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I first read about Somatic Experiencing in Gabrielle Bernstein’s book called “Happy Days”. She shared how it was one of the therapies that helped her process her own trauma.
I was curious. I didn’t think that I needed therapy for trauma until a significant emotional trauma happened in my life back in April 2022. That was when I googled Somatic Experiencing online and found Elena Jacinta – a practitioner who was living in Chiang Mai at that time and could offer online sessions through Zoom.
Somatic Experiencing (SE) is a body-oriented therapy that helps our bodies process shock and trauma without the need to revisit or talk about any traumatic memories. It was first founded by Dr. Peter Levine. Somatic Experiencing can help us regulate our nervous system and to restore connection back into our physical body.
For someone like me who lives a lot in my head, and who teaches about emotional and energy healing, I know I need a modality that helps me to be more connected to my physical body.
I am so grateful to have found Elena online and have experienced Somatic Experiencing sessions many times now under her guidance. Every session’s experience is different but I know I always receive what I need.
Through my sessions, I’ve learned that our body always knows what needs to be healed. Our body also contains all the resources it needs already to heal itself. How genius!
In today’s blog I share my experience of Somatic Experiencing with you. I truly feel that it has been such a beneficial therapy for me, and it may also be helpful for those of you who want to feel more grounded in your body, whether you are aware of any trauma or not.
At the beginning of my session, I was feeling lost.
There were things to get to, tasks to tend to, and work to be done. I just came back from two holidays and I was already looking forward to my next one.
There were things to do but I didn’t know how to get them done.
Everything that I wanted to do seemed a bit out of reach, like there was a gap between me and my goal or dream or desire, and I didn’t know how to get there.
When Elena asked me what I would like to focus on today, the word “clarity” arose from my heart energy center.
Funny – because that’s what I usually help people with my own sessions. Again, it reconfirms that we teach what we need the most.
As Elena guided me to tune into my heart and body and noticed what showed up, I noticed sadness. Then it was a feeling of doubt. Then kindness, and a sense of relief.
I felt I reached a sense of plateau in my life.
There was a feeling in my heart that I expressed with my hands, that felt like something wanted to burst through – a break through. But then just as the moment my hands moved forward, I brought my hands back onto my heart and leaned back. I felt my fear.
It was scary. It felt easier to stay where I was. More safe and comfortable. Yet the heart had spoken. I felt this heaviness in the front of my body.
Elena asked me what my body wanted to do, and I felt like standing. So I moved sloly from sitting to standing, and I already felt a bit better. The heaviness was still there but it wasn’t just focused in the front of my body. I felt more balanced.
Then I wanted to move backwards from the screen a bit. When I did that, I felt more relieved. I was creating distance between my laptop and myself, and instantly I understood what that meant – my laptop was a symbol of my work.
As I was stepping backwards, I felt like I was leaving this hole that was sucking my energy. Instead, I could feel more of myself again.
I knew where my doubts came from. A few days ago I read a guest’s comment about the workshop she attended with me, and she felt that the material was hard to understand and impractical for her.
The moment when I saw the words, my heart sank. “I was a failure” was the thought that circulated my mind and I wanted to cry.
From the moment when I distanced myself from my laptop physically, it was a symbolic gesture of releasing my own attachment of defining myself through my work and performance. I am not my work. My soul essence is not defined by what I do.
I could feel more air circulating around my body. I moved myself again, instead of standing and facing my laptop right in front of me, I moved towards my bookshelf so I was looking at my laptop from the side.
I felt better. From that point I could see my meditation altar, my laptop and my bookshelf. Instead of just focusing my vision on one thing, I could see the other things in my life that nourished and supported me.
I was comfortable where I was standing, and I felt supported again. Elena reminded me that I had my imaginary membrane around me which represented my boundary. She asked if I felt curious to move again.
Yes, curiosity was a key word for me. I didn’t need to choose anything. I could just be curious and explore. So I did.
This time, I moved to the center of my room, where I could see my laptop in front of me but with space. My meditation altar was exactly on my left side and my bookshelf on my right. And I had space behind me too.
As I was standing there, I could feel more grounded. I didn’t feel an expansive of energy. I didn’t feel small. I felt anchored in my body and I could feel my hands, my feet and my legs.
Elena asked if there were any words arising from within that my body wanted to tell me. The first word that popped up was “resilience.” I told Elena that I felt power in my body.
She asked how I would feel if I repeated the statement, “I feel my power” to myself. When I did that, another statement came to me that rang truer: “I claim my power.”
It was not even about feeling my power; it was about claiming it. With my boundaries around me, feeling protected and supported now, I realized how much I was affected by the words from others, and it was because I defined myself through my work.
When I let go and released that grip (literally that was what my hands were doing in the session), and repeated this statement silently to myself, I could feel this strength and power building within me.
It was a deep knowing and remembering, that I could do what I’ve come here to do. I felt motivated to do better, not because of what others said, but because I was reclaiming my own power and I wanted to do better.
As we were wrapping up the session, Elena invited me to repeat the statement out loud this time with my eyes and voice. I did and I cringed. Literally, my toes curled and my body contracted when I was saying it out loud. I was nervous. Clearly, I have more work to do. But I got the clarity I needed in today’s session.
Today I remember, I am not defined by my work. I do not need to identify myself with only one aspect of my life.
Today I remember that I can do it – whatever dreams I wish to realize.
Today I remember what true surrender feels like – it is when I release the grip of my fists as a symbolic gesture to release my attachments, and then I hold my fists again as I feel an inner power gathering within me.
It was the same action of holding my fists, but inside I felt the difference.
Today, I remember to claim my power.
And I start from here again.
If you are interested to learn more about Somatic Experiencing, check out their official website here: https://www.somaticexperiencing.com/
For more information about Elena’s work, feel free to check out her website below (no affiliation, I just benefit so much from her work that I would love to share with you): https://backtoyourbody.org/
Are you craving for REST? A time to nourish yourself and to press the reset button?
For each day of the retreat program, you are invited to receive various rest medicine inspired from Nature’s four elements: Earth, Water, Fire and Air.
Every day, we will lie down and practice the deliciously restful nature yoga nidra, receiving from the nature element of the day and our inner knowing.
We rest in the element of Earth through forest bathing and Shamanic journey.
We rest in the element of Water through cacao ceremony and forgiveness practice.
We rest in the element of Fire through fire release ceremony.
We rest in the element of Air through creative tea blending and kirtan.
Sacred rest is not only the time to practice doing nothing, but it is also a time to tap into your heart and to listen to your soul’s whisper.
Rest is also productive. When we allow ourselves to rest, we are replenishing our inner Earth, Water, Fire and Air. We are then ready for something new to unfold for the new year.
What we will covered in this retreat:
- Forest bathing
- Nature Yoga nidra
- Shamanic journey
- Cacao ceremony
- Forgiveness practice
- Fire release ceremony
- Chant and sing in kirtan
- Dance meditation
- Creative tea blending workshop
- Discover your heart’s intention
- Journaling time for self-reflection
- Sharing your thoughts and feelings with the group in a safe space
This Retreat is Right for You if You Want to:
- Intentionally and gently wrap up the current year
- Slow down to replenish and to recharge your energy
- Enter the new year with an authentic clarity for yourself
- Cut through all the noise and to listen to your inner voice
- Experience restful ways to connect with Nature
- Feel supported in a community setting with like-minded individuals