Musings at the completion of a two year professional training in The Hakomi Method—


As I sit with my laptop, at dawn on a spring morning after a night of nourishing rain, contemplating the paradox of the simplicity and complexity of the last two years spent diving deeply into the practice of the Hakomi Method, I find myself still and silent, listening to the birds. Oh how I love the return of bird song, an affirmation that all is truly well.

Perhaps this still silent listening offers me a great distraction, a lovely procrastination to put words to an experience that feels at times like a tidal wave and at others, well…like bird song…sweet and life affirming.

The training took place in Boulder, Colorado, beginning in September 2103 and completing in April 2015. With a group of about 25 members, along with a core group of TA’s who had previously completed the training, lead trainer Melissa Grace and her long time training partner, Phil Del Prince, masterfully, compassionately, and intently guided us through a labyrinth of personal and professional growth. For me, the jewel of the training was the direct experience throughout of living in the truth, integrity and practice of the method itself. We were not only learning a method, we were living the heart of the path.

Developed by Ron Kurtz back in the 1960’s, Hakomi found its original voice from the deep listening to numerous paths: “Buddhism and Taoism, general systems theory, and body-centered psychotherapies.” From these various disciplines, Hakomi was born. It is an integrative path, with a strong experiential element. It utilizes mindfulness and body-centered techniques as it explores the nature of the self through a psychological investigation of core beliefs. Over the last 40+ years since its inception, the work continues to evolve and grow; a great indicator for what I see as the deep impulse of the work itself: the evolution and transformation of our human lives.

I find the brilliant simplicity and deep complexity of the method reflected in the word “Hakomi” itself. It is a Hopi Indian word and translates as “How do you stand in relation to these many realms”; “a more modern translation is ‘Who are you’?”

Well… yes indeed… that points directly to the extraordinarily rich adventure of a training that was deeply transformative; a training, practice and life work that bridges the spectrum of the body and mind, the personal and relational, and the human and transpersonal realms.

I believe this is directly due to the core principles upon which this relational and therapeutic path was founded: “organicity: living systems; mindfulness: the path of consciousness; non-violence: reverence for life; mind-body holism; and unity: a participatory universe.”

In speaking about the principles in his book, Body-Centered Psychotherapy: The Hakomi Method, Ron Kurtz says, “to work within the principles,…I am working from a part of myself that knows and lives by the principles”. As mentioned above, this is the experience I had throughout the training; it is not about “doing” the principles, or the method itself; it is “being” them as fully as possible; of living in their skin.

The Hakomi training directly impacted my life in so many ways. Perhaps the most terrifying and simultaneously precious was to claim my visibility in the world in a markedly different way; “to come out of the cave and into the marketplace.” In part, my website is an expression of this, and the website is an expression of the woven tapestry of my life my over time, and more curiously, my life in its becoming. Not quite knowing exactly “the how of it,” while allowing the mystery to live in me, the Hakomi training initiated me into my “becoming”.

As I move with life and continue to assimilate the depth of the training, I feel honored to integrate the principles, practices, and philosophy of Hakomi into my psychotherapy and group work. I am continually astounded, again, at the simplicity and depth that reveals itself as the Hakomi method guides our work together. There is a quality I feel; a very earthy and humble simplicity which speaks to me of truth.

“The soul unfolds through the chambers of its longing…” –Leonard Cohen

*Some quoted text about Hakomi is from Ron Kurtz’s book: Body-Centered Psychotherapy: The Hakomi Method

*Coming May 25th, 2015: Hakomi Mindfulness-Centered Somatic Psychology: A Comprehensive Guide to Theory and Practice. The Hakomi Institute and Norton Mental Health.

*For further information on The Hakomi Method or Hakomi Training.