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Cheeky Little Monkey

Time to share a cheeky peek at my most recent trauma recovery therapy session.

Having completed almost seven years of weekly Somatic Experiencing™ (SE®) sessions with my incredible SE certified therapist, I now go for monthly what I call “maintenance” sessions. And I’m so glad, because stuff continues to come up.

They say we’re never really finished, and it’s true. I’ve been deeply disappointed and curious at the lack of sales in my creative business, finally arriving at an awareness that I was mentally/energetically putting up a “closed” sign even as I was marketing and redesigning website content to clear the path for my ideal clients and being two weeks shy of releasing my first Amazon book From Fear to Love How Creativity Saved My Life and Will Change Yours for the Better.

Finally, with the help of my therapist, I spoke the words that have evaded me for years.

I am afraid of being successful/happy because it will all be taken away from me.

It all comes down to abandonment, my very earliest wounding.

Being certified in play therapy as well, my therapist took me through a profoundly moving exercise. At her direction, I chose toys that represented this fear (the orange – oh how I don’t like the color orange!- plush octopus, grasping my fear in its tentacles) and happiness (my competent protector lion with its courage and mighty roar, King Kong that had me smiling, and the tiny felt-covered monkey with brightly piercing and beguiling eyes).

 My therapist had me focus, agenda-free, on the octopus for about 30 seconds, paying attention to what showed up in my body. I then followed her moving finger with my eyes to the pictured characters, focusing, again agenda-free, for about 30 seconds, and again paying attention to what showed up in my body. Back and forth three times. Sort of a playful EMDR. Sort of…

Octopus: I curled away from it, arms protecting myself. Grief and sadness poured out in my tears. I hissed at it, stomped on it with my foot.

Happy trio: I smiled and giggled, leaning in towards them and placing the little monkey on King Kong’s head. I cried soft little tears of longing.

After the transitions, I sat quietly, waiting to see how my body reacted. React it did, with random twitches, stretches, contractions… and without tears.

Wrapping up, my therapist told me that this would likely continue over the next few days. When I asked what “this” was, she replied that it was my disorganized nervous system seeking to organize. Made enough sense to me, given the vast realm of releasing and creating new neural pathways I’ve experienced under her care these last years.

Still, how amazing and quasi-mysterious it all remains to me, a registered nurse turned healthcare informatics consultant turned artist and writer, with a keen clinical perspective and fascination with the anatomical and physiological dynamics of SE.

And how wonderful that my deep sense of abandonment was softened a bit by the whimsical gaze of a cheeky little monkey.

Annette Hadley

The author Annette Hadley

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