The Felt Sense of Who We Are and What We Embody
We all have an inner experience of our self. We are able to give a more or less detailed description of what kind of a person we are, how we feel about things, how we tend to react to events, some of our character traits and the values that we stand for.
Most of us would like to have other people see our positive traits and maybe not so clearly see our negative traits. Ultimately, virtually everybody wants to be seen for who they really are. In practice however, the advice: “Just be yourself” isn’t as simple and straight forward as it sounds.
As we go through life, our sustained emotional responses and defense mechanisms to impactful events tend to get stored in the body and expressed through postural holding patterns, habitual facial expressions and the way we move. While these habitual patterns have tremendous communitive power both internally and externally, just because they are habits, we are often unaware of them and oblivious to what they are communicating to the outside world as well as to our own psycho-somatic response system.
First, we have to ask the question: “What is your Self?” Is it the product of your socialization -the rules and roles that you have learned and internalized? Or is it that indefinable, unique combination of traits and temperament that you were born with? Or is it your soul and its purpose? Or is it some combination of all these things including your life experiences and values?
For most people, getting clarity about what they consider to be their “true self” is an ongoing process of discovery. Some of us consciously seek out self-development tools and experiences and others move forward through moments of self-reflection and examination prompted by impactful life-events.
At this point you may ask: “Why is this important, can’t I just go about living my life, go with the flow?”
Of course you can, and maybe that is exactly the right thing to do for you. In my life, I have found that going with the flow often makes me end up in places that I don’t want to be or that don’t fit my personality, goals and purpose. As the saying goes: “If you don’t know where you are going, any road will take you there”. I have come to this work out of the belief that we all have unique gifts to offer the world. To be able to do that we must have a minimum level of clarity as to what those gifts are. This requires us toget to know ourselves, not just as a reflection of the things that we have been told about who or what we are but based on a deep-felt sense of self.
We are beautiful, complex beings who can derive deep meaning from being in close contact with our purpose, as unique individuals but also — and maybe primarily — in the context of our community.
Being in our communities as a unique, recognizable presence that reflects who we truly are and that is in alignment with our own experience of self, may be the single most important promotor of well-being, health and — dare I say it? — happiness.
Expressive Somatics supports and helps sustain this process of (re-)discovery, (re-)alignment, connection-with and presencing to this unique shape that we are, within the context of our communities, purpose and goals.
As always, I’m looking forward to your comments, questions, critiques and remarks.