Getting Like, Totally, Unstuck

So about this Sunday: are you still on the fence?

That is, stuck?  Well, that fence looks uncomfortable!  Sign up to join us, with caveat below!

In case you are just tuning in, this workshop is called, Getting Unstuck, and it's 9:45 till 1, 5th of November.  You'll have 3 of us presenting in turn, each providing content and experiential so you are learning from different perspectives.

A few people have asked, "So am I going to be Unstuck, like, Forever?  Hahaha," they say, hopefully, "Maybe?"

Umm, no.

No quick fixes.  But the insights we'll be sharing have made a difference for our clients. 

Here's how you'll benefit from attending:

  • what stuckness is, and why it's a default for many of us
  • where to find balance among polarities
  • science of sensing; gain insights into your own behavior
  • risk trying something new -- safely!
  • anchoring new practices for flexibility and flow

And that's just my piece:  Cynthia and Rachel have their own bullet points!

Getting Unstuck: A Whole-Person Way Forward 

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Sunday morning, November 5, 2017

9:45 am - 1:00 pm

Sign up here 

$60 payable online or at the door 

Location: event address provided when you sign up.

Learn ways of moving from feelings of stuckness into flow. Perspectives from Chinese medicine, somatic practice, and integral coaching.

We invite all of you here. 

 

Warm regards,

Cynthia Luna, integral coaching

Rachel Mefferd, L.Ac, acupuncturist

Suzanne Snijder van Wissenkerke, SEP

 

 


Workshop 5 November

Getting Unstuck: A Whole-Person Way Forward 

IMG_4675

Sunday morning, November 5, 2017

9:45 am - 1:00 pm

Sign up here 

$60 payable online or at the door 

Location: event address provided when you sign up.

Learn ways of moving from feelings of stuckness into flow. Perspectives from Chinese medicine, somatic practice, and integral coaching.

We invite all of you here. 

 

Warm regards,

Cynthia Luna, integral coaching

Rachel Mefferd, L.Ac, acupuncturist

Suzanne Snijder van Wissenkerke, SEP

 

 

 


Healing Developmental Trauma

You are not broken.

This feeling many of us share --  I'm broken, unloved and unloveable -- boy, is it miserable.  This is not just, "I broke something," (I'm guilty) or, "A part of me has broken," (I'm injured). It's at the core of who we are -- unchangeable, or so we believe. In fact, there are probably no words that can convince you or me otherwise.  Here instead is a story from long ago, a story we all have in common. It's from the time around your birth. 

When you were just born, you were incredibly vulnerable and totally dependent on care from other humans to survive. Like all of us, your brain was not developed fully yet, so imagine trying to make sense of what you were experiencing in those early weeks and months. Sensing and feeling is all that’s available. No reasoning, no language. Any disruption that comes along threatens your well-being, your very survival, as far as you know. Your systems respond with urgency, asking for help. If your needs are not met, you adapt. One part of adapting is creating stories about why your needs were not met.  At this point you still don’t have language, so those stories are held in sensing and feeling.  Just a few years later, when you can talk and reason, those underlying sensing-and-feeling stories are still there. You don’t realize it because they are not there in words. It feels like “truth” or just what IS.

But it is an adaptation.

Many of us have gotten stuck in these sensing-and-feeling stories. They shape our adult lives. They limit us. And we can’t talk about it, because, well —- there’s no actual story in words.  Sometimes we make up stories that might explain our confusing sensations. More often, a story comes to us that seems to make sense so we accept and defend that story. A baby whose caregivers left her alone comes to believe she is incapable of intimate relationships.   A young child undergoing surgery later comes to believe that what they experienced was sexual assault when that did not actually happen.  

We use the language of the body.

What does this have to do with me?  This is where the type of touchwork that I practice is invaluable.  When your needs were not met in infancy, or later in childhood, your “story” was held in sensing and feeling.  By using the language of the body (sensation and movement), we can contact deeper layers of being, beyond words.  This is not massage, but static touch, of witness, of being with. Wounds of disconnect, trauma in our early developmental years, can be healed through compassionate contact with other humans, with animals, with nature.

