Ecosomatic: The Blend of Somatics and Ecology which offers the embodiment of a lived alignment to an ecological conscience as part of ongoing self–development and organizational refinement and transformation.
The Somatic methodology as I practice offers fundamental, sustainable change. To produce this, individuals and organizations must attend to what is currently practiced, working or not, and how these practices are aligned to their expressed values. Often individuals and organizations can be so inside themselves that it becomes difficult to see what is actually happening and the dynamics behind it. The inquiry is the first step in understanding and exposing current patterns and situations that produce limitations and then examining what are behind them. The inquiry offers the first possibility of a break from current patterns and practices that produce limitations, and open the door to begin to instill patterns and practices that produce opportunities and possibilities.
As a self or as an organization, Somatics is all encompassing. We are talking body here, our physical body as a self, and an organizational body as an organizational "self". Each has a set of experiences that have produced the current iteration, each has a predominate mood and a specific way automatic reactiveness lives. Each has an energetic orientation that has been learned and embodied, and each has a particular relationship with the natural world.
“The Self is indistinguishable from the body” – Richard Strozzi-Heckler, PH.D
What is the Ecology of an individual or an organization? This is revealed by looking at the relationship individuals and organizations have with the natural world. There is a revolution happening! More and more people and organizations are realizing the necessity of living this kind of connection. From the words of Bill Devall and George Sessions, Deep Ecology pioneers, this is about developing an “ecological conscience.” One definition of the planet part of triple bottom line (people, planet, profit) is “the use of sustainable environmental practices and the reduction of environmental impact.” Yes, and - I want to suggest that taking this further into a conversation of living this connection so that the organization will produce sustainable environmental practices and the reduction or elimination of negative environmental impact. With the appropriate orientation this can become “producing sustainable environmental practices that result in a positive environmental impact.” The question to be answered to live this orientation is: “What are we practicing as individuals and organizations to live an ecological conscience?”
As individuals, we will find ourselves in a spectrum, more or less coupled with the natural world. Humans have a long history of separating from this relationship, especially as modern westerners. And it is known that a “natural” connection to the natural world is in us and available to all of us.
The Ecosomatic Approach
An Ecosomatic approach to transformation brings the energetic and spiritual connection that we all are to the forefront of self-development and transformation. This does not equate to “spiritual coaching.” It is a reminder of the nature of our humanness and speaks to the personal and social consequences of the lack of the unification of the self. Personal development and transformation has many differing definitions and philosophies. The way I define development and transformation is: "Personal transformation is the process of understanding who we are, how we became who we are, and the process of fundamentally changing into the our essential self, living and expressing both privately and publicly the gift we are in the world."
This is a basic premise of the somatic element of Ecosomatics. Shift the body and you shift the self.
A Good Read: Deep Humanity - What has been lost? How do we regain it?
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An Ecosomatic approach takes into account our historical shaping that defines our personality, behaviors, habits, likes and dislikes, and examines our history and how it has shaped our current self. As part of that inquiry, one’s connection to the natural world, both historical and current, is also taken into account as a part of the whole. Once that history and how it is currently being lived is revealed, the next step is a much closer and deeper review of how that history is being lived and practiced. The basic template of self is revealed by internal stories and narratives, the relationship to our emotions, a “felt sense" of things, and the relationship we have to our energetic self. This is a process of making the implicit explicit. We are like fish swimming in the ocean and not able see the ocean we swim in. What makes us tick, what unconsiously drives us?
Once uncovered, the question becomes, "How we act out our stories and embodied orientations." This is where it gets pragmatic. What are we doing, how do we do it, and how is all this aligned or not toward the future we are moving towards? This is a conversation of practice. The word practice is mostly used to describe an activity related to increased performance as in sports, music, dance, martial arts, and professions. Here, organizing to practices is about any recurrent thought, emotion, or activity we do as a person. When our stories are practiced enough, they become our reality, our view lens of the world and we begin to practice actions related to our stories.
Anything we practice enough becomes embodied. This includes behaviors and actions we don’t want to be doing as well as the practices that serve us. Think about it like this, “I do this thing, I know I do it, I don’t want to do it, and I keep doing it anyway!” This is the felt experience of embodiment. On the positive side, “I do this thing, I do it well, and I don’t even have to think about it.” Driving a car relects this. Think about when you first started practicing driving, and think about how you drive now. We embody the skill of driving. When applying this process to personal transformation, it becomes a learning or re-learning process applied to stories, behaviors, and actions.
Somatics as used in Ecosomatic Transformation uses this process of embodiment to facilitate sustainable change. If, through practice, we have developed and become our self (personality), it is through the process of practice that offers change. Finding, in the body, where our limiting experiences are held and disorganizing them gives space for a new organization of self.
Our relationship to Nature is a bodily phenomena. It is my experience and the experience of many people that being in Nature, wilderness, has an influence upon us. After being in the wilderness for 2-3 days we change. Our senses enliven and we relax. My belief is that we rekindle and awaken the state humans lived in for literally hundreds of thousands of years and is built into our DNA at a very fundamental level. In the last 25 years there has been an exploration of just this idea, called Biophilia. The term originated from Erich Fromm “to describe a psychological orientation of being attracted to all that is alive and vital.” It has been popularized by E. O. Wilson in his book Biophlia and is defined as “an innate tendency to focus on life and life-like processes.”
Evolutionary psychology supports this and “holds that although human beings today inhabit a thoroughly modern world of space exploration and virtual realities, they do so with the ingrained mentality of Stone Age hunter-gatherers.” - Harvard business review, How Hardwired Is Human Behavior? -Nigel Nicholson
“Because the living environment is what really sustains us.” – E. O. Wilson
Awakening and living this innate emotional connection in all of us all is the Eco part of Ecosomatics. Not cultivating ourselves fully has a cost, individually, socially, and globally. Through Ecosomatics we are revealed, become choiceful and aware, and make changes using the same process as described above. Joining these processes of somatic personal transformation and deepening our innate connection to the natural world is the thrust towards becoming fully human, fully expressive, and fully alive.
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