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Abolition and the Nervous System

8c5c68f4e82bf52f738f3ec0eddea612?s=47 abolitious
October 07, 2020

Abolition and the Nervous System

This presentation and discussion will cover a basic rundown of how the nervous system is involved in our crisis response to perceived danger. We’ll discuss herbs and strategies to widen our “window of tolerance” so that we can participate in better responses to crisis situations like deescalation, rather than calling the police or otherwise endangering people with institutionalization.

Participants will be invited to answer interactive questions and consider their past crisis experiences and how they responded, as well as how they would prefer to respond. This information does not need to be shared with the group, there will simply be time to reflect on these things.



October 07, 2020


  1. Abolition And the Nervous System Community Herbalism for Crisis Situations

    CAre Not Cops. Facilitated by Folk Herbalist Madeleine L. Keller, Part of the Abolition Fair hosted by Abolitious
  2. Welcome Intros! Please put in the chat: Name Pronouns 1

    sentence about what brings you here today Community Agreements FTP Respect & Awareness Progressive Stack - Take Space, Make Space State Your Needs Disclaimer, Credentials, & Positionality
  3. Overview Agenda: What the Window of Tolerance and autonomic nervous

    responses are, and how they relate to crisis response & abolition Discussion, reflection, and visioning on our personal crisis responses Herbs and strategies Resources Goals Understanding of how the nervous system relates to crisis response Tools and strategies to tend to nervous system health Community and resources
  4. The Sympathetic Nervous system response Part of the autonomic nervous

    system Triggers acute stress response, "fight or flight" Physically: adrenaline, increased heart rate, increased breathing, defensive posture, some internal processes suspended Emotionally: Fear, anger, panic, anxiety Chronic hyperarousal leads to ongoing physical and emotional issues
  5. The ParaSympathetic Nervous system response Part of the autonomic nervous

    system "Rest and digest" response, in extreme hypoarousal triggers "freeze, fawn, and faint," sequential model Physically: Lethargy, low blood pressure, shutdown of bodily processes, exhaustion and fatigue Emotionally: Dissociation, "stuckness", depression, loss of control, overwhelm, terror Chronic hyporarousal leads to ongoing physical and emotional issues
  6. The Window of Tolerance The space between hyper- and hypo-arousal

    where we can self- regulate and bring ourselves back into balance Physically: "Optimal state" of heart rate, breathing, bodily functions able to continue Emotionally: flexible, engaged, can access reason and emotion, ability to learn and connect Normally: ebb and flow, always shifting back toward baseline Trauma narrows window of tolerance, can leave us stuck in hyper- or hypo-arousal
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  9. Implications for Abolition In hyper- and hypo-arousal we lose our

    ability to take in and respond to the world. We can widen our window of tolerance to be able to respond better. Increased ability to deescalate, medic, participate in direct action, engage in difficult conversations and personal reflection, and think well about getting outside resources There are practices and herbs for regulating nervous system activity, both acutely and in the long term
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  11. Discuss: Do you find your response to crises changes from

    one situation to the next? How so? What about your general way of being? Do you ever feel "stuck on" or "stuck off"?
  12. Reflection and Visioning How have you responded to crisis in

    the past? What are some crisis situations that are likely to come up in your life? How would you like to respond to those? We will take a couple minutes to reflect individually. Sharing is optional if you feel called.
  13. "Nervine Trophorestoratives" - building nervous system tone Milky Oats, St.

    John's Wort, Skullcap, Reishi, Ashwaghanda, Lemon Balm, Wood Betony (stachys officinalis), Borage essence Skullcap, Maypop, Lemon Balm, Milky Oats, Chamomile, Rosemary, Ginger, Five Flower Rescue Remedy Lavender or other aromatherapy Long Term Care Acute Care Herbal Allies
  14. Calming Practices Sleep, social connection, emotional & expressive outlets, exercise,

    experiences of safety, presence, trauma therapy, finding triggers, non-shaming awareness Diaphragmatic breathing, drinking water/swallowing, physical pressure (hugs, squeezes, hand on forehead or heart), grounding exercises Assess your capacity - "don't create a second patient" Long Term Care Acute Care
  15. Community Brainstorm Please share: What are some herbs or practices

    you've found helpful?
  16. Fuck the Police Crisis numbers to call instead: Monarch Services:

    (888)900-4232 Walnut Ave Family & Women's Center: (866) 900 - 4232 Suicide Prevention 24 hr Crisis Line: (800) 273 - 8255 Harm Reduction Coalition of SCC: (831) 769 - 4700 YARR SC (if you see ICE): (831) 239-4289 Take care of your nervous systems, love each other and stick together! Care not cops!
  17. Resources More on the nervous system, window of tolerance, &

    care Understanding and Working with the Window of Tolerance Acute Stress Response Hyper- and Hypoarousal Intro to Emotional First Aid Strategies to Widen Window of Tolerance Places to get medicine Bay.HRT Herbalists Without Boders Amber Moon Remedies Me - single herbs and care boxes
  18. Connect Abolitious's website and Abolition Fair Schedule Visualizing Abolition Event

    Series Watch my other free workshops Hydrosols and Aromatherapy Fire Cider Find more of my work Fall Workshop Series - Next One on Sat. 10/10 Patreon, IG, Website, Blog, etc.