5 Reasons I Want to Share Somatic Practices With You
Somatics or mind-body therapies and practices offer profound ways to:
- connect with ourselves and others
- experience presence
- find sources of deep nourishment
- heal and transform in lasting ways
In somatic work, the mind and body are treated as whole, not as separate entities. So, when we address the mind, we address the body and visa versa, which allows for shifts to take place on mental, emotional, and neurobiological levels. Somatics literally rewire the brain and reform the body. It’s wonderfully strange magic that is completely rooted in the science of the body and mind.
As you can see, somatic practices are amazing! Here are some more reasons why I want to share them with you…
1. Somatic therapies and practices healed and changed me profoundly and I think they could help you, too
While I already had my massage license, had trained as a doula, and had spent over a decade studying things like herbalism, psychology, spiritual practices, voice, performance, and movement, many of which included somatic techniques, it wasn’t until I was in therapy for PTSD that I started to experience the true healing power of somatic therapies.
My first profoundly healing experiences were with EMDR or Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing therapy and somatic awareness techniques lead by my then therapist. From there, I went on to receive Somatic Experiencing, which was even more transformative for me, along with a host of other practices, which allowed me to finally re-enter and reconnect to my body after years of dissociation.
These therapies and various adjunct practices weren’t a magic bullet, though. It took many years of dedicated care, attention, and practice to heal, but today, as I sit here, I feel like a vastly different person.
As I have continued to deepen my work with these somatic practices, they have continued to transform me and every facet of my life in ways that I have yet to fully appreciate. Though I’m still far from perfect, now, I’m worlds away from the dysregulated, reactive, lost and confused person that I once was.
I would love for you to have the kind of healing and transformations I’ve experienced, if you desire that for yourself.
2. My mission is to make the world more wonderful
Well, “wonderful” is more fun than “better” and more inspiring, too. When we know how to walk in wonder, we invite awe, curiosity, creativity, and innovation into our lives. It is these things that allow us to come up with insightful solutions to our problems as well as enjoy life more fully.
Somatic tools and practices teach us how to come into the present awareness of our embodied selves and to become curious about what is happening inside us. They also help us to build the capacity to experience all of the sensations that we experience as beings in the manifest, material world.
When we become connected with ourselves in this way, we can then improve our connections with other humans, animals, plants, and the landscapes that make up our home. Having healthy connections with other living beings is deeply healing and it carries the possibility of profound transformation.
A more connected world is definitely a wonderful thing!
3. Our collective survival depends upon us healing our relationship with the landscape, our planet, our home
With the current environmental crisis upon us, it is essential that we collectively heal our relationship and connection with the landscape, the Earth, our one and only, precious home.
For too long, many humans have operated under the belief that is it our right, if not our destiny to dominate the planet and its beautiful inhabitants. While humans have been able to create some incredible technologies, many of which have extended life expectancies and improved quality of life for some, the disconnected way in which we have reached these achievements has held a high cost, not only for our natural world, but for communities of people who have not shared in the ambitions of domination, power, and control.
It is time for us to remember our rooted, embodied connection to our planet, which houses, feeds, and sustains us. As the scales tip ever closer towards environmental collapse, the time is nigh to come back into balance with our wondrous ecosystem which has unwaveringly grown, held, and nurtured us. Somatics can bring us back into an aligned, embodied relationship with the planet so that we can right our course and leave a life-affirming legacy of connection and true abundance for the generations to come.
4. Understanding the science of Somatics builds compassion
When I learned about how our autonomic nervous system works and how that effects our behavior, I became a profoundly more compassionate person.
Because, while most of us experience ourselves as thinking beings (brings to mind the Descartes quote, “I think, therefore I am.”), we are also animal beings intricately designed to keep ourselves safe.
We are not just our thoughts as many self-help proponents might claim. We are also fantastic bodies with lightning fast nervous systems that love efficiency. While our conscious thoughts can be powerful tools for manifestation and bringing our imaginations to life, the fact is, we are not always making choices or decisions from a place of conscious awareness.
When we act from a stress response (the sympathetic nervous system), the reaction is so quick, that it often surpasses our conscious brain, causing us to act before we are fully aware of what we are doing. This happens when we go into fight, flight, freeze, or fawn due to experiencing some kind of danger or trauma. It’s a very intelligent system which works beautifully when our rest and repair (parasympathetic) part of our nervous system is also in working order, which helps us to integrate the stressor and move on from it.
Unfortunately, we can become hardwired to respond to circumstances with our sympathetic nervous system ( become triggered), due to unintegrated trauma or deeply embedded beliefs about ourselves and how we should respond. This causes us to use survival strategies that may have once worked well for us, but which eventually become maladaptive. Because this part of our nervous system is so fast, we may experience watching ourselves with our conscious mind do things that are harmful to us or others without really being able to stop it in that moment.
This is not to say when we cause harm, “My nervous system made me do it! It‘s not my responsibility!” However, we can recognize that when we unconsciously act from a triggered response we have less choice than we think that we do. In a sense, it’s not our fault, but the consequences of our actions are always our responsibility.
The truth is that our worst is sometimes the absolute best we can be in any given moment. Knowing this has helped me to increase my levels of self-forgiveness and self-compassion. I am also able to extend this forgiveness and compassion to others, knowing that there is always a bigger story behind why they do what they do. So, instead of blaming and shaming myself or others, I get curious about that story and ask, “What happened to them, what happened to me to cause this behavior?”
5. Somatics is especially useful for healing trauma and to heal trauma, especially collectively, is a revolutionary act
We live in a traumatized world. Our trauma gets passed down from generation to generation, often unconsciously, often unintentionally. It gets passed down through individuals, families, communities, and systems alike. This trauma creates individual and collective grief, pain, and shame and it inhibits our ability to be generative, creative, and fully alive in our embodied experience here on Earth.
But it doesn’t have to be like this…
…we can heal and stop passing on a legacy of pain and trauma.
Certain somatic therapies like EMDR, yoga, and massage therapy have been scientifically proven to improve PTSD and trauma symptoms, but even more practices have plenty of empirical evidence indicating that a mind-body approach to healing is highly effective.
When we spread these healing tools and technologies far and wide, we begin to interrupt the cycles of harm in which we are caught. Many of these practices are so wildly simple that literally anyone can do them with a little bit of practice. In fact, some of these practices are designed to help us to remember what already comes naturally to us – we are already wired to be calm, centered, integrated, and present when we are safe, we have simply forgotten how.
Somatics helps us to remember how to be of ourselves, within ourselves with ease. It brings us back home to our own internal safety after a lifetime of accumulating all of the blood, sweat, tears, and pain that life throws at us. It teaches us how to become resilient. It is a pathway to remembering our wholeness and our innate worthiness.
In this late-stage capitalist world, where our value is often quantified by the hours of life-energy that we sacrifice to the almighty economy, simply BEING is a revolutionary act. Knowing our wholeness and our worthiness as fully embodied, sovereign beings makes us dangerous actors in a system that wants us to stay small and serve it with unquestioning faith.
As we bring ourselves and our communities into deeper states of embodied awareness and out of our reactive traumas, we begin to imagine worlds far more strange and beautiful than the contracted, twisted, delusion that we are currently, collectively manifesting.
A more wonderful world is birthed through ourselves as more deeply embodied beings with greater capacities for compassion, forgiveness, mercy, love, and the radical acceptance of all parts of ourselves, whether they be beautiful, terrible, or something in-between.
If you made it to the bottom of this post, I give you my sincerest gratitude! I invite you to dive deeper into what I am offering here through this blog and my business offerings by joining my email list which you can sign up for below!