Most people live and die entirely by their assumptions, without ever really questioning their origins. You are a fluid constellation of stories. Refine the stories so that you are the hero rather than the victim. From this space, healing happens, love deepens creativity blossoms. It can't be otherwise. This is why incremental changes are sometimes harder to make than massive ones.
Everything we do revolves around one premise: how to orchestrate the most dramatic breakthroughs within the shortest timeframes possible. We are obsessed with it.
At a glance, I can tell where you are abound up in your body and mind, and we set to work within minutes. I'm sometimes guilty of flying through the formalities to get down to the deep work. I hope that is ok with you... time is precious.
I've gathered much of my understanding of life and consciousness through an awakening experience that occurred a decade ago, and that has been nourished by other experiences that followed. I don't go about to convince anyone of my worldview conceptually, as that has severe limitations. We can't live by concepts. We live by experiences. And so I set about to develop a system in order to demonstrate the experiences that have enriched my life by a thousand times.
We are walking constellations of stories. Most of these stories are inaccurate, misunderstood, or the opposite of what is real. They are woven into our cells, our tissues, our organs. They reflect in our voice, our words, our actions, our posture. Our entire life becomes the 'singing of a familiar song.' We sing it in various keys, and in various styles, however it is the same song.
Over the years, I've learned to see the stories that people carry in their bodies. This is not esoteric knowledge. It just requires tuning into another layer of reality. The collapse that is indicative of the early childhood trauma, the anger toward the father, the sexual betrayal, the broken heart. At a glance these things can be seen.
During this somatic work, you'll feel pieces of yourself for the first time.
Who touches the inside crest of the pelvis, or the ribs alongside the torso, or the point just under the collar bone? To feel a physical place for the first time, is to feel a place in the psyche that had been in shadow. To feel fully it is to reconnect to it, and to complete a loop, freeing the body and mind from whatever pattern has been arrested there.
One interpretation: The core wound manifested as a physical trauma, because that was what it took to compel him to work on it… physical pain. The true wound was a broken heart. Healing one heals the other, and vice versa.
A client had lost her voice. It is a familiar wound. I recognized it immediately as she spoke through clenched teeth, and her throat was a mass of energetic congestion. Likely a thyroid issue, too, I thought. As we talked closer and closer to the core of the wound, the issue of her father inevitably arose. Often, the masculine does play a role in the loss of voice. Because the masculine that many of us live into now is an epic distortion of an ancient, empowered archetype.
After I witnessed her whole body clench and vibrate (the signs of trauma releasing from the tissues), her face went through every season. It darkened, it clenched, it lightened, there were tears, gasps, a smirk. In the aftermath, the familiar peace descended. The loop had been resolved.
As she opened her eyes, they were shades lighter. She was gazing out into the backyard, blinking and rubbing her eyes.
What is it, I asked? What do you notice?
The leaves on that maple are extraordinarily red, she whispered. I thought I was hallucinating. They almost seem too red. I think I just wasn’t seeing them before.
As an intellectual practice, forgiveness is a slippery concept.
The mouth lies constantly. The mind convinces itself of outrageous fictions. It doesn't matter how scandalous or absurd the story is when mind is the judge, jury, and executioner. It's a rigged game.
The body never lies. A skilled practitioner can see and touch issues that the client isn’t even aware of, and guide them into that awareness. It’s like holding up a mirror to the vast, ineffable ‘self.’
Our goal isn’t to merely reconnect the leg. Reconnecting the leg awakens the pelvis and all of the digestive and sexual organs. Our goal is awakening; enhancing aliveness. Our goal is expanding intimacy, and deepening love.
Later that night, she goes home and makes love to her partner in an embodied way, for the first time in her life. As she relays it to me, her eyes are ablaze. She hadn’t known what was possible before. Now she’s opened a whole new frontier… the waning art of rising to the touch with a fullness, and touching in the same way.
In a world full of vacant stares, empty promises, and detached bodies, the final frontier isn’t the bottom of the ocean or the depths of space… it’s the body, and the consciousness trickling or surging through us all in this and every moment.
Like the entire body intelligence, the spine is brilliantly engineered. The perfect balance between mobility and protection; flexibility and durability. With the elegance of form that rivals anything we've seen.
The spine is modeled in a graceful natural curve. No one vertebrae touches another. They are buffered by fluid mediums. We float and are fluid in our bodies, and our bones float with us. Even the bones are said to be 31% water (though I don’t trust those sorts of numbers, generally).
Sometimes, an unnatural twist occurs in the spine. A minor twist, or one so extreme that a diagnosis is required. Scoliosis, for instance. This twist can occur as organs and viscera tighten due to congestion and/or deterioration from a corrosive diet, acidic thought patterns, or it can occur in reaction to a mental pattern. I worked with a client once who viewed her sexual fantasies as ‘twisted’, and this manifested as a physical twist. The body is, after all, an embodiment of our beliefs. As I straightened her torso physically, tears flowed. She just couldn't believe that the way I had positioned her was straight. She'd felt 'twisted. I showed her the mirror, and more tears flowed, wetting her cheeks and shoulders.
