Do Something for Its Own Sake: Living with Authenticity

healing, somatic, somatic healing, somatic psychology, yoga, santa barbara healing, somatic psychology

Authenticity

Writing blog posts and staying connected to clients and friends virtually is an interesting process. I want to stay connected and remind people of what I offer, all the while trying not to bombard them with extraneous articles or self-promoting spiritual rhetoric. It can certainly feel inauthentic and counter-intuitive to “sell” healing-focused services, yet people do it every day and business is business, right? Not really. I think a lot about authenticity and what it means for each of us. I especially ponder this in the morning, just before having coffee and figuring out how much time I have to either meditate, stretch, or frantically run around and get shit done. My father has more integrity than anyone I know and he always tells me to “do something for its own sake”.  Even when my ego puts a banana peel underneath my integrity, I strive to have that statement be my life-mantra.

Attempting to market something as intimate as psychotherapy, bodywork, and healing can feel like inter-psychic tight-rope walking. Authenticity is important and it cannot always coexist with ego-driven marketing approaches; at least not for me. I have an enormous amount of respect for individuals who are able to professionally put themselves out there while operating from the heart. It is a meaningful skill and something to be proud of.

There are so many ways to express meaning in our day-to-day experiences, yet often authenticity seems to slip through the cracks of good intentions and productive life goals. Have you ever found yourself moving along the path, mostly in alignment with what you are meant to do, yet somehow forgetting how you got to that path in the first place? Or do you wonder what would have happened if you took a different route? It is natural to question things and challenge ourselves to do better and be in alignment with our destiny. It is also important to stay in touch with the lived experience of life in the body, as not to get swept away by critical thinking or mental confusion.

In other words, challenge yourself to be authentic every single day, but also cut yourself a little slack.

Some steps to tap into AUTHENTICITY and support LIFE FLOW.

Gratitude

Take a moment to pause and be grateful for what you have. Visualize what you’re grateful for, honor it, and be thankful for it.

Breathe

One great practice is taking slow breaths for a minute or so, and then doing an easy pranayama: Inhale 4, hold 8, Exhaling 4. Practice for five + minutes.

Sense

Where do you feel sensations? What do they feel like? Assign adjectives to the sensations. Are there emotions you can associate with those sensations?

Write

After taking some minutes to do the above, write out your goals or authenticity-driven plans for that day, week, year. Then check back in with your body. Does it feel spacious and connected to what your are writing? Or restricted and lacking resonance? Usually our bodies will inform us of what we need to know and if what we are working on is in alignment with our path. This isn’t to say everything we do professionally or personally must always feel peachy. Life is full of ups and downs and it’s our biologically job to ride the wave as long as we can; ideally guided with compassion and insight. Body awareness and mindfulness enable us to live with more authenticity and grace. It’s that simple. The next time you are questioning what is going on in your life, or how to be more authentic, slow down and sense; and then maybe grab a pen and get curious about your next steps.

Other tidbits about Romi can be found on Facebook or Instagram @romicumes

The Magic of You

Sedona, Santa Barbara Healing, Myofascial Release Southern California, Healing, Connective Tissue, Romi Cumes, Healer, healing Santa Barbara, Cranial Sacral, Mind-Body, Fractals, Consciosness, Interconnected, Spiritual Healing

Happy New Moon in Aries and Spring Equinox from Sedona!

Today marks a special phase in our seasonal cycle, as we celebrate a full solar eclipse (was visible this morning in parts of Europe) and the beginning of Spring. This is a day to welcome new growth and transformation and say goodbye to the colder, more binding aspects of the self. During this magical phase, it is a good idea to spend quality time on the land and take in the aromas and sounds of the plant and animal kingdom. As you walk or meditate outdoors, soften your eyes and with practice, you will be able to see the soft outer layer of vibrational energy surrounding the landscape and all living things. This is life force energy and is what we are all composed of. Its essence is high-octane, juicy, energetic, invigorating, and alive.

As humans, we have endured and continue to endure challenging circumstances that take a toll on mind-body-spirit. Such traumas may be pre/post natal, developmental, accident-related, or inflicted by others, and each incidence reaps havoc on the body’s vitality and systems (muscular, respiratory, nervous, emotional, endocrine etc.)  The beautiful matrix of energy that we are composed of, that surrounds us, and that connects us with all living things can become disrupted like an beautiful spider web torn by a wind-swept branch. Repair of our inner web is needed.

sedona low resMetaphorically speaking, this web houses the unseen: emotions, memories, intellect, and mental pathways. Within the physical plane of existence, this web is tangible and wraps around every living cell in our body. It is called fascia (connective tissue) and it is one of the most psychedelic, wondrous substances you can get your hands on. Within us exist a fractal of liquid, crystalline energy that takes the form of collagen fibers. It moves, shifts, tears, and transforms depending on what kind of impact has been placed on the system. It can sustain two thousands pounds of pressure per square inch and either houses, or composes every structure in the body.