The kind of trauma I'm talking about is not just big-earthquake variety. It can be as simple as mis-attunement.  Unmet needs for care, for connection.  Now, this isn't meant to place blame on caregivers, but to acknowledge this is how we learn.  We require intensive care in our early years, and it can't all be exactly perfect every moment.

Through my years of studying somatic therapy and bodywork, I've learned to respect the sneaky-powerful value of exploring trauma.  To learn more, I recently attended Kathy Kain and Steve Terrell's class, "Somatic Regulation and Resilience." Leaders in our field, you'll hear more soon about IMG_2823these brilliant teachers. 

In my practice, I’ve had the pleasure to work with many people who have begun to own their sense of feeling broken, to explore a range of embodied experience, enjoy more creativity, more connection.  As many of my clients concurrently receive psychotherapy, I enjoy working as part of a health care team.

I have the same message for anybody I work with:  You are not broken.  You may be hurting, you may be sad, angry, horrified, a mix — and I’ll support you to feel what you feel. You may be in pain, and I’ll use all my tools to help manage patterns that foment pain.  But I am never going to try to fix you. 

Because you’re not broken.

If this message speaks to how you're feeling right now, I’d love to hear from you. And if you're interested in my integrative approach, contact me to schedule a free consult, or sign up for a session online right here.


Health and Being Real

Here is Gabor Mate, MD, author of When the Body Says No, speaking on "The Need for Authenticity" and its connection to health/ disease.

He lists these risk factors for disease: 

1) automatic concern for the emotional needs of others, ignoring your own

2) compulsive identification with duty and responsibility, rather authentic self

3) suppressing, repressing "negative" emotions

4) belief that you are responsible for how others feel, and fear of disappointing them

We don't do this on purpose! No! He says this results from our adapting unconsciously, to protect ourselves.  

From youtube channel science and nonduality.  Listen in.

 


3 Building Blocks to Resilience

IMG_2770Regain balance in your body's capacity for healthy adaptive response -- resilience -- starting with these three practices. 

Respect your body's wisdom.

Support what's working well in your body already -- by noticing what you can about how that is happening now.

Luckily, we don't have to tell our hearts to keep pumping, our lungs to inflate and deflate, to duck when a softball is headed our way, to yell "ow" when the knife slips.  These automatic, reflexive responses, just like the Fight - Flight - Freeze responses, kick in when the body senses protection is needed.

Just by noticing these under-the-radar rhythms, small changes begin.  Really!  That is, in fact, how our nervous systems adapt: by changing in small ways based on input.  Small input, easier for the system to digest.

Start by noticing how breath comes in and out, all by itself. Want to play with a small input? Breathe OUT - 2 - 3 - 4.  The rest will follow.

Rest.  

Nearly all of us need more rest! How does your body let you know?  Plan a little down time in every day. Five minutes is a start: Stop to smell pleasant aromas, exhale, and move on. 

Honor the wish to sleep longer by scheduling it.  

Busy at work or school, non-stop?

Seeing multiple health care providers, fitness trainers, coaches?  

Allow ample time between engagements.  This allows your system to integrate smaller chunks of input. 

Yeah, I know.  Sounds good when you read about it, but carving out rest time is the most difficult thing for me, too.  Come back to this one later.

Re-orient.  

The children's series, Where's Waldo? challenges us to locate and identify Waldo in a crowded environment.  Imagine that is you, wearing the red striped shirt in the crowd.  How do you know where you are?  We look, listen, and find ourselves in space by sensing, inside and outside. Orienting is recognized as a discrete stage in the body's organizing process to protect itself from threat.  Over milliseconds, the body takes in lots of information before mobilizing the energy needed to act, moving away or toward.  Info-gathering at this level happens well below cognitive decision control!  Eyes, ears, nose, throat are involved big-time, of course, along with sensors for space, movement, gravity, pressure.

A re-orienting practice you might try could start by checking the calendar.  Do you have ten minutes or so right now? If you'd like, set a timer to end your practice. Then, like the example of Waldo, above, check out what's around you now.  Let your gaze wander to what's familiar or interesting as you look around.  Take your time as you explore finding "you" in the midst of "here".  Feel where the edge of you stops and the ground or other surfaces begin.  Remember that you set your timer, and you can come back anytime.


