Stuck is Not a Place

The new e-book FROM UTE ARNOLD

with foreword by Candace Pert, PhD

Book Review

By Jacqueline Carleton, PhD. in the Fall 2007 Newsletter issue of the US Association of Body Psychotherapy

In her Introduction, Candace Pert quotes the author: “The essence of my work is to communicate through words, touch and movement a memory of wholeness, of universal mind, or unlimited potential…. We use the body, as a tool to inform the psyche of its forgotten storehouse of possibilities, ultimately leading us back to our inner authority and journey toward wholeness.” Utilizing and deeply expanding her background in Gestalt, Feldenkrais and Alexander work as well as her spiritual practice, Ute Arnold’s lavishly illustrated book is both personal narrative and training manual, including theoretical discussions, examples, and well-described exercises from her many years of practice.

Read an Excerpt...

Please come with me on a journey—a journey of the deep truth of "health and healing versus fixing" body, mind and emotions.

Having been a healing arts practitioner for almost 30 years, I have investigated and then studied three fine modalities: the Alexander technique, Gestalt therapy, and psychophysical touch and movement based on the Feldenkrais method.

I object to the popular phrase: "I am stuck!" First of all "stuck" is not a place since we are wired for ongoing movement. What we experience as a feeling of stuckness can actually be used as an opportunity to examine our life in order to become conscious and learn how to make healthy choices. This will eventually lead to people worldwide making sustainable choices of caring and sharing.

Neuroscientists report that the emotional brain is developed in the first 26 months of life. During this time, we form our emotional responses and create a blueprint that may dominate us for the rest of our lives. However, the first time this imprint gets challenged is during the "Terrible Twos" when we learn to intuitively say NO in response to feeling emotionally and sensorially endangered, or just uncomfortable and interfered with in our creative explorations. In these moments the EGO establishes itself.

If our boundaries and our NO are overridden too often, or ignored with stony silence, or even abusively punished, then our ego development turns towards unhealthy survival mechanisms. We learn how to protect the vulnerable self by creating armoring. We build a shell to safeguard our individual creative spirit. We try throwing temper tantrums, crying fits, or hiding; we become invisible, great imitators, bullies, or the good undemanding child. We try any number of endless creative devices to survive adult interferences and train ourselves to believe that the world may be a dangerous place that is often impossible to navigate successfully. We try to tune out behavior from others that is uneducated, demanding, and abusive yet well-intentioned. That confusion causes us to detach from the body, and our organic pathways become clogged with contraction and tension to help us avoid disappointment, emotional, and physical pain.

Unless there is intelligent listening and patient guidance—particularly during these first seven "sensitive" years—this self-protective behavior turns into deeply entrenched habits that may unfortunately accompany us for the rest of our lives. We create more and more reasons to continue to feed fear, and we brace ourselves against the world around us instead of learning how to trust and embrace it.

Later, as adults, we have a need to diagnose this self-protective behavior for easy identification. These unwanted automatic responses, that are simply based on triggered early memories, need a name. So we call this wounded self our EGO in order to learn how to control it. Then we add guilt, shame, and blame to the confusion, in addition to any number of often subtle, self-afflicted, abusive behaviors. This affects our body and our environment, and ultimately our whole personal and planetary world.

How do we leave this maze of Catch-22s?

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