It Begins With A Tremor by Kenneth M. Freeman
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It Begins With A Tremor by Kenneth M. Freeman

It Begins With A Tremor by Kenneth M. Freeman

Kenneth M. Freeman

It Begins With A Tremor

Recently I had the opportunity to provide a TRE session for a group of ten people who work for the World Vision Organization. For most of the individuals, this was their first experience tremoring. After a brief introduction about TRE and the stretching exercises, we began to shake. I say we because the energy in the room became so palpable, I began to shake as well.

The World Vision Organization provides much needed assistance to children in tragic circumstances. Supporting children often means having to work with troubled families and complicated communities. Humanitarian care is never as simple as it should be. As if this work is not stressful enough, because of budget cuts approximately half of the staff are being downsized. When I asked how people were dealing with such difficulties, one gentleman said he most often uses humor to shield the stress. I told him that was very generous, that most of the time when we make people laugh they don’t realize if we are doing it to help shoulder their pain. After the TRE session I asked how he was doing. He said the right side of his body he felt as his future, and the left side his past. His said his right side was still quite tense, but his left was relaxed for the moment. It’s a good beginning. An opening. It begins with a tremor. A tiny movement that allows for more such movements. The future is created when we have space. Space is freedom and freedom is choice. When our bodies hold too much tension it’s difficult to feel we have possibilities. Although there is so much that is not in our control, when we are relaxed it is easier to see and feel what options we really have. He said when he gets home to his children he will lose the relaxed state he feels. I said, he could have his kids tremor with him, they would most likely do it quite easily.



When we were all talking at the end, one woman said she would have preferred to have shaken more vibrantly, that she consciously kept her movements small because she was not entirely comfortable being around others in this way. I said, that is quite natural. For some people it’s easier to relax and release when shaking alone. Another woman in the group, who had experienced TRE on several occasions, said she felt more comfortable when not alone. I said, that’s quite natural too. Sometimes feeling the energy from others amplifies the rhythm in one’s own body. There can be a pulse in the room. A vibrant energy and that is what I felt, that is what caused my body to shake as I observed and occasionally made interventions.


The woman who organized the TRE session for The World Vision Organization asked me to return the day after the staff found out who was to be let go and who would continue to have employment. As it turned out, the decision was postponed for a week, to which she replied, “So tension continues, but luckily we have tension release exercises. ;)” When I showed up there were a few new faces among the returning group. The gentleman who spoke of his body split in the past and the future said that enjoyed the previous experience so much, he told a number of people they should join this session. To his delight, he said they each responded that were already shaking and had a group to which they belonged. After the introduction and stretching exercises we began. This time my interventions were more physical and direct with the individual’s who were at the earlier TRE session. At the end, when we were in a circle and wrapping up our thoughts and experiences, one woman asked me, how do you know what to do since each of the interventions that were made were different? I told her it is a matter of watching and feeling. Watching to see what parts of the body are frozen or stuck and feeling where in the body the release can be directed.

For the body there is only the present moment, so when the mind is entangled in the past or ensnared in the future, and the past or the future are stressful, the body reacts as if the circumstances that have happened or will happen are actually taking place. Muscles contract, blood pressure elevates, chemicals that are not necessary for ’out of the ordinary’ circumstances are secreted. These responses can become static and lay dormant in physical parts of the body. When the body is tied to recurring responses from the past it becomes weighed down, like stones in the pocket, and it compromises other mussels and body parts. Chronic fatigue and pain become an expectation rather than an indication that something needs to be released, some stones need to emptied from some pocket of the body.

Because there is an inherent sense of struggle and tension to life, it is only natural to have a way to exercise the deeper more remote and lasting effects of this tension, so a more relaxed state of being becomes easily accessible. An anxious body makes for an anxious mind.

Shaking is an effective way to access and release these excess or unused instinctual reactions. Done regularly, TRE supports a well balanced body and a body in harmony is a mind at ease.


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