Healing began when I found a thoughtful somatic community. Bessel van der Kolk discusses the value of community and shared experience in his The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma: “Restoring relationships and community is central to restoring well-being.”
“We pick up not only another person’s movement but her emotional state and intentions as well. When people are in sync with each other, they tend to stand or sit similar ways, and make their voices take on the same rhythms.”
Being around those trained in Alexander Technique and body mapping at, for example, the bi-annual body mapping conference, gave me an opportunity to imitate the subtle layers of free movement I witnessed around me. My new ability to observe and regulate my movement habits began to change my physiology.
Van der Kolk addresses this whole body reorganization: “We have the ability to regulate our own physiology, including some of the so-called involuntary functions of the body and brain, through such basic activities as breathing, moving, and touching.” Studying and combining ideas from varied practices and disciplines (Feldenkrais, Alexander Technique, body mapping, meditation, and yoga) gave me opportunities to regulate my own physiology, these “so-called involuntary functions” which included, for me, the release of dystonic clenching.