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Navigating Grief & Gratitude Through Somatic Coaching

Tis the season of gathering & feasting, as we lean into traditions of gratitude and fellowship. For many it is also a season of anxiety-inducing circumstances, present or past hardship, and the realities of grief. Notice I said ‘it is also’ not either/or, because so much of our life is in the ‘both/and experiences’: gratitude & grief, beauty & brokenness, joy & sorrow, and so many others.


As a somatic coach helping clients find their unwitnessed wounds, this (the both/and) is where I focus much of my attention and curiosity. Somatic story-work and the acknowledgments thereof in the relationship to healing are fascinating and deep. I encourage the understanding that we are not only capable of holding space for the both/and, but that it is a part of our designed path toward wholeness and necessary. (Wholeness meaning something that is complete in itself. Such an important definition to take hold of and believe.)


In other words, using gratitude and grief as an example, rather than trying to escape, forget, or remove grief, for the substitute of gratitude, we make a relationship with it (grief), learn the language our body speaks when grief is present (for some of us it’s a foreign language and for others all too familiar), and create a path for gratitude and grief to meet, quite literally in our system, giving space for internal relational healing and much needed release. In other words, much of healing is about making relationships with the parts of us we’ve separated or isolated. It’s the essence of wholeness! Thus, believing we are designed to heal also comes with the truth we are designed for community, and the healthiest versions of ourselves is one within safe relationships striving toward true connection with each other and self - it’s another both/and.


Unfortunately, we often store or exile parts of us away, however, due to our experiential or inherited (genetic) wounding deeming these parts (emotionally and physically) unfit, broken, wrong, deficient, annoying, overwhelming, or even shameful. Then, we experience what we call chronic symptoms, or what I would also define as evidence of a broken internal relationship. And how interesting and connective is it that so many of our internal broken relationships (chronic symptoms) often stem from what has happened with our external ones?


Broken relationships of the body and of the mind truly do leave a mark, and the body does keep score. So much so, we can now correlate that childhood trauma (experiences we lacked an empathetic witness or relationship) can make an individual 10 times more likely to experience issues such as chronic pain, autoimmune disease, illness, lung and cardiovascular issues, and more. These potentially unacknowledged aspects of our life affect us exponentially.

So what do we do with this information? You might be asking, how does this connect to me? That’s a good question, and one I think we would all benefit from asking. My advice is to support the internal AND external relationships - our internal being the mind and our stored memories + emotions and our relationships to them, and the external being our physical body and the people we are in community or relationship with. Somatic coaching and metaphorical story-work are the lenses at which I see and guide my clients through this discovery. If you would like to know more, I would gladly hold space with you answering your questions and helping bring insight into how we can approach your unique system for the purpose of pursuing embodied health, and you can find my link here.


"Andea has made such a difference in my ability to connect where I’m storing trauma in my body and help me to release it," says Allison Blakewell, founder of Fort Worth Wellness. "She helped me to be able to create a safe place in my system and body in order to give a voice to old wounds. There are things that have come up that I really thought I had healed or didn’t even realize how they had affected me. When you take the time to understand your different parts, it’s so much easier to navigate new challenges. I also believe that I’m preventing disease because we are correcting di-ease of electrical flow in the body when we address stored trauma and bring connection back to that area."


Here at Fort Worth Wellness, we care about the whole (body, mind, & spirit) and we acknowledge that these entities, if you will, are all intricately and intimately connected. At least they should be, and where we find chronic symptoms most exacerbated is often where we are most disconnected. Continually seeking the true restorative connections rather than the simple symptom ‘fixes’, we listen to your symptoms and your system speak as they guide us to the root cause(s). Adding the element of emotional understanding and how our wounding affects us gives us greater ability to approach our clients not only with compassion but affective treatments and guidance.

So this holiday season when you find yourself struggling or in need of perspective, or maybe your chronic symptoms are increasing, your anxiety rising, or your health simply taking a hit, so to speak, reach out to this community. Communal healing is a need, and we each have our own unique stories as to how + why we provide the services we do, and we each carry our own ‘both/and’ history. Needing support is a natural position to be in at any time in life, but especially in the places where the remembered and the ‘what is’ intersect. Let us provide support, validate, and acknowledge your internal and external needs, as we join you on your path to whole living and wellness discovery. Tis the season!


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