It has been 20 plus years since my first encounter with The Center for Mind-Body Medicine. In the early years I was part of the team that travelled to the refugee camps in Kosovo. We had the profound privilege of teaching our work to children, civilians, and professionals. All had suffered the traumas and anguish of war. I saw the transformations that resulted from our work; how enduring presence and teaching provided healing and growth. After “Soft Belly” breathing with a group of 40 people in a refugee camp, one man said that he hadn’t experienced a sense of safety and calm since the outbreak of the war in Kosovo until then. A young man in a small group I led felt free to cry for the first time after drawing a picture depicting the murder of his father in their home.
I learned how that opportunity was life-changing for me. I went to help, but I returned home to the realization that I had been gifted with a deep, soul to soul loving that came from them to me and from me to them. Beneath the “group model” that we teach, there is an intentional foundation of a deep level of love and respect for humanity, coupled with the scientific data that healing and growth are bi-directional.
In my private psychotherapy practice I also use mind-body skills with suffering individuals. A young woman, overcome with debilitating panic attacks, uses these skills to calm her symptoms, allowing her to tend to her underlying personal trauma. A man who came into my practice on anti-depressants no longer needs medication and uses these skills to sustain his sobriety. And women who have struggled with infertility have received the gift of conceiving and giving birth.
This work of our Center for Mind-Body Medicine allows people to come back into their bodies, to honor their struggles, and to dissolve and release the embedded feeling which keep them stuck in an often confused and repetitive state. The gift of these “self-regulatory” experiences is that a portal opens into a deeper exploration of suffering, healing, and meaning.