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 

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

 

 


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.  

 

On Purpose

All the healing communities that I’m involved with*, each in their own way, acknowledged this week the pain of the most recent national tragedy and how its impact feels, even at a distance.

For each, the message was not primarily of outrage or disgust, though that was expressed first. Through each ran the deeper current of shared awareness of our human need for connection and spiritual meaning. Clear in each too is their resolution.  

We have a job to do.  

It is healing our world. 

Let’s pause.  

We honor those who died, and those most affected.  

GroupPhotoMEL15_16MAY16

We then turn to taking care of ourselves so we can care for others. 

The world needs what we have to offer.  People feel broken, stuck, like there’s no way out.

We’re not THE answer, but we can provide hope.  Hope for moving, perhaps slowly and sideways at first, then gradually, resolutely onward.

So let’s get back to work. 

*Somatic Experiencing groups, Visceral Manipulation study group, Claremont yoga community, my church, my coach,  my professional association, and Feldenkrais in Houston

Photo credit: Ian Cook, SE Australia training, Melbourne. 


Scientific Journal Article on SE

This pioneering article differentiates Peter Levine's Somatic Experiencing (SE) from other therapeutic approaches that use focused internal awareness.  To illustrate how SE works in the brain and physiology, the authors present a composite case study.  

Preceding this, however, and oh-so-relevant to understanding theory and practice in this field of study, they define terms -- stresstrauma, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). 

Stress is defined as the inability of the [biological] system to recover functionality.  Trauma, when the stress dysregulation occurs over the long-term, resides in the nervous system, not in the event, according to Levine.

Rather than the pathologizing diagnosis of PTSD, or post-traumatic stress disorder, from the DSM [the authority for diagnosing psychiatric disorders], the term preferred by Levine is PTSS, post-traumatic stress syndrome -- viewed as a collection of symptoms occurring on a spectrum.

Imagining these terms on a continuum might be eye-opening enough.  But reading the article to the end, you might also find answers to, "What is a Somatic Experiencing session like?" as well as new insight on theory of SE and other bodymind systems.

I've been a Somatic Experiencing Practitioner since 2002, and it's changed -- well, my life.  So if you're interested in finding out more on this for yourself, about SE or otherwise, please give me a call and let's begin a conversation.

 


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!

 

 


Let Go

let go

let go of holding onto what you don't need

let go of trying to be good at letting go

let go of self-judgment for not letting go

                                   fast enough slow enough hard enough soft enough 

                                   enough enough

                                   ever

let go

let go

let


Restoring the Body: Bessel vd Kolk

Listen to Krista Tippett's recent interview with Bessel van der Kolk, foremost trauma researcher!   As I am only one of many who return often for inspiration to onbeing.org, I feel excited that a huge audience is getting the message here about restoring the body and healing trauma.  And, it makes me want to add a whole lot to what he said about healing therapies! 

The body awareness approach Somatic Experiencing is another of the therapies that help with trauma, and there are so many more ways we can help our bodies in moving through overwhelm toward health.

As you listen to the podcast, keep in mind questions that come up for you.  What strikes you as interesting?  What's not so clear?  What would you like to know more about?

Let's make a date for a talk!

 

 

 

 

 

Human memory is a sensory experience says psychiatrist Bessel van der Kolk. Through his longtime research and innovation in trauma treatment, he shares what he's learning how bodywork like yoga or eye movement therapy can restore a sense of goodness and safety. And what he’s learning speaks to a resilience we can all cultivate in the face of the overwhelming events that after all make up the drama of culture, of news, of life. - See more at: http://www.onbeing.org/program/restoring-the-body-bessel-van-der-kolk-on-treating-trauma-with-yoga-emdr-and-healing#sthash.Vg3oZjaz.dpuf
Human memory is a sensory experience says psychiatrist Bessel van der Kolk. Through his longtime research and innovation in trauma treatment, he shares what he's learning how bodywork like yoga or eye movement therapy can restore a sense of goodness and safety. And what he’s learning speaks to a resilience we can all cultivate in the face of the overwhelming events that after all make up the drama of culture, of news, of life. - See more at: http://www.onbeing.org/program/restoring-the-body-bessel-van-der-kolk-on-treating-trauma-with-yoga-emdr-and-healing#sthash.Vg3oZjaz.dpuf

Beyond Sandy Hook, How SE Can Help

Many of us feel helpless in the face of tragedy.  But there's hope for healing, as described in this blog post from the Somatic Experiencing (R) Trauma Institute.  Especially for parents and child educators, I'll also recommend the book written by Peter Levine and Maggie Kline.

Somatic Experiencing is the approach Iuse in my private practice with people seeking greater ease in moving and connecting.  SE has helped many of my clients in completing unresolved defensive responses, which no longer hold them in a freeze pattern.

Although we can't all physically travel to be with people who have suffered great loss, we can educate our communities, ourselves.   Powerful stories about human resiliency build hope.

 


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.

 

Thriving in Your Container

 Elastic and energized, a healthy body container defines your outside boundary, keeps your insides safe and nourished.  And it’s unique to you!  IMG_8300 - Copy

Join me for a fun 2-hour workshop, Sunday 10 July, 1 pm at Claremont Yoga.

Third in a series exploring bottom-up wellness, we’ll be using hands-on contact, restful play, and movement to invite learning.  Download Flyer

 

Come to get inside your own skin, dwell deeper in your personal space, explore your edges.....  


 


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?