Somatic Awareness

Love is the way people naturally feel about each other
if they don't have any distress in the way.

Harvey Jackins

Somatic Awareness simply means learning to feel your body. As simple as it sounds, this is the one skill that is both supremely important and utterly lacking in most relationships. It's the reason why most people's relationships are so painful and dissatisfying. In this class we will learn simple and powerful practices for:

Why do we suffer so much in relationship? Because our relationships with others are only as good as our relationship with ourselves. If you bring a relaxed, joyful, and loving energy to a relationship, it's likely to be successful: we all want to love and be loved. At the same time, we have all had difficult or even traumatic experiences in our lives. These experiences, whether obvious or subtle, often leave unresolved issues, lasting impressions that color our subsequent relationships. The more of this “baggage” you bring into your relationships, the more weighed down by it they are bound to be. The past intrudes on the present, never giving it a fair chance. Once burned, we're at least twice as shy. Here's an entertaining song about it.

How, then, do we free ourselves from unnecessary fear and other unhealthy patterns? Why, even after years of thinking and talking about the past, doesn't time heal all wounds? Because most of us in this culture are stuck in our heads. Healing, whether physical or emotional, happens in our bodies, not our minds. If we allow ourselves to simply feel our feelings — as bodily sensations — our body takes it from there. It knows how to heal.

Like all animals, we are are self-regulating organisms. We are biologically-designed to recover from the stresses and wounds of life. When you cut your finger, your body knows how to stop bleeding. When your boss yells at you, your body knows how to shake it off. When your lover leaves you, you know, in your body, how to start again. We're designed for some pretty traumatic things. If a rabbit can get over almost being caught and eaten, you can get over losing a job or a loved one. If you only step back and let your body do what it's knows best, it will take care of you. You are designed to recover.

Our culture doesn't trust the body. We look to pills, ideas, and self-help books. Meanwhile, your self is right there, ready to help you, for free. It's always been there. But it's also easily drowned out by internalized, negative self-talk. We listen to a thousand voices, inside and out, telling us what's wrong with us. Our health, love life, and love of life dwindle. Fortunately, as soon as we trade in this self-talk for some genuine listening, our bodies jump to attention, to the opportunity to finally heal. Issues decades old immediately begin to dissolve, sometimes overnight. Pain simply dissipates, no longer held in place by self-defeating judgment. You look and are years younger, for you are experiencing life with the joy and peace you knew before the hurt. You are back to being the natural, loving animal you were born to be.

For more about Somatic Awareness, see REALationship 401.

Three evenings, 7-9:30 pm



You do not have to be good... you only have to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves.
Tell me about your despair, yours, and I will tell you mine... Meanwhile the wild geese,
high in the clean blue air, are heading home again.

Mary Oliver, "Wild Geese"