Ground Center Connection
Richard Strozzi Heckler describes the Mission of Somatics as improving our care of one another and the planet by fully appreciating the potential of embodied wisdom. We have three embodied brains, in the head, the heart and the belly, where compassion and intuition fuel intelligence with wisdom.
This Free Lesson introduces the potential of body wisdom to transform adversarial thinking in arguments and disputes. The ten-lesson online course teaches how the body enables us to identify our predisposed responses to pressure and transform them with embodied compassionate communication.
ONE. Identify (reaction patterns)
a. Imagine pressure situation.
b. A feel a tension/reaction in your body.
c. Name your reaction.
1. Push back
2. Cave in
TWO. Locate the ache. (in your HEAD, HEART, or HARA)
a. Where in your body do you feel this situation is grabbing you? Does it give you a
headache? Stiff neck? Heart ache? Belly ache? I’m asking just where not how
intense or subtle.
b. For you with headaches, notice distinctions, judgments, stories. For you stiff
necks and heartaches, notice unexpressed feelings in self and others. For you with
bellyaches, consider what unmet needs and unfulfilled expectations abound.
THREE. Center and ground.
a. For headaches and stiff necks, drop attention into breathing. Breathe into the
tension, and focus on flowing in attention and flowing tensions out.
b. For heartaches, breathe into solar plexus in between heart and belly. Feel this
horizontal division as both a separation, increasing awareness of uniqueness, and
as unity. Focus on breath flowing down and up.
c. For belly aches, feel body weight in pelvis, legs and feet. Focus on breath/energy
flowing into the earth and back into your belly.
FOUR. Moving: where the action is.
While standing, step back and drop your weight down slightly from center.
a. If you stepped back past center, adjust forward seeking center, shifting
around it incrementally less and less, had you identified caving as a
b. If you adjusted to find center by moving further back and then shifting
around, had you observed any pushing back in your predisposition?
c. If you felt unbalanced in any form, drop your attention into your weight.
Its center-point is connected with the planet’s core. Sensing body-weight
in space(kinesthetic/balance) is listening to gravity as though it speaks
to you. We listen. In our inner-ear.
Step forward on the same side and repeat, at least until you notice improvement
finding center, then switch sides. This is a basic practice, and you will benefit
mostly by doing it often, even in a split second when it fits into the getting-up-and
FIVE. Transform the Pressure
Imagine holding a mood or attitude associated with your pressure situation
in your hands in front of you. Feel its weight, and feel the weight of your body.
When you are ready to let it go, release it completely, into and through your own
body weight, leaving your hands open to feel and receive something that returns as
when dropping a ball initiates a “bouncing back.” Notice its quality in your hands
and arms as they receive the new sensations.
Name the mood or attitude you associate with the new sensations, and
repeat the exercise as often as you wish. When you are ready to extend your
practice into a new situation, let he quality/energy fill your body, expanding out in
front of you, behind and above you. Let it move in your breath and arms. Extend
this expanding energy into your next situation without giving up your ground or
losing your balance.
SIX: Responding Physically and Verbally
When you are ready to practice with physical pressure, ask a friend to repeat the pressure statement while adding enough physical pressure holding your wrists (or pressing your sternum) to feel the push-back, cave-in or rigid response. Practice feeling increasing depth of connection with Earth’s core when you settle and deepen in order to receive the combined verbal and physical pressure.
Pay attention to your new complexion of feelings. Name the mood or attitude. Then think about putting your felt sense into words and respond to the pressure verbally.
You can learn to practice grounding and centering under pressure in movement (which is how it comes at us in life) by studying the online course or taking an Applied Aikido clinic or private session with me in Sebastopol.
“Aikido is a way to reconcile the world.” Morihei Ueshiba
This embodied communication lesson was written by Jerry Green,
creator of the ten lesson online course, TUNING IN to the Body
© Copyright 2013 by Jerry Green
This course applies these principles to the challenges that we all face in personal relationships at work and at home. Relationships involve conflicts. This series of lessons combines principles of conflict resolution, somatic awareness training and Aikido, the marital art of peace.
After learning the basics elements of body-wisdom, you will learn your body’s predispositions for responding to verbal pressure, and identify their relationship to how your mind thinks when engaged in word-wars. There’s physical pressure and then there’s verbal pressure. Because they are closely linked, we are studying mediation
and Aikido together.
The central lessons teach grounding and centering in the body, finding its core and learning to engage with physical pressure in a confident and relaxed manner. The final lessons reestablish the mental connections by putting words to newfound body wisdom. You will learn to speak your body-wisdom, which will enables you to transform adversity in arguments and disputes into understanding, connection and collaboration.
It is unnecessary to pre-think solutions to a real conflict.
Identifying and transforming our predisposition allows alternatives to emerge in a
manner that is more timely and appropriate than predetermined strategies.
without losing integrity,
is an attitude, not a technique.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS: Heartfelt appreciation goes to my film crew Shoshana Geller, Moksha Lee Donahue, and Jacob Harris. Editing by Rebekah Green, and outfits by Indigenous Designs. I am indebted to George Leonard for bringing me to Aikido and my teachers Wendy Palmer and Richard Heckler, and for bringing us all to Robert Nadeau, who is the wellspring of our wisdom. George knitted the Tamalpais Aikido community together with his vision of extending its teachings beyond dojo walls in new and diverse forms. Each of my senseis inspired me to do the same. I thank also Mitsugi Saotome Sensei for reminding me to study from off the mat, and Terry Dobson for showing me how many glorious forms that might take.
TUNING IN to the Body
The online course in Emotional Aikido by Jerry Green
Including Aikido Walking with George Leonard
Introduction by Wendy Palmer
INTRODUCTION: Conscious Embodiment,
by Wendy Palmer
The body-wisdom basics.
Predisposed responses to pressures.
ROTATIONS: Body wisdom basics in motion.
GROUND AND CENTER: Hara and gravity.
RELEASING: The preparation for learning extension.
EXTENSION: The flow of vital energy.
ENGAGEMENT: Connecting and flowing in relationship.
Reverse body language. Speaking your body-wisdom.
Applications and practice.
Aiki-dance: Two step fun & games.
by George Leonard
Friend, our closeness is this:
Before the course.
After the course.
Anywhere you put your foot
Feel me in the firmness under you.
"No-risk common-man's Aikido."
"Simple, experiential exercises that are really fun to do."
"It's not therapy, but you satisfied my need for it."
"My intuitions clarified, became more accessible.
"I learned to show up with my whole being."
"Inspiring and full of wisdom."