As a person who grew up as a Quaker, I was surprised to find much in common with the spirituality of the Aikido understanding of life and all its relationships. The chapter titles alone give a strong sense of this spirit. The book is well organized by themes which add to its clarity. Perhaps the most appealing characteristic of this book is its grounding in earth and life. It is profoundly simple drawing important lessons from the ordinary.
As a student of Richard's Somatic work, and having read other works he has written, Holding the Center offered an internal view of the work, the man, and his life, which personalized the many practices I have found so profound. There is an intimacy to this book which has added warmth to my practices, and although helpful and instructive, integrating practice with the importance of connection to ourselves and others. I find myself reading more slowly, savoring, and noticing more about myself and my surroundings having read and re-read this book.
Richard Strozzi-Heckler's book is a collection of essays, each standing on its own, but weaving a theme that Richard teaches in all of his programs -- a place of "center." I am studying somatics with Richard through his Strozzi Institute, and I keep returning to "Holding the Center," re-reading his stories and distinctions around what creates center in our lives (connection to self, place, others, etc.). Later in this slim collection, you'll find rich descriptions of somatic length (connection to what we care about), somatic width (how we connect on the social dimension), and somatic depth (how we connect our inner and outer worlds). Richard describes many ways in which our bodies tell stories, such as the fallen, caved-in stance of "capitulation," which has lost connection to vision and a meaningful "for sake of what" in life. He talks about the balance between "containment" and "contact" in the social dimension. And, he talks about the different shapes of the "emerging self" compared to the current physical form in a person's body. The sections on somatics are really quite rich. Study of the body is a gift, since the body can only live in the present, "never lies," and is how we put our inspiration and ideas into action in the world. Spend time with this book. It is poetic at times and always thought-provoking.
Could hardly put it down, finished in 2 sittings. Extremely insightful and interesting. Loved every word and every page till the very end. Will seriosly consider a trip to Califonia for a workshop sometime in the future. Thank you very much!!
This is a very intimate story of the author growing up and 'becoming'. He excellent writing style made me not want to put the book down, and the message and inspiration were priceless. That alone is well worth the price of the book, and the time spent reading it.
Add to that some real quality information that is helping me calm my mind while at the same time achieve my goals in life. I'm learning that real power and fulfillment can be a very relaxing endeavor.
This book convinced me that where I am is the home that has all the answers for all my questions, my body in this moment. I just need to tune into the voice of this body and link myself in all it's parts to the environment I am in at that time. It is easy and hard to do but this book points to the practices that make it achievable. I see the wisdom of my body and want the peace that comes from being at peace with my body. I want to read the other books by Richard Strozzi-Heckler.
I was introduced to Richard's work through a friend who had been in the Marines for years. I carry this book with me when I travel and turn to it often when I need to hear a piece of wisdom or guidance to move me along on my path. His voice is compassionate but strong - it's a beautiful model for how to be with my own questioning self. I highly recommend this book to anyone who's looking for insight towards a more integrated path of body, spirit, and mind.