From Having to Being

Fromm talks a lot in his books about the journey to becoming and being. I feel like it’s all just been a bunch of words and ideas until recently. Probably because I didn’t, couldn’t (how could I?), know about the necessity of being embodied, of actually having a body, in order to be, well…ANYTHING!

I really had no I idea how literally the disconnection from self manifests. When I first started to have Somatic Experiencing sessions, one of the very first things that caught my attention was the experience of less tension in my gut. It was amazing!

After that, there were experiences of being able to feel parts of my body as I never had before – almost as though someone had plugged me back in or reconnected the wire to my brain that would allow me to register that part of me as real and really mine. I could FEEL it in a different way. It’s like it was numb before, and then suddenly it was not.

Lately this has started to happen to my face, my mouth, inside my ears, the soles of my feet, the insides of my legs, my butt and all my girl parts – not all at the same time, but in a patterned sequence connected to the content I’m working on in sessions at that time.

This last and most recent awakening of my body, the ability to sense myself as female, has had a really startling side effect…there’s a playfulness now that wasn’t there before – just for the sake of play. Silliness, goofiness, curiosity, appreciation for things around me and about my body I never experienced before. I don’t know what to call it except joy. Pure and simple pleasure of being alive. I could never have predicted this, or guessed the trajectory, or what it would feel like to be here. I’ve read a lot of spiritual and self help books that hinted at this, but the experience is quite unbelievable. A week ago I felt like a 5 year old, then became 11 for a day, and then 13, then 22, and now back to my own age.

What persists is the pleasure of aliveness. I didn’t have the spontaneous collapsing of all reality into a “oneness” that includes the toilet brush. It’s been a bit by bit coming alive these past few years. And seemingly suddenly, here it is. The pleasure of air on my skin, the solidness of the ground beneath, the sun or the rain or the moon, the touch of my partner, touching my partner, eating a meal together, a spontaneous smile when others pass nearby. And, the  interconnectedness of all things feels like just an ordinary and wonderful fact of life. The total lack of effort – spontaneous gratitude – is astounding. 

That does not mean that there are no challenges, no contractions, no resistances. These extraordinary experiences of newness are already starting to integrate and become normal being for me. But I am positioned now better than ever to create more and more of the life I really want because I can FEEL. Shedding the trauma held in my body has made it safe to do that. I can see now how impossible that was from a place where I wasn’t able to feel myself, or feel safe being a self, or feel safe moving in the spontaneous ways that self wants to move. How do you know what you want or don’t want if you can’t feel?

This journey hasn’t been exactly like anyone else’s experience that I’ve heard or read, but there have been many helpful pointers and similarities along the way – just enough, I’d say. Perfect, even. If I could have had some extra advice along the way, I’d have wanted to have someone to whisper over and over, “Keep going. Don’t ever give up the dream of being alive. Whatever form that longing takes for you now, protect that flame of desire and keep going. Your experiences matter more than anything else. Don’t spend too much time comparing yourself to others. Take breaks from thinking about negative things. Just keep going and follow the path however it shows up.” Even without the whisperer, I guess something in me played that role anyway.

The trauma work has been crucially important in opening the way to higher consciousness and spontaneous joy.  I feel so grateful for the impulse toward life, for Somatic Experiencing, and for BCST. Transcendance is nice – truly, but it just doesn’t compare to the dual experience of consciousness plus embodiment. I’m grateful for every coincidence, every synchrony, every single thing that helped me get to here and now.

Joy to you today and always.




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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