Updated: Feb 22
A couple weeks ago, I got together with the beautiful, powerful, and highly intuitive Rebecca Polan. I first met Rebecca about six years ago when she reached out to me for dog walking help. Over the years, we have weaved in and out of each other’s lives, growing as friends and evolving as individuals. Through our own separate, yet strikingly parallel paths, we have both arrived at a similar place where all we want to do is connect with others and use our past experiences to spread the knowledge of healing trauma and developmental wounding.
Rebecca is a somatic healing coach who works with people one-on-one and in group settings to support healing and transformation. She teaches passionately about the practices of what she calls resourcing and self-study, which help us heal ourselves and live more fully. She describes her book, Faith Under Water: A Guidebook for Rising, as “a user’s manual for when sh*t hits the fan,” offering information on the neuroscience and spiritual aspects of suffering, as well as body-centered resources to help others on their healing journey. The book cover includes a pearl, which represents the insights and gifts that come from suffering and personal difficulty. She explains that we wouldn’t have this pearl without going under first, and she knows this experience firsthand.
Rebecca’s own healing journey began with discovering her husband’s affair after nine years of marriage. This experience shattered her sense of identity, and left her feeling ungrounded and overwhelmed by waves of grief. This shattering moment also launched her on a nearly six-year journey to help her arrive where she is now, supporting others in healing and growing into the highest expression of themselves, pointing out helpful resources along the way.
Through the traumatic end of her marriage, Rebecca found transformation. She found a well that had been cracked open full of joy and also creativity, out of which many poems started pouring forth onto the page. She also discovered the healing power of the body-mind connection through yoga. Less than three weeks after her marriage ended suddenly, Rebecca had serendipitously scheduled a yoga teacher training, giving her an opportunity to dive further into this enriching realm of self-discovery, deepening her understanding of yogic philosophy that informs her book today.
Early in her healing process, Rebecca stumbled upon a Brahma Vihara workshop, which opened up the four abodes of her heart through this Buddhist framework. Through the first abode, lovingkindness, she learned how to clean off her internal mirror and return to a heart-centered place. Through the second abode, compassion, she learned to cultivate a spaciousness for the gamut of uncomfortable emotions that her divorce brought on. Through joy, she learned how to be genuinely present with and happy for others, and through equanimity, she learned how to be present within her body in a deeply grounded peace. She still cultivates these four abodes on a daily basis and they form the foundation of her “Swim Practice” chapter, which is full of practices for what she calls getting “resourced” in body-mind states like these four abodes.
Rebecca continued to teach and practice yoga, relying on yoga as a tool for personal healing as well as resource for community support. The more she opened up physically through yoga, the more she opened up with others and found healing through connection. Her one-on-one yoga teaching sessions with people revealed to her the strength and beauty in asking for help, which ended up teaching her how to ask and receive support as well. To deepen the expansion of her ability to support others in healing, Rebecca went on to receive training in a modality of somatic psychotherapy called Hakomi, which works with the wisdom of the body to heal negative core beliefs that keep us from living fully and happily.
On January 11, 2016, Rebecca’s divorce was finalized. Coincidentally, on that same day, Rebecca started a new journey and began writing a blog, publishing her first article on that very same date. She needed to share her newfound passion for body-centered healing and spread her knowledge of yoga, meditation, and personal transformation with the world. She wrote as she healed, deepening her connection with herself, with spirit and with others, as she continued to teach yoga and publish post after post, writing regularly for almost a year. By the end of 2017, Rebecca felt an internal nudge to step back from her blog and take a look at the bigger picture. It was then she realized what she had to do next—she needed to gather her writing and put together a book that supports other people on a healing journey in a practical, grounded way.
Over the past several years, Rebecca has been working hard, categorizing her blog entries, mapping out the flow of her book’s content, and gaining more knowledge through somatic psychotherapy training and a reiki level three certification—knowledge which she has been weaving into the fabric of her book. Some of the chapters include personal anecdotes as a means of teaching a concept, but Rebecca’s book is not a memoir. She calls “Faith Under Water” a guidebook—a roadmap to help people navigate their way through healing and eventually arrive at a place where they can be their true, authentic selves. Rebecca believes healing is a means to living fully. She does not consider herself a guru, but rather a teacher and friend—a teacher-friend who has gone through her own major transformation who is now ready to return to the bottom of the mountain and guide others as they begin to ascend.
Rebecca plans to self-publish “Faith Under Water” and have her book out by this May. In the meantime, she has been working hard on yet another creative healing project called “Co-Regulation Nation.” “Co-Regulation Nation” is a Facebook group Rebecca started this past January that serves as a safe place for members to express their feelings, find support, and discover ways to regulate the nervous system to reduce stress and increase recovery. Using her knowledge of the polyvagal theory (which she discusses in her book as well), Rebecca teaches people how to tap into the parasympathetic nervous system, activating the body’s rest and recovery mode, as opposed to the sympathetic nervous system which activates the body’s fight-or-flight response. Self-regulation of these systems is first learned through co-regulation, which unfortunately seventy percent of people need support with due to various traumas (however small or big). Rebecca’s goal with this Facebook group is to offer a new kind of home—a healthy place where people can come together as a family and learn how to co-regulate so eventually everyone will gain their own self-regulation skills.
As I sat and listened to Rebecca, I couldn’t help but smile, remembering our similarities and realizing our undeniably similar goals. Although that morning was the first time our paths had crossed in a few months, our journeys are still strikingly aligned with both our books coming out this spring and both our community healing platforms coming to light this year. Like me, Rebecca is passionate about empowering people. She wants to de-shame the need for support and de-stigmatize mental health issues. Although she believes talk-therapy can help, she is far more passionate about body-focused healing. Through her own personal journey into the depth of the sea and back up to the surface, she knows true healing takes place beneath the conscious talk into the body and subconscious mind. She needed to go deep in order to come back up, wiser and stronger. She needed to become her own lifeboat, so she could show others how to become their own lifeboats too. She needed to experience her divorce and go through all the pain in order to emerge rich with knowledge and dripping with passion. She floats like a buoy in the water now, anchored by wisdom and bobbing like a marker—a navigator of hope guiding people on.
For more information on Rebecca Polan:
Facebook Group: Co-Regulation Nation
For more information on Rebecca Hope Macri (book cover artist):