Deep listening to the language of nature

What is somatic healing?

When I share with folks I meet that I am a Somatic Therapist they always ask “what does that mean?” or “How is that different from talk therapy?”. In all honesty, it can be quite difficult to explain. For starters there are so many various forms of “Somatics” which simply means “of the body”.  True to its name, Somatic Healing is something to be felt in the body. Somatics is a language that lives inside each and everyone of us and I believe inside the living world at large. Studying this language more, widening our perspective of what this language tells us, we can see that our bodies have evolved over millennia to be in an intimate sensorial relationship with our living world. Meaning there is a reason, a rhythm, and a wisdom to this language of nature. Somatic Healing honors the intelligence held within our bodies and the whole of nature. Through deep listening we can begin to speak this language, learn to see underneath the patterns we hold inside our bodies, and partner with this innate wisdom.

I found Somatic Healing through Kundalini Yoga. A practice of connecting and moving the life force in our bodies through breath, poses, and guided meditation. I noticed that when I would do a kundalini class I would have a whole inner journey unfold. I was able to access memories and emotions that were below my everyday conscious awareness.

Somatic Healing is just that. It’s bringing the sunlight of our awareness to that which is held in the darkness or our subconscious. Our bodies are our subconscious. They hold and store memories, events, sensations, and feelings inside the mapping of our autonomic nervous system. This system runs independently from our conscious awareness and creates the pathways for our bodies to recognize what is danger and what is safety. So foundational to the success of life, this system has evolved over the last 500 million years, (yes you read that right!) We may think our brains are in charge of how we think or feel, however, it's in our nervous system where our stories emerge about who we are and how the world works. What we feel begins here in the body. It's our biology that shapes what we deem as safe and how we connect with the world. Looking at our lives through the lens of the nervous system we see how experiences of growing up around difficult people or living in places that feel unsafe would have us constantly on high alert, putting stress on our bodies, rushing cortisol and adrenaline through our systems, forever on the hunt for safety and calm.  It's within these experiences where our bodies subconsciously begin to form beliefs, patterns, and defense mechanisms in the attempt to keep us safe.

What I find so interesting and inspiring about the field of Somatics is that it follows these rhythms and patterns of nature, of biology, of life force energy, and has us go with it. We don't fight, fix, or suppress our symptoms or emotions. We follow these sensations as wisdom keepers, wise messengers, and learn to bring attunement to these parts. In learning to be with instead of resisting we are able to gain some witness around the ways our body has protected us. How defense mechanisms have been created to support us and the way each part (even the ones living in shame) hold so much wisdom.

While I was studying Somatic Therapy I was also in school for herbalism and ecopsychology. These fields parallel this approach, giving permission to go with, to turn towards, and partner with the intelligence of nature. This is the way of the Earth, we would never question the Earth for raining, for changing from spring into summer, or for the way it dies back so life can renew, so why do we resist our own storm, our own feelings? It’s in and through the body we open up our own inner knowing, our own regenerative nature, and heal our relationship with self. This, in so many ways, is Sarah and I named our business Earth-Centered Healing. Healing is so much more than relief of a symptom. It’s presencing the nature of the human being inside the constant change of its journey through life. Somatic Healing for me is permission to be on your own journey, to have your pain, your trauma, your rage alongside your joy, your pleasure, and your purpose. All is welcome and is a part of your story, your body, your makeup. And at the core, this journey into discovering your own medicine is exactly what your community, your ecosystem and the Earth needs right now.

At the core, in my healing sessions, we welcome all parts with reverence, curiosity and love. There are no bad parts and no broken parts. Only parts that have been patterned into protecting you in the best way they knew how. When we bring self love and acceptance into the body we can begin to rewire our nervous system out of outdated beliefs and into the new ones that have taken root inside your soil. We weed out that which has gone untended, overgrown, and has taken over your soil so we can make room for the new growth that holds so much potential.

As we heal these long held patterns and beliefs systems held in our physiology I have seen profound shifts in myself and my clients by incorporating herbal medicine into our healing journey. The plants embody their wisdom and have been medicine for our bodies since time immemorial. So much of what the healing journey encourages is relationship. Relationship to ourselves, to the parts we hold within to the people we once were, and to our ecology. Plants can shift a long held constitutional pattern held within your body. They get to the root of the symptom, they support deep restorative healing all while building foundational nourishment. When it comes to trauma healing I trust the plants as allies with my whole heart.

I hope this answers some questions about what Somatic Healing is and about how I practice. This journey is alive, weird and wild and I'd have it no other way!
To learn more, explore Kristen's offerings in The Clinic.



Nature as teacher


A resource for deepening your relationship with Nature

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