My SE Experience: Part 1

Some time ago I promised to write about what I have noticed in terms of improvements resulting from my personal work with Somatic Experiencing. There are so many changes that I think I just got stuck trying to figure out which things to share. Today I was struck yet again by something I noticed, and so I decided to just start writing. Perhaps this will be a 20 part series. So be it. I have to share in case others hearing what is possible makes them pursue it for themselves.

I was off work today, at home cleaning and what-not, and making trips up and down the basement stairs. With amazement I continue to notice that I do not need to look down at my feet to feel sure of my step on the stairs. It feels perfectly natural to just go down, and my legs seem to know how to navigate each step without trying. Then I realize I am not looking, and doubt myself, slowing to look at my feet, while still feeling them, realizing that somewhere deep inside I know I won’t actually plummet to the bottom for not looking. I used to always have to look at my feet to not miss any stairs. It’s like I’m connected to my body in a way I wasn’t previously. I am still struck, after 40+ years of not being able to trust my movements, that I now move by feeling, instead of looking.

So much of my life seems to be just like going down the steps now. Effortless and still strangely new, with the shadow of the memory and impulse of former ways of being. The ghost of willpower, my former frenemy, looks over my shoulder as I worry from a habitual place that doesn’t quite feel real, about the undone chores, or the bills, or my diet or sleep or exercise, or any state (boredom, dissatisfaction, bliss, frustration, avoidance) that seems to be occurring. I bring awareness to the worry and it vanishes. The ghost of willpower stares in disbelief as the dust bunnies become just dust, not symbols of inadequacy, or distraction from priorities.

I notice I seem to lack the energy to engage in willpower based strategies anymore, and it doesn’t matter because I find I no longer need them. I am moved to take care of myself well without being obsessive or rationalizing, and the things that aren’t helpful or fulfilling seem to keep falling away effortlessly – people, foods, tv shows, work, possessions. Places in my life where the effortlessness seems absent simply become objects of curiosity, opportunities for self inquiry or attention in meditation, or content for future somatic experiencing sessions.

What an amazing place to live life from! It’s difficult for me to get excited about efforting anymore. It takes too much energy and seems completely unnecessary. Life seems to move naturally when its energy is freed up from managing incomplete defensive responses. The people and solutions I need seem to just keep presenting themselves. Any time I doubt this new natural unfolding process I can just look and easily see how excessive planning, organizing or controlling on my part would have reduced the ability to benefit from such synchronicities.

I remember a long time ago someone first suggested to me the idea of “trusting life” to take care of me, and it sounded like new-aged bullshit. From that place where I heard it first, there just wasn’t any way for me to know what such a thing was like or how it could be possible. I never in a million years thought I could trust life in such a way, even if it was a desirable option.

And here I am. All I can say is “wow”.




About Cynthia M Clingan

Cynthia Clingan is a licensed professional clinical counselor in Columbus, Ohio who offers somatic psychotherapy, spiritual coaching, and meditation and mindfulness instruction.
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5 Responses to My SE Experience: Part 1

  1. Pingback: My SE Experience – Part 2 (Slow Down to Speed Up) | Mind|Body|Spirit Academy

  2. Pingback: My SE Experience: Part 3 | Mind|Body|Spirit Academy

  3. Pingback: My SE Experience: Part 4 | Mind|Body|Spirit Academy

  4. Pingback: My SE Experience: Part 5 | Mind|Body|Spirit Academy

  5. Pingback: A New Year, and Part 6 | Mind|Body|Spirit Academy

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