June 2018 Full Moon

“How we handle trauma (as individuals, communities, and societies) greatly influences the quality of our lives. It ultimately affects how or even whether we will survive as a species... Trauma begets trauma and will continue to do so, eventually crossing generations in families, communities, and countries until we take steps to contain its propagation.” - Dr. Peter Levine, Waking the Tiger

As I reflect on how to respond to the barbaric state-sanctioned misuses of power happening at the hands of our elected officials, I keep coming back to trauma - the need and desire to continue healing my own trauma, support others in healing their trauma, and help us all see the connections between all violence, trauma, and healing. This is why I have decided to pursue the three-year professional Practitioner training of Dr. Peter Levine’sSomatic Experiencing Trauma Institute (SETI). I am so honored to have been accepted into this world class training for therapists and bodyworkers dedicated to helping people heal from the debilitating effects of trauma.

The underlying theory behind Somatic Experiencing (SE) is that the human organism includes a deep biological knowing that, when given the opportunity, can guide the process of healing trauma. This resonates deeply with me and my own personal experience, as well as my approach as a practitioner of healing arts. Over the coming months and years, I will be gradually incorporating SE into my private practice, using it in conjunction with other modalities (ie: trauma-informed therapeutic yoga, meditation, and coaching).

Somatic Experiencing is grounded in an in-depth understanding of animal and human physiology, and specifically the ways in which wild animals instinctively discharge all their compressed energy and seldom develop adverse symptoms. Humans, on the other hand, find it difficult to free these powerful forces from the body. According to Dr. Levine, this trapping of survival energy is what causes the symptoms of trauma, such as fear, anxiety, and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). “Fortunately, the same immense energies that create the symptoms of trauma, when properly engaged and mobilized, can transform the trauma and propel us into new heights of healing, mastery, and even wisdom,” writes Levine. “I believe we humans have the innate capacity to heal not only ourselves, but our world, from the debilitating effects of trauma,” he continues (Levine, p. 21).

The idea that healing trauma is a natural process that can be accessed through cultivating awareness of the body is not a new concept for many within the fields of yoga, somatics, and healing arts. My own path of healing through yoga over the past 15 years has taught me the transformative power of mindful movement and meditation practice. These tools and practices have helped me manage and heal from anxiety, depression, alopecia, narcissistic abuse, sexual assault, burn out, physical pain, and various autoimmune illnesses, for which I am eternally grateful. My attraction to Somatic Experiencing is an extension of my spiritual and somatic healing journey thus far, and my SE training will no doubt serve to enhance my personal and professional healing practices.

There is a prevailing attitude in the U.S. that strength means endurance and perseverance - that we must carry on and forge ahead regardless of the severity of our symptoms and suffering. Most of us aren't encouraged or taught how to listen closely to the internal wisdom of our body, and ask for external support when we need it. Our dominant culture and economic system values and rewards productivity over humanity, empathy, interdependence, nurturance, and sustainability. This plays a significant role in how trauma gets perpetuated - trauma that is not transformed is transmitted.

Disconnecting or dissociating from our body is a brilliant and necessary for survival, yet/and when we intentionally and compassionately invite our spirit and loving awareness back to our body, we cultivate the internal resourcing we need to move through the world in grounded, transformative, and resilient ways. Dr. Levine writes, “In a healthy human, instinct, emotion, and intellect work together to create the widest range of choices possible in any given situation.” This is resilience and we need resilience perhaps now more than ever before in our lifetimes. 

I invite you to join me in envisioning and co-creating a sustainable and life-affirming society in which we all receive permission, encouragement, and support to courageously heal and cultivate radical embodiment. Please visit my website: lilliewolff.com for information on my private sessions and weekly classes. Sending you radical love and wishing you many blessings under this Strawberry Full Moon.  

Lillie Wolff