SomaNews – January 2010

Learning Resilience


A new year is upon us and I truly believe that 2010 is going to be a year of wonder and magic. A new beginning.

One of the greatest qualities needed for new beginnings is resilience, “the capability of a strained body to recover its size and shape after deformation caused especially by compressive stress.” In other words, it’s the ability to get back up after falling down. Life is a path filled with rock and limbs (as Mary Oliver’s poem The Journey so passionately states), and I fall down on a regular basis.

I receive my resilience from nature. As a child, when life was a challenge, I would walk deep into the pine forests, lie under the trees, smell the pine needles, and stare up into the blue skies of Virginia. This was my way of getting back up.

You can receive resilience from nature, from a sense of spirituality, a connection to animals or some creative aspect such as painting or a story handed down from ancestors.

Quick Somatic Practice

How quickly do you recover or adjust to change? In this practice, I will guide you to become familiar with or recognize what is your resilience and how do you use it to get back up.

Breathe deeply and settle into your back, and feel your spine open and connect with your length. Open your feet, and let your energy drop into the earth like roots. Open the top of your head, and let the energy flow upward into the heavens.

Imagine yourself walking down a path filled with ferns, moss, and roots reaching out to acknowledge your passing. The sun shines in through giant redwoods, lighting the path. Ladybugs gather on the ferns.

Without warning the path begins to narrow and darken. You trip and fall into the earth. What happens in your body as you lie there? Will you lie there forever, able to see only the most miniscule of life? Or will you stand up and keep walking?

What got you up on your feet? Was it your connection to nature, connection to spirit, or connection to your creativity?

As you brush yourself off and continue to walk down the path, take a deep breath and ask yourself, where in my life is resilience required? Where in my life am I in it for the long haul?

"It is not because things are difficult
that we do not dare;
It is because we do not dare
that they are difficult."

— Seneca

Connecting in Los Angeles

I will be in Los Angeles February 10 through 13 to work with clients at Daisy Swan & Associates. If you are in the LA area and would like to connect or schedule a somatic bodywork session with me, please contact Anna at (310) 820-8877 or

Daisy is a career coach and counselor, and a Certified Somatic Coach. You can learn about her at

What is somatic bodywork?

Somatic coaching works through the body with customized, ongoing practices that shift the body to support you to be the offer you want to be in the world. We work to literally reshape or rebuild your body by disorganizing the old shape through conversation, bodily practices, and bodywork.

Somatic bodywork brings your awareness of your physical body forward in a way that it becomes an advocate for creating change and transformation. As the body gets shaped through your historical experiences (family dynamics, peer group pressure, etc.), it creates and reinforces muscle and tissue responses that actually hold memories. This influences your actions and reactions in everyday life.

Somatic bodywork is a hands-on, fully-clothed process that breaks up physical armoring in the body. Working with specific pressure points, the practitioner helps to move you through historical contractions that limit bodily expression for effectiveness, authenticity, compassion, and integrity.

“The combination of Madeline’s loving presence,
her healing touch, keen eye for what to
encourage into life, and her well-earned wisdom
produces powerful and actionable results
for her clients. I unequivocally recommend her
as a somatic bodyworker.”

—Richard Strozzi-Heckler
Founder, Strozzi Somatic Work

Again, if you are in the Los Angeles area, I would love to connect with you in February. I will also be available for bodywork sessions. Anna, Daisy’s assistant, is setting up appointments for me. Please contact her at (310) 820-8877 or