The Adventure of It All

What a weird day. One by one all five of my clients cancelled their appointments. If they had cancelled sooner, I could have made plans for today, but such is life.

This morning the people came to work on the chimney rebuild, and it didn’t seem like it would happen because of power lines, weather, and a lack of bricks, but somehow it worked out.

During my meditation as I waited for the workers to come, I couldn’t believe just how deeply I was able to drop into stillness, despite the awareness they were to arrive soon. I was even able to have a session and be mostly ok all day and not get activated the same as in the past from the all day thunderous noise in the house.

I have been sitting on a bunch of activation that started at the most recent biodynamic cranial sacral therapy (BCST) training, where we practice on each other. I have felt half cooked, emotional, and strangely aware that something big is shifting. I’ve been getting more BCST and Somatic Experiencing (SE) support to help the shift, and this morning had a session online.

I can’t believe how easy it is to do SE, sometimes even BCST, over a video connection. Today I noticed how much more open I’m feeling from head to tail down the center of my body, even at the start today when my body was freaking out with stress. It’s still strange. It started with a lot of vibration over a week ago, and now it is space. The ability to feel myself separate from the trauma reactions in my body is getting greater…more space between the two. It’s an odd split screen experience – totally knowing I am ok, watching the body be freaked out, unable to work or focus or sleep or whatever.

I had an awareness during the session this morning, one that’s been brewing all week, where I realize I have an expectation that if I speak up that the other will disconnect/freeze me out, or they will attack or retaliate/punish me for it. I felt it in my body, I was newly aware of where I learned it from, and I had an excellent guide who could hold space for all of it, even in moments where my mind tried to take charge of things (“should do it this way, not that way”, etc.).

In the end, what started as cumulative fear from major repairs on my house, triggers from the stuff in the air around the Supreme Court nomination hearings, and inertia from the discomfort of this blooming internal transition, became a doorway for me to access the trauma and discharge the energy. I could clearly access the sensation of the anticipation of the negative response, in my torso and face, and the suppressed energy of fight in the chest, arms and throat.

In the space that I had help making for experiencing that, things shifted pretty quickly, and a sudden curiosity opened up…what would it be like if I didn’t always expect it to go bad, or for everyone to be trying to take advantage of me, or punish me if I spoke up about something, even the smallest things? I could feel, can still feel now, the feeling of what that would be like, moving through life that way. Not in a pollyannish-glass-half-full-rosy-glasses-naive-trusting kind of way, but in a way where I have a reasonable expectation for people to do the right thing, that I have some recourse, if needed, but that mostly everything is workable – even when it’s not. It’s the feeling of space, and of lightness; of wanting to yelp with joy straight from my chest.

I realized with crystal clarity how much and how deeply I had inherited the suspicions and fears of my parents and grandparents, and how their trauma legacy had found a home in me, even though it no longer fits my actual life now. I don’t know what it’s like to live through a depression, or to be fed last because you are the last of 9 children and sickly and could be a waste of food. I have my own early traumatic experiences, but they are no longer my reality, and I got to experience this morning the distinctness of the lack of fitness of those responses for my current life. I got a sense of how exhausting and how completely, terrifyingly, activating that nervous system orientation of “everything out there is a threat” is.

And it is not mine. I can more easily work to shed it now, because I moved part of it through today. Even in moments when I have the mystifying impulse of addiction to dive even more deeply into that misery, I can still choose not to. I can choose to remember it’s just a chimney, women will persevere whatever the outcome of this most recent travesty, and there’s nothing lost in expecting the best from others. I can remember to feel into all the moments life and others have come through for me and smashed that old belief that everything is dangerous.

And just like that, there’s little more energy freed up for life, for the things I usually struggle to muster the courage or time for. It’s a good thing to have in these challenging times.


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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3 Responses to The Adventure of It All

  1. hunnybeehope says:

    Thank you, once again, for your openness, your authenticity, and making yourself completely vulnerable … all in the name of the sacredness of your own healing. Witnessing this kind of growth, change, healing, and freedom gives me hope and strength to keep taking the next steps in my own journey. Thank you.

  2. Peter Skrade says:

    “Life: It will be either a daring adventure, or it will be nothing,”–William Shakespeare

  3. Peter Skrade says:

    It is initially odd to think of consciousness functioning simultaneously in two components, one active, one observing the activity. But: It seems even less plausible, and even harder to imagine, a human consciousness which was not assembled in this way. And, what I mention, above, pertains only to conscious functioning! Fascinating! In my experience with therapists from times past, there seems to be less than unanimous consent as to the nature, disposition, functions of, and character or purpose of the unconscious: Branden feels, I think, that, though we have only somewhat glancing awareness of unconscious activity in conscious moments, we “know” to some degree the contents of our unconscious, what they tell us, and so on: He emphasizes that we know much more than we know we know, but in other places indicates a “sense,” at least, that much of this ‘unknown’ is actually very accessible in waking times. On one occasion, he even refers to it as the “unconscious,” (in quotation marks, as though the term is misleading). Tony, though, my therapist at St. Olaf, emphasized the mysterious, powerful, ‘secret’ aspect of the unconscious: He said to me, once, “It is good that you make conscious goals for improving your emotional health, but the lion’s share of healing and growth happens outside conscious intention. In fact, most likely, with respect to positive change or growth, nothing of real significance will happen in your conscious mind.” Tony would also emphasize to me: “Your unconscious knows much more than you do.” 🙂

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