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Grief and Desire

In the world of somatic therapy, we understand that emotions are not confined to the mind; they are physical, embodied experiences. The more that we suppress, or even try to intellectualize our emotions, the more we become "emotionally constipated".

Our societal conditioning encourages us to focus on the positive aspects of life, minimizing the darker emotions. This tendency is observable among my clients, who, at the first stirrings of sadness, anger, or fear, immediately resort to rationalizing their way out of it. Grief, an integral thread in the human experience, is often brushed aside, waiting for its passage rather than truly immersing ourselves in its depths.

"Emotions are tunnels. You have to go all the way through the darkness to get to the light at the end." - Emily Nagoski

This compartmentalization of our emotions is one of the main factors driving low libido. Every day, I am reminding someone that when you don't allow yourself to fully feel your feelings, your sexual energy gets stifled as well. Today, I wish to share a poignant personal experience that has underscored the profound connection between our deepest emotions and our desires.

Recently, I bid a final farewell to Marley, my 12-year-old bulldog and beagle mix, a beloved companion and one of the great loves of my life. To convey the depth of my affection for this beautiful mutt, let's say that my tendency to spoil him became a recurring source of tension between my husband and me. Despite my husband's severe allergy, Marley continued to share our bed. Regrettably, even the kids would confirm that Marley held the most prime real estate in my heart.

To be honest, I was worried about going back to work after his passing. How could I be mentally and emotionally present with my clients when I was drowning in so much sadness?

I decided to face my emotions in the same way that I would guide a client through their feelings: I turned to embodied breathing—a practice that involves tuning into the breath and observing the physical sensations accompanying our emotions.

The first step in embodied breathing is to take several deep, relaxing breaths into the chest. As my chest and shoulders gently opened, I observed my heart rate, the sense of fullness in my lungs, and the gentle relaxation of my upper body as I would exhale. Allow for any feelings to emerge and be felt fully.

I then began to my breath and awareness down into the stomach. As I felt my body expanding and contracting like a balloon, I could feel the emptiness and longing within me.

Continuing further with the embodied breathing, I took my breath all the way down to my pelvic floor, finding connection with all parts of my body. Once I felt fully connected to my physical self, I took notice of how the emotions were existing and moving within me.

The grief manifested as a heavy pain in my solar plexus, coupled with a profound yearning for what was lost. Engaging in this process, I unexpectedly discovered a surprising connection between grief and arousal. What unfolded next was a revelation—I was unexpectedly horny!

The areas most affected by grief mirrored those influenced by strong desire. This profound overlap between the depths of sorrow and the intensity of longing illuminated the intricate connection between emotions and sexual energy; it was as though grief and desire were simply two sides of the same coin.

I acknowledge the privilege and skill required to create a safe space for such explorations. Not everyone possesses the necessary environment to embrace vulnerability and delve into these emotional landscapes with depth. With this understanding, I extend an invitation to those seeking guidance—a journey into unlocking the profound connection between emotional expression and libido. It might just be the key to unlocking a more vibrant and fulfilling intimate life.


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