I walked into the salsa party wearing sexy high heels, and a dress that highlighted my curves. I could not stop smiling, life smiled at me in Havana, Cuba, and I smiled back. I got to the table that was reserved for us, and all my instructors and clients were already there. Around me were tons of Cubans and tourists, under the skies and the stars. The music played, and people got up and danced in a sensual and intriguing playfulness.
Erick, a new instructor that worked with us for the first time on this project, came and asked me if I wanted to dance. I nodded yes delightfully. He handed me a soft hand, looked at me as if I were a princess, and pulled me gently onto the dance floor. I could not help myself and responded with an accentuated sexy and sensual walk towards him. In Cuba, they call this – llamar la atencion – calling for attention. This kind of a walk is made of elegance, intention, tempo, sabrosura – our sensuality, and our mystery. These five important elements allow us to embody our true essence – the way we were born before all the layers and emotional imprint got created – impacting our confidence, meaning, enjoyment, love and playfulness, respectively. They allow us to connect to our full power, allowing us to get what we want in life. When these elements are optimized correctly, we can reach our peak performance.
I don’t mean going after your goal by seducing sexually. Mystery is the hardest element to master energetically, due to the world we live in today – of sexual harassments and the MeToo movement. But what is important to know is that we cannot lock up our sexual energy altogether, because it is part of our life energy – our vitality. It is also known already that when we waste our sexual energy we die at a younger age. And in any case, we don’t use sexual energies at work. At work we use a different fantastic motivator – our social charm. We use our personality to charm people into what we want – a fun energy of wanting to play with others, a bit like being a kid.
Also, it’s important to make the distinction between sensuality and sexuality. They are not the same thing, but we sometimes get them confused. So much so that a common conversation surrounding rape has become that women fear being sensual, of fear of being told that they brought it upon themselves. While this conversation is completely wrong, we can learn how to optimize and control the five elements to better protect ourselves in situations of danger, by learning how to shut down mystery when we need to.
Our emotional blocks come from our imprint
We are all bound by universal struggles such as stress, pain, trauma, even aging. Stress, anxiety and depression have become a universal norm in the modern world and one of the biggest issues affecting our human happiness, satisfaction and productivity. We all have an emotional imprint, we are all hurt inside in one way or another. This imprint shaped and is shaping us and our decisions. The emotional blocks are parts of ourselves that are frozen. They are mixed with truths we’ve made about the world at an earlier age.
As children, we learn what the world is like from the experiences we have. Some learn wonder while others learn danger. The problem starts when these emotional blocks stop us from what we want in life. For example, an abusive childhood impacted your self-worth and despite being super successful, one day you find yourself depleted and unhappy, not sure why you can’t shake it off. Yet an imprint can be changed – we can heal past hurt and reprogram our internal conversation, impacting how we view the world, allowing us to improve our performance. For this to happen, we need an honest blueprint of where we are today and where we’d like to get.
Any issue we have, which is unresolved, we pass on to the next generation. This vicious cycle only stops when a child grows into an adult and if he/she decides to work on themselves to resolve the issues. If they do not, we see societies that carry hurt from generation to generation, unhealthy relationships and more. Life is supposed to be about love, but something gets lost along the way.
When we can learn how to own and heal every part of ourselves like this – even parts that we didn’t ask for or that hurt us deeply – we learn how to turn any darkness or challenge into beauty. These difficult or challenging times become the biggest gift of turning us into the person we wish to become, if we learn to embrace them with love. On the other hand, tying to succeed, on top of them, can be like fighting windmills. When we accept them with love, we become influencers and leaders of change in our families and communities. We accept, we heal, we step into our power, we inspire others. But this journey starts within – with aligning authenticity with embodiment.
The female sensuality can be our special ingredient for success
Everyone noticed me right away when I walked like that, and Erick smiled, the kind of smile of someone who was discovering something new and exciting. People turned into this kind of a blur for me – I could feel their presence, but I got into the sensual and magical sabrosura, and the feeling started releasing in my body. The sabrosura was expressed with butterflies in my stomach, like falling in love, and pleasant heat waves that flooded me with happiness. I couldn’t not shine. All that was present for me were Erick and me, and the playful connection we shared.
The sabrosura, the somatic element of love, is the sensuality that’s inside each and every one of us – men and women alike – and what is so amazing about it is that it sits on healthy self-love that’s not narcissistic. The Sabrosura connects us through bonding, empathy, generosity, and feelings of love to the Oxytocin, which together with the endorphins are responsible for our happiness. It’s very important for feeling trust and belonging. When it gets released in the body, we feel a simple joy and experience our own beauty. Topped with our elegance and intention, this allows us to tap into our full feminine power, allowing us to dare move mountains, if we wish to.
