Sometimes, I feel like the ground beneath me is slipping away. Lost in the tangle of confusion, instability, and frustration, I act, collide, and get hurt, surrounded by the smoke of a rushing locomotive. On such days, everything seems fast, yet at the same time, everything moves in an unbearable slow-motion. Chaotic processes with no beginning and no end swirl in my mind like a tempest. My body reacts with low energy, lack of rest, loss of appetite, and a sense of imbalance. It feels lost. During these moments, I strive with immense effort to halt the speeding train. I step outside into nature, breathe-in the silence of the trees, the water, the earth. The external silence penetrates within, allowing me to organize my thoughts, to see where I can choose differently, what buttons have been pressed within me, and why.
Somatic work has taught me to calm the body's reactions and provided me with tools to sort out my thoughts more rapidly. This blog post aims to share a simple method for generating tranquility, leading to thought processes devoid of ego, combining both logic and emotion. The guiding principle is that we and only we are responsible for our actions and choices. We are not responsible for other people’s thoughts, feelings, choices, and especially not for their reactions. This might sound simple, but it's not always so. Sometimes, we say or do something that hurts someone else. The secret is to identify (either on our own, or through the other’s response) where we made a mistake. An apology comes with taking responsibility and learning from it. The other party's reaction is not within our control, but it might trigger buttons that lead to a retaliatory response, and that response is our responsibility. The difficulty lies in our ability to stop the rushing train, to identify where it collides with us. "Where does it find you?" a friend asked last weekend, prompting me to think. What it triggers in me? To reach the deep answer, I needed to attain the calmness that my body required. Where does my responsibility start and end in trying to halt my train, and how do I rethink a path that incorporates both logic and emotion?
The first step in this process is grounding, and it's the first tool I use in somatic therapy.
Sit on a chair with a backrest, and have your feet bare, touching the floor. Place them on a soft surface, like a rolled-up blanket or cushion, ensuring that your entire foot is in contact. Alternatively, you can do this outside on the grass or with your feet touching something soft like dry leaves or a tree trunk.
Lean your back against the backrest and put a cushion between your lower back and the chair's back to provide full support to your lower back. The seating should be comfortable with full back support.
Close your eyes and direct your thoughts to your feet. Feel all the toes of your feet, think about each toe separately, and sense it. Guide your thoughts to the sole of your foot, then to the heel, and finally to the arch of the foot. Through your thoughts, feel your feet, and let them be heavy on the surface they touch. Remain in this place for a few minutes, allowing the silence to penetrate within you.
The silence that enters us during grounding allows the gray clouds to disperse and provides an opportunity to untangle the thoughts. You might not reach all your answers, but at least you give yourself a chance to stop the noisy turmoil that drains your body's energy and vitality. In time, you will be able to distinguish between what is your responsibility and what is not. This separation will allow you to focus on what is within your responsibility and find a solution free from ego, one that stems from logic and emotion.
And most importantly, you will become whole.
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