This four day workshop covered many themes; all related to using the body as a vehicle for healing. The difference between using the body to heal (“bottom up processing”) vs. the brain to heal (“top down processing”) is that the body can sequence and release egoic emotions (anger, fear, sadness) where as the brain needs to figure it all out to allow change to happen.

I can attest to this explanation after months of both talk therapy and somatic therapy. Talk therapy (“top down”) helps me to intellectualize my emotions and understand where they came from. I believe there is value in this realization even if it doesn’t result in immediate change. It is beneficial for me to understand that I am not my emotions or even my behaviour. Both are important but ultimately they are not me. They change and subside and I still exist.

Somatic therapy (“bottom up”) slows me down enough to notice what is happening in my body at any moment. Is my brain racing with obsessive thoughts? If so, I can feel the smallness of my brain without analyzing the thoughts. Tuning into my breath creates space between thoughts and gives me the opportunity to feel other places in my body. Noticing sensations in my body allows energy to move through me. I notice the presence of tingly sensations on the skin of my arms and legs and allow the sensations to be there without trying to change the sensations or make them go away. After a few moments of noticing, the tingles dissipate and I notice other sensations, allowing me to be more present to what is going on in my body.

If I had to pick one place in my body where I would like to feel all the time, it is my heart. The heart’s electro magnetic field is the gentle leader of all the organs and when it leads, I feel patience and acceptance of myself and others

Bottom up processing takes time as listening and tuning into the body requires slowing down. The benefit is that I feel differently afterwards. I feel movement. My problem(s) may not be solved but I feel more connected to myself. And true healing is about becoming whole, not patching a wound.