Scientists have proven that traumatic experiences such as child abuse changes the chemistry and structure of the brain. It’s no wonder why so many people have anxiety disorders. A condition that yoga teacher Seane Corn knows oh too well and now she clearly identifies the correlations of how our thoughts are stored in our tissues and when trapped they create havoc on our minds. Today she shares her wisdom as a SHERO, desiring to bring healing to the world.
Me: Where were you born Seane and what did life look like growing up in your home?
Seane: I was born in 1966 in New Jersey and I moved to NYC when I was 17 years old. I grew up with two brothers and young parents, my mother was 18 when she had my brother and sixteen month later I was born. There was a lot of love in our household and like many families we were trying to figure life out. We were raised with no religion, which did impact me later on.
Me: When did life start to take a turn for you?
Seane: When I was six years old, a distant relative molested me; my Mom was informed and it was dealt with. Although I had perfect memory of the details, when I told my mother what had happened, I had no emotions around it at all. Dissociation affected me growing up. I always looked fine but underneath the surface I had an enormous amount of anxiety, but you wouldn’t have known it by looking at me.
Me: Are there any details you feel comfortable supplying in regards to the molestation?
Seane: My feeling is molestation is molestation, it doesn’t matter what is used for the act, it’s abuse and speaking about the details can be re-traumatizing. So I will skip the details for my own self-preservation. As a child I didn’t think I had agency over my body, as an adult I choose to have agency over my story, it’s an important component to my healing.
Me: How has the experience impacted your adult life?
Seane: I was a serial cheater, I would have a boyfriend and a lover and I would always cheat on the lover. My sexuality was a way for me to be in control and dominate, to never be vulnerable especially to a man. I called the shots and never had to truly get intimate. By spreading myself thin between men and lying, I never had to get too close. Deception affirmed that I wasn’t truly lovable or valuable.
Also the molestation was the beginning of a pattern of exploitation that followed me into my mid 20s, from harassment to violation that almost became predictable to a certain point. I would always have the same reaction; I would freeze, I couldn’t speak up or take action because of the flight, fight, and freeze response. My go to reaction when I became overwhelmed, was always to freeze. When my molestation happened there were conflicting feelings, I knew it was bad and I was scared but there was another sensation that confused me and that was pleasure and I was so overwhelmed by what was happening I felt like a watcher.
So by the age of seven I became obsessed with “patterning”. I was superstitious and believed if I could do things in even numbers everything in my life and with my family would be ok. When I would get anxious I would pattern in 4s or 8s meaning swallowing, blinking, touch things, walking into walls, and my family had to say I love you 4 times. If not, the anxiety would get to heightened and caused me to feel panic.
When I moved away from my mother and went to NYC at the age of 17, my anxiety was at an all time high. I was already using drugs; LSD, mescaline and coke and I continued to drink but I never became an addict. I was self-medicating my suppressed feelings. So, I began therapy and discovered that I had OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder). Mine was attached to even numbers and in some ways playing God. I would pick up information from my environment or friends where God was patriarchal, dominating, and showed up when you messed up. Since I didn’t have any information from my childhood to prove otherwise I was anxious about the God thing. My molestation let me know that the world was out of control and that my body wasn’t safe. The OCD allowed me to have control over my body, and made what was out of order put back in order.
Me: What helped you to realize all of this aside from therapy?
Seane: Yoga did, and the significance of mind and body connection. How my experiences lived in my body and how suppressed emotions showed up as anxiety. How everything I had done was a reaction to the six-year old molested child who didn’t get protected. I realized my definition of fine was fu**ed up, insecure, neurotic and emotional.
I was 18 when I started yoga and that combined with therapy is where my healing began. I was still using drugs when I started yoga but the more I practiced mind body connection the less I wanted to damage my body and alcohol and drugs no longer became a desire.
Me: How old were you when it all came to a close in the way of fully changing behavioral patterns.
Seane: At the age of 27 something fully shifted in me, I had been doing yoga for a long time and I had an enormous amount of access to resources and I had been doing some deep work on myself. But when the biggest jolt of healing came is at the age of 31 when I started to feel all of the suppressed anger that had been trapped in my body’s tissue for the past 25 years.
Yoga helped me to understand my trauma and the mind-body connection, I understood the physiological and neurological side of it and what yoga does is allows the trapped emotions in the body to release through the different poses that we do. I had a lot of guidance and support to help manage the OCD. I learned how powerful my breath was. I learned I had to own my pain and that you can’t change what you can’t see. I wrote fu**ck you letters and smacked pillows with rackets. I was afraid of my anger but as I gave voice to the shame, guilt, humiliation, betrayal, and rage and let the 6 year old in me say what needed to be said without my adult self denying or minimizing it, that’s when the true shift in healing came. I learned that everything is energy, and when negative it needs to be discharged from the body. I became friends with my rage and I had a better relationship with it.
I had very little money back then but I would save all of my money and prioritize my healing modalities (somatic therapy, EMDR, Trauma therapy, yoga, and meditation). I decided I no longer wanted this to be my story. Healing was definitely a journey and I still practice everything I’ve learned today.
Me: How did you discover your purpose?
