the better part of the past 16 or 17 years really learning how to bridge the divide, how to bring the transpersonal and the sacred into the clinical container and to learn how to create that clinical container in a way that is sacred and honor that container as sacred.
What I’ve learned in my time as a psychotherapist and as a teacher of transpersonal counseling is that spiritual alignment is really a felt sense that happens in and through the body. And when we are in our spiritual alignment, it emerges naturally from a regulated awake, aware state. It isn’t something that we can contrive. It’s not something that we can think our way into and it is not something that relates to any dogma or religious framework that’s out there.
Spiritual alignment is a deeply intimate experience that happens when we tend to our subtle energy and we listen to our deeper, intuitive knowing, and we honor our whole being as sacred. When we are looking at spiritual alignment and this spontaneous expression of life moving through our system. You can see here, with my hands in the video, that our alignment is vertical. When we are aligned, our energy is connected up vertically, up towards the sky and down past the root, down towards the core of the earth.
This alignment actually overlaps with what we call the vagus nerve. Right now, in the field of psychology, Polyvagal theory is getting a lot of attention. It was first created in 1994 by Dr. Steven Porges. But right now it seems to be the time that people are really ready to understand and learn this theory. Polyvagal theory rests on this idea that the vagus nerve, which is the wandering nerve that comes from the brainstem, down past the neck, down past the heart center and into the belly, connects the gut and the brain. There are also other cranial nerves that come past the ears and the eyes and the top of the head, connecting to the top of the head and then down towards the hips. The vagus nerve is responsible for our social engagement system and our nervous system regulation.
What I have found in my work with clients is that when we are regulating the nervous system and really honoring the wisdom of the vagus nerve and co-regulating together, that the vagus nerve corresponds with the energy centers of the Chakra system. One thing that we do know about trauma, dysregulation, and the nervous system, is that dysregulation is when a person is in a trauma response and their higher consciousness and higher functioning of the brain shuts down. They go into fight-flight, freeze or fawn. They’re in pure survival and they lose access to their higher consciousness. When the vagus nerve contracts, the energy centers are blocked, higher consciousness is shut down, and a person is looking vertically to try to find safety, and they have moved away from their own alignment and from the core of their being.
When we are able to follow the thread of what pulls us out of alignment, what causes our nervous system to dysregulate, we’re able to follow that thread back into the body and into our own energy system. We can regulate by welcoming and honoring the wisdom of our nervous system, listening deeply to what we need from ourselves to create a sense of safety within ourselves. That brings us closer back into alignment.
When we’re in alignment, we are connected with the source that beats our heart, up through the crown of our head, and we’re anchored down through the core of the earth. When we’re out of alignment, we are looking to the third dimension, to the people around us, to try to find safety, and we come off balance from the core of our being. The way that a trauma response makes its way into our personality can be really helpful in learning how to honor our alignment, our nervous system regulation, our subtle energy, our deeper wisdom, and in service of coming back home to ourself, and living from this deeply sacred place.
Before I go into that, I just want to say that the word trauma can evoke many different ideas of what trauma means to you. There is a continuum of trauma. There’s severe trauma, chronic complex trauma, and then there’s what’s called developmental trauma. Developmental trauma can occur when we are developing a sense of self in our early years. The way that our caregivers treat us can cause us to feel unsafe, like we don’t belong, or like our needs don’t matter, or that it’s not safe for us to be in our power and our will. Even if it’s not intentional. It could be our caregiver travels a lot and they’re simply not there for us, and we develop this idea and this fear of being abandoned. The way that trauma makes its way into our personality gives us so much valuable information.
**?For how to listen to those conditioned patterns regulate the nervous system, dysregulation that lives beneath those patterns in service of moving the subtle energy as it relates to that nervous system, dysregulation and allowing life to flow through us in the way of our health in the way that we are truly designed for our vitality to flow through us. **?
You might have heard of the the trauma responses, fight, flight, freeze, and fawn. These four trauma responses happen in service of trying to find a sense of safety. I’m not going to go into that right now but I do go into that more deeply in some of my courses. For right now, what I want you to know is that fight-flight freeze and fawn can actually make its way into your personality.
I want to give you some examples:
The fight response of a trauma response can make its way into a personality for somebody who is explosive, has narcissistic traits, and who is overly controlling. Those sort of personality behaviors; being controlling, explosive, narcissistic (which is self-reference, and thinking they’re the most important), that is actually the fight response of trauma.
The flight response of trauma can be seen in the personality of somebody who’s an overthinker, somebody who is a perfectionist. So if you think of that perfectionistic, overthinking personality trait, beneath that, there is a dysregulation in the nervous system, and the person is trying to regulate by being perfect in this third dimension. As long as that keeps happening, that perfectionistic tendency of the personality is keeping them out of alignment from their true self.
The freeze trauma response can make its way into the personality of somebody who’s really indecisive, who has a lot of confusion. The fawn trauma response, which is really a person who is going to be okay with everything, who’s very accommodating and pleasing, can make its way into the personality by being a people pleaser, codependent, and a lack of boundaries. That’s all part of the freeze trauma response.
When you look at the way that the personality holds these patterns, you can see that all of us are trying to regulate our nervous system by engaging in these behaviors. If I please everybody else, I’ll be safe. If I have no boundaries or no sense of identity, then I’ll be safe. And so my safety comes from out there rather than from in here, seated in my power, and the core of who I am, and honoring myself.
It’s similar with narcissistic traits. If I control everybody else out there, if I defend and keep them out, then I’m safe, rather than regulating that fight response that’s actually beneath that, and making room for their experience and showing up for themselves and coming back and finding the core of their being.
What I really want to remind you and encourage you is that spirituality, psychology, and nervous system regulation, are all intertwined, and when we honor all of these aspects of us, we can find our way back home to ourselves. So the more available that we become for our experience, the more we’re able to regulate our nervous system, move our subtle energy, discover our deeper intuitive knowing, and remember our alignment. Remember to stay aligned to the core of our being.
When we have daily practices that remind us where we want to live from, and set that intention daily, the more able we are to see how we come off balance when our mind starts looping in a thought, when we start doing those perfectionistic tendencies, when we come out of alignment with the truth of who we are. Then we can follow that thread back home to ourself and we can honor even that pattern is sacred, and learn from it, and tend to it with great care. We can feel the emotions and the nervous system dysregulation beneath it. We can keep making room and space within ourselves to allow our vitality to flow so that we can experience the beauty of our sacred alignment.
I want to thank you for listening to this video, and I want to share with you that I have several courses on my website. One course is called Living Your Alignment, and I go into way more depth about subtle energy, nervous system regulation, and trauma, and how to live in love from your true self. I will post a link in the comments here, and if you have any questions, please offer them in the comments, and I will try to make a video to support you.
Blessings to you on your sacred journey.