A reply to: A letter from Dove
Congratulations to you and Maki on your engagement and marriage! A festival wedding. How romantic! When I think of the story of how the two of you met and re-found each other, it seems that only the most romantic wedding would do!
I will do everything I can to attend your commemorative ceremony next year! I’m already blocking out the entire month so I can remember: keep the schedule simple–be flexible!
Oh, Dove! I have been SO busy! I am sure that it is no surprise to you. As a scientist who’s passionate about her work, involved with raising two kids, and a loving partner to a beautiful wife, I’m sure you know busy!
I have just met busy. And let me tell you, busy is busy!
But also, busy is very fun and oh-so-rewarding. I’m sure you know this, as well. How did that award go? Are you the new Pioneer of New Technologies? Whether that’s your official title or not, I know you are a true pioneer!
School is more than I ever though it would be: More engaging; more rewarding; more demanding; and more valuable.
INWk, I really feel that I’ve found my calling–or at least my passion! All I want to do now is study and learn more–and I want to learn it all instantly!
Our program is based in the work on trauma led by Peter A. Levine and described so effectively in his book In an Unspoken Voice: How the Body Releases Trauma and Restores Goodness.
In its most simple distillation, his theory is this: trauma is defined “as an event that causes a long-term dysregulation in the autonomic and core extrapyramidal nervous system” (Payne, Levine, and Crane-Godreau, Somatic experiencing); or, to put it in terms I can understand better, trauma occurs when one’s protective responses (fight, flight, or freeze) don’t have the chance to complete their cycle and become somehow “stuck” or “out-of-sync.”
With this basic physical understanding of a process that is felt and experienced mentally and emotionally, we find a way out: through the wisdom of the body.
Most of the work of our program is designed on following a recursive pattern through re-regulating the body’s response.
The part that Micah and I are currently engaged in, the music and art therapy, fits into the final stage of social engagement. Micah and I also both notice that, with both the refugees and the individuals at HoH, the activities in music and art therapy provide a very real sense of agency for the participants which reactivates self-esteem in a vital manner.
In order to be able to be effective at what we do, the program trains us in all the levels of Somatic Experiencing–and here’s where I get so excited and want to learn everything all at once!
Does that ever happen to you?
There is so much to learn! I get so impatient sometimes–and then it’s easy to despair because I know I’ll never know everything there is to know–and sometimes, I just can’t bear that thought! Have you felt that way?
My uncle Jasper tells me when I feel like that, that I would have been happy living in Ancient Greece.
“In Aristotle’s day,” he loves to say, “one could know everything there was to know. All of human constructed knowledge could be learned by a single individual. Aristotle knew it all. And so did his best students.”
He assures me that I could easily learn all that Aristotle’s best students knew, too–in fact, I probably already do. But knowledge has marched on, and what his students knew doesn’t even fill a thimble now.
Now, there’s so much to learn that we specialize, and I fear sometimes that even in my area of specialization, I won’t be able to learn even enough to be a helpful or useful therapist!
When I get like that, my mentor in the program tells me to relax. She reminds me that life is long, and I am not even 30 yet, and the best therapists are in their fifties, at the youngest. We are encouraged to adopt a life-long learning approach, which suits me fine and helps me to relax a bit.
How are your children doing? Are they regular city kids? What are they most interested in?
And how is Maki?
We are all doing well. My friend Mizuki has moved in. She’s also going back to school! She and Youssef, our nanny, are a sometimes thing–that is, she is romantically interested in him, and he sometimes returns the interest, and when neither is too busy and there aren’t too many of the rest of us around, they might sometimes exchange a flirt or a kiss, but never anything more! Or so Mizuki bemoans to me.
But if anyone is worth waiting for, Youssef is, for he is loveliness itself! And even if he and Mizuki remain very good friends, I will attest that he is a friend worth having.
Jena is doing so well. She loves that now she has three adults doting on her.
As much as possible, I try to do my studies while she’s asleep or at the library when she’s with Youssef, but honestly, as long as Mizuki and Youssef are around, I don’t think she even cares if my head is in a book!
I’m so happy I can share all my enthusiasms with you, dear INWk! And I hope that you will reciprocate in your next letter!
All my love to you, Maki, and your littlies!