The tsunami wave of sensation

John Wood, Founder of Rageheart

by John Wood

I couldn’t breathe.

I’d tried to go under the wave but somehow it sucked me up into the churning whitewash.

I tumbled and thrashed like I was locked inside a washing machine but hey, at least I had my surfboard with me 🏄‍♀️


Uh oh. There goes the board…

I was taking surf lessons at Máncora, Peru’s most popular beach for surfing, except the teacher didn’t tell me how to go under waves.

As a result, instead of going under while holding onto my board, I ditched the board and went under alone.

That was a mistake.

I lost the board and got thrashed.

I eventually resurfaced, gasping for air and on the edge of panic.

Thankfully, my board hadn’t gone too far so I swam over, caught the next wave in and that was that 🤷‍♂️

But I couldn’t help but wonder…

What if the board had disappeared?

Or what if the wave had kept me under for another minute?

2 minutes?

I won’t say that I almost drowned because I didn’t… but it definitely got a little hairy for a second.

That’s what happens when we get in the water without the right skills to catch the wave (or go under it).

It’s dangerous.

The same is true of nervous system work, except instead of talking about waves made of water, we’re talking about waves made of emotion, sensation and memory.

One of my teachers likes to talk about “the tsunami wave of sensation” and it’s an apt description of what can happen with nervous system work.

That’s why I spend so much time on “the basics” in Rageheart.

Looking around.

Feeling the ground.

Noticing your breath.

Orienting to the safety in the environment.

Doing it all at once, as if you’re weaving multiple threads of sensation into one thread of awareness.

These tools might seem basic and simple and and most of the time, it might even seem like nothing is happening.

But it’s just like surfing:

You don’t go out and surf massive waves on your first day because it’s asking for trouble.

You start with small waves and get the hang of standing up, turning and duck-diving there first.

It’s only later – once you’ve mastered the tools in relatively calm conditions – that you go hunting for bigger waves and more intensity.

And it might be a long time before you’re surfing at Nazaré, home to some of the biggest waves in the world.

With Rageheart, it’s the same.

We practice the basics when the conditions are calm and easy – when shit’s not hitting the fan and you’re not having a meltdown.

Then when the tsunami waves of sensation, emotion and memory arrive – and they will – you know how to ride the wave instead of getting absolutely smashed.

In practical terms, “getting smashed” means having something come up that you’re simply not prepared to deal with. Massive amounts of fear. Rage that makes you want to kill someone. Shame that makes you want to kill yourself.

You don’t need to be afraid of these things… but you DO need to be careful and wise.

So when it comes to Rageheart and working with your nervous system, don’t rush. Focus on nailing the basics. The more you get those parts down, the better you’ll be when the tsunami arrives.

Want lessons on how to ride the tsunami wave of sensation, emotion and memory instead of getting smashed by it?

Sign up to Rageheart here:


Already a member and feeling the impulse to rage? Hit the “Sign In” link on the page above and wake up the beast that’s inside you.

Trust the process 💪

John Wood

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