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Sunday, November 1, 2009

"Using Somatic Awareness as a Guide for Making Healthy Life Choices"

The following is the first 500 words of an article published in the Spring 2007 in Somatics Magazine by Silver Love MA, MA, PMA. We thought it would be helpful to include it on this blog for those interested in how our research and studies of the gut brain and our basic instinctual needs developed. We suggest that our bloggers read this and the article in its entirety (obtained from Somatics Magazine, Volume XV Number 2, at:
=10-30-11.25748&scores=75&search_type=&yes=62) to fill in the details of our scientific discovery. The second article will also include the findings of the qualitative study made at SSU on the Somatic Reflection Process. All copyrights of both of these articles are reserved for Somatics Magazine and the author, Silver Love. Permission is given to viewers by the author to make a copy of this article for educational purposes only (that is anyone who wants to read it and learn from it) and all material used must be accredited to her authorship.

Using Somatic Awareness as a Guide for Making Healthy Life Choices
By Silver (M.C.) Love, MA, MA, PMA.

In 1973, I was career counselor in a progressive and humanistic-oriented college, Santa Fe Community College, in Gainesville, Florida. People were coming to me in a career center for guidance with feelings of emptiness and confusion concerning their career choices. They were more aware of what the external world, including parents and other authority figures, would find acceptable for them to do with their lives than what they themselves felt they would like to do. In fact, I quickly discovered that most people I counseled had no idea as to what their own inner needs were and how to identify them. Feeling called to explore this problem, my colleague, Robert Sterling, and I spent the next five years developing a process of self-awareness that would be useful in helping people to find a reliable, inner reference upon which to base life decisions.

Using the term principles in the same manner that Johnson (1986) uses this term in the original sense of the meaning as “beginnings” (p. 4) or the sources of discovery, I would like to share the underlying principles of our work. These principles were found by examining how we developed our work and the mysteries that intrigued us and led us to develop a strategy or technique for working with others. I would like to share these principles because they hold a key to somatic awareness that is still unexplored today, yet much needed to understand our true inner nature, both individually and collectively, and to illuminate us in choosing a path of unity, creativity, and health for ourselves and as a human family.

Accessing the Body’s Internal Record of Inner Needs

Many people seeking our career guidance expressed to us that they had an inner conflict between what they thought they should or should not do for a career and what they felt about it. To explore the source of this inner confusion, we first turned to Jung’s (1959) theory that there are two distinct rational functions of judgment in the psyche —thinking and feeling. He points out the problem of the one-sided dominance of the thinking function as happening when the feeling function becomes dependent upon thinking. In this case, feeling is merely kept as an accompaniment to thinking, which may learn to operate around an external system of thought that conflicts with the feeling function. Thus, the person’s thinking may not be relevant to what is valued internally and may be divorced from the awareness of the body and its needs. In this case, thinking dominates and the feeling function is suppressed. It appeared that many people we were seeing were suffering from the domination of their thinking function and expressing the emptiness that domination caused. We postulated that if a person is overly dominated by externalized thinking that suppresses the awareness of feeling values, the organism suffers because the person’s inner needs are not met.

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