It’s summer time and the living doesn’t feel easy. The nation approached the climax of the most uncreative election campaign I can remember, with Teresa May refusing to participate in election debates and Jeremy Corbyn participating as fully as he could in spite of the best efforts of many media channels to scupper his campaigning. There have been three ‘terror attacks’ in the UK in the past few months, the most recent on Saturday night, June 3, 2017, on London Bridge. Countless other attacks across the globe go largely unreported; no 24 hours news coverage and live BBC interviews for the families of the 68 children who died in a Syrian bomb attack in Idlib province in April.
Kamalamani’s initial 2012 column introduced our readers to an intimate look at a Buddhist perspective in body psychotherapy. We were invited into an awareness of all sentient life and living processes; her writings encouraged personal reflection and professional consideration. We’ve been pleased to share her writings and to review her books. Her newest book, Bodywise, soon to be released, comes from a place of gratitude and graciousness. Kamalamani offered to create an ebook of all her columns and donate proceeds to Somatic Psychotherapy Today, to help defray the costs associated with an independently run international magazine. It’s generous gifts like Kamalamani’s and others who donate to SPT that we continue to exist.
Sandra is one of those delightful clients who see therapy as integral to life’s journey. Now retired and in her mid-sixties, Sandra has worked on residuals of childhood trauma, health related issues, and various circumstantial and existential personal problems. I have seen Sandra through family crises, car accidents, and a variety of health related issues. After surviving each event Sandra has emerged more psychologically integrated and more spiritually connected. From day one I’ve been impressed with Sandra’s courage and her shining spirit, inner strengths that fund her ability to adapt to and overcome difficulties. However, on a certain cold, misty afternoon in early spring, Sandra came in as overcast as the day. In fact there was reason to be worried. “Things aren’t coming out quite right.” She announced, “I’m assuming you’re referring to the art project you’ve been working on.” “Not exactly.” Sandra turned her head and looked sideways under one raised brow, a nervous smile at the edges of her eyes. “Actually, it’s a bit more personal.”
Vacillating between emotional pain and the somatic relief of psychic numbing, Marie came to my office bewildered and in shock. Two weeks earlier a truck had crashed into a car in which Marie’s mother was riding. Although the truck driver had survived, Marie’s mother and her partner had instantly died. “I don’t know how you can help,” Marie said, her tired eyes revealing her grief. “You can’t bring my mother back or help me make sense of my loss. I’ve always had faith in a divine spirit, in an afterlife, but now nothing seems right.” Given the traumatic impact of Marie’s loss, how could I help?
Dr. Christopher Walling, PsyD, C-IAYT shared work he is doing at the Alzheimer's Research and Prevention Foundation during his webinar sponsored by the United States Association for Body Psychotherapy. He presented current research outcomes regarding the delayed onset of Alzheimer's as well as age related cognitive decline and ways to incorporate yoga and meditation to offset the loss of memory and cognition. He shared the work being done with Kirtan Kriya, a 12-minute daily meditation that is yielding significant research results that involve the posterior cingulate gyrus (increases in blood flow that allow the brain to grow new brain cells), and improvements in concentration, focus and attention. You can experience this process by clicking the video link on our homepage.
Russell Delman’s dedication to the study of awareness and human potential began in 1969, when he was a college undergraduate. The main influences on his teaching are over 40 years of Zen meditation, his close relationship and training with Moshe Feldenkrais (he has helped to train over 2500 Feldenkrais teachers worldwide), a deep study of somatic psychology including Focusing, and his rich family life. Over the last seven years, his friendship with Gene Gendlin has illuminated his understanding of life and had a strong influence on his teaching. In this conversation, we explore the concept of “Beginner’s Mind” in a down-to-earth way.
Spring. It’s been a delicious one here in this corner of south-west England I call home. We’ve had a lot of blue-sky days, stunning blossoms and fabulously noisy bird songs. As a lover of winter, I have sometimes found spring a little intimidating. I’ve been given funny looks and seen heads shaking when I’ve confessed that to the odd friend, met by: “How can you not love spring?” No, it’s not that I haven’t loved spring, I have just loved winter’s stark bareness more. But not this year – maybe I’m coming out of my shell. My body is unfurling as the days lengthen, and we live more in the light. I’ve loved the upsurging energy of the past fortnight. The sap rising and the energy of leaves and blossom springing into life feels tangible. I’ve noticed the upsurging in and through my being of a body as well as seeing it all around me. I’ve found myself reflecting anew on the nature of the upsurging movement of energy in the human body. I’ve been reminded of diagrams I poured over during the evenings of my body psychotherapy training, having spent the day doing the experiential bit. How energy moves, different energy models, character armouring – I drank it all in happily!
Vim reported sleep disruptions, irritability, anger and distorted negative self-cognitions. His negative affect states surfaced when he learned his department at a prestigious college where he had worked for over two decades was to be dismantled, absorbed into another program. At age fifty-seven, Vim enjoyed job flexibility and autonomy that allowed him to provide for his four-member household and work from home. With no recourse, he faced unavoidable unemployment within three months. He was understandably anxious, depressed and scared. He was also out of touch with his resilience.
William Ferraiolo generously gave SPT Magazine permission to share his recently published paper, Roman Buddah, with our readers. It’s a fascinating comparison between the Roman Stoic philosopher Epictetus (55-135 CE) and Buddhism. He notes that “Epictetus offered practical counsel through which the West may begin to more comfortably approach Buddhism as a system of self-governance and path to awakening. Epictetus’ collected Discourses and Enchiridion offer glimpses of a spirit which Buddhist practitioners will, I think, find strikingly kindred.”
On a typically freezing February day in Southern Maine when icicles hang like gargoyles over the windows, frozen in place, destined never to move, even a short walk from the house to my office in the renovated barn, causes a damp chilliness to seep into my bones. My body, eager to ease from the stifling, stiffening cold into the felt sense of warmth from a thousand therapy sessions, was beginning to thaw when Carmen arrived. As it turned out, Carmen’s chill was destined to be a different story.