Postures of Authenticity

In the Strozzi Somatics™ centering practice, we experience the dimensions of length, width and depth.  Each dimension has a physical component, but also a psychological one.  For instance, when we center in our length, we are working with how to feel more of the vertical space we occupy.  We can also sense how to allow ourselves to be held by the earth beneath us while also feeling literally uplifted.  We notice what we feel in this new “shape”.  The quality that goes along with feeling our length is dignity.  When we can more fully occupy the physical dimension of length within and without ourselves, our perception of both begins to shift.  

Centering can shift our state of consciousness before we sit down to write.  This reminds me of a writing workshop I led in Telluride. We had completed the centering practice then moved into a writing practice.  The room was alive with the sound

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Tapping Into Hara as a Source of Knowing

ushiro technique

For nearly 20 years I showed up on the aikido mats and practiced. We were practicing a martial art, yes, learning how to pin and throw and be pinned and be thrown. Sometimes I flew through the air and landed hard on the mats. Sometimes I softly blended my energy with my partner’s. I was learning how to move around rather than against, how to extend my energy beyond the limits of my physical body, how to wield a wooden sword or staff, and how to blend with the energy of others. And yet what I was learning most was what it meant to move from the physical center of my body, the hara.

I remember Takashi Tokunaga, my teacher at that time, would tell us to leave the dojo and do everything from this center. I remember practicing driving from center, eating from center, walking from center, playing tennis, cooking, cleaning, making love….all this

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Somatic Learning in Action: Centering, Declaring, Entering

momentum, flow

Through practice, we build our capacity to move toward what we deeply care about. Richard Strozzi-Heckler says: “We are what we practice, and we’re always practicing something.” So, why not have conscious practices that create change in us? Building awareness about what we are practicing and how this affects how we live our lives helps us to make choices that are more generative. We practice to become more alive to what pulses in us as the heart of what matters.

When we practice with others, in community, the learning takes place in what I have often called a cauldron. There’s a bubbling to the surface that can occur when practicing in the presence of others — a way into seeing ourselves that is otherwise invisible. By learning in community and taking the time to tease apart the practices, participants can deepen in their understanding of the practices themselves and, more importantly, the relevance of practice

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The Embodied Creative: Voice & Body

As a poet I have always been interested in language’s energetic components, how we can get in the way of the energy of a poem and how when we step aside the poem can sometimes write itself. OK, so that’s rare. But it happens. So what is present in us and in language when grace happens?

In 2006 I began a course of study in somatics at Strozzi Institute that was a natural outgrowth of my many years of training in the martial art aikido and my many years of expressing myself through the language-medium of poetry. I’m fascinated with the relationship between how we live in our bodies and what we bring forward in our voices and our expression in the world. I wanted to understand in a more conscious way that remarkable relationship between body-knowing and intellectual knowing.

I will never forget the day I felt in my own body that my writing

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