Discovering Our Nature in an Unnatural World

One of the areas we can explore in psychotherapy is discovering oneself and one’s different modes of being. What is interesting about us humans is that we are the only species who has “separated” ourselves from nature and therefore made ourselves not fully natural.

In nature, everything exists in an intricate and complex interconnection, and yet everything is being fully authentic. No one would question the authenticity of a tree, a river, a lioness, or a bird. A tree is always being fully and authentically a tree, and expressing itself in the world without any internal disruptions or distortions. In that sense, it is always in a state of a “flow.” For us contemporary humans, though, authenticity is a constant struggle. We can never be fully authentic, and yet we desire to express ourselves and live as who we are! We want our energy to flow freely within and between us, and yet we continually stumble upon obstacles.

In the process, we’ve created many artificial ways to help us, if not go back to our nature, then to at least come closer to experiencing who we naturally are. Psychotherapy is one of these ways. Yoga, meditation, art, dance, singing, and different spiritual experiences are some of the others. If we fail to find ways to catch moments of authentic being, we start to feel a sense of disconnection from life itself — to the point of becoming more robot-like and withdrawn from everything alive within us.

Times change, and the ways we create contexts for authentic experiences and reconnecting with ourselves are also changing. The way people engage in religious rituals are not the same as hundreds years ago. The ways how contemporary people meditate, dance or play music are also contemporary.

Several years ago, I happened to witness a performance of sorts that totally mesmerized me. It seemed like every atom of this being I was observing was vibrating and glowing with a kind of a presence that is impossible to miss, overlook, or experience partially. It took my total attention immediately. I have no memory of the content itself, but this woman’s presence was so captivating!

I was intrigued to learn that it was not what we would normally consider a performance, but her authentic way of expressing herself in the world at that particular moment of time. She allowed and encouraged herself to be seen, heard, and felt by others. This involved movements of her body, sounds she produced, words she said, and the energetic connection she made with the people witnessing her. She used a particular frame, a particular mode of being, to do this, as every beautiful creation needs a frame. Hers was created by her and named “Wisdom Bones”. This was my first encounter with Robyn Lynn. I have had many personal experiences with Wisdom Bones since that time, and had always wondered: “Isn’t it intriguing to find this kind of dimension in our contemporary world?”

I have been going around the world through different cultures and times (as I become older), and I have been encountering different people and experiences to learn from. Many of the times there were some amazingly rich professional workshops, and sometimes, as well, I could learn something deeply “therapeutic” from people, who are not directly related to professional psychotherapy.  Wisdom Bones was one of those gems, because it is probably closer to an expressive art rather than therapy.  

Basically, when I engaged myself in practice of Wisdom Bones first I was invited to connect to what was present to me not through my thoughts and words, but through the way my body wanted to move and make sounds. This idea was not new to me, so I could do it with a relative ease; but the next step, when this nonverbal presence had to create words and meaning, – was a challenge for me. Because, in everyday life things are either verbal or non-verbal, and most often, most of us don’t really connect them together, moreover, not on purpose. At the same time, we can always distinguish when someone is speaking from their heart. And in that case the words really do not sound from that person’s head, so to say, but from their whole being. In my therapeutic work I use Somatic Experiencing, as one of the approaches. And because this method is also emphasizes awareness of the body that would allow one to reconnect with one’s natural innate abilities to self-regulate and to come back to the flow of life, I could resonate with Wisdom Bones modality immediately. Whereas, Somatic Experiencing is really a therapy method, it can be seen as a framework for an authentic self-expression in some moments of therapy process as well. And this aspect is what is connecting therapy, art and aliveness. Therapy is like a kaleidoscope with many colours and shapes making always different constellations.

Written by:
Oksana Okhrimenko
Counsellor, Somatic Experiencing Practioner & Leadership Coach

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