I am a confirmed Rule Follower. Anyone else? My rule following self is one of the most humorless aspects of my personality. She’s no-nonsense, bossy, and easily flustered. You can find her standing off to the side with her hands on her hips and a furrowed brow while everyone else goes out and has a good time.Read More
somatic experiencing nyc
Whatever is inside of you wants to come out. Can you feel it? I promise you it’s there. Stop whatever you’re doing for a moment, and shift your attention to your body. Feel the weight of your bones, the movement of your breath, the gurgling of your digestion, your heart beating in your chest. What is in there? What wants to be expressed? A burning? A yearning? A pulsing? A swirl? A painting? A sound? A movement? A story?Read More
What is your capacity for pleasure, delight, and joy in every day life?
As a matter of survival, we are biologically wired to look for threats in any situation. We often therefore become accustomed to noticing our pain and discomfort, rather than luxuriating in the more pleasant experiences of life. The more time we spend focusing on our pain, physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually, the more it intensifies and grows. Even when we’re committed to resting, releasing, and receiving in our yoga, meditation, or other self-care practices, there are often parts of us constantly fighting to keep our systems on alert. Our relationship to pleasure is intimately wrapped up with our capacity to experience safety. This can breed an exhausting subconscious conflict of interest, which interferes with our ability to freely inhabit a place of joy.Read More
What happens in your body when you think of wanting something very badly?
Give yourself a moment to really envision something you desire, and notice any changes through your breath and muscles.
Did you observe any kind of tightening, a sense of restriction, or shortening of your breath?
Wanting begins with needing, food and sleep, and connection with other human beings for example. As babies and toddlers, on an embodied level, needing and wanting may be expressed through crying and reaching out to grasp. The baby reaches for the mother’s breast, the bottle, as a plea to be picked up and held; later on we may cling tightly to our favorite toy.
However, the ways in which we express and aim to fulfill our desires may develop inefficiently. We may learn to reach out and attempt to grasp what we want both literally and figuratively in restrictive ways, or to try and deny our desires in full. This diminishes our connection to living in the flow that leads us toward more embodied freedom and the fulfillment of our desires in the first place.Read More
When is the last time you checked to see if you were alive? How do you even know that to be true? These may seem like silly questions, but I think many of us forget. We take our aliveness for granted, and/or traumas trapped in our nervous systems prevent parts of us from understanding that we are survivors, and are therefore living breathing beings. Unresolved fight/flight/freeze reactions may cause us to subconsciously believe we didn’t make it through whatever overwhelming experiences we’ve had. It's that feeling of walking around dulled, numb, and flat. So how can we unearth our vitality by reminding ourselves that we are alive, and bring this awareness to a conscious level?Read More
Let’s take a moment to thank our defenses.
Established out of necessity in response to physical, mental, emotional, and energetic boundary breaches, our defenses are what have gotten us through to this moment. They may arise as attempts to exert control over our lives when we feel unsafe, unmet, unseen, unheard, helpless and overwhelmed. We lock down, shut down, and close off when our boundaries are overridden. Another person may initiate these ruptures, for example, in obvious cases like abuse. However we may also be responsible for overriding our own boundaries, like in instances of empathic individuals who give more of their time and energy than they are able to without taking care of their own needs first.
Sometimes though, our defenses interfere with our ability to connect with those we care for and love. They may hinder us from becoming the people we wish to become, and doing the things we want to do. So what’s the alternative?
There are those who might tout radical vulnerability as the answer, total openness. And because so many of us are so closed off, this may seem like the obvious answer to move in the opposite direction. However, just as a turtle has the option to retract its head, arms, and legs into its shell, we want our systems to be able to contract and expand with manageable conscious ease. We want body-mind-selves that respond appropriately to the demands of whatever situation is at hand, wherever that lands us on the spectrum of choosing to put up our defenses or choosing to open up more.
Repairing boundary breaches and becoming conscious of our habitual defenses helps us achieve a greater sense of wholeness and agency. Somatic Experiencing guides us to detect how our boundary breaches manifest psycho-biologically, and discover our innate capacity to repair these ruptures. Alexander Technique helps us understand how our coordination may be keeping us trapped in defensive postural patterns. Excess tension can act as a suit of armor against sensing and feeling. We learn how to gently unwind these fortified patterns and experience greater safety and freedom in more open, vulnerable, embodied coordination. Both modalities cultivate a more accurate internal barometer to judge when something is an actual threat or just perceived as such.
We are filters for a vital life force moving through us, permeable beings in connection to our environments and one another. Healthy boundaries mean we are more capable of choosing who and what we allow in, and more intentional with what we share with the world.