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The Software That Drives Calm and Fear

Imagine this scenario: you wake up after a decent night’s sleep, feeling calm and rested, and start getting ready for work. You wake up the kids to get them moving to get ready for school and go into the kitchen to get breakfast ready.

Software is turned on and systems are more or less in harmony.

As you walk into the kitchen you see that the dishwasher leaked all over the kitchen floor during the night. Enter the fear. And so the dance begins.

The main software that runs your stress or calm response is the autonomic nervous system, which is divided into two programs. The calm program is your parasympathetic nervous system. The fear and stress program is your sympathetic nervous system.

standing on a set of scalesThis image is an illustration of the state of the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems in most of us.

The figure weighing down the scale in the foreground represents the chronic activation of the sympathetic nervous system. Some days feel like this little guy is jumping up and down on his side of the scale!

The other figure trying to get a foothold might represent the parasympathetic system trying to bring the autonomic nervous system into balance.

The truth is – the autonomic nervous system is never in balance!

It’s like standing on one foot, without holding on to anything for stability, and trying to stand completely still and in balance. It just doesn’t happen in most people!

There is always a little bit of movement that constantly adjusts the stability of your body as you stand on one foot.

Try it and notice what happens. If you want to have even more fun with this, try standing on the other foot. You might notice that each foot has a different level of stability.

It’s the same thing in the dance between your sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems.

Even though it may never be in balance, it can be in harmony.

Events happen all day long that can either stimulate the release of hormones to raise our alertness or hormones to create relaxation.

Cleaning up the Dishwasher Leak

Back to the scenario: Your sympathetic nervous system spikes to give you energy to clean up the mess quickly, and then call or leave a message for a repair company and rush to get breakfast for the kids.

Just barely getting the kids ready and out the door to go to work, the kids are dropped off and you are still irritated and the traffic is making it worse.

The sympathetic little guy starts jumping up and down on his side of the scale.

You quickly set your playlist for your favorite relaxing music, your breathing and heartbeat starts to calm down and the irritation level starts to drop. You get to work ready to make arrangements for the repair.

The parasympathetic little guy is able to get both feet on the other side of the scale and brings it into some balance – at least for the moment.

On the other hand, if you start going over and over the morning’s events in your mind, and then tell the story to everyone you see at work, this just keeps the sympathetic nervous system jumping up and down on the scale and knocks the other guy completely off the scale.

Are you beginning to see how the software works?

This is your daily dance with the autonomic nervous system.

(Excerpted from Sharon Carne’s upcoming book, Please Pass the Calm. Watch for the release this fall)

Reprogramming the Software

This software runs on automatic all day and night long. But the sympathetic little guy constantly jumping up and down on his side of the scale plants a virus in your whole system that can become chronic and lead to all kinds of illness.

As I mentioned in last week’s blog, Find the Source, up to 90% of visits to the doctor are rooted in stress. That’s a lot of over-stimulated sympathetic nervous systems!

To be healthy and well, you need to have both the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems engaged. It is also essential to consciously intervene with tools and technique that help to regularly stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system.

That is why I have created the Summer of Self Care – to help you fill up your basket!  

Here are some of the ways you can collect more tools:

1. The Blog: Stay tuned to the blog every Saturday for more tools and information.

2. The Newsletter: Sign up for our newsletter at to receive the blog article each week.

3. Webinars:  Join me for one of our Sound Self Care Webinars this summer. We are repeating it 4 times to give people lots of options to join us. Sign up for the webinar at

4. Weekly Chakra Toning: Start your week with Peace, Ease and Healing. Join me on the weekly FaceBook Live broadcast Sunday evenings at 9 pm MDT for a regular toning practice.

5. Meditations with the Ancients: Join me for a unique experience of 8 weekly meditations with my chakra set of ancient Tibetan singing bowls. Starting the week of July 15. Join in on your favorite platform:



FB Live


8pm MDT

10am MDT

1. Root chakra

July 15

July 16

2. Sacral chakra

July 22

July 23

3. Solar plexus chakra

July 29

July 30

4. Heart chakra

Aug 5

Aug 6

5. Throat chakra

Aug 12

Aug 13

6. Third Eye chakra

Aug 19

Aug 20

7. Crown chakra

Aug 26

Aug 27

8. All together

Sep 2

Sep 3

YouTube: Meditating with the Ancients – videos will be uploaded later each week

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6. Immersion: Join us for a full immersion in the power of sound and music to nurture you at our next Fundamentals of Healing with Sound and Music program: