About Lorella Ricci
Certified Hakomi Therapist
Certified Somatic Sex Educator
Workshop Facilitator : Embodied Intimacy
My work with both individuals and couples is predominantly focused on supporting people to come into full, unconditional acceptance of themselves. As our relationship to our emotions and underlying feelings changes, we gain the confidence to relate to ourselves and others in a more transparent and undefended way, radically transforming our capacity for intimacy.
Learning to meet the raw and undigested feelings beneath our experience is essential. Having spent a lifetime unconsciously moving away from our direct experience, we need to relax and open to our experience in a tender way. In many ways, we need to learn to navigate the underworld of our unconscious … through the body. An experience which in itself is profoundly illuminating. As we meet these experiences in an unmediated way, the protective strategies that we’ve been aware of but unable to stop (or blamed our partners and friends), will suddenly make sense.
And, as we bring unconscious habits into conscious awareness, change happens without force.
Whilst this is empowering, it’s not empowering in a way that bolsters ego. It is loving and humbling – more a profound realisation that we have unknowingly been deeply rejecting ourselves, even before we are rejected by others. And as we see this, we realise that this process is beyond personal – it not only brings a tenderness towards ourselves, but opens our hearts to others in a way that is both loving and discerning.
To support this process, I have developed somatic practices to help clients integrate and welcome these experiences in a relaxed, enjoyable and deeply inspiring way.
Having spent the majority of my adult life immersed in meditation retreats, somatic psychotherapy and pretty much anything that would facilitate healing, I was surprised to discover in my early forties that it didn’t matter what I did, or how much I did it, some part of me, at the core, felt broken.
Even though I could see the change, feel the growth and the integration that had happened … the persistence of a core sense of unworthiness was somehow stronger and more unbearable than ever.
I lost faith that healing was possible. I lost faith in meditation, Buddhism, psychotherapy and everything that had given my life meaning. In the midst of this existential crisis an unexpected option arose: to trust myself.
This is what Joseph Campbell calls the “heroe’s journey” or “following your bliss” … but following your truth is not for the feint of heart! I felt like I had to let go of everything that gave me safety in order to hear the nearly inaudible whisper from deep within.
Somehow I stumbled across Somatic Meditation. A completely different approach from all the meditation and somatic practices I’d been immersed in. I realised that in extremely subtle ways, I was trying to push away experience, side-step it, or pretty much get rid of or diffuse it.
Learning to come into direct relationship to the very experiences I’d spent my whole life avoiding was a missing link. A gateway to true healing.
Our earliest experiences are held in our bodies, in our cellular memories, imprinted onto our nervous systems … and are the substructure of our emotional worlds. We’re operating out of these unconscious beliefs without knowing.
What we do notice however, especially in the moments of strong reactions, are things like increased heart rate, tightness in the chest, contraction in the solar plexus, a pulling up of every cell in your body.
These somatic experiences are indicators that some very old beliefs are being stirred. Beliefs like … “It isn’t safe to show my needs”, “In the end, I am always alone” or “I’m never enough.”
These reactions, these physical sensations, are SO familiar, that we believe them. In fact, we often read them as our intuition, or believe that it’s happening because of the other person. We can’t really see that it’s an old story, an old veil, that has suddenly been activated within our psyche and is colouring our experience.
Because they’re so strong and so deeply habitual … we often give up hope that it will ever change.
Healing is totally possible!!
By learning to relax this tension, learning to shift your attention to what is in connection, to what does feel safe and whole in our bodies, we are then able to start to welcome these beliefs and fears … in the body.
We can’t access them with the thinking mind, because they reside in our bodies.
As Jung said: “The only way out is through.”
For me, what started to happen was that rather than push these experiences away, I started to learn to really turn towards my experience. Regardless of how painful or how wrong it felt, I started to learn to welcome life. Cell-by-cell, moment-by-moment, in the body.
I started to feel my shame, my unworthiness and unlovability … when it was happening! It became my cue that something very ancient was being stirred! It was the absolute opposite direction to where I’d habitually gone. Rather than push away, I welcomed in.
But it wasn’t conceptual (although it made sense to my mind) and it wasn’t masochistic. Rather than diving head-long into the pain, I had to learn first to relax my body, to rest into my goodness, into the parts of me that did feel OK and did feel connected to life and to the earth.
This is SO important.
From here, from this more expanded awareness, I started to learn that I could meet all the parts of me that would inevitably arise. I started to learn too, that I could meet life, just as it was.
It wasn’t in theory … it was in the body.
I started to learn to navigate my unconscious and bring home all the parts of me that I had rejected. And when I got a direct experience of that … I began to really trust myself … and existence.