We are designed to awaken in consciousness. There is no need to force or push. All of the striving I used to do to try and improve myself was because I didn’t see the health in my natural design. I became fixated on improving my psychology by focusing on my trauma rather than on returning to my natural state. This just kept my nervous system activated and took me further away from where I wanted to be.

I was given a first-hand reminder of how healing works recently when we adopted our kitten from the local shelter. When we brought her home the first thing she did was hide. I expected this, but couldn’t believe how small her safe spot was. She found a way to nestle in a small space between books on the bookcase in my bedroom. But she loves to be stroked so she would come out of her hiding spot for affection. That night she found a slightly bigger hiding spot under the dresser. The next morning she started to venture out and when she needed to retreat to safety she went underneath a chair rather than the dresser. By that night she was running around the room playing and chasing toys. She ended the day sleeping on the bed between Angus and me.

Our kitten’s evolution of behavior reflected her nervous system naturally stabilizing. She started off feeling unsafe and acted accordingly. Her experience of feeling unsafe had nothing to do with her environment. It was all based on her perceptions resulting from moving from a familiar cage in a shelter to a large room in a house. In order to navigate the shift, she followed her instincts and took care of herself. As her nervous system stabilized her perceptions shifted and she followed her curiosity and desire for affection. As she tested her environment and found that she was safe experientially, she acclimatized, and her playful nature kicked in. She came into the fullness of her “kittenness.” She now doesn’t run to hide when we open the door and seems to have adopted a princessly disposition.

We are designed the same way with the same mammalian nervous system. We heal from trauma and emotional suffering the same way she does. We have the same capacity to get present to the moment and have our nervous systems rewire themselves based on the present moment so our unconscious perceptions can adjust.

This settling of the nervous system is awakening in consciousness. When our nervous systems settle our perspective shifts and we are more present to who and what we are. We are designed to relax. We are designed to experience our true nature. We are designed to love. Our personal love is a portal into impersonal love. It is all connected. The nervous system to healing, healing to relaxation, relaxation to love, love with knowing our true nature. We can’t separate the form from the formless. It is one glorious combination all mixed up together.

We can’t separate our human nature from our spiritual nature. They are one and the same. It is helpful to remember this. It reminds us to take care of ourselves mentally, emotionally, and physically so we can experience more of who we are. It also allows us not to look down on our human experience or judge our emotional experience. It is all part of the waking-up process. We don’t bypass our humanity to experience our spirituality. Through being present to our humanness and feeling all of it, we wake up to who we are. We don’t get to pick and choose the emotions we experience and they are all for us, not just the good ones. As Thich Nhat Hahn said:

“Most people are afraid of suffering. But suffering is a kind of mud to help the lotus flower of happiness grow. There can be no lotus flower without the mud.”

By opening to my experience, I feel freer, safer, and healthier. All areas of my life benefit from this, especially my loved ones. I am a better wife and mother when my nervous system is regulated and my heart and mind are open. So not only do I feel better, but everyone around me benefits too.

Embracing our experience no matter what it is, is healing. That is what helps our nervous system to settle, but it also helps us to remember the truth of who we are before our beliefs and concepts about ourselves. Take this into consideration as you navigate this rich, juicy, and sometimes challenging human experience. Know your design. Trust your design. Surrender to your design and see where it takes you.

Originally published on therewilders.org.

If you would like to listen to the Rewilding Love Podcast, it comes out in serial format. Start with Episode 1 for context. Click here to listen. And, if you would like to dive deeper into the understanding I share along with additional support please check out the Rewilding Community.

Rohini Ross is co-founder of “The Rewilders.” Listen to her podcast, with her partner Angus Ross, Rewilding Love. They believe too many good relationships fall apart because couples give up thinking their relationship problems can’t be solved. In this season of the Rewilding Love Podcast, Rohini and Angus help a couple on the brink of divorce due to conflict. Angus and Rohini also co-facilitate private couples’ intensives that rewild relationships back to their natural state of love. Rohini is also the author of the ebook Marriage, and she and Angus are co-founders of The 29-Day Rewilding Experience and The Rewilding Community. You can follow Rohini on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram. To learn more about her work and subscribe to her blog visit: TheRewilders.org.