Book Club | Autumn 2023

Anchored: How To Befriend Your Nervous System Using Polyvagal Theory (by Deb Dana)

“When the inner workings of our biology are a mystery, we feel as if we’re at the mercy of unknown, unexplainable, and unpredictable experiences. Once we know how our nervous system works, we can work with it. As we learn the art of befriending our nervous system, we learn to become active operators of this essential system.” - Deb Dana

I’ve chosen Anchored: How To Befriend Your Nervous System Using Polyvagal Theory by Deb Dana as our next slow read in The Haven Book Club. Not least because it’s the book I wish I had access to when I was younger. It’s also a book I would recommend to any highly sensitive person looking to understand and work with the core rhythms and internal processes associated with the trait.

Anchored is a practical guide to help us become familiar with recognising and navigating the inner landscapes of our autonomic nervous system.

  • How can we return to safety in regulation and a state of connection?
  • How can we partner with our sympathetic and parasympathetic states to work in service of our personal projects and goals?

For many highly sensitive people, the autonomic nervous system is part of what makes life challenging. It can get frazzled by the overload of information through the widened sensory aperture and deep processing of everything that pours in. Not to mention it does this on a backdrop of the ceaseless 24/7 news cycle and flow of dread that builds up within us without meaningful or satisfactory resolution.

In Anchored, Deb Dana helps us recognise and name the sounds, signs, and feelings associated with different states of arousal. She provides a range of practical exercises to help us map our way through the states, with a pathway home to connection and safety.

The Book I Wish I Had Earlier in Life

Alongside other areas of my life, this book would have been a great companion when I began performing live music. Looking back through this lens, there are many aspects that made it harder than it needed to be. I can see that some of the pressures, expectations, and demands I put on myself made it a whole lot harder to stay regulated and connected at times.

Deb Dana writes with beautiful clarity to help us consider the impact of particular conditions, cues, and contexts on the nervous system. Allowing us to work with those protective and connecting patterns so we can move towards - not run away from or panic in the face of - what matters most to us.

I’m confident that this book will impact your life in positive ways. And as we explore it together in The Haven, I hope the experience of exploring it alongside like-spirited travellers will support and reinforce this inner homecoming too. Dana talks about the importance of co-regulation, which is something our Haven happenings always seem to make possible.

How The Haven Book Club Works

We will meet once a month between September and December. Our sessions include soundscape meditations, reflective conversations, and practical exercises. You are invited not obliged to join in with these different aspects!

We don’t just want to talk about ideas, we want to embody them. To allow books to catalyse change in our lives. This happens in a few ways...

  • Short Sound Anchors (I read short excerpts from the book over my ambient soundscapes - this puts us in a calm, open, and receptive spirit for the session and encourages deeper integration of core ideas)
  • Open Conversations (we give time for discussion about any insights and aspects that resonate with you)
  • Space to Practice (we explore one or two practical exercises together - bring something to write on if you can)

I would love you to join us as we dive into Anchored this season.

The Haven Book Club is for members so if you haven't registered yet, you can join us here. If you are a member, you’ll find links to the meetings by logging in and heading through the link in the village square.


Sunday 10th September (6pm UK) - Travelling The Autonomic Landscape

Sunday 8th October (6pm UK) - Connection and Protection

Sunday 12th November (6pm UK) - Shape and Story

Sunday 10th December (6pm UK) - Caring and Community

If you miss any of the sessions or you can't make it live, replays of each meeting will be available to catch up on afterwards.

Our live meetings last approximately 90 minutes (you can stay for as long or short as you like).

You are welcome to just come and be — there’s no expectation or pressure to get actively involved in the discussion.

Join The Book Club

These sessions are included as part of The Haven Monthly Pass. It's just $15/month and you get access to all events and resources inside the membership. You are welcome to cancel anytime if you don't find value in it or it feels like too much of a time stretch for you.

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