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Letter from SE™ International Board Chair Rebecca Stahl, SEP – June 6, 2022

by | Jun 6, 2022 | POINT OF VIEW

Dear Global Somatic Experiencing Community,

This is a difficult letter to write. It is my last letter as chair of the SEI board of directors because I will rotate out of this role on July 1 when Michele Solloway will become our new board chair. This letter, therefore, serves as a way for me to say a partial goodbye and a huge thank you to the entire community.

As I look back at the past two years that I have had this role, I cannot help but feel the contraction and expansion of so much that has happened during this time. I think daily about how SEI as an organization can integrate SE into our internal operations and, of course, how it can continue to bring SE to more people around the world, whether directly or with our partners and community.

These past several years have included some amazingly wonderful shifts at SEI and many struggles. Collectively, these past two years have been close to, if not the most difficult the world has shared together. Despite that, our organization has grown and listened and made big changes. There will always be things I wish we had done better or faster or slower. I feel a sense of contraction into the regrets and expansion into the knowledge that we still did a lot of wonderful work.

Perhaps what I am most proud of over the past several years is that we have created enough structure that the shift in board leadership will be noticeable in some ways and not noticeable in many others. It is Michele’s heart and embodied awareness and intellect you will hear more often, but the structures and growth and commitments will retain their current trajectory (consistency where necessary and change where necessary). I am honored and excited to support her and the rest of the team in my new role as past chair.

And now I get to say goodbye to this role, and in doing that there are a couple pieces of gratitude I need to share. Contraction into the grief and expansion into the gratitude.

As part of the transition of the chair role, we have to say goodbye to our longest-serving board member, our current past chair, Michael Changaris. Mike leaving the board hurts. It is also the sign of a healthy organization. Mike has been a steady, consistent member of the board through extremely difficult times and wonderful growth. His compassion and intellect and understanding of individual and system dynamics have helped to make SEI the organization it is today. Mike, you will be sorely missed, and we know you are still going to be helping us out with the research committee. I hope everyone joins me in thanking you for your years of service, your dedication, and your heart. We are a better organization because of you. We are better people because of you.

I also want to say thank you to the entire community. When I joined the board four years ago I could not have predicted what the past four years would bring to the world or to SEI. I certainly knew that being on the board would mean knowing and understanding the global SE community better. I do not think I was prepared, however, for how knowing this community better would change my life in so many ways.

I say this to say thank you and because I hope that everyone has some aspect of this experience within this community. I would be lying if I said every interaction has been easy. I have learned more about myself and the world from this community than from any other. Members of the global SE community have asked us as an organization, and me as a person, to grow through discomfort and to open in new ways. What I have learned is that in difficult moments, if we turn toward each other and not away, we grow. Rupture does not necessarily mean destruction. My own actions and inactions have caused some ruptures, and I have been part of healing conversations I never expected. Expansion and contraction and expansion again. I hope everyone in this community trusts in the work and continues to turn toward one another and to grow together.

For the past two years, I know for sure that I was able to keep going every day because of this community, because of the work we are all doing, and because I believe as many of you do, that SE can be a beacon of good and healing in the world. From the bottom of my heart, I want to say thank you to everyone who brings SE into the world in their own way, every day. I want to say thank you for continuing to show up, for holding each other up, and for doing the difficult work.

Thank you for the incredible privilege and honor to serve this community. I asked myself how I could possibly say goodbye from this role. The answer is contraction into the sadness and expansion into the gratitude.

As always, if you would like to connect, my email address is rmstahl@traumahealing.org, and you can always reach the organization at listening@traumahealing.org.

With warmth, gratitude, and love,
Rebecca Stahl
SEI Board Chair