Today is Monday, January 28, 2019. This morning I finished my final hour of case consults. This is a big deal because it means that I just need to turn in the paperwork and I will officially have my SEP certificate.
SEP. Somatic Experiencing Practitioner. Oh. My. Goodness. This is a three-year program that took me almost four years to complete due to, well, blowing up my entire life midway through. Most of you know that the big life blow up included but was not limited to: going through a challenging divorce and letting go of my gym.
The letting go of my gym has been harder than I ever thought it would be. It has changed everything. I thought I was ready for it. I was already learning how to do EVERYTHING differently as a newly single person with a full pack of dogs on my hands. I was doing a lot of processing about letting the gym go because I knew it was coming. I thought I was just going to sail through this transition. OH NO.
My gym. Letting it go and staying open to how to proceed has been one of the hardest things I have ever done. And if you’ve read my blog, you know that I’ve done some hard shit. I’ve gotten sober from alcohol, drugs, over exercising and had significant recovery around my relationship with food and my body. I mean, name an addiction and I’ve had it and I’ve faced it with the help of 12-step support. And God. Thank you God.
But that was child’s play compared to losing my gym which meant losing my job, my identity, my security. This has brought me face to face with the most powerful addiction I have which is workaholism. I mean, who are you when you aren’t showing up for work? Answer: A puddle of tears, a ball of anxiety, a crazy human who drives friends away with the inability to navigate grief. It feels like I am nothing sometimes.
This is part of the process but ouch, ouch, ouch.
And really, if I’m honest with you, the Somatic Experiencing trauma therapy, both personal sessions and the training combined is the reason for all of this. This powerful healing modality when embraced wakes you up. But with this awakening your ability to ignore the elephants who have been hanging out with you disappears.
So really, the SE is what blew up my life.
While SE is all about helping to release trauma in a very gentle but effective way, when it opens doors that have been closed for a long time, it is UNCOMFORTABLE. And there’s no turning back, at least not for me. Once the door is open, walking through is the only option.
Again, if I am completely honest, as hard as it has been (and still is) I am so thankful for the journey. There are parts of me that are so excited to be out here in the free fall of absolute trust. There are parts of me that are WAY less excited but I’m all in at this point so now it’s just a matter of embracing the ride.
I am interested in a life of joy. I say joy rather than happiness because I now understand on a whole new level that joy means having a sense of well-being no matter what is happening. It means rather than constantly running from what I consider scary and unpleasant emotions like fear, anger, depression and grief, I can invite them in for tea and have a chat. During the chat, we can discuss calmly what messages they have for me. We also decide what they need so they can leave gracefully. Most of the time they just want me to slow down enough spend some time with them. Once they leave, moving toward completion of goals, dreams and aspirations on a whole new level will become accessible.
Things I have learned in my SE training that are slowly but surely integrating into my system are:
- Gentle is best. Trauma is fast and damaging. Healing is slow and kind. The solution is not to dive in and relive that trauma but to support your organism in slowly releasing unconscious safety strategies that are no longer serving. These strategies have outlived their purpose and are now blocking the ability to navigate life on life’s terms.
- It all makes sense. There is a logical reason for unwanted reactions and behaviors. Most of it can be traced back to childhood coping mechanisms. This is not to place blame on you or anyone else, but instead create space and understanding for your young self. By making peace and, dare I say, even appreciating the survival tools you picked up when you were a very little person, you can let them go in exchange for better habits.
- The body is so intelligent. I’ve been so busy overriding my body’s signals for so long that this has been a process to appreciate that my headaches (and other addictions) have been simply a way to signal that balance is not present and it needs to be. The body remembers… everything. Which can cause a ton of troubles. But on the flip side, it’s so amazing because when you are listening to it, it will also remember to heal.
- Feelings won’t kill me. Sometimes it still feels like they will, but there is a beginning, middle and an end to all things including the way I’m feeling. Developing the ability to sense into this and ride the waves instead of trying to escape through checking out is nothing short of miraculous.
- I can complete things. Unbeknownst to me, part of the reason why I have been an excellent starter of projects but a terrible finisher is because my nervous system has been unable to regulate well enough to COMPLETE. There are natural cycles that happen when we experience stress. I had become an expert at bypassing or getting stuck at the peak of the natural cycles that happen with stress. Bypassing lead to repression which caused headaches. Getting stuck at the top causes depression and lack of motivation. Of course these things were instrumental in my inefficiency at completing projects and goals. But now!! Completion is easier and my goals feel possible rather than insurmountable.
Somatic Experiencing is my new passion. I have begun taking clients in my home office to help other people start to experience the magnificent healing that SE can help facilitate. I am convinced that I have been on this journey of going deep into this system so I can coach others to do the same.
When I sense into my dharma, I KNOW this is the next big part of it. It started with becoming very interested (obsessed is another word for it) in how people can create healthy habits and stick with goals. As a trainer, people will come to me for more motivation. I now KNOW that what most people need is not more motivation. We are motivated. Life is so challenging sometimes, most of us are very motivated to survive it. What we don’t have in abundance is nervous system regulation which is necessary to be able to slow down enough to visualize and then move in the direction of a path that moves us to where we want to be in an intelligent loving way.
This COMPLETION is magnificent and I’m so thrilled and thankful.
Angela Freebird, SEP… The Joy Coach is IN!
Joy Coaching with Somatic Experiencing is now available. Prices and specials are the same as the gym training! YAHOO!