There’s an age-old dualism in many cultures between psyche and soma, but especially in the West. This separation has also affected science, medicine and religion and, as the art critic, feminist philosopher and essayist Siri Hustvedt repeatedly points out, we continue to be held by ‘the implicit neo-Cartesian model still widely applied that isolates mind from body and it is seriously flawed.’ Hustvedt also tracks back to the ancient Greeks and she reminds us how both Plato’s imprisoned view of the body weighing down the soul and Aristotle’s form and matter hierarchy went on to influence Judaism and Christianity alike. Through religious dogma this dualism has also been gendered as ‘the masculine is tied to purity, intellect and culture and the feminine to the polluted body, passion and nature.’ Hustvedt clearly believes that the mind/body problem still isn’t solved as these beliefs continue to play out in art, gender, misogyny, racism and cultural authority. She suggests that, as thinkers, writers, women and mothers, our lives cannot be contained by strict categories, borders and binaries. Somatic practices are a way to move beyond these divisions within ourselves, to go beyond the narrative of our identity and simply land back into the experience of ourselves in our bodies, in this present moment. I experience it as a relief.

This text is part poem, part body sensing meditation, part invitation to inhabit and map your body as a way of arriving into this moment.
x Sam


Body over Mind

When thinking has taken over

The senses

And a deep groove has formed

On the brow

With no obvious way out or forward

Of the mind

Choose to redirect the flow of continual traffic

From the head

Into the body circuits of sacredness

Flesh and blood

And swallow it’s tasty offerings

In the mouth

So that you can feel again the pulse

Of sensation

That hums through every orifice and protrusion

The ear canal

Hears that beat and rhythm of life itself

The nostrils

Smell the sweet aroma of shared breath

The skin

A body envelope that expands and condenses

With love

And gives into gravity with a melting weight

The back body

Feels the support of the earth itself

The front body

Opens diffusely into the space all around

The viscera

Are vessels for receiving the flow of relaxation

From head

Through every grasping limb

To toe

Nothing to do but fully welcome and Inhabit 

this soma

It will respond, whatever state we’re in.