Seane: I started to make a decent living as a yoga teacher. I was experiencing abundance and knew I needed to give back or I would stop the flow. I started to teach girls in shelters that had been sex trafficked but then I got my ass handed to me. I walked into a bunch of shadows; my unhealed younger self that I was terrified of. The first session was horrible and then I realized they had something to teach me. I kept teaching them wondering why they were trusting me; they didn’t know my back-story. Then I realized that we share abandonment, abuse, betrayal, and loss of self and yet still had a level of resiliency. These girls showed me the part of me that still needed a voice. I felt true compassion for them and they showed me how much work I needed to do on myself. Eventually I was able to share my truth and learned that there isn’t a single “fix it” to healing. The turning point for me is when I put on music and the girls got to dance out their feelings. They got to move their energy in a way that spoke to them, in the same way that yoga did for me. I knew this shelter is where I was supposed to be, to connect and share; normalize the conversation around trauma.
Trauma informed yoga is something I have been teaching for many, many years. I Co-Founded an organization called Off The Mat and Into The World, it’s a support program that leads and helps people find their own purpose but bridges the gap between yoga, transformational work, and social justice. Providing tools to heal and grow.
Me: What’s the next step for you and your purpose?
Seane: My new book Revolution Of The Soul breaks down mind-body connection in great depth and what dissociation looks like, also how trauma and yoga works. I want to create a framework for people so they have the steps they need to heal from their trauma.
The first half of my book is called “evolution of the soul” and ends with forgiveness, because my molester couldn’t have done what he did if he didn’t have his own, trapped trauma; the oppressed will often become the oppressor. This doesn’t mean I condone his behavior; it just helps me move on from it. We have to own and understand our trauma to break the cycle. Yoga helps you change your perspective. I live my life with an enormous amount of gratitude and try to pay it forward. When we help others to break their shame there is freedom for all of us on the other side.
Me: What’s your advice for people who are reading this article experiencing their darkest times?
Seane: I want to let them all know that I see them and I love them. They are not alone; get support, tell the truth, find someone safe and name your shame. There is so much to say to you all, but know… if you do the work, use your voice, and in time with support and faith in yourself and God, you will Thrive!
Seane is absolutely correct, if you follow all of the SHEROs stories the greatest shift came with awareness and the ability to connect within and an understanding of what our highest self really looks like. Congratulations to all of the thriving SHEROs in the world and the courage they hold inside because that’s truly what it takes to change hearts.
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The #SHEROproject will include stories of SHEROS from around the world throughout the rest of 2019. In an effort to support our thriving SHEROS, there is a panel that will be selecting the most inspirational story for the 2019 SHERO of the year award, which will be announced on 12/1/2019.
The SHERO of the year award winner will receive a 4-day/3-night retreat at Multiversity. An opportunity to explore their potential in an environment like no other; get away for rejuvenating downtime and immersion learning on their state-of-the-art campus in the redwoods of Scotts Valley, CA and experience the perfect blend of learning, vacation, and space for reflection.
1440 Multiversity is a place to experience time differently—exploring what matters, while surrounding yourself with fresh air, delicious food, many ways to unwind, and opportunities to connect with yourself and others. SHERO, during your stay, you can look forward to daily 1440 specialty classes such as yoga, meditation, qi gong and Pilates. Or enjoy hiking in the 75 acres of redwood forest surrounding the campus and finish off your day with a soak in their signature infinity tub.
The creation of 1440 Multiversity stemmed from a desire to establish a beautiful and nurturing physical location where people of all walks of life could come together in community—to explore, learn, reflect, connect, and reenergize.
Each featured SHERO will receive a private invitation to The B.E. A S.H.E.R.O. Foundation annual Gala in Las Vegas 2/8/2020 where they will be interviewed on the red carpet. B.E. A S.H.E.R.O. foundation’s mission is to provide resources needed to support, sustain and empower young girls and women under the age of 25 who have been abused, abandoned, and exploited. We intend to accomplish this mission by bringing other agencies with similar missions together and being a resource center for these organizations.
Also, each SHERO featured will receive a relaxing mix of Nectar Bath Treats’ most popular bath and body treats. Nectar Bath Treats is a cruelty free bath & body company that creates bakery inspired treats for deliciously smooth skin. Their delightful handmade treats range from adorable cupcake soaps and milkshake inspired coconut milk bath soaks to stress blasting bath bombs, all natural sugar body scrubs, ice cream shaped bubble bath scoops and so much more. If you need to relax after a long day or give yourself smoother more kissable skin, Nectar Bath Treats has you covered head to toe. Each treat is handmade with love by their team of professional soap artisans and skin care specialists for skin so soft and smooth you’ll swear you just left a luxury spa treatment.
Each featured SHERO will also receive a Rustic Cuff representing Joy & Courage. Celebrities such as Miranda Lambert, Giuliana Rancic, Kristin Chenoweth and Gayle King to name a few, wear founder Jill Donovan’s designs. Her bracelets have been featured on a multitude of national talk shows and in magazines including Elle, People, In Style, etc. For Jill it’s all about the inspired connection that is made between two people.
The SHEROs will also receive a candle by Sugarboo and Co…Dealers in Whimsy, reminding them that they are a light in the world. Sugarboo believes in putting good out into the world whenever possible. Their hope is that each Sugarboo piece sent out into the world will add a little good! Rebecca Puig’s (artist and owner) inspirations are family, nature, animals, old things, children’s art and folk art. She loves juxtaposing old and new, light and dark, serious subject matter with fluff and anything with a message! Sugarboo’s Motto is “Put Good Things into the World”!