Dear Global Somatic Experiencing Community,
It is with deeply heavy and hurting hearts that we share this news with all of you. Our beloved board chair, Michele Solloway, passed away unexpectedly on September 4, 2023. Michele gave her heart and soul to this community, and her light and presence will never be forgotten. We are taking all of this month’s issue of SE Today to honor her and all she brought to our SEI community and the growth of SE, but most of all to each and every one of us.
Michele came to SEI with a background in public health, research, massage therapy, and energy work. Her scientific mind helped to drive our commitment to research and getting SE into the lives of as many people as possible. Just this year, she took on the monumental task of co-chairing the SE Humanitarian Response Committee. Getting SE to everyone has been a passion of Michele’s forever. Whether it was through research, humanitarian response, Crisis Stabilization and Safety, or more, Michele wanted everyone in the world to have the tools that SE offers to help make their lives better.
Michele joined the board in July 2019 and helped to usher in our stronger strategic plan, more structure, and more growth. She became chair elect in July 2020 and the board chair in July 2022. She has served on the Finance Committee, the Executive Committee, and she helped to create an Evaluation Committee so that we could do a better job of getting feedback on our trainings. She has been working closely with the Global Visioning Group to help us find ways to collaborate in SE spaces around the world. All that she has done for SEI would take pages to write, so we will say it more simply – her grounded presence has helped to steady SEI for years as we navigate this new world.
But no board member is just their contribution to the organization. Michele brought a level of joy and light combined with presence and groundedness and professionalism that we have never seen in anyone else. She became a friend to almost anyone who met her. How could you not love someone whose heart was always visible and whose laughter could fill a room (or Zoom)?
And as we all learned this news about Michele and called folks to tell them the awful news, we connected through tears and through our own activation/regulation cycles. And that represents what this community is – we learn to hold these incredibly big emotional issues together. We navigate the pain and the love and the grief and all of it. We know that many of you connected to Michele through her letters, and many of you have met her in person. For so many, and certainly for SEI, there will be a Michele-sized hole in our hearts forever. She brought more to our lives and to this organization than there are words to convey. It seems trite to say that she will be missed. It is so much deeper than that. We know that we must continue on here at SEI because we must continue the work that Michele helped us create.
We wanted to use the rest of this issue of SE Today for folks who knew her well to share how she impacted them, their SE journey, and their hearts. Thank you for helping us to honor our colleague, our mentor, and our friend. May her memory be forever a blessing to everyone she touched, to SEI, and to the world.
With deep gratitude,
Board of Directors
Peter Levine, Founder Somatic Experiencing International
Rebecca Stahl, SEP
Interim Executive Director