Many women today lose touch with their soft side. It started with women having to compete with men in the business world, having their vulnerability be treated as a weakness by men. They become so intentional towards achieving their goals that many successful businesswomen lose touch with their innate sabrosura. But something feels off, operating out of male energy tires them. Some find themselves divorced because men need female energy to balance them. Yet at the same time, this new era is presenting us with a tremendous opportunity to redefine female leadership – in the era of Wonder Woman, a woman can now be both strong and vulnerable, at the same time. All we have to do is claim our innate right.
In reality, our female sensuality can be our special weapon for success. Feminine traits are known to be sensitive, intuitive, caring, compassionate, inclusive – exactly what is missing in many organizations today. Feminine traits allow us to balance aggressive male energies and can be a wonderful tool in leading to great communication and improved negotiations.
Mindfulness is at the core of somatic learning and intelligence
We started dancing and Erick turned out to be a wonderful dancer. While dancing he used his body language to play with me and pull me towards him, wake up the desire. The game is built into the dance in an exciting way. As a response, I extended my body as long as I could and let the weight of my shoulders drop creating a long and elegant neck line. I opened the shoulder blades back as far as I could, emphasizing the chest, and I turned my pelvic back a bit without releasing the stomach. The body got an elegant and sexy position that calls for attention.
To this I added the thought of ‘soy yo‘ – this is me. It’s this kind of an intention that releases healthy pride full of confidence that’s very attractive. Here I was present in all of my glory, but with inviting warmth, and no arrogance. I smiled a warm smile and it worked. Erick understood and came back to me with a game of his own slowing down his steps a bit, as if he wanted to get really close to me in a sensual way, which woke up a wave of desire in me, and then quickly and unexpectedly accelerated with a swift turn that flooded me with excitement. I exploded with laughter. Hysterically amazing! He left my heart fluttering and hungry for more.
Elegance, the somatic element of confidence, is the possession of ourselves, the quietness of being ourselves. It’s the element of confidence, pride and self-worth, and is actually a Power Pose which changes the chemistry in the body in just 2 minutes, impacting our behavior and the results. It gives us the BEING that balances our DOING, emotional sturdiness, power and stillness.
Mindfulness is at the core of somatic learning and intelligence. It’s about learning how to be quiet inside, like creating a clear canvas we can draw anything on. Social media, effectiveness, constant achieving and FOMO are robbing us of the present moment, and of the opportunity of experiencing fully what is right in front of us. It’s robbing us of human connections – one of the key factors to our happiness.
Immediate gratification and response make us impatient, leaving us dissatisfied, yet the things that make us happy require time, energy and patience – all we lack these days. We are not putting healthy limits on the tools that overwhelm our lives. Many interactions leave us feeling not enough and incomplete. We then escape to unhealthy habits such as drugs, alcohol, sex, shopping, smoking and more – anything to escape the pain, to escape the feelings, to numb it. We stop listening to what our bodies are saying, letting them guide us.
We think and talk too much, not feeling enough. We need to learn how to be with what we feel, what is, and to unpack it. The quieter and more mindful we become, we pay attention more to what goes on inside us and understand why we feel what we feel. We stop blaming others on the outside or getting triggered by things that touch our soft spots.
Somatic Intelligence allows us to tune in and understand what better decisions we need to make. The more aware and awake we become the more authentic we feel, being our true selves. It affords us a whole new level of communication, leading to stronger and more aware relationships, deepening our human connections.
Our body can actually tell us what’s wrong – but do we know how to listen?
By developing somatic intelligence, we can teach ourselves to understand the messages our bodies are sending us and act on them. When we don’t listen to our bodies, we get sick. Depression and anxiety are not a chemical imbalance, our bodies signaling to us that we are heading in the wrong direction.
If we lock up love, for example, the body will come out with a symptom to indicate that this is unhealthy for us. The somatic body will always come out with a symptom as big as what we are hiding. It will manifest. It will make us sicker, more anxious, depressed…The symptoms will start small and become bigger until we will act on it.
Ignoring the signs will escalate the situation to the point that we will not be able to ignore it anymore. If we’ll keep resisting, depression will start. And if we’ll continue resisting, then eventually suicidal thoughts will start. At the end of the day, even if we don’t like the new reality, it’s better to accept it and give up resistance, to readjust right away to the new status quo, to learn to love and accept the new situation, seeing the gifts that come with it. Living with such gratitude elevates us to greatness.
Understanding the connection between the cognitive and the somatic
To really impact areas in our lives where we feel blocked, I use a special process in one on one coaching, connecting between the cognitive and the somatic. Let me give you a simplified example. Let’s say the issue is that a person can’t achieve what they want in life. They are not getting the career that they want. We need to identify the root cause of it, for example, the person doesn’t believe that he/she can get what they want because they are afraid of rejection. They were bullied in school and as a result fear taking risks.
At the core of this are self-worth and self-love issues. Self-worth is linked to the somatic element of Elegance, and self-love is linked to the somatic element of the Sabrosura. Confidence and love. Once I can tap into these somatic elements through bodywork, they will start to see a shift in the areas where they are blocked. At the same time, I have to work with them to clear the cognitive such as harming beliefs, because what we hold in our mind is very powerful and impacts the somatic. This connection between the issues, the root cause and the somatic elements is at the core of what makes my method so powerful and why it produces such impactful results in such a relative short time.
Why is that? Because our emotions influence our mind and body, but it goes both ways. Somatics use the body to influence and shift how we feel and think. We change how we live life by changing our body language and how we move.
Using tempo – our inner rhythm of enjoyment, for example, in a somatic way, actually changes the chemistry in the body. It releases endorphins and dopamine through body movements, leading to a natural high. When we get addicted to the pace of DOING we feel stress, depression and anxiety. That’s when we need to detox and learn how to tap back into this special power inside us which is the antidote. Every moment has potential for enjoyment.
Women on the other hand, being the maternal beings that they are, are used to either giving or at most receiving. But to feel pleasure, which is at the root of enjoyment, we must learn to TAKE what we need. Many women can feel guilt for taking, feeling selfish. Yet, taking our own pleasure gets us to generate vitality, allowing us to give more.
Our body serves as a mirror into the self. It tells the whole story, even when we cannot, or don’t understand what it means about the decisions we are making. This is why when I change clients’ body language into a more powerful one, it impacts how they live life.
In retreats I sometimes surprise participants with exercises without explaining what we are about to do. It exposes the gap between how we view ourselves and how we really are. And they have to be willing to see the truth, which is not always easy to accept, if they want something to shift.
When we feel it through the body, we understand the results right away and know if they are right for us or not. We understand faster through a feeling than through a thought. Have you ever been told something, you heard it, got it, but it didn’t help you that you understood it, you simply didn’t know how to live it?
Restoring back connection
We live these days disconnected from our bodies – our primary home – where we learn how to love, trust and act. That’s where we start to see people get sick. We need to come back home and restore connection.
Releasing the emotional blocks from our imprint frees tremendous power to have all that we wish for in life. So let’s not stop at being just OK, and keep going till we’ll get to spectacular, because each and every one of us deserves it.
Getting to experience these elements through the body, in Cuba over the past 13 years, changed completely how I live life… I found a human treasure, but what I did with it is a life-long journey. And what I wish to say to you is that there is a whole other way that we can live life, which is so much better. We lost it over many generations because of the stress, achieving and owning. The body language that used to exist gave us the benefits we are now craving. It’s already inside us. We just need to come back home, to our bodies. and to tap into it. So why are we living in any other way?
My hope is that over time this knowledge will inspire a change in the status quo of how we live life. I’ll be happy to show you how.
I looked at Erick during a turn with a look that said – puede ser tu – it could be you, a special Mystery technique that causes attraction and excitement. I slid my hand on my hip towards my waist and moved my shoulders in a sensual round and elegant motion, in a way that releases a lot of sabrosura. Erick got it and threw my way – “Dios mio, tienes tremenda sabrosura…” (My God, you have a lot sabrosura…) He was glowing. He had a smile from ear to ear and a cozy fire in his eyes. And he knew just as well how to tap into his male power.
Welcome to the Power of Somatic Intelligence!
To learn more about Somatic Intelligence, here is the full interview with Lewis Howes of the School of Greatness:
Life Coach. Award-Winning Social Entrepreneur. Best-Selling Author. Professional Dancer. These are just some of the words that describe who Chen Lizra is. But for her, it’s always about the work first. Since 2010 she’s been helping people who are struggling return to their true selves. Through the Power of Somatic Intelligence, she has developed new techniques that are literally transforming people’s lives every day. Chen’s process is about bodywork and experience. With clients from all around the world, she offers Somatic Intelligence workshops, one on one coaching sessions, and training programs that incorporate a unique method she developed over 20 years of experience. With a massively popular TED talk boasting more than 8.5 million views, she offers unique keynote presentations to audiences’ big and small across the globe. A best-selling author, Chen is relentless in her ambition to help bring meaningful change to every client she works with. Recently featured in the New York Times, her work continues to make headlines and has been covered in Canada’s National Newspaper The Globe and Mail, UK Cosmopolitan, Ego Magazine in Spain, and many other outlets including Louis Howe’s popular podcast series School of Greatness. Please click here to visit Chen's website.