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Relearning the 4 Responses: Soften, Flock, Flow, and Surrender

Nowadays trauma is a buzzword. 

We are used to hearing and reading about flight, freeze, fawn, and fight responses and how to regulate our nervous system. This growing attention to trauma is giving way to deeper practices around trauma-informed work and cultivating safer and brave spaces. 

A big part of my unlearning, decolonizing journey is to not only focus on the pathogenic/scarcity/deficit view which is very much prevalent in our modern world. I would also like to invite more framings around abundance, wellness, and  fullness. This is why I write about and am drawn to self-fullnessstrengths-based workhealing-centered engagementHOPE, and salutogenic practices. 

We are more than our traumas. 
We are more than the difficult circumstances that have settled in our bodies.
We are more than the tendencies and patterns that we gravitate to.

Yet for us to see past our traumas and to move past these patterns, we need to learn new ways of being for us to notice, appreciate, practice, and embody the fullness in our lives. In my recent post on “Soften, Flow, Flock, and Surrender, I offered these four practices as a way to re-orient ourselves and our nervous system.  This is part of my healing-centered ecosystems framework.

4 Responses: Soften, Flock, FLow, Surrender

Soften - Loosening the tension and the grip of the unsettling and uncomfortable emotions. This means allowing space to pause, to recalibrate, to be flexible, and to care for what needs tending at the given moment.

Flock - Returning and resourcing ourselves in community. Building on one’s circle of support and knowing that we can collectively count on each other to hold space for our diverse needs.

Flow - Moving in the energy of the moment. This involves discernment and attuning into:

  • what is emerging,

  • who or what it is in service for

  • why it is important,

  • and how to respond with vitality, gratitude, and intentionality.

Surrender- Heightened trust, tolerance, flexibility, and resilience in the given moment. It is an act of leaping into the unknown with emboldened self-confidence in one’s ability to hold ambiguity, courage, optimism, and hope.

It is my wish that we develop these responses as alternative coping stances. Practices that can support us in navigating this VUCA (my salutogenic version) world:

Versatile - adaptive, unique and emerging

Unified - connected, coherence and interdependent

Capable - strengths-based, competence, agency

Abundant - rich, overflowing, full of possibilities

Salutogenic VUCA: Versatile, Unified, Capable, Abundant


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