Nervous System Reboot

It's time to ReFresh!  And maybe Reboot...

Today I'm sharing contact info for my professional colleague, Irene Lyon, who lives in Canada, and -- like me -- has trained in Peter Levine's Somatic Experiencing model.

She's developing ways for more people to learn the importance of our nervous systems in healing trauma, online.  From her website, you can access a bunch of educational resources, some free and some requiring payment.

A few months ago, I included links here to a few of her videos because a) they educate about a topic I feel is important and b) they were free.  

But soon after, I removed the link!  (And a few of you noticed -- sorry if you missed it!)

Irene was going to soon remove the free videos from her site, anyway!  When she announced that, I saw her "free video" offer as another example of being into yet another marketing scheme. I apologize if that's how you feel, too!  Remember, if you're concerned about receiving too many emails, you may always unsubscribe.

Bottom line, though, the educational resources she provides are proving worthwhile.  Already, a handful of my clients have reported that it's helped them understand more about their own somatic experience. 

All this is to say, if you're interested in online learning programs, I recommend checking out irenelyon.com.  

 

How the Light Shines In

It's only from shadow that we can 'see the light'

only from winter's dark days welcome spring

It's where we're broken and vulnerable 

that the light can shine in

Now

teeth bared breath held bracing against fear time stops but --- aahh!

Bringing into my now the walking-in-this-forest-together feeling

Remembering in my legs the right-left rhythm, my breath slows

Fear and forest mix

Till what shines through is neither and both

Emerging: warmth, compassion for self

for living

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With gratitude to my daughter for this photo and for taking us hiking at Mount Si, Washington.  


Nature Walks Heal

NYT article describes how a walk in the park may soothe the mind and, in the process, change the workings of our brains in ways that improve our mental health.

And I would add, hiking in our nearby mountains!  Starting early in the day works best for me -- beat the heat and let the day unfold from there.  Call if you'd like to join me on a hike sometime!  

This is along the trail at Icehouse Canyon, about a month ago.

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Find the Support You Need

Hi, I'm Suzanne! My Integrative Bodywork practice is here to support you.

With over 25 years experience, I'm helping clients move from overwhelm toward health.

Building on what's already working well in your own physiology, I use manual therapy and Somatic Experiencing to nudge your system back into balance.  I'm licensed in massage therapy since 1991, and now describe my work as "integrative" -- bringing all these tools together to help you heal.

My work can help relieve pain, as well as symptoms of anxiety/depression patterns, so you feel more comfortable. You'll learn how to sense inside safely, to get in touch with what's most important to you. You'll get to practice playing more!

Yes! Less work for the body, more fun. More pleasure even, what about that?

 When your body feels better, your mind benefits too.

So you can begin feeling more like yourself again, connecting with people, and enjoying more of what you love!

You'll find the encouragement you need right here.  

We're in the Claremont Village, by appointment Monday through Friday.

Schedule right here online or by phone.  

Learn about my practice (see at right).

Or if you'd like, set up a free 25-min phone consult: 909.239.8313.  

I look forward to hearing from you!


Less Talk, More Therapy

"I read this New York Times article and decided to see whether there was anybody in Claremont who could help me."  

This, from a new client today who found me online, as "you seem to offer more than a normal massage therapist."  She says she has put up with the pain long enough and is ready to explore change from the body perspective.  

Yay!   First step in seeking well-being is saying, "Enough!" and feeling open to ask questions about what could be different.  Then, who to trust along the way.  Many of my clients are right there at that edge of discovery.  It's a time ripe for experimenting.

Q:  So does this article come close to describing what you do?

A:  Well, sometimes. Often. Depends on what client is open to explore, their stated goals, and how the body calls. Some sessions more like "normal" massage, even deep tissue. Sometimes a whole session is a story-led sensory exploration, all while sitting in chairs, moving a bit, bringing awareness outside on purpose, not even using the table. My goal is always integration... a topic that warrants its own article!

 

 


sense of myself as a resilient container

I am an artist in my mid-forties.  I spent many years of my life in psychotherapy and self help, but could not seem to shake the perpetual emotional pain and anxiety which crippled my daily functioning.  A friend shared books about Somatic Experiencing, and I realized I could not heal myself alone.  I found Suzanne via the "Find a Practitioner" at www.traumahealing.com.  Her gentle style immediately put me at ease and established a relationship of trust.  

