Where do you feel like a captive of your world? is it that you cannot quit your job? your relationship? your way of being with your parents? Your health? Where does it feel like you have no power? Where do you feel like you can change everything else about your life, but this one thing and you’re stuck with it?
I was exploring the psychic dimension of mind as a channel for reducing stress, receiving intuitive information and promoting healing. While I’d forgotten most of what I learned about statistics, attunement to the intuitive power of the inner being remains my passionate interest and a core intention of my clinical work. My deep belief in the body/mind/spirit/heart connection as a source of knowledge, and the use of hypnosis for accessing its available wisdom, has led to some fascinating therapy sessions.
The Tuning Board is a somatic tool that addresses this problem of a non-resilient ability to return to a fluid vertical nervous system. It is increasingly known and used for this purpose in the SE community as well as among other somatic therapy practitioners. A unique balance board device, the Tuning Board gives the individual the task of relating to a comforting constant motion while the spine is in a state of vertical orientation.
It was reassuring hearing the title of Babette Rothschild’s book (Rothschild, 2000) all those years ago, recommended to me by my core process psychotherapist. ‘The body remembers’. Yes, it does, my body, turning towards me, nodding - suddenly engaging - a door opening inside. The body remembers. This body remembers, and what a journey it’s been – so far – in my body stepping through that door and in deepening my understanding of trauma and working with trauma in myself, with clients, with supervisees, and with trainees.
I guess there might be as many colorful descriptions as there are authors attempting to define not only the term but the actual state of being, as there is no single, widely agreed definition for the concept. Related to me, I was blessed with a rather sudden consciousness breakthrough four years ago that totally transformed my inner and outer life and continues to form and transform my life in many positive ways. I am a doctor and Integral psychotherapist and mindfulness instructor and most of all I am a human being. My intention in writing this essay is to reflect on my personal understanding of embodied spirituality—of living my spirit.
Social distancing and separation are a big part of what is needed to deal with the pandemic. In this short conversation, Serge Prengel and Stephen W. Porges talk about how to counter their effects because we still need to be sensitive to our nervous system’s need to socially engage and connect. While we need to isolate to slow down the progress of the virus, we still need to connect, to co-regulate. Steve and Serge discuss ways to mitigate our need to connect. Noting our evolutionary need for facial expression and vocal intonation, they said that using the telephone and video conferencing tools are far better than texting and email (which strip the human factors from the words).
Can you remember a time when someone said, “Can I tell you a secret?” Were you intrigued? Did you feel a slight stirring inside? What sort of revelation did you prepare yourself to receive? Isn’t it funny how images and connotations, interpretations and expectations can make the body respond in certain ways? What do you experience in your own nervous system when you expect a client is about to reveal some secret traumatic event? How does your body physically react? With impulses, shivers, goose bumps? Perhaps a sense of dread and queasiness in the belly, a catch of your breath . . .? While such disclosures are often necessary and vital to treatment, there are also other secrets that can bring healing to soma and soul. Roald Dahl, author of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, simply and profoundly captures the point when he writes, “The greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places.” This wise truth was delightfully demonstrated recently in a session with Neko, a twenty-two-year-old client with mild developmental delays, whose strength and soul wisdom had been hidden in the unlikely location of a traumatic past.
Our life journeys are our stories—they offer fodder for conversation, for connection. They become staple for books waiting to be written. Some travelers share their tales as memoirs, others mirror a fictionalized character after their truth and create a picture of themselves through the lens of another. Others bring their experiences forward into a more professional sense, especially if that was part of their story to start. But, to impact others interested in our journey, the traveler turned writer must extend the experience beyond the places they went, the people they interacted with, the basic sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and tactile sensations they recall. The experiences recounted, be it—a spiritual trip to study with a master shaman in Peru, completing a doctoral degree in Transpersonal Psychology, witnessing the birth of a thought that extends into a spiritual interweave of psychology and shamanism— must form core moments of conception, create an understanding, an awareness that becomes life altering for author and reader. Irene Siegel does all that and more as she shares her journey into the jungles of Peru, the hallways of academic institutions and her own curiosity that culminated in not only dramatic changes in her clinical practice but also the creation of her newest book, entitled, The Sacred Path of the Therapist: Modern Healing, Ancient Wisdom, and Client Transformation.
William Ferraiolo generously gave SPT Magazine permission to share his recently published paper, Roman Buddah, with our readers. It’s a fascinating comparison between the Roman Stoic philosopher Epictetus (55-135 CE) and Buddhism. He notes that “Epictetus offered practical counsel through which the West may begin to more comfortably approach Buddhism as a system of self-governance and path to awakening. Epictetus’ collected Discourses and Enchiridion offer glimpses of a spirit which Buddhist practitioners will, I think, find strikingly kindred.”
Sandra is one of those delightful clients who see therapy as integral to life’s journey. Now retired and in her mid-sixties, Sandra has worked on residuals of childhood trauma, health related issues, and various circumstantial and existential personal problems. I have seen Sandra through family crises, car accidents, and a variety of health related issues. After surviving each event Sandra has emerged more psychologically integrated and more spiritually connected. From day one I’ve been impressed with Sandra’s courage and her shining spirit, inner strengths that fund her ability to adapt to and overcome difficulties. However, on a certain cold, misty afternoon in early spring, Sandra came in as overcast as the day. In fact there was reason to be worried. “Things aren’t coming out quite right.” She announced, “I’m assuming you’re referring to the art project you’ve been working on.” “Not exactly.” Sandra turned her head and looked sideways under one raised brow, a nervous smile at the edges of her eyes. “Actually, it’s a bit more personal.”