Alchemy Wellness SOMATIC INSIGHTS
Conductor of the Mind-Body
The word symphony is derived from the Greek “syn”= together + “phone”= voice or sound. Blending of voices and/or sounds can be beautiful or chaotic, i.e. resonant or dissonant. As the saying goes, “Too many cooks in the kitchen make poor soup.” A symphony needs a conductor, just as a kitchen needs a chef.
In the body, the heart is the conductor. It is both connected to the mundane tasks of survival and the exquisite joy of spiritual connection. Over-focus on survival leads to hyper-vigilance and a myriad of bodily dysfunctions related to fight or flight (sympathetic nervous system over-function) reactions. Over-focus on spirit alternately leads to dis-identification with the body/dissociation sometimes as a result of freeze response (dorsal vagal parasympathetic nervous system over-function.) The heart is physically situated in the middle of the body between heaven and earth; it functions much the same way energetically.
Tuning into the heart is a navigational tool for human beings. When our bodies react to the dissonant tones of the world, loving attention from the heart is able to connect to the resonant tones of the higher self/universe/source for resolution. It is this blending that makes an excellent “soup.”
The heart will provide pacing and blending of tension and relaxation appropriate to the situation. The proverbial “finger is on the pulse,” so to speak. The heart is in the present moment, so past difficulties or future worries which tend to rumble around in the gut and mind are put into proper perspective. Keep your eye on the conductor!
The following lyrics of the 1990’s Verve hit “Bittersweet Symphony” sum up the problem in which we can often find ourselves:
“No change, I can change, I can change, I can change
But I’m here in my mold. . . . . .
I can’t change my mold, no, no, no, no (Have you ever been down?)”
“I let the melody shine, let it cleanse my mind, I feel free now
But the airwaves are cleaned and there’s nobody singin’ to me now”
Loving acceptance of this tension gives access to higher truths and resolution. Both survival and spirit worlds are held in paradoxical relief. The Autonomic Nervous System (Automatic) naturally piques and resolves levels of tension to meet the demands of the material world. Bearing a loving witness to this process facilitates the bringing of disorder back into harmony. Founder of Somatic Experiencing, Peter Levine PhD, is oft quoted as saying,
“Trauma is not what happens to us, but what we hold inside in the absence of an empathetic witness.”
As we play the instrument of our body, reminders to stay in sync with the conductor can be offered by means of relationship. Finding an empathic friend, therapist, and/or community can keep us in tune and harmonious.
Some of us are lucky enough to have that in a family relationship. . .
This father/son duet featuring Andrea and Matteo Bocelli is joyous.
“Fall on Me”
Rachel Bixby PT, DPT, E-RYT 500, PSEP