A woman used to come and meet me at primary school to help me move - squeeze slime, build blocks and climb on cushy cubes.
I’m told I had Sensory Processing Disorder. Until I was a teen it was as if my brain and my body were on a break! But, even though I struggled to catch a frisbee or kick a ball, my body has always been my awkward best friend; slightly embarrassed to take to the party, but we are totally inseparable.
I was a sensitive boy, sometimes described as “over sensitive”. A day dreamer, and more than sometimes described as that. The creative type. At the ripe old age of 13 I was diagnosed with ADHD. Disorder #2. So I sat still and chose to study less “frivolous” subjects as art and music.
I’ve been making the slow journey back to my body ever since. Why? Because the further I get from the experience of myself, the more I choose “brain” over body, the less connected I am with my wants and needs, a deeper knowing, and what is most important to me in every moment of every day. The practice of Orgasmic Meditation has played a pivotal role in re-establishing that connection.
I believe that much (if not most) of the worlds suffering is born out of the pressures of disembodied cultures. For example, in the absence of a healthy and developed ability to FEEL ourselves (and a widespread lack of encouragement to do so) addiction is our best effort to escape or avoid the uncomfortable or intolerable experience of BEING WITH ourselves. In the West, where rationality rules, the body has become a second-class citizen.
Since the days of Descartes we’ve looked at the body as a convenient taxi for the Chief-Exec-above-the-neck. Intelligence is in the head, and the body does the brunt work. However, new science is revealing that the body knows far more than we give it credit for.
We live in a culture that is predominantly sedentary. We’ve all but completely lost touch with the rhythms and feeling state of the body. You might describe the cultures that most of us on this planet currently live in as “somataphobic” in nature.
What do I mean by somataphobic?
“Soma” refers to the presence of body, the feeling presence, the sensations, the felt, alive experience. “Phobic” means to be afraid of or fearful of whatever it refers to. “Somataphobic” describes our culture’s tendency to generate a great deal of fear and aversion toward the experience of this felt awareness in the body. The emerging science of Embodied Cognition suggests that this body awareness actually constitutes the core of our intelligent lives.
I’m passionate about the field of Somatics and body-therapies that give great value to “the body’s intelligence”. If you’re a coach, a therapist, or anyone in the healing or helping professions you’ll know the feeling when two people touch something embodied in such a way that something new opens. Or perhaps...something true is revealed. Where the conditions created by your connection permit a sense of self unencumbered by shame, fear or doubt. If you’re a Stroker, my hope for you is that you know this feeling too.
This kind of ‘unveiling’ requires an allowing. Perhaps ‘unfurling’ is a more accurate word to describe it’s movement. The body whispers our deepest truths. But all too often the simple answers to life’s dilemmas and frustrations cannot be heard amidst the obsessive chatter of the mind or the grips and pains of experiences and injuries long past.
It takes a certain kind of listening on the part of the Stroker/coach/therapist to see, hear, feel and experience the person sat across from them. The whole person and not just the story they tell that day. The pulsating, shimmering, system of cells and not just their words.
Open your eyes, open your heart, open your entire nervous system to this person. And do the same for yourself. See what gifts your body holds for you, longing for you to listen attentively enough to receive.
A coach who does this kind of listening with the skill of a virtuoso is the man pictured below. That man is Troy Yorke and he has had a huge influence on my own coaching.