I really appreciate how Suzanne is available for me when I am triggered.  A phone call or visit to her office resets my attitude and empowers me to proceed with my day calmly.  She reads me so well, picking up on subtle signs how my system is doing.  Her supportive touch is tremendously healing as it enables me to discharge pent-up anxiety and stress.  As our series of sessions continues, I am putting experiences in her office together with the lingo I learned while reading about S.E.;  gaining a tangible sense of myself as a resilient container.  

Receiving her gentle visceral bodywork [an osteopathic approach that complements S.E.] is making me aware of my own internal anatomy, and awakening my inner health advocate.  This year I got serious about attending regular [every 2 weeks] sessions.  Rather than just soothing me and helping me to put out emotional fires, I have made significant progress in both my personal and professional life.  I feel that Suzanne's help has empowered me with the confidence to meet with clients and to achieve artwork I never had the stamina for before.   I feel very fortunate to have discovered her practice.  -- Jeanne-Marie Lovell


Clients Write: letting the creative work flow

Suzanne is a genius at healing. I don't say that lightly. For nearly as long as I can remember, I've had issues with doing solo work - especially writing. I've always had tons of ideas and I could get other people excited about them, but the moment I'd get near paper or a keyboard to make things real - poof! All gone. Instead, confusion and dissociation, paralysis, indecision, self-loathing. Sometimes I could do what needed to be done, but only with huge amounts of effort and pain, and never in a "professional" manner. And it was really holding up my career. I had tried everything -  coaching, cognitive-behavioral therapy, goal setting, visualization, ADD meds, spiritual healing, you name it. Things would work a little, but nothing really transformative.
 
Until working with Suzanne. In our sessions feel like I'm working through stuff I never had access to any other way. Sometimes I walk in feeling heavy and out of it. Suzanne goes right to the spot, and a few minutes later I feel myself reacting differently from the inside out - feeling light and calm, yet responsive and fully connected. Between visits I also feel things moving differently. It feels like I have more influence on my consciousness and can be more responsive in my day to day environment. I don't have to suffer and delay until I can find the superhuman strength to produce - for the first time I'm working ahead instead of procrastinating! Without it being a big deal.
 
I highly recommend the somatic approach. Suzanne seems to use a few different modalities - I don't particularly understand the mechanics of what she does (and I don't need to!). But I do know what talent, deep intuition and years of practice look like, and I can tell you that Suzanne has really got it going on.  -- Kim

Here, Now

Playing piano since age five gave me a great head start in bodywork.  Listening with hands and ears, moving to match dynamics and tempo with the big picture, are skills developed in my musician's toolkit. 

Grounded in nature and spirit ---  we canoed every summer in the Boundary Waters --- I was inspired by my chemist father to study sciences.  A biology degree, and a dozen unrelated jobs later, led to "why not try something for fun?" A massage course.  Yes, this was it. Working manually with the human body ignited joy in me, especially when emphasizing structural problem-solving.  Analyzing biomechanical patterns was a head game I could master.

But there is so much more!  After eight years of working mechanically, I gave up trying to absorb more analytic protocols.  While I value the foundation in structural work, it's through Somatic Experiencing(R) , that I finally grew to embrace the freedom of “not knowing.”   

Playing only what's written?  Not anymore.  My current practice is full of improvisation, rewarding me with daily discovery, inspiration and challenge --- and yes, benefiting my clients!  My steps from keyboard, to science and nature, to integrative bodywork, connect me in a theme of moving notes.  Now, sitting with a client, I continue to listen for the notes between:  the ones that, in relationship with the others, create harmony or dissonance, and can lead on to the next notes."

 


feeling like Eeyore no more

I started seeing Suzanne for fibromyalgia relief.  Her experience and techniques have been very helpful in reducing the muscle aches.  I was surprised at one session where something in my hip released.  From that time several months ago, to the present, my low level depression, what I called my “Eeyore -ness,” has vanished.   --  Kathryn BR


See You, In Person!

