Men Talk Articles - April/May 2015
Men's Healing: Balancing the Body-Mind through Rosen Method Body Work and Movement
© 2015 Bob Tom Weaver
As a man personally committed to my own healing and balance, I came to an impasse in my healing in 2009. I had been in an MKP Integration group, Warriors Anonymous, for several years. With the support of my adopted sister, Jane, I had started the Landmark Education Curriculum for life, and there I discovered a deep block in my body: deep sense of fear and sense of a lack of trust and safety. In the Advanced Course, when my thoughts were confronted, I knew I was blocked from something deeply imbedded in the tissues of my body. During a MKP circle check in Aug. 2009 as I shared my deep fears, my MKP brother Andy M. referred me to a Rosen body worker, Dorothea, in Lakeville, and soon my inner journey began!
After some initial sessions on the bodywork table doing grief work, Dorothea had me stand, noticing how I would protect my space as she put down a semi circle of yarn in front of me. She is much smaller than me, AND, I realized when she came at me that it was hard for me to stand my ground! I hesitated to protect myself; I could sense a want to freeze or collapse as my body tensed up. Then her words landed on me: "You are still running". Wow, really? A man 6'8" 235 #, still running? .... And I let the warmth of her loving way of speaking sink in... I checked to see, "Am I safe, is this a safe place?" And Yes... my truth, a deep breath, and I sank deeper into my body.... and the journey was on -- to discover what I was running from and how I was continuing to do "re-runs" of my childhood traumas.
Introduction to Rosen Method
-- Trauma and the tripartite Brain
After several personal sessions with Dorothea, she invited me to an Introduction to Rosen Method in Rochester. During the 2-day sessions, the group did some sharing of bodywork, and I had to stare my life-long adrenalin addiction directly in the face--really directly in my body! Dorothea shared the recent understanding, through research from Sweden, about oxytocin as an inner chemical of calm and relaxation; whereas most of the American research is on the adrenalin system of fight or flight (and freeze). That is the system that I had learned to feed from an early age in my dysfunctional alcoholic family system. Supporting that thesis and theory is the newer awareness of the human brain: that our thinking brain, the neo cortex, has evolved on top of the reptilian brain, the brainstem, and the limbic system shared with other mammals, with the amygdala and hippocampus centers for emotional processing. Current theory supports that circuits are developed early in life that are in fact a reflection of human "addictions". Recent understanding is that these can be changed, we are neuroplastic! -- the neuro-pathways are changed during times of calm, rest and relaxation. Through relaxed breathing, and meditation, anyone can reach the place of safety and trust.
-- Opening to the possibility of deep relaxation, and
learning the Human Connection System of Protection.
"Each Day a New Beginning" is a mantra of 12 step meditation and, for me, an invitation to start each day breathing into connections of my inner resources of resiliency. One of the mediators - becoming resilient and grounded - is a man's oxytocin cascade. Recent research and practice in trauma recovery points to oxytocin as being the hormone in humans of all genders that mediates calm and connection, supporting trust and a sense of safety. My intention with this short article is an invitation to begin with our breath, as a gateway and touchstone to our inner being and core essence. Our body knows: listening to our bodies as antenna will lead us to deepening healing and connection in a good way.
For more information on the emerging science and practice of Rosen Method locally check out, Rosen Method Heartland. http://rosenmethodmn.org
Fogel Alan, The Psychophysiology of Self-Awareness, 2009, reprinted in in paperback as Body Sense, The Science and Practice of Embodied Self Awareness, 2013
Hrossowyc, Dorothea, Comparison of Two Systems of Protection in the Body, Connections, Northfield MN, 1 page handout, 2015
Linden, David J, The Accidental Mind, 2007
Moberg, Kerstin Uvnas, The Oxytocin Factor, Tapping the Hormone of Calm, Love and Healing, 2004
Rosen Marion, with Susan Brenner, Rosen Method Bodywork, Accessing the Unconscious through Touch, 2003
Robbins, Michael M.A., L.M.H.C., Psychotherapy From The Inside-Out: Interpersonal Neurobiology and The Work Of Dan Seigel. M.D., A Primer for SCT Therapists, Systems-Centered News, Volume 15, #1, July 2007
Van der Kolk, Bessel, The Body Keeps the Score, Brain Mind and Body in the Healing of Trauma, 2014
Tom Weaver, is a native Minnesotan, founder of Wopida Group LLC, and current member of the TCMC Board. He is a retired family doctor and been in recovery from the process addiction of co-dependency since 1981. www.wopida.com