Midwifery is my core metaphor: the art of receiving what wants to emerge, trusting innate mammal wisdom that has been hundreds of millions of years in the making and is always so grateful to come to the circle, however shyly and slyly. My years as a midwife were my first SE training: thousands of hours of silence and toning and chit-chat, of attentive subtle touch and intuitive resonance-- and then the eyes and presence of the just-born!!
SE uncovers that innate animal know-how and resiliency in gentle and unpredictable ways-- I love its coyote nature! And I love how often the natural world steps in "coincidentally" to support a session when we work outside! SE is a particular way of paying attention, of reading the nervous system and supporting what it is trying to do. It weaves through my work as a hospital doctor dealing with critical illness, healing and dying. It undergirds my group work with survivors of the Cambodian genocide and their daughters, as well as the work with survivors of torture who apply for asylum in the US, and work with survivors of gender-based violence in the slums of Nairobi.
Midwifery and my patients and clients are not the only teachers, however-- other teachers have been 4-leggeds in Alaskan and African wilderness, long years of Vajrayana practice, my own children and grandchildren, years in the Attitudinal Healing community, the gift of traveling and living in many countries, certain beloved books, trees, bodies of water, pieces of music, and my own journey through various kinds of rejection and abuse as well as life-threatening illness.
A session is about seeing what the organism presents in the moment, be it through words or gesture, touch, image or ancestors'presence-- and then how that evolves over time. Your work will be different from anyone else's, yet it will share much ground with others in the human and animal worlds. Many of us are coping with the intersection of history and personal life, or of government/military/policing and personal life. This, too, weaves through session work, sometimes in anguish or rage (which we take bit by bit), sometimes in gallows humor or irony. I often feel by turns honored, astonished and reverent to witness what comes forth, and very grateful to be doing this work. We really do "co-regulate" in most sessions, and both nervous systems benefit.
The measure of "success" or "progress" in SE is always: overall, is your life getting better? Could it be that Caroline Casey is right, that "my trauma" could be discovered/uncovered as "my dangerous and beautiful assignment"? Be ready to be surprised but supported, perhaps sometimes gently nudged a bit, and always respected. My hope is that you come just a bit more home to yourself-- and to the world-- in ways you couldn't have foreseen earl