Sensory Awareness Foundation


Charlottesville: A Response from the Sensory Awareness Foundation

Algo nos visita y algo nos deja (Things come and go.)

This article is in English and Spanish. Este artículo está en inglés y español.

Miren Salmerón vive en Legazpi, España donde practica como un oesteopath pediátrico.
Ella es un líder autorizado del conocimiento sensorial, que ofrece a personas de todas las edades.
Miren Salmeron lives in Legazpi, Spain where she practices as a Pediatric Oesteopath.
She is an authorized leader of Sensory Awareness which she offers to people of all ages..

¿Estás en un momento de cambio en tu vida? ¿Tal vez, inmerso en un momento de que algo se cierra y algo nuevo se está abriendo camino?

Si nos paramos a pensar un poquito, esto ya sucede a cada instante.

En cada respiración que viene y se va

…Algo nos visita y algo nos deja

…O al caminar

…Llegamos a un paso, y al poco, ya llegamos a uno nuevo

…Pero, puede que también estés inmerso en cambios más significativos en tu vida

…Y en este momento, no sientas más que incertidumbre y un suelo inestable bajo tus pies

…Si es así, puede que en un taller de Consiencia Sensorial encuentres aliados y recursos que te ayuden a vivir este momento.

A través de diferentes prácticas, exploraremos el contacto con nosotros mismos, con este instante, con todo lo que nos rodea. A través de la experiencia es como aprendemos

…Así lo hicimos tiempo atrás cuando comenzamos a dar nuestros primeros pasos en la verticalidad

…Sólo necesita su curiosidad y la presencia.




Are you in a time of change in your life?

Maybe, immersed in a time when something is closing and something new is opening up?

If you think about it a little, this is already happening at every moment …. In every breath that comes and goes …

Something comes to us and something leaves us..

… or walking …. We complete a step, and soon as we begin a new one.

But you might also be overwhelmed by more significant changes in your life

…. And right now, you may feel nothing more than uncertainty and a shaky ground beneath your feet.

Sensory Awareness can help you to connect with allies and resources that are always there for you, to help you to live in this moment.

Through different practices, we explore contact with ourselves, right now, and with everything that surrounds us.

We learn through experiencing.

Just as we did long ago when we began to take our first steps, standing upright.

You need only your curiosity and presence.

Visit her website:

West Coast Workshop Schedule, May 13 – 15, 2016

Sensory Awareness:  Embracing Your True Nature
May 13 – 15, 2016

The whole community will attend the opening session with Lee Klinger Lesser and the closing session with Stefan Laeng Gilliatt. The rest of the sessions are offered two at a time. Participants choose one or the other.
Both silent (Leader TBA) and guided meditation (Eugene Tashima) sessions are offered on Saturday and Sunday mornings 7 a.m. – 7:45 a.m. During lunch on Saturday, there is a special opportunity to explore Sensory Awareness and eating with Sara Bragin.

7 – 7:45 a.m.
Eugene Tashima

Guided Meditation

Silent Meditation (Leader TBA)

Friday, May 13, 2016: Check in 4 – 6 p.m., Dinner 6 – 7 p.m.

Beginning Right Where We Are, Right Now
Opening 7:15 – 9:00 p.m.

Lee Klinger Lesser, MA
As we begin, let’s slow down and open to the natural responsiveness waiting right here for us. We don’t have to do anything, or be any certain way. Just offer our attention and curiosity to our experience and discover how we meet what is needed within ourselves and in connection to those around us.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

7 – 7:45 a.m. 
Eugene Tashima
Guided Meditation

Silent Meditation (Leader TBA)

Our Natural Responsiveness
9:15 – 11:15 a.m.

Richard Lowe, MA, LMFT
What is it to be moved or touched or relieved by something? In this experiential session we’ll explore sensing the inner flow of changes in ourselves as we encounter the world around us. We may discover old habits of resistance in ourselves. How might we then meet such habits with acceptance and love?

Jill Harris, MA, CMT
In the process of “growing up”, the sensory nature of direct experience is often overshadowed by the effects of training, expectations and habit. We will explore aspects of sensory experience individually and in relation to another, including a sense of oneself as a whole.

Break: 12:00 – 3:00 Lunch: a special opportunity to explore Sensory Awareness and eating with Sara Bragin.
Time on
to explore Sensing on your own.

The Art of Pausing
3:15 p.m. – 5:15 p.m.

