Soma Aloia – Clinical Intuitive, Spiritual Counselor, Inner Alchemist, Somatic MindBody Practitioner and Archetypal Medicine Guide – gives us some insight into her world of healing and how one can find the path to awakening, wholeness and embodied wisdom.
How has your journey shaped the Soma Aloia of today?
The teachings on Love and turning adversity into favorable conditions are the teachings that come to mind. I have had much adversity in my life – from surviving cancer, brain injury, PTSD, and abuse. And it has been these that showed me how to really heal, connect with Love – the living, embodied principle – find peace within, and connect intimately with others and my environment.
Life’s difficulties have taught me how to work successfully to nurture my spirit and my abilities to heal both myself and others. This is what also shapes my work with people and students…in my life there is scarcely a hint of division between my livelihood and private life. I like to walk my talk as best I can, and I am improving on that everyday.
I have been challenged immensely with injury and illness in the last two decades, and it was revealed to me early on that my usual modus operandi from cultural, educational, and family dynamics was fear-based.
“Fixing” myself or any adverse situation out of fear, including fixing others (as if we could) – made me more sick. I wanted to know why I was still getting sick or why I just felt “managed”, bound up by programming – that was indeed helpful at times – but after a mystical experience following a dear friend’s death at age nineteen, intuitively I knew there was more to my existence than just that.
Several years after his death I sought to find out what more there was than the managed person I had become. Intuition told me there was more than I’d been taught or shown so far. “Who am I” and “how can I be free?” became my subconscious drive. It was injury and illness that got my attention time and time again. I wanted to take the opportunity to really heal from the inside out.
Early in my career I set out to search for how I could cease and change the survival mode paradigm I was living in that was fear-driven and anxiety-based. How could I connect with myself and others, my community, in a way that came from Love and not fear. How could I feel good about myself and feel connected?
In my view, when we live from this place, we are authentic, because Love is our natural state of being. When we are authentically driven we are Love itself. Eventually it was through adversity that I saw I could use it (adversity) as an opportunity to be more loving, connect more deeply, and mainly be at peace; favorable conditions indeed. There was, and still is, tremendous healing in that. Gratitude for myself is one healing condition that has shaped me. What could be
simpler than not fighting with oneself, not arguing with what is? Peace is certainly attainable.
Deep listening, through breathing, touch bodywork, bodymind practices such as Vipassana meditation, body-centered counseling, spirituality, yoga, art, and movement therapies, helped ground and balance me and to change my ‘old world’ nervous system into a new possibility for living.
These practices informed and shaped my journey, and continue to do so. And along the way a side benefit was I started healing. My spirit could feel free. Despite the fact that I am a cancer survivor and continue to take care of this now, rather than fixate on whether it is gone or will come back, etc. What means the most to me is that I can recognize it as a condition that can turn me toward fear or toward myself, to Love; to others in times of need; and to nature all around me for solace.
In my life I have to choose Love over and over again, even when I forget. That is actually no longer a choice. However, it is a practice, a lifelong one, and one that I wish to impart to others through my private practice, trainings, and retreats.
Would you define Gut Wisdom to be similar to Intuition and how do you work with this?
Gut wisdom is very intuitive. In fact, I see it as a place we can meet that is essential. I would also say it is only intuitive because the gut brain, or enteric nervous system, is outside of our central nervous system brain, so we do not get information that is logical or rational to our awareness the way we would from our regular brain.
A different kind of communication is at play: Intuition. This is why we hear and use the phrase “I have a gut feeling”, or, “my belly said so”. We cannot put words to our sense of something when our gut is speaking to us. We cannot know reasoning or rational logic from our intuition, because the gut does not have that ability. It has its own unique abilities.
Mystically speaking, my perspective is that our gut nervous system can pick up far greater signaling from both our physical and non-physical world. It can communicate with so much more because it doesn’t function like the central nervous system brain that filters and distorts things. Gut wisdom is very pure: exact, and honest without rationalization. Whether we listen, now that’s another topic entirely.
Which best resonates with you; ‘body over matter’, or ‘mind over matter’?
Actually, neither resonate completely, although I believe I know what you’re considering. First, body and mind are both “matter”, so these phrases would be like saying “matter over matter”. Even energy and the energy field are considered matter. I see the dynamic you speak of as awareness over matter. With awareness comes intention, then knowledge. Without awareness, we are lost in our programming (conditioning) and without choice: Negative patterns repeat, and cause destruction, big or small.
That said, there is no hierarchy between body and mind. They are the same. Which one speaks depends on how they are working together in the present moment, and what our attention receives from them; is it a body pain or emotional injury?
In my experience the body speaks loudest, and never lies. It is always delivering information to our conscious mind, and vice versa. While the body may be a faithful servant to the mind, the body will usually do what it needs to do at the end of the day. It is always seeking balance biologically.
For example, the body will get sick or have a mental illness or shortened life expectancy if we do not treat our body well. How well we treat our body is influenced by our mind, specifically by awareness and intention. Will we ignore what we know? Push it aside, numb out, or really listen and decide to do something about it? And this intention to treat ourselves well starts with awareness: How do we know what we don’t know? And therefore, how can we do anything about it?
After awareness, motivation and knowledge can follow. Qualities I teach include how we nurture awareness and self-care. Qualities such as creating safety, self gratitude and kindness, slowing down, meditation, observation of self, journaling, practicing physical awareness and sensation (proprioception), secure attachment, learning how to deeply listen, meditative painting, role play and psychodrama, focused observed movement, reflective work with a counselor or guide.
“Awareness over matter” lets us see matter for what it really is, from a settled, centered experience, and considering our precious self first. This initiates secure attachment from within, where healthier relationships with others emerge. The phrase “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” starts with self first. What we are sowing toward ourselves will be reaped in our outer world. We see it all around us.
How important is touch in any healing process?
Very! Essential! Any mode that allows us to be touched or allows our awareness to touch the body and what’s happening in the moment, minus story or dialogue, will initiate healing and awareness. Most importantly it helps us to embody our experience versus running on fight-or-flight autopilot. It calms and builds resilience in the nervous system.
Touch helps resolve shock and trauma. Without touch babies fail to thrive, and even die. My Craniosacral Therapy work, Qi Gong Medicine, and Somato-experiencing Counsel help resolve all this exquisitely and effectively. They are all touch-oriented and body-centered.
Why have you chosen to work predominantly with women?
I work with everyone, men, women, including babies and children. The essence of my work is in integrating the embodiment of authentic expression, mindfulness, depth psychology, mysticism, and archetypal medicine. Supporting psyche, soma, and spirit, guiding everyone who works with me on the awakening, healing journey.
We are a traumatized society; all around the world we are transmitting the effects of this blatant and surreptitious dynamic, even if we don’t realize or admit it. It’s happening! We all carry traumatization in our bodies and psyches, just some more than others.
I am in service to the world in this way, one person or one class at a time. Now more than ever our world’s peoples need to understand the value of safety within, relief within, and learn how to encourage this in themselves. It takes grit and determination, and yes a lot of work, but what better commitment can we make to the survival of our species, our planet? It is everyone’s responsibility to find meaning for themselves in this.
Why do you think we all repeat negative patterns and can you help break these?
Yes, absolutely! I see “negative” patterns as signals for help, as direct communication from our “shadow” or aspects of us that have been exiled in our psyche and body for one reason or another. My work exists to do just that!… Alchemy in bringing the shadow to light and transforming it. Nothing is unworkable. I consider myself an Inner Alchemist as well as Clinical Intuitive and Mental Health Coach as described by my studies, apprenticing, and degrees.
Biologically we are wired to move away from pain and toward relief. However in our current times we have become, alarmingly and unfortunately so, attuned to overriding pain. Alcohol, pain medications, sugar, overeating, digital games and technology, tv, exercise, etc. are a few of the myriad ways many mask the pain to find relief (if we do learn how to meet pain directly, with ease it gets morphed in its tracks a LOT more quickly and easily, without the side effects of chronic stress).
Pain is what points us directly to what needs healing. And healing doesn’t have to be a long, drawn out process! My work initiates a safe environment where settling and calming can take place, and once there is safety established we initiate directly into the source of suffering.
We work with aspects of ourselves that are hidden, bringing them with light energy medicine – amongst other things – from the unconscious into the conscious. I am a transducer of sorts, converting stuck, hidden energy into new energy, energy that can be used in a beneficial way versus destructive, which is what happens when it’s stuck and hidden.
Things need to be seen, held, heard, acknowledged, and responded to appropriately for negative patterns to change. I work with people to re-pattern from the core, which brings life-long change, not just relief of symptoms.
We repeat negative patterns because we are unaware (also see my previous comments about the importance of awareness). We don’t know what we don’t know! We don’t know what has been “exiled” or shamed away into our unconscious, so until this becomes conscious we will repeat the same patterns, sometimes for lifetimes. But it eventually changes!
