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Date Created: 12/20/15
The Oprah Syndrome Part 2 – A Somatic Experiencing Blog We can all identify with patterns in our lives that seem to be hard-wired and immutable. And that is why Oprah is everyman and every woman, wealth, power and fame aside. Her authenticity, integrity, and transparency are nonpareil. She has invited us into her public persona and her personal journey as we have invited her into our living rooms. But, if Oprah, of all people, is stuck in a pattern, regardless of her dedication, discipline, power, will, resources and support, then aren’t we all paddling our canoes like hell in the dust of a dry creek bed? I certainly don’t want to lose sight of the fact that there is hope, nonetheless. But, what is the missing link, then? Maybe we need to recognize that the common denominator of all of our experiences perceived and real, is the body itself. What if there was a physiological component that no amount of psychological or intellectual perusal could effectively impact? Could this be the key to unlock true, profound and long- lasting healing and personal transformation? There is a very interesting 15 yearlong study by Dr. Eugene Gendlin and Dr. Carl Rogers of The University of Chicago, wherein the research concludes that therapy patients, who had positive outcomes, had a greater capacity to feel sensations in their bodies. Thus, began their study of the “felt sense” and its impact on healing. Further exploration revealed that this capacity to connect to the “felt sense’ seemed to be the determining factor in healing trauma more so, than the therapeutic technique, itself. Dr. Gedlin was subsequently honored as the first person ever to receive the “Distinguished Professional Psychologist of the Year” award from the Clinical Division of the American Psychological Association. I propose that if there is a physiological holding pattern, as a result of past-unresolved traumas, then the possibility of true and profound and long- lasting healing may lie in unraveling it physiologically, and not by merely rationalizing it cognitively or by gaining psychological perspective. That is to say, one can’t relieve a back-ache with Arithmetic; any more than, one can solve physiological dis-regulation of the autonomic nervous system and lower brain function with ‘New Thought’ principles and psychological perusal. And, by no means do I discount the power and breadth of ‘New Thought’ and psychology. More importantly, imagine the cumulative potential of also returning the body to resilient physiological homeostasis and balanced brain function – the higher, middle and lower brains working in harmonious concert. For the better part of twenty-five years, I, too, had tried virtually every pill, potion and powder known to man, read every self-help book (I once bought a book on self-sabotage. Never finished it.), sought out the guidance of a plethora of psychics, healers, Kahunas and witch doctors, attended dozens and dozens of workshops and retreats, sat at the foot of many a Guru (Gee, You are You) and self-help luminary, fervently prayed, took countless hours of yoga, meditated (and medicated) myself into a stupor and filled journal after journal after journal. And, throughout the years, I thought I was healing. The outer affectations of my life certainly seemed to be getting better and better. I had even begun to sustain friendships without burning them out and sending them running for the hills. The bouts of depression that plagued me every year from November to April seemed to be lessening in severity and duration. Paradoxically, I had been working in the healing arts and sharing what I had learned with others … well, those who would listen. Still, there was always a part of me that felt a little hypocritical, because I wasn’t perfect and was by no means fully “healed.” Little did I, or my clients, know at the time that coming to me for help was like going to a fat nutritionist. I empathized with Oprah on her Best Life Week special that aired on January 5, 2009 when she addressed her personal struggles juxtaposed to all of the pearls of wisdom that she has learned and subsequently imparted over the past “hundred years”, as she would say. The 80′s and 90′s were a time of great introspection for me; like most endeavors, I took it to the point of over-indulgence. I was a self-proclaimed, no-holds-barred, quintessential new age, guinea-pig-lab-rat. I soaked and salved and sought with a determination paralleled only by Michael Phelp’s quest for Olympic Gold.
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