What is the “Somatic” Approach?

Somatic Awareness and Development – the Work of Marion Gilbert

“How to meet ourselves as we are, without trying to immediately change it or correct it.” — Marion Gilbert

Where is it that our bodies start to form? The wiring, the chemistry running through it, the responses to “being,” to existence itself? Where is the first place we begin to experience stress? Emotional as well as physical?

In the womb.

I marvel at how disconnected we are as practitioners to this fundamental body of critical study and understanding.  A mother that is stressed to the hilt, being abused or traumatized, or ostracized by her family or her society for having gotten pregnant out of wedlock and is too young, a woman with no means to eat well or care for herself, a woman carrying an unwanted child, a woman bearing a child in a war zone who is terrified daily for her entire nine months. All the way to a woman who becomes pregnant and with great anticipation, counts the days with her loving husband for the birth of their so-wanted baby, eating healthfully and loving life.  How is that the circumstances of nine-plus months of creating us has no impact?

Add to this understanding mechanized births filled with pharmaceuticals and hurried physicians; the first hour of life spent poked and prodded by measurement tapes and cold hands while you are assessed and your data recorded for “insurance” purposes.  Rather than your first moments and hours being spent connected to your mother as natural, organic, divinely intelligent life had designed for us to strategically experience…

This is where I start. I start where you started. At the very, very beginning, of the moment of your inception onward. And this where I advise us all to begin our journey of self-understanding and client understanding, for all of you out there who are practitioners.

Awakening cannot happen when we are asleep to critical information, critical insights, and critical understandings. As much as we can come to know, is as much as we can come to heal, recover, and recycle within ourselves and in others.

I spent years studying cognitive-behavioral approaches, struggling to understand myself and others better.  It was “good stuff,” but it was missing heaps of data I was gleaning on my own, thanks to my physical therapy background and training. What an interesting disconnection I came to realize, between those who work with the “psychology of the mind” and those who are working as physical therapists, sports medicine specialists, kinesiologists, even masseuses, and fitness trainers.

“The total inclusion of the ‘all of you’ begins with that first conscious turn inward. It’s the unpopular proposition that in fact transforms our relationship to self, and to the world.”

“Working with the architecture of capacity and compassion,” as I call it, is the understanding of the inborn, the inherent wiring and the conditioned wiring — architectures — that reside within us. They are all resources.  We are wired to experience our own capacity. Whether hugely resourceful and abundant, or limited and shut down. Our capacity “is the experience of self.”  Day in and day out.

We are wired to experience hurt, pain, and overwhelm. Though our instinctual tendency is to try and block it, in order “to save ourselves” from something that may threaten our survival.

And we are wired to experience expansiveness as in empathy, love, and compassion, and can increase our capacity to do so, with intentional training and practice.

My work takes us through three centers of awareness and resourcing — the mind, heart, and body, a triadic approach to mapping the who and the what of how we were initially designed and then conditioned.

Somatic Awakening is the conscious feeling, sensing, and engaging with what’s coming up from our bodies, from the deepest parts of self, and “awakening” to it.

Only when we are “awake” can we accept, understand, and transform.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.