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What is Soul?

Mountain Lake

What is soul? Well, I just returned from “summer camp”. This is a kind of summer camp very different than the one’s we may know from our childhood. The Hartford Family Institute’s Body Psychotherapy training program, which I have been on staff on for the past 2 years, has a summer 5-day intensive called summer camp. The 2 weeks before summer camp I found myself teaching my SomaSoul trainings for 10 days of those 2 weeks. I arrived as one of the training staff to summer camp, but soon realized how much I needed inside. Since I was surrounded by my mentors and colleagues who were generous enough to let me set aside my “job” and deeply skilled to help me work through some of my stuff, I came through many tears, deep fears, meetings with my own destructive forces and left with a connection to my soul. I want to share with you a simple realization I came to at summer camp about what I’m calling our soul. I feel its important to explore this word called soul since I’ve been so drawn to it that I’ve included soul in both elements of my work—SomaSoul and Shake Your Soul. I’m referring to soul as representing the deepest part of who we are; it is a synthesis of what I call the spiritual/energy body and the emotional body. In other words, it is the flow of our emotional energy that lives within our physical bodies. When we listen to music with soul, or someone shares something with us that touches us deeply, or we watch a dance performance and are moved to tears we witnessed the depth of soul in expression. (I have to say that in the last 2 weeks of watching every episode of So You Think You Can Dance, I have shed many a tear as I see the passion, heart and soul of these dancers). To be at the center point of self we are in our soul. We have contacted the spirit of our emotions. We are all habituated to hold against or collapse underneath our difficult emotions. This tension or collapse can transform as we move in nourishing ways often when connected to music that deeply moves us. Also there are body-centered or movement-centered therapeutic processes that support us in befriending our emotional body. So I leave you with these two offerings. Whenever you are listening to music that moves you from the inside out, then recognize that moment when your soul was expressing itself. Get to know and love your own soul. Secondly, whenever you find yourself touching a difficult emotion, don’t leave that moment through familiar distractions, addictions or through more seemingly “productive actions”. Learn to stay in your emotional body when the going gets tough. I have included a link to a practice called tonglen with Pema Chodron that I have found invaluable, Then click on Teachings and then scroll to Tonglen. Daniel

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