What’s Somatic With You?

baby face

This is a blog about the somatic domain of our being, that is, our body. And, it is about the connection the body has with the mind, our will, and our soul. The body does not exist separate from these. The focus here, while it may involve the other aspects, will be on the somatic, the body, the physical, aspect of us.

And, more specifically, it is about how experience or memory lies within us, asleep or exiled. And it is about how to begin to access those dormant or exiled parts of us that are somatically-based and come to make up who we are, or who we have become, and who we now believe we are. Often they are experienced as reactive or automatic, as impulses that emerge from within the deeper recess of our body. It is these experiences, these feelings, that ultimately determine our behaviors, whether they are physical or verbal in nature.This is the unconscious so often referred to, or the preconscious. It is the domain that our defenses, our protectors, and our repressed or exiled parts of ourselves, live. They live in our body. In the somatic domain. In a sense, the body is more often the external expression of our unconscious, and all that it is made up of.

As we come to know our bodies, the somatic aspect, we come to know ourselves even more so. The body, if we can make that differentiation, is the vehicle in which we live. It carries us, allows us to do what we want to do, whatever that may be. The body holds for us the memories, the feelings, and the reactions and responses that determine our interactions with the outer world around us. The important aspect of the body is that the expression of these memories is that the body makes them present. That is, the body reacts to these memories, and all that go with them, as if they are happening in the present. If you begin to visualize lying on a beach in the Caribbean, the body will begin to experience it as happening right now, in the present, as if you are already, or really, on the beach in the Caribbean. The body lets us know what we experiencing, what underlies our experiences.

If we do not have our health, what do we have ultimately?. Caring for the body through diet, through exercise, and through sleep are the first steps toward being healthy and vital in our lives. It is our responsibility. These aspects of our living, diet, exercise and sleep are aspects that are a part of my work with clients. That is, it is something that is checked in about throughout my work with clients. Are you eating well, healthy? Are exercising regularly? Are you getting enough sleep, and sound sleep? Taking care of the body is taking care of, so to speak, the vehicle that gets us around and carries and holds for us all that we ‘pick up on’ in our living each day. I will often ask the client, “What have you been carrying around lately?”. Having the client go into the body is an essential part of the work, to get a sense of what has been carried and held on to by the client.

It is also important to know that the relationship and dynamics that exist between us and our bodies is complex. We experience our internal states somatically, in and through our bodies. Our feelings and emotions, our fears and delights, come to us through our body. Our thoughts are experienced in and through our bodies as well.

Having the client go into the body, checking in, also helps the client to become more present, more grounded, more here-and-now, with what is going on for them. It gives us something to work on, something that is present simply because it is being carried and held by the body. It helps us to get in touch with what is going on for the client right now. In this way, by going into the body, into what is there, brings the body into the process of the work with the client.