Yes, it's First Friday again, April 5th ----- time to celebrate art and local artists with Claremont's monthly Artwalk evening.   I'll be co-hosting at our studio reception with artist Gina Nelson, and we'll be serving wine and goodies while you browse. Be sure to ask Gina about her new painting classes, and check out her portfolio of murals and other work!

IMG_1571With studio fun, a kicked-back evening in the Claremont Village -- and of course, refreshments! --   First Fridays are a great chance to get together in person, share stories and ask questions.   

Let's talk, in Real Life.

See you soon!

Suzanne


A Little at a Time

I'm just back from another visceral training.  And -- surprise!  I'm not overwhelmed! 

Four days of new material.  Four days of intensive practice. Four days in an unfamiliar environment, working closely with an instructor and practicing hands-on with fellow students, most of whom are physical therapists. 

Why am I not overwhelmed?

It was my second time through.  The curriculum included review of another class.  These classes build on what I know --- from studying reference books and notes --- and on what I know more deeply, from practice.

Wow, at that first time 12 years ago, I sure was toast by the end.  Couldn't really tell you what happened on the fourth day of it. 

But this time, I could not only take it in, but expand with it.  Over the years inbetween, with study and practice, my body has had time to incorporate this information a little at a time, in context. 

You know what they say --- about how to get to Carnegie Hall? 

Practice, practice, practice.  

I can't wait to share visceral work --- with you!  And so I'm bringing it toward the front of the room, providing a context.

We all want to enjoy moving; it's how we live our lives to the fullest.  When moving happens with greater ease, we feel better.  Feeling good, we're better able to connect with people.  Part of feeling good is enjoying strength and support, and part of it is proprioception ----- body-to-brain, brain-body, and body-body ("...stable here, how about you?") messages inside.

Visceral work is all about relationships!  We're "waking up" proprioceptive connections on the inside, the messaging system that tells our body where we are and how we're doing, relative to other parts, and relative to the whole. Awareness of self, and self in the environment. 

Visceral work is also encouraging natural movement.

To function, our organs must be moving all the time, or we die.  (Ideally, joints and muscles can also move freely, but if not, mostly that won't kill you.) Where movement is hindered or stuck, that's where  therapeutic attention will focus, gently encouraging movement in the direction of ease.  That's it!  

So, I am not a healer but a person who listens to the tissues, and connects with encouraging movement.  Listening. Connecting. Encouraging.

When it's not too much input into the system as to overwhelm, the body can adapt, incorporating what's new, moving toward hope a little at a time.

 

Head, Shoulders, Knees & Toes

Second in a series exploring "bottom-up wellness", this class embraces Shoulders, in context of the whole body.  We’ll be using hands-on contact and movement, so learning – expanding perception – can happen from inside.

Download Flyer  IMG_8152 - Copy
 

Experience a bodyworker's twist on shaping your yoga practice, and unfolding into life. 


Sunday 22 May, 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm

at  Claremont Yoga

-- in the Village at 204 N. Yale Ave. (at Second)  on 2nd floor, stairs access only

 SPACE IS LIMITED!  Reserve your spot at www.claremontyoga.com

or contact Suzanne at 909.239.8313.  Class is $25.

 

Here's some of what to expect:

Free-Range Shoulders:  Go Where They Wish. 

Should:  Might We Invite “Can” and “May” into Alignment?

No Shoulder Is An Island:  Amiable Conversation with Neighbors.

Lean on Me:  Comfort, Defend; Contain, Connect.

Shoulder Rest:  Enjoy Support from Below.


Highlighting Healing Stories

http://besthealingstories.reversingchronicpain.com/

I am grateful to Kristen for writing her account of healing (excerpted on my site as well), and to Maggie Phillips, who created this blog and shares healing stories from readers.  Maggie is an international educator, psychologist, and author of Reversing Chronic Pain.  I often refer clients to her as she offers an array of resources.  Check out her other resources online:

Maggie Phillips, Ph.D.
2768 Darnby Dr.
Oakland, CA 94611
USA
510-655-3843



As I read these stories, I'm reminded that there is no "one way"; that experiences leading to healing will be unique to each of us, further illustrating the creativity of the healing response. 

Do you have a story to share?