Dear SEI Community,
We look anew to 2022 and the opportunities that lie in store for us, as individuals, as professionals and as a community dedicated to bringing light and healing to the world through the gifts, principles and teachings of Somatic Experiencing. I, too, start the year with a rededication to the values of servant leadership and being more intentional in my actions with kindness, compassion and gratitude in all that I do.
We have all experienced professional and personal challenges in our lives, magnified by the pandemic and other significant global events over the past several years. Recently, I have found it difficult to bring passion and joy to my family and my work, feeling distracted and constantly bombarded by the almost-daily negative shadow of our politics, growing divisiveness and unrest, whether it is global, national, local, or even in our own SEI community. For me personally, I have to change in order to thrive and survive as a leader, husband, father and friend. I want to approach my work and leadership with a mindset of abundance and opportunity, not scarcity and self-imposed limitations. I need to maintain patience, perseverance and determination that we can work through our struggles and bring more positive action to our daily lives at home and work.
I have been with Somatic Experiencing International for more than three years. I did not expect to be. I expected to help the organization through an important transition and find myself back in retirement. Well, plans change, and I am still here as Executive Director, supporting the Board of Directors and the SEI staff with converting a powerful vision of “transforming lives through healing trauma” into action. This has been a total team effort, with our global faculty, program assistants, coordinators and international organizers being instrumental contributors in our need to quickly change and adapt in the midst of chaos and disruption.
I am pleased to say that we have taken significant steps to keep moving forward. We have continued our professional training program over the past two years with a new on-line delivery platform. We have strengthened the infrastructure and service commitment of our organization by adding more than 10 new positions in leadership and administrative support over the past two years. We have been focused on improving and enhancing our system of governance through conversation and collaboration, inviting more participation in our ongoing activities and decision making as an organization. We have adopted a Code of Ethics, Standards of Practice and Grievance Procedure for SEI and established an Ethics and Grievance Committee to maintain these important guiding documents. We have made a commitment to develop fundraising and partnership opportunities to build SEI’s capacity and capabilities to make Somatic Experiencing more available to people in need throughout the world, to fund research that will soon establish Somatic Experiencing as an evidence-based best practice for trauma healing, and to create more public-facing relationships to make Somatic Experiencing better known and appreciated. We successfully conducted our first International Virtual Conference last October with nearly 1,000 participants joining us. These are a few important milestones to recognize our progress.
With this said, we still have a long way to go to develop the impact we want to have as a positive catalyst for change. We need to improve our transparency and accountability. For starters, I know that I have made mistakes and missteps in leadership that have caused hurt and pain for some who have served our organization with passion and commitment over the years. I know that I need to do better in addressing problems and old processes by establishing updated approaches for honest conversation and enabling voices to be heard and appreciated.
I do not want SEI to be seen as complacent about its daily actions. I do not want people within our community to feel left out, shut out, marginalized or misunderstood. I want an organization that embraces all who share our vision, mission and core values of support, compassion, excellence, community and vitality. I want an organization that understands the complexities of diversity, equity and inclusivity and does not exclude individuals for their viewpoints and opinions. I want a community that acts and serves within the framework, principles and teachings of Somatic Experiencing and honors every member of our community with kindness, appreciation and gratitude.
I want to do better. I think we all can do better. Wishing you a blessed and happy 2022!
With kindness, appreciation and gratitude,