Listening to core psoas calls for a broader and deeper understanding of health and primal responses. Gaining this understanding involves challenging our hyper-focus on categorizing the nervous system under the umbrella of “trauma.” Captivating our attention, the cultural reductionist perspective of body (made up of separate parts) distracts us from moving in dynamic emergent ways. It is not to say that we do not want to be able to recognize the qualities of overwhelm (e.g., playing dead, flailing, flooding, fawning, freezing, flighting, and fighting) or give name to these expressions. Rather, I am challenging who, how, and why we think about pathologizing biological gestures and attempt to resolve these dynamics with specific solutions and instructions. This insistence on correctives to mitigate the “dysfunction” as quickly as possible limits the capability of all living beings to innovate in unknown and transformative ways – to thrive rather than simply survive. Instead of therapizing, I find resolving, integrating, and metabolizing gestures enhance naturalizing*
My caveat here is that I am not a trained therapist or a certified bodyworker. Yet, many wonderful human beings who are, show up on my doorstep eager to learn about the role psoas plays in trauma. As a conceptual artist, I have no formal training. My interest is human potential explored through awareness, specifically our innovative sensory systems. It’s what I’ve called Core Awareness for 40 plus years and is now referred to as embodiment, body integration, and somatic education. Perhaps by not being professionally trained, I can offer a different perspective on both psoas and what is currently defined as “trauma.”
Recognizing what seems invisible, like the fish swimming in the ocean metaphor, is that Western Modernity is the dis-ease we are trying to recover from. Colonizing Western strategies for trauma are therefore inherently incoherent as they emerge from this estranged, entangled, colonizer preceptive of hyper-individualism. A top-down, paternalistic model for controlling the human body to make “it” stop being an animal and a strong and pervasive impulse to conquer the Wild.
Rather than being the solution or even simply a healing balm, focusing on getting rid of trauma, unwittingly colludes with the insidious traumatizers. In other words, the most well-intended therapists can even play out their own “tend and mend” sympathetic expressions. These strategies are simply a result of the systemic over-culture that focuses on the specific individual’s self control and ignores the field of inter-relationships within a larger eco-community.
Throughout Modernity humans as multi-organisms with primal expressions have been hijacked, masked, buried, intellectualized, violated, reduced, and individualized. Therefore, moving through these natural responses, as mammals (as all life does) becomes in the Western therapeutic and fitness industries a dysfunction needing to be corrected by way of teaching social skills and managing reactive, exhaustive, and cathartic behaviors of overwhelm.
Moving into coherency in real-time requires a nuanced dance with the Great Mother – planet Earth. Gestures of longing and signaling are calls and responses within flesh, blood, and bones locating us here on Earth. Dissolving the top down control-over system, whether that be emotional, physical or spiritual, renders us humble within the interplay of millions of years of flowing proprioceptive expression. Nevertheless, showing up in this way ignites a primordial capacity to enter harmonic rhythms of life and be deeply moved.
The need to value gestures may seem obvious but it is not what I see in the somatic experiencing world in which subtle mind over matter still predominately dictates what is appropriate and acceptable behavior. Western culture is terrified of the Wild. Masking our entrained fears, even empathy can become a form of manipulation. The Cultural imperative for safety and acceptance can impede human beings vital biological calls of distress.
What I am suggesting is that by following our primal gestures specifically through our internal and external sensory systems, we can quite literally land and locate and thus be moved by organic rhythms of living earth that are not simply in remission but are a continual life-and-death fluid expression.
At this moment in our space time continuum, human-centric behaviors are overwhelming Mother Earth. We, humans, are so abundant we are now a powerful force on nature. If we wish to survive and potentially thrive, it behooves us to recognize how we have been conditioned to micromanage our natural impulses while we simultaneously turn towards our innate biological wisdom. By being curious of our entanglements with non-human kin we not only decenter ourselves but also allow our organism to root into our physicality, not simply “embody” a specified form we call human. It liberates us to become a larger body of intelligence called Earth. It is an awakening of a visceral remembering of real relationships fostered by natural, restorative gestures. Gestures that have the potential to bring us from distorted states of being into rhythmic flows within a living bio-dynamic process – unfolding and enfolding possibilities and potentials. Instead of reacting to, we begin participating with.
* To naturalize = to establish a plant or animal so that it lives wild in a region where it is not indigenous.