I’ve loved writing regularly for Somatic Psychotherapy Today. The initial writing brief for my first Bodywise article back in the summer of 2012 was to say something about my work from ‘across the pond’ – as many contributors are based in the States. Brief sounds chilly and formal. The reality was a warm invitation from Nancy Eichhorn, the founding Editor-in-Chief, to reflect on my current work as a relational body psychotherapist, my Buddhist practice, and my work as an ecopsychologist, and then to write about them. So, I did, associating as best I could the work I was currently doing with the theme of each edition of Somatic Psychotherapy Today. It was an enjoyable challenge! Somatic Psychotherapy Today’s themes over the past five years have been many and varied, from diversity, diagnosis, and trauma to pre and perinatal psychology, embodied spirituality and societal embodiment and disembodiment, amongst others.
What can the theory and practice of somatic/body psychotherapy, ecopsychology and Buddhism offer to each other?
For the past five years, Kamalamani has shared life and work at the confluence of these fields in her quarterly Bodywise articles for Somatic Psychotherapy Today, an independent international publication representing various modalities in body psychotherapy, somatic psychology, and pre-natal and perinatal psychology. This volume brings together these quarterly Bodywise articles. Kamalamani explores client work in embodied and relational ways, drawing upon her practice of Buddhism. With her characteristically warm, immediate, accessible tone, Kamalamani encourages personal reflection and professional consideration as she offers insights illuminated by traditional Buddhist texts along with personal and clinical anecdotes that range from birth to death, from meditating with character to Reich’s character structures, from trauma and terrorized bodies to diversity, embodied spirituality and pre-natal and peri-natal psychology.
It’s summer time and the living doesn’t feel easy. The nation approached the climax of the most uncreative election campaign I can remember, with Teresa May refusing to participate in election debates and Jeremy Corbyn participating as fully as he could in spite of the best efforts of many media channels to scupper his campaigning. There have been three ‘terror attacks’ in the UK in the past few months, the most recent on Saturday night, June 3, 2017, on London Bridge. Countless other attacks across the globe go largely unreported; no 24 hours news coverage and live BBC interviews for the families of the 68 children who died in a Syrian bomb attack in Idlib province in April.
Maintaining our traditional summer focus, we are pleased to share reviews of books “hot off the press”, author reflections on their writing experience, and articles from our regular contributors. As a courtesy to our subscribers, we will email a special link to access the complete PDF. And, make sure we don’t leave anyone out, we’re also posting each review, reflection and article individually over the next several weeks.
Kamalamani’s initial 2012 column introduced our readers to an intimate look at a Buddhist perspective in body psychotherapy. We were invited into an awareness of all sentient life and living processes; her writings encouraged personal reflection and professional consideration. We’ve been pleased to share her writings and to review her books. Her newest book, Bodywise, soon to be released, comes from a place of gratitude and graciousness. Kamalamani offered to create an ebook of all her columns and donate proceeds to Somatic Psychotherapy Today, to help defray the costs associated with an independently run international magazine. It’s generous gifts like Kamalamani’s and others who donate to SPT that we continue to exist.
I am finding it hard to distinguish between birth and death, beginnings and endings, right now, so I looked them up in the dictionary; I go to my head and the safety of the intellect when fear is close at hand. The dictionary never fails. At birth our mothers bear us. Thinking about it, after death the earth bears us, or, at least, our remains.
I had a dream. I wanted to create a shop-fronted organisation on my local High Street to offer drop-in counselling and psychotherapy services. It wouldn’t be a bad location; not the poorest nor the poshest area of town, but with a strong community focus.
Kamamalani hopes to create a ‘pregnant pause’ for conscious decision-making with a glimpse of the local and global implications.
Part of me always anticipated motherhood with warmth, accompanied by an inner mantra: ‘I’ll have kids by the time I’m 30’. I guess this was my personalised version of what Melanie Holmes calls the ‘motherhood catechism’ in her book The Female Assumption: The schooling of females to assume that they will someday become mothers (Holmes, 2014: 9). It’s strange to recall that even by the late 1990s it wasn’t obvious, to me, at least, that child-bearing was and is a choice – the first time that I had paid attention to the pronatalism of our societal messages.
My final decision not to procreate emerged from a dream, the day after lunching with my best friend, Vicky, and her sharing with me the happy news of her pregnancy. My life was taking a different path. Yet it had dawned on me only a few years earlier that having children wasn’t compulsory. Realising this, I had made the provisional decision not to have them, to sit with this and to see how it felt, after years of never having questioned that I would one day become a mother. It’s 14 years since I dreamed that dream, the beginning of my researching and writing about elective childlessness. The day after that dream I found myself deciding to write the book that I had failed to find, eagerly scanning online booksellers.
What was I seeking, searching the web for the book I couldn’t find?
I’ve learned about the simple bliss of making contact with my experience through meditation and character structure. My ‘heady’ part can now more easily dissolve into the ease of just sensing the softening of the scalp. In fleeting flashes, there is no me or mine in the way I conceive of me or mine in my every day mind. There’s just this body, sitting and noticing sensations arise and fall, nothing to do, nowhere to go. A sigh on the out breath as my shoulders drop a few millimeters and I soften into the earth.