Somatic work is a way of connecting on a deep internal level to understand and know ourselves from a sensing place. In the last two newsletters we explored the proprioceptive concepts of weight sensing and weight flow.
We start with sensing our weight, then yielding into connection with gravity, we push to activate our muscular kinetic chain in so doing we create a separateness from the earth (or our support). We begin to experience our self as connected to the earth via yielding, as we activate a little push we find ourself flowing over the earth. The exertion/recuperation cycle is constantly in motion.
Weight sensing and yielding leads naturally into movement initiation with Intent, this movement may be governed by moods or imagery. The more we increase pressure, and activate our weight to a crystalized action, the more we are able to embody movement and gain support from the earth.
When we understand that weight sensing is the first step to our relationship to gravity, we can choose to give in to gravity, to be grounded and walk with confidence, or lighten up and walk with care on any surface. With weight sensing we become more sensitive to how we hold objects and accomplish tasks. Do we hold a delicate glass ornament with the same intent as a pitch fork? Do we dry champagne flutes with the same pressure as we scrub the floor?
With weight flow we become more conscious of our interactions with other people. When shaking or holding hands we can sense our weight moving through us, or others holding back from us. We gain a sense of the intention of others through their connection to weight and flow. At a social gathering, meeting acquaintances who want to hug, feels very different from meeting a loved one you haven’t seen for awhile. The quality of the hug may feel light and held back from an unfamiliar person, but an outpouring of firm holding is in order with a long lost friend.
By actively sensing our Weight we establish ourself as a material body. We learn our boundaries, we have an intention to mobilize, to accomplish a task. By activating our weight with flow we mobilize our awareness of intention to move. We come to understand the physical meaning of such phrases as “a light touch” or an “immovable force” when we connect with our sensations. We come to understand that sensations are the physical form of feelings.
The next time you meet an old friend, notice how they contact you lightly or firmly, holding back or pouring into you. The next time you are doing the dishes or scrubbing the floor, notice how you activate your weight and flow. To gain a sense of creating firm boundaries or connecting to the space around you try these 2 simple explorations.
Creating boundaries, building strength and awareness
Begin by lying on your belly in comfortable position on the floor, or on your bed. If you are sitting, be comfortable. Yield into the surface. Give in and feel yourself melting with the floor or your bed. Soften and settle into the surface until you feel you are completely connected and one with it. It rises up to support and hold you. Ahh, this is me at one with the surface.
Gradually start a little push – if you are lying down – push until your feel your muscles activated and you are separating from the floor or surface of the bed. Feel your arms and head peel off the surface and you are able to look around. Ah this is me, separate from the earth. I am self contained – my skin and muscles are separate from the earth or bed surface.
If you are sitting, gradually start pushing into your feet and arms and hands on the surface of the chair – push more until your muscles are fully activated and you end up standing – you are now separate from the surface – you are self contained and standing, separate from the chair.
An underlying push activates musculature and builds strength.
Now reach out into the space. Notice the quality of your weight as you are reaching. If you are exploring and looking for something to reach you may be making your muscles work but you will experience a lightness in your limb as you reach. If your limb is limp it will feel heavy, activating your musculature and reaching out will support awareness of lightness and others around you. You have an intention to receive something for which you are reaching. What you are receiving will dictate the quality of weight you activate. Receiving a heavy rock will activate more muscle action than receiving a delicate crystal ornament.
If you walk with your eyes closed and your arms out – you will be using a light weight approach to moving. Your intent is not to bump into anything, you tread carefully, you activate your weight with lightness, the lightness, the decreasing pressure, supports awareness in a way that increasing pressure does not. What are the accompanying feelings to the sensations of increasing or decreasing pressure, to the freeing or binding of your muscular energetic tension flow?
By connecting with the internal sensorial processing of our experience we become aware of our personal movement and emotional preferences and create an understanding of the connection between our body and our mind. This approach enhances self-awareness and personal growth and is the path to embodied living.
In my next article I will discuss how somatic consciousness supports us noticing that our moving body gives rise to feelings.