top of page

Navigating the Wilderness: A City Girl's Journey into the Perception of Danger

Picture this - a picturesque winter day, the sun casting its warm glow on fresh, sparkling snow. I find myself revelling in the beauty of nature as I embark on a snowshoeing adventure with my friend and two lively dogs. Little did I know, this idyllic scene would soon unravel into a moment of unexpected tension and self-discovery.

Neurology of danger and the need for compassion

The Unsettling Encounter

As we meandered through the snowy landscape, an unfamiliar structure caught my eye, triggering an unexpected cascade of thoughts and emotions. The joy of exploration turned into a moment of concern as questions flooded my mind - was someone in that hunting shelter with a gun? Were they upset about my presence on their property? Would the dogs protect me? Worry set in as the reality of being unable to run in my snowshoes sank in.

Relief and Revelation

My closer inspection revealed no footprints leading to the shelter, prompting a sigh of relief. My attuned Country Girl friend, recognizing my heightened state, casually assured me that it wasn't even hunting season. The dogs, blissfully unaware of the drama unfolding, continued their playful antics.

Deconstructing the Systems

In the aftermath, I reflected on the intricate systems at play shaping the individual responses

of each of us in a quantum moment.

Me, the City Girl:

Neuroception- On a subconscious primitive level, my autonomic nervous system registered a shape of which my brain did not have a story of normalcy around.

Exteroception - My eyes saw the thing.

Subcortical brain (amygdala-emotional brain) - A file opened which held some images from really bad movies about gun-crazed country folk (sorry).

Sympathetic nervous system - Increased heart rate, shallow and rapid breath, darting eyes, energy in legs.

More neuroception - Subconsciously sensed that there was only calmness surrounding me.

Left prefrontal cortex - Increased ability to use some logic, took in more information.

Ventral vagal nerve (parasympathetic) - Heard my friend's calm voice and felt her attunement to me.

My friend, The Country Girl:

Neuroception - We are good

Cardiac (Heart) Brain - She is not good.

Ventral Vagal Nerve - Let's connect and engage with her.

The Doggies

Sympathetic and ventral vagal nerve - PLAY!!!!!

Compassion in Complexity

This incident served as a poignant reminder of our complexity and the stories our unique systems carry. The key, I realized, is cultivating compassion and understanding for the diverse ways our systems perceive and react to the world. We each have our own narrative, and recognizing that allows us to navigate life with care.

In moments of perceived danger, understanding your system's response is crucial. Are you fruitlessly thinking your way out of it, or might there be a deeper, more somatic approach needed? Perhaps a neuro-informed, compassionate partner might support you in rewiring your system to embrace safety and wholeness. Just reach out - because in the vast wilderness of life, we're all navigating our own unique journeys and we do not need to do it alone.


bottom of page