As I was working on a client’s shoulder, by simply rotating it slowly, he kept noticing an inner voice chiding him. You’re worthless, it was saying. Pathetic. I saw it in his face so clearly that I could almost hear the voice.
I narrowed in on the motion, and it seemed something like a throwing motion, the arm over the head, arcing down. Is that familiar? I asked. It seems to me like throwing something. As I said that, he saw a vague image that slowly came into focus… it was the laces of a football, lamely wobbling through the air. This shoulder pain had plagued him since high school.
And then it came to him; the origin story of the condition. Time stopped.
Disease burrows in the unknown places. It’s a fiction that relies on other fictions; a fragmentation that requires seeing only pieces, at the expense of the whole.
The ‘cure’ for this fiction is always to flood the darkness with light, and to fill the unknown with presence.
Where you are most ‘absent,’ that is where a disease is most likely to take root. (Most people are most ‘absent’ in their lower half, and particularly in the pelvic / gut region, the seat of most disease).
On the healing journey, be careful about the language you use about your ailment, because that is a clue about how the mind is functioning.
‘My back is killing me.’ Your back is not killing you. It has been supporting you for a lifetime. It is sending out signals so you change your life path. If you don’t listen, it will send out stronger signals, like small waves before the tidal wave. Let it know that you’re listening. Find out what it needs.
Can a bone ‘need’? Bones are consciousness. As alive as any other part of you. The plastic skeleton we grow up learning from is not anywhere near reality. Since ancient times, bones have been infused with divine meanings, and many of these have been corroborated by more radical osteopaths.
I had a client who, during our conversations, kept hiding her feet. Especially when we broached difficult topics. As I questioned her, she eventually confessed.
‘I hate my feet. They are so masculine. They remind me of my father’s.’
So she never wore sandals, and took great lengths to hide her feet. So, hiding her feet was a way to hide from me, and the world. Hating her feet was a way to hate her father.
Our skulls literally expand and contract at the sutures. This opening and closing happens approximately 10 times per minute. The motion only covers fraction of a millimeter, but we can learn to hone in on it and use it for our own unfolding. It can be a powerful tool for cultivating presence, and its beauty lies in its simplicity.
Tuning into this rhythm on ourselves, the rhythm of life, is the most profound sorcery, however it’s easier at first to feel it on another. The cranial tide swims through the entire physiology, but it’s perhaps most accessible at the skull. If presence is the origin of wisdom, the cranial tide, along with the breath, is the pathway to presence.
First, stand where you are.
This is easier said than done. Somatically, there are pieces of us scattered in the past. We sit in quiet meditation, and a steady refrain begins to play softly under our awareness. Something about our mother or about our origins. Residual pain from an old injury flares up, and tugs our knee back into the fifth grade. If we breathed just a little deeper, we'd notice that fragment of the heart we broke twenty years ago, that hasn't quite been mended.
People come to me with a business challenge, or a creative blockage, or a chronic relationship pattern. I watch their language, mannerisms, and posture as they tell their story, and within a few minutes, the origin of the challenge reveals itself. The right knee is clenching. What an interesting choice of words. They could have chosen any word, and they chose 'battle' to explain their condition. A wave of emotion fluttered through the room when they mentioned their partner, and they swallowed it. I saw exactly where it went. Did they notice that?
Belief systems limit perception. If it sounds radical, it is. Most of us spend our lives searching for meaning and excavating material to build our belief systems with. It's like we're gather whatever seems to fit into our paradigm, and building a nest... to comfortably decay in.
Trauma is a call to awakening. As soon as it is transformed from an obstacle into a catalyst, the healing becomes inevitable. Because nothing can stop the gathering momentum.
I often say that a human being is a constellation of stories. Some of these stories we adopt passively; some we adopt consciously. There is no authentic story; so there is no authentic way of being, other than experiencing the moment fully, and acting out of that experience.
I distinguish between the personality and the essence, the terminology of Gurdjieff. The personality is what we present to the world; it is concerned with image fitting in. The essence is the part of ourselves that surfaces during peak or awakening experiences. It experiences being directly.
I think a well-lived life is a balance between the external happening and the internal reflection. When we spend too much time moving through happenings, without reflection, it can be difficult to discover meaning. There may be one or two experiences that require a lifetime of reflection to make sense. They inform and are informed by our life path.
The process of embodiment, coming back into the body, includes discovering where those experiences have fit into our lives, so they can fall into place; so that our life purpose continues to clarify.
"Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards." Soren Kierkegaard