Today’s Bodywise Wednesday theme is about one of the most important keys to healing.

(Scroll down for the video)…

In my recent Awakening the Felt Sense Series, we discussed the skill of developing our capacity for feeling our bodies in order to become our own medicine. 

And yet there is another very critical skill we must develop in order to heal.
It’s sort of like the other wing of the bird of healing actually.

Here’s the thing:
In Western Culture, it has been heavily programmed into us that we should do everything we can to “get” pleasure and “prevent” or “cure” pain.
A large part of our medical system is actually focused on strategies to avoid pain, and we can easily buy “pain killers” over the counter. 

(Note: Don’t get me wrong – I believe Western Medicine is miraculous in so many ways and can be incredibly helpful at certain times when used with care, awareness and empowerment, particularly as emergency medicine!)
I also think it is fascinating, because in the Somatic approach we see pain as the messenger, and so we actually have this whole medical system based on “killing” the messenger! 

I also think it is fascinating, because in the Somatic approach we see pain as the messenger, and so we actually have this whole medical system based on “killing” the messenger! 

Perhaps at least partly because of this societal programming, if we are experiencing a lot of pain, or if some part of us knows that pain is right below the surface, (emotional and/or physical), then awakening the felt sense more fully may be the last thing we are excited about doing.

And yet in order to experience true freedom from suffering, we must first be willing to feel what IS.

We often think that healing means we go from feeling bad to feeling good, or better.
Which in a way, it does.

And yet what healing actually is from the Somatic perspective is developing the capacity for more flow through a wider range of emotions and sensations without shutting down or getting stuck. In healing, we awaken to the fullness and raw beauty of life and our experience.

In healing, we awaken to the fullness and raw beauty of life and our experience.

So in order to heal, we must be willing to feel both ends of the feeling spectrum.

And we must develop the capacity to allow these feelings to flow through us rather than getting stuck.

Here is where compassion comes in. 

Actually the roots of the word compassion…
Com (to be with) + passion (strong feeling)
says a lot in itself!

Com (to be with) + passion (strong feeling)


When we turn towards the pain or other strong and perhaps not so easy feelings or sensations, it can be difficult.

These parts of ourselves may have in the  past been rejected or told that they were wrong or bad, and maybe we believed it.

These parts of ourselves may not have been safe to express or even exist in the past, and likely they are still believing it’s not safe even if we have now created our own life in such a way where it actually might be safe to express.

And if, as we encounter and start to feel these parts, we judge them, shame them, or even try to “release” (get rid of) them, then they simply go right back into hiding in our body/psyche.
They hide in the unconscious, the Shadow, where they can be “safe” from our judgement and fearful efforts to eradicate them but they quietly sabotage our life, our relationships and our health.

It sounds counterintuitive, and yet we must actually not only turn towards these wounded and painful parts of ourselves, but we must actually invite them in for (metaphorical) tea. 

We must sit with them, welcome them even.
Practice an attitude of compassionate curiosity.
According to Peter Levine, founder of Somatic Experiencing, “the energy of curiosity/playfullness and trauma cannot coexist in the nervous system at the same time as they are neurologically incompatible.” (paraphrase/Josea)
There are several practices that I have found incredibly helpful for both myself and my clients to build our Compassion Muscles.
Because truly, this is a thing.
Compassion, just like biceps and Gratitude, is something that we need to practice in order to develop and strengthen our capacity for it.

Today I want to share with you a video of myself and my long time mentor and colleague Elizabeth Claire Burr as she guides us through the practice of Tonglen Meditation.
Tonglen is a form of loving kindness meditation coming from the ancient Tibetan tradition. It is a very powerful practice and I invite you to relax and enjoy this short guided meditation.  

Note: Ideally done sitting quietly, but totally works while doing the dishes or driving also.

Just don’t close your eyes if you’re driving.
Or washing the dishes lol!!!

Watch the video here =>

AWAKENING JOY ~ July 6, 7 & 8th at Sundoor Yoga Studio on Hornby Island, BC

A full immersion retreat for women ready to open to Self, Love and Embodied Joy ~*~

If you have been craving the opportunity to SLOW DOWN and get more connected to your BODY & SOUL in the Presence of other Conscious Women…this retreat is for you!

~ Essential Yoga Practices
~ Hanna Somatics
~ Awareness Meditation
~ Sacred Sound & Creativity Nature Connection
~ Nature Connection
~ Yummy Vegetarian Food

For details and registration please comment below or pm me and I will respond with a private message.