Why is this important?

First of all, it is trippy as hell and when you really dive into your body’s inner matrix, mind-blowing things start to happen. But more importantly, once you start to understand what your inner world is made out of, and how it responds to stimuli from the outside world, your path to healing becomes more clear and user-friendly. As you start to understand how to heal yourself, injuries and pain become less frequent, and for some, non existent. This healing process is completely congruent with that kind of presence you bring to your own life, including learning about your nervous system and how it responds to past trauma and present challenges.  

I began studying bodywork and teaching yoga in 1998 while I was in college at U.C. Santa Cruz. I had been a gymnast my whole childhood and started practicing yoga in my mid teens. Like many people starting off with Vinyasa-flow and Ashtanga, I thought that was the yoga path for me. As gymnastics and power-yoga injuries started to flare up, I “pushed through” because I thought yoga would eventually correct those injuries. I was wrong. I continued to practice the same kind of yoga for another eight years until my SI/L4 strain and shoulder instability finally got their messages across. My conscious mind, drive-centered acrobat, and pseudo-yogini ego had a hard time listening to these messages. Eventually, I got it, and now after twenty years of practicing yoga, I have learned to slow down, work gently with the areas of strain, and stop practicing forms of yoga and movement that feel forceful or invasive. I practice for my body and my needs and teach others to do the same. 

I became a massage therapist in 2000, which is when I also began working with healing from an esoteric perspective. For years I studied and practiced energy healing and deep bodywork modalities. Although those approaches offered good results to my clients, the effects were temporary. Something was missing (massage therapists reading this know what I am talking about). People felt better after their sessions but were they really transforming their system, or understanding why they hold their patterns in the first place?

In order to better understand that question, I went to graduate school to learn about the body in reference to psychological processes, and received a clinical degree in Somatic Psychology. I work with all ages, but primarily college-aged young adults between the ages of 17-28. The work is profound, yet does not target the physical structure, just as most physical bodywork modalities target some kind of structural component, but do not address the psyche and patterns of imbalance in the inner matrix.

Finally after twenty years of yoga, movement, bodywork, and in the last six years, psychotherapeutics, I found the missing link for all these beautiful approaches: Myofascial Release (MFR). It is difficult to explain this work, as its true essence is about moving into the unknown, unseen, and non-intellectual aspects of the system, both inner and outer.  It is a hybrid of structural work and deep somatic-emotional release. Myofasical release targets the profound, ever-changing, liquid matrix of our inner selves, both physiologically and psycho-somatically. Transformation is powerful, succinct, never injures, and the body’s inner intelligence is given a voice. This is not unlike a somatic psychotherapy session, where the therapist utilizes subtle, physical interventions to elucidate sympathetic nervous system responses. Yet in addition to having a sounding board like one has in psychotherapy, the inner system has a tangible experience of transformation, as indicated by movement in the fascial system. The entire experience can be completely non-verbal.

In MFR,  the therapist facilitates piezoelectricity in the system, and a phase transduction can occur (like ice to water).  The vibrant, fluid energy that our beings are composed of can flow more freely, like water flowing over rocks in a canyon (John Barnes, 2015). In as little as one myofascial session, clients will feel more ease in their body and a light, magnetic buzz, which is the body vibrating from new-found space and vitality. This work eliminates pain, reduces stress, and supports you to become more aligned with who you truly are. Consistent treatment also ameliorates innate body wisdom, which therefore assists us to eventually treat ourselves without a practitioner.

A whole mind-body shift can occur when we make an active choice to dive deeper into the parts of ourselves that have been injured, neglected, abused, and avoided. I am thrilled to have added this powerful healing tool to my belt and invite you to book a session with me soon.

Much love and Happy Spring,

-Romi

Book an appointment

Upcoming Workshops:

Introduction to Yoga Weekend

Where: Santa Barbara Yoga Center
When: April 24-26

True Self Exploration & The Art of Somatic and Relational Psychology: Tools for Self Empowerment and Growth

Where: Lucidity Festival
When: April 12th, 2015

Yoga Retreat to Peru: May 21-30