Lauren Taub Cohen
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What's in a name you ask? Walla was the name I gave myself when pronouncing Lauren was beyond my capabilities as a one-year old. The joke was I began speaking French before English. Unfortunately, voila and merci beaucoup remain the extent of my French conversational skills. The word whimsical encapsulates that spirit of childlike spontaneity and creativity, which I am trying to rekindle.
Hence, the creation of my blog - Whimsical Walla!
A bit of bio... In the fall of 2006, I was put through what I initially thought was a punishing gauntlet. I had left my job at 60 Minutes for the classroom and my parents were going through a divorce as my husband and I were planning our wedding. One morning, I woke up and the lateral side of my left foot seemed to be jabbed by a pernicious pebble. However, there wasn't a pebble beneath my foot, nor was my imagination the culprit either. After visiting a doctor, it was confirmed that my left cuboid bone had mysteriously slipped out of place. In Traditional Chinese Medicine the feet are considered to reflect one's roots and foundation. My roots and sense of self had become entirely uprooted and my dislocated cuboid exposed me to this raw reality. In 1918, Henry Maudsley, a psychiatrist, wrote in the Journal of Mental Science, "The sorrow which has no vent in tears may make other organs weep." Or, in my case, might shift a bone, which had held back and plugged in a lot of tears. To put it simply...the dam broke.
I spent a significant amount of time and money speaking with top orthopedic surgeons in NYC. They all suggested the same course of action - Bolt the cuboid bone back into place using nine steel bolts. Thankfully, during this time, I had begun to study insight meditation and was introduced to Tara Brach's book, Radical Acceptance, which helped me realize that perhaps the Cuboid Crisis (as I labeled it) was a portal through which I could begin to explore my traumatic and troubled past. So, I sought the help of a therapist while maintaining an insight meditation and yoga practice. It was a tumultuous 2.5 years but weeks before I got married my cuboid bone slipped back into place as mysteriously as it slipped out of place.
The celebratory relief, however, was short lived. In 2011, another inexplicable event occurred in my thyroid and, once again, the doctors were dumbfounded. A chief thoracic surgeon at a prominent NYC hospital told me my thyroid needed to be removed and my voice could be impaired as a result. Thankfully he chose those exact words. This egg-like mass protruding from my throat had appeared immediately after telling someone some painful details from my past. I became curious. Might there be a connection here between me speaking up and my body responding to that experience? My condition wasn't life threatening, so I knew what I had to do before agreeing to surgery. This time I found an SE (Somatic Experiencing)® Practitioner and, after a couple months, the issue in my thyroid had resolved itself. Somatic Experiencing® (SE) is a body-oriented approach to healing trauma and stress disorders, which was developed by Dr. Peter Levine. I was so inspired and impacted by this revolutionary approach to healing trauma that I became a Somatic Experiencing® Practitioner. (Click here to read my bio on Somatic Experiencing® International's website.)
Ultimately, these experiences helped cement the bedrock of my teaching philosophy and company, MetaMinds. MetaMinds is a company committed to helping children, teens and adults transform challenges and stuck states into opportunities for growth, healing and well-being.
I created this blog because the fear of losing my voice made me realize I hadn't really used my voice. This startling insight spawned in me the desire to get out into the world and begin sharing my thoughts, poems and photos with all of you. It all began with Passing the Tests and The Writer's Roar.