Reflections arising from a Somatics Practice
Part 1 – My relationship to my Body
Do I see it simply as a body-vehicle I can use to do what my mind wants? Is it something to manipulate according to my will and ideas and desires. Is this body a source of pain or pleasure? Am I so separate from my body?
I’m intrigued by the deeper relationship. I’m fascinated by the structure of the bones, those peculiar shapes which allow particular kinds of stability and movement, levered by muscles that are often so restrained that the bones just can’t go where they might like to go.
Do I engage life through the bones or do I use them as a fortress to protect myself? Has my mind taken over and frozen parts of my structure, my ribcage, my pelvis, my spine?
The Frozen Response
Fight, flight or freeze. The freeze response is what does the damage, when it becomes fixed. This reflex, which is meant to keep me safe from a threatening world, seems to have imprisoned me. Some of my bones no longer move. Yet who is the ‘me’ apart from the freezing, the frozen response?
If I consider the ego as all my fixed and conditioned responses to life – setting the limits and parameters of my engagement through patterns of muscle firing, bones set in motion, much of it unconscious – then I can see the benefit of somatic exercise.
When I settle down enough to soften and actually to listen to my body, and allow it to take the lead, then I can get underneath the ego-patterning to wake up a different way of moving and responding to life. There is a discriminating intelligence at work in this moving body. It is light and free and dancing. It speaks to my mind in a different way. This body is not an insentient machine to be used as my mind desires.
To Stay Creative and Free
Bodies create intricate, graceful, modulated responses to space and gravity. Expressive movement is not just the province of dancers. In my movement I express who I am, whether I want to or not. How free and creative can my mind really be if my body is riddled with tension? If tension equates to ego clinging and freezing, then not very free or creative!
The brain is all about movement, the body is all about movement, life is movement. How we move, breathe and respond is who we are. Somatic exercise is a way of listening to and engaging with this rich intelligence, to bring back the flexibility, openness and stability we need to meet the circumstances of life well.