When pain or suffering becomes greater than the resistance to change – grabs our attention so much so that we can no longer turn away from it – then many will reach out or look for help. With appropriate help there is potential for patterns to change, absolutely. I see this everyday with my clients (Unfortunately, mental illness prevents this process, and in these cases I would say nothing much can change. However, I always hold the potential for anything to happen in my awareness and heart!).
All in all, ultimately in the spiritual realm of existence there is resolution of all things. This goes beyond the physical realm, but it is there. Everything is already done, everything is already resolved. This is the way of the Tao, and where I put my faith.
When you speak of ‘relationship’ as a form of healing and growth, are you referring to an intimate partner particularly, and why is this of such importance?
In general, all healing happens in relationship to something or someone else. Specifically, I see the deepest healing and awakening happening in intimate relationships starting with oneself. It all starts here, with us and our choices. In a relationship with “other” – partner, wife, husband, guru, etc – the key here is intimacy.
The relationship can consciously be made a vehicle to connect with one’s own life in a deep (intimate) way, in other words in a vulnerable, spiritual way, which is where healing and awakening happens, by seeing and letting oneself experience life clearly for what is. With the support of a partner or spiritual guru, this is an infinitely incredible and amazing gift.
I witness couples on the brink of malice, misunderstanding, fear, and disconnection who find their way back into their hearts and connect again with each other. It takes guts and daring on each person’s part to initiate this kind of openness to vulnerability, which starts with the desire to create safety within themselves, and acceptance. My work with couples starts and continues with kindness first, then working from a body-centered and secure attachment approach, deep healing and change emerge.
Sharing the conscious intention to use relationship as an intimate vehicle or “container” to awaken and mature in a healthy way – individually and with another – is a beautiful gift. While not without difficulty, intimacy is not the easy road. Many bail for comfort and ego status quo. And yet the beauty lies in the center of the difficulty; this is where healing emerges.
When embraced with conscious intention, difficulty can open us to something bigger than ourselves, our spiritual self, Love. On a less abstract note, difficulties and adversity can also open us to peace within. In this sense, relationship is a portal into our own potential – spirit and psyche. If embraced as such, a wonderful adventure awaits.
How do you see the ‘woman’ of tomorrow?
The woman of tomorrow is where we start today. My generation has come a tremendous way in leading women’s empowerment given all that we’ve been through. Yet women through millennia have paved this way for us as consciousness has expanded and keeps expanding. We have so much potential as humans, and women are here to lead from their own sovereignty, not men’s.
Let’s leave theirs to them! In the meantime, as women, leading from our own sovereignty doesn’t mean taking away from men’s abilities; it means standing in and owning our own actions, traumas, pain, foibles, insecurities, desires, mistakes, successes, all of it, dark and light. Owning our shadow, after rescuing it ourselves!! No one else is here to do that for us. And we have that ability, as painful or distasteful as that sounds. I mean, we’ve birthed babies haven’t we? What can’t we do? And I see millennial women knowing this innately much earlier in their lives than my generation, and taking responsibility for it. This is hopeful and inspirational to witness.
We as women at any age have the responsibility – to ourselves, our sisters, our entire world – to find our power, relentlessly over and over again, and teach others how to treat us; how to treat our planet, our children, our relationships, government, and communities. The list can go on, and the potential is infinite.
And when I speak of women “owning their power” I am not speaking about artificial egoic-made power that results in power “over” others – and is actually a testament to a belief that we are less than, a belief that couldn’t be further from the truth for any gender.
No, I am speaking about a subtle yet powerful force within, a knowing that comes from strength: strength from the clarity that we are fundamentally, at the core, okay. Knowing that we’re okay just because we exist. We are loved. If we start with this, the possibilities are endless, even for peace.
I see so much in that. When I see women embody from this place, including myself, there is no less-than or better-than. No belief system that we have anything to prove, and we can just do and be. How productive we can be! And from my observation there is more peace in this as well – kindness, compassion, and empathy – which we can bravely use to navigate through life which is hard enough.
Women are brave warriors without having to do or prove anything. With this in our hearts we have the ability to teach men, our communities, institutions, and our world how to treat us. I believe women can do it, and we already are!
Men – there is tremendous strength in this; not needing anyone to complete us, to finish us, because we are already whole and always have been. Knowing this and living from this will teach our world a tremendous lesson in peace.
I see the generations to follow living with less burdens on themselves, or at least more awake to letting go of them. These burdens are falsities, lies, programs placed on us before we were born. Times are changing!