The black eye patch slips from my face as I throw my head back in a frenzy of movement. I’m trying to keep up with the a pace I “feel” the “Soma” teacher is ratcheting up, as she “pushes“my body, mind and spirit higher and higher.
Who cares where the patch lands. Somewhere behind me. I can’t see anyway. My good eye is shut, and the one operated on some 24 hours earlier (detached retina), is swollen shut, and I would not be able to focus without a contact lens even if it were to open.
I push my legs straight out, stretching muscles. Following more instructions, I glide my hands over my legs, first the top part, and then the back side, now through the middle with no inhibitions at all as I become “cat-like,” sensuous, sexy and downright scary, touching the areas near the genitals, stomach and chest. My God, I hope no one is filming this. It would be obscene, I think, but I don’t care.
Am I an exhibitionist? My mind asks, but is quickly over ruled; I’m too far gone. I feel seductive. I AM seductive, as I roll on and around the floor, softly touching the inside, the thighs, slowly passing over the zipper the front pants, the pulsating spots that eventually leads to land of “too many cheese-steaks,” stomach, and then the chest and the breasts, praying that no one is looking at my involvement, and if they are I’ve decided simply “lie my way out.” I mean, who in their right mind would “flaunt” themselves on a rug among strangers.
Then it hits me. I feel free. And healthy from stretching neck, shoulder and back muscles. I let it all out, only to feel it all come together for me. Does that make any sense to you?
Jodi Schwartz-Levy, the somatic psychologist, breathes heavily and loudly, granting me permission to let my breathing go, to moan, to cry out and to purr with joy. Others let out involuntary grunts and groans. But, now I sit in the lotus position, with a half-chair folded to cushion my lower back. Following her lead, I roll my head in a circle, then gently ease away any tight spots. Same thing with the shoulders. I twist and gyrate my torso and soon feel like a limp wash rag being squeezed and twisted till the last drop of uneasiness and stress evaporates.
“Be like a Buddha” she tells the 10 of us attending the free workshop Saturday afternoon at the Resiliency Center, in Ambler PA. I “go into” my meditative pose, feeling a warmth of relaxation pulse through me, culminating with a beautiful golden and white light appearing above my head. I am at bliss. I am bliss. I am one with everything. The “I” has graciously disappeared for this moment.
Jodi is only one of a handful of PhDs world-wide in the pioneering field of “somatic psychology.” The practice “weaves back together” the division of the body, mind and spirit, she noted in a brochure describing the session. The ancient Greeks used the word “soma” to describe the body as the container of all life experiences. She uses what she called a “somatic” approach for a “holistic therapy body-oriented intervention.” It focuses on “movement, breath work, sensory awareness, as well as posture work and a greater awareness to bodily cues.”
Why did I feel so free? I’m Greek. My favorite Greek deity is a guy called “Bacchus,” a party kind-of-a-guy that loved wine, women and song. He danced a lot, and loved to live life to the fullest. In addition, this Greek god is known as Lyaeus (“he who unties“) as a god of relaxation and freedom from worry.
Can’t wait to go back and get another taste of this Greek way of life they now call somatic psychotherapy. (Care to join in the movement?)
(Note: Dreampt of a Bengal tiger after writing this. I was afraid, until I felt the animal sniffing and licking me. Like a house pet, the tiger “rubbed” its head on me in a caress. I feel “in tune” now, after researching the spirit of the tiger. “Power, courage, devotion, passion, adventure and sensuality.”)