HerLife Magazine Article, continued:
In SE, it’s not so much about the story as about the body’s ability to process the stimulus. What isn’t processed is stored in the body as trapped energy. The aim of SE is to allow the space and time for the body to safely and slowly release that trapped energy. For some, like Hadley, this requires a long stretch of “baby step” progress in order to recover.
Hadley’s feelings of being bad, unvalued, unimportant, were ingrained before she could even speak. It’s not that she wasn’t loved...she just didn’t get what she needed to develop that sense of unconditional love and importance. Hadley was born in Chicago and moved with her family to KC when she was three. Hadley’s mother experienced several major life stressors during her pregnancy with Annette.
Also, Hadley’s maternal grandmother died when Hadley was only five months old. As a young toddler, Hadley experienced a near drowning, falling into the toilet head first, being pulled out by her mother after an unknown period of time. She has no memory of any of this. However, after starting SE, her right shoulder would move involuntarily on occasion. In one SE session, her shoulder went through a sort of range of motion and felt like something had released. After that, she no longer experienced any shoulder dysfunction. Whatever energy the body had held trapped had been freed.
Through Somatic Experiencing, Hadley’s body and beliefs began to respond in therapy sessions. Because there were essentially no words or memories, just major anxiety, Hadley’s therapist relied on observation and experience. She was able to construct likely trauma scenarios based on Hadley’s movements and positions in response to certain questions and brief discussions. Her assessment of intrauterine, early life and pervasive developmental trauma would be revealed as Hadley learned more about her past from family stories.
And little by little, more trapped energy was released. Hadley began to play with the idea that maybe she was valued, loved, good and important. During this time, her creative expression through mandala drawing, painting, photography, illustrating, memoir and poetry was birthed.
With a 20-year background in operating room nursing and 15 years in healthcare informatics consulting, Hadley has worked, traveled, volunteered and explored internationally extensively. In 2012, she felt drawn to something different, to shift to a creativity-based business so that she could answer the call to nourish the world with what nourishes her. And so in 2014, through hard work, passion and much support, Hadley created Abundance Art LLC. In 2015, her website went live and she held her first exhibit at a Crossroads First Friday event.
Hadley is not just an artist. She wants to give back to the world. On the Abundance Art website, there are multiple resources for people who are in need of help. She posts many silly, funny pictures of her cats on her social media sites in the hope of making people smile every day. “I choose to tell my story so intimately so that others may understand they are not alone,” Hadley said. “Some may be educated because they will realize, ‘Oh, my wife, my husband, my friend who is depressed, this is how they feel. I get it now.’ Others will see themselves, their own wounding, and perhaps a seed will be planted, or they may even be inspired and encouraged to make choices in their lives that will support them in achieving wholeness.”
Hadley is a generous steward of her blessings. She presents enrichment programs for underserved children in KCK as part of The Learning Club. By teaching the kids how to draw and understand their own mandalas, she helps them explore their creative and emotional sides. This is especially important in homes where there are often inadequate strong and loving parental figures. “My eventual vision is to create a foundation that funds trauma recovery therapy for women who are not able to afford it,” Hadley said. “So I’m thinking big, even with baby steps.”
Baby steps, just like her healing process. The steps she went through to grow and become the person she is today were not easy; they were frightening and exhausting. But, she doesn’t regret anything that has gone before. It’s all part of the foundation of who she is now.
Hadley heals through her self-named phases that continue to overlap, like the stages of grief: Discovery-learning what needed healing; Uncovery-getting to the bottom of the issues; Recovery- integrating healing and new truths into life moving forward.
In 2011, a painting Hadley had created made her feel happy. She named the painting “Abundance” before having it framed. She held the finished product in her hands, took a deep breath, and proclaimed out loud, "I am an artist."
She adds, “The concept of abundance is how I choose to look at life. There will always be more than I need as far as money, relationships, support, creativity, etc. I have shifted from a life based on fear to a life based on love.”
Hadley’s life comes full circle with her healing, business and love. She recalled a bit of her childhood: “I recently remembered that when I was a little girl, I wanted to be an artist. I had completely forgotten.” But the wisdom of her truest, deepest self never forgot. And Hadley and the world are nourished.