Somatic Intelligence: Openness to Greater Possibility

Written by Jennifer Degen, MA

We are out of touch with the core animating energy

that moves through us.

Richard Strozzi-Heckler

As highly and wholly intelligent beings, we have so much untapped potential when we don’t recognize this. In our current culture many of us have grown up with a strong emphasis in our families and educational experiences based on logic, expertise and analytical thought. Because of this left brain intensive culture, there has also been minimal focus on unique gifts, creative expression, and listening to our intuitive nature (right brain). This is most easily accessed when we imagine ourselves as a young child playing in the yard and simply being free and curious.

When we live in this unbalanced way, it creates the heart of the problem. These problems show up physically, emotionally, culturally, politically, environmentally and spiritually.

This loss of our ability to feel creates a disembodied and more mechanical way of living that we are familiar with today. We feel depleted, lacking energy, or fragmented in our attention.

The guiding principle of somatic intelligence is that we were born with our creative and unique aliveness,“This animating force has resided inside the human form and before that in the rest of reality for 3 billion years and is the origin of deep wisdom, true compassion and skillful action.” Richard Strozzi

The fundamental path of somatic coaching is that we are living, moving, whole beings experiencing our aliveness moment to moment, we are deeply connected to nature, the universe and all life itself. We are not separate from our human experience. We are interconnected. Living fully means going beyond the overidentification with the thinking mind.

The catch is If we pay attention to the wholeness and fullness of our being we have so much potential. The way to healing and change is to feel and sense, rather than to think. In fact healing occurs when we pay deeper attention to our whole selves.

Major components of somatic therapy and coaching are:

  • embodying sensation,
  • through awareness,
  • through aliveness,
  • through practice, and
  • through action.

How does this play out as intervention and practice supporting clients with depression and anxiety? In the somatic view depression has all kinds of qualities to it. It may feel heavy, low, sleepy, dark or dense. Anxiety can show up in worry about the future, repetitive thoughts, and inability to concentrate.

A somatic practitioner is interested in guiding the client to sense and feel these distinct feelings and sensations from a compassionate, open, trusting, and safe place in order for the feelings to move and change as they do. What tends to happen with this kind of supportive somatic mirroring is that insight naturally occurs when the body is held in presence to what it is experiencing. The individual’s capacity to acknowledge what is happening allows for the soma (body) to intelligently release the ways the emotions are held. This change occurs when the client practices focused awareness with the support of a guiding practitioner.

After the feelings have passed, many opportunities and insights naturally arise. The possibility to take action in the client’s lives becomes more accessible and possible. This helps to solidify and anchor the learning into everyday life.

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