Connie Smith-Siegel, MFA
Through a combination of Sensory Awareness, drawing, and movement we can discover the rich diversity of our inner nature as it changes, moment to moment. Through spontaneous improvisations with shape, line and color we can connect more deeply with what we see and feel around us.

Penny Smith
Allowing time between one activity and another gives us the space to experience what is happening within, deepening our inner sense of when we are ready to meet the next activity. Being aware of our breathing and how we are connected to the support of the earth renews our ability to meet the experiences of living. Exploring standing, walking and lying through various experiments with weight and gravity awakens possibilities for new awareness.

Saturday Night
7:00 – 8:00 p.m.

Wondering Together
Discussion and questions about Sensory Awareness with members of the Leaders’ Guild.

Sensory Awareness and Psychotherapy
Richard Lowe, LMFT
An exploration of the practice of Sensory Awareness as it relates to psychotherapy and wellness.

8:15 – 10:00 p.m.
Leader TBA
In the Library, sensing movement exploration to music.  Art materials will also be available. A ‘café’’ (or should we say SAFé) will be available for socializing in the dining hall.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

7 – 7:45 a.m.
Eugene Tashima

Guided Meditation

Silent Meditation (Leader TBA)

9:45 – 11:45 a.m.

Finding Support in Our Own Nature
Ray Fowler, MS
While exploring the nature of breath, you may begin to notice how habitual conditioning affects this fundamental life function. Breathing provides a powerful link to hidden ways in which we control behavior. You will begin to feel how breathing has its own path. Noticing breath’s own way will gradually allow you to let go of behaviors and habits which no longer serve you. Embracing your own nature comes simply by itself, since it is already there!

Patricia Baxter, MA, CMT
In listening to breath and our natural responses to life’s demands we come to know ourselves. We will explore concepts of inspiration, enthusiasm, response-ability and the tendency to “should” ourselves. These concepts will be explored through Sensing experiments that help distinguish between what we sense and what we emote and how the two lead us through life.

Closing: Stepping Into Life
Stefan Laeng Gilliatt
When we leave the supportive atmosphere of the workshop to step back into everyday life, we quickly realize that life’s fast pace and unpredictability challenges our newly gained insights. How can we integrate Sensory Awareness into our lives so that the practice supports us in our many activities and encounters? We’ll explore this question in playful and in quiet ways, interacting with other people and with everyday things to rediscover the new and fresh in the ordinary.


Sensory Awareness: The Art of Living Fully

81714By Judyth O. Weaver, PhD

Sensory Awareness is the practice of coming more in touch with oneself. Not attached to any theory or method, the work transcends dogmas, disciplines, and forms. It brings us to immediate, direct experience through which we can rediscover and return to our own natural ways of being – to our birthrights.

How can we know another until we know ourselves? If we do not fully experience our own feelings, how can we understand the feelings of others? Through practical sensing experiences with our everyday activities, we relearn to accept ourselves and others, and begin to understand the importance of this kind of attention. We can then bring this attention to self-awareness, individual growth, interpersonal relations, societal and ecological issues, and therapeutic applications.

The work is not didactic; it is practice. It may begin with an experiment as simple as standing and becoming aware of our own weight and the way the floor supports us. Such a simple thing, but we may never have done it with full awareness. Discovering our connection with our breath, energies, and senses brings us to greater understanding of ourselves and how we function in the world.

Sensory Awareness offers deep learning regarding stress reduction, energy conservation, structural economy, and more natural ways of being. The approach is through each person’s unique organism as a whole – the living totality within which all our faculties arise. This experience of exploring, freeing, and deepening our innate potentials can, if we follow through, have far-reaching consequences in all spheres of our lives.

Sometimes this work feels like child’s play. Much of what we do is simple, unsophisticated, exploratory, and often it brings us to become more spontaneous. One of the differences between a Sensory Awareness session and a child’s play is the fact that we pause during these exploratory sessions and we simply, non-judgmentally share our experiences. (Of course, children do this also, spontaneously.) This simple/ not-so-easy task of relating our experiences serves an important role of bringing the deep, non-verbal experiences of our senses into the more left-brained experience of speaking and relating and integrating the two. This very simple step of experiencing our being a full-person alone and then entering body and mind into relationship (which is never separated anyway) and sharing is addressed on many levels of this work of Sensory Awareness and then it supports us as we continue our relating into the world.

Sensory Awareness is available to anyone who wants to become more whole and integrated. For teachers, it offers clarity of position that informs a sense of self, as well as more direct and less interfering connections between people. For therapists, it also enhances the connection between the client and allows transference and counter-transference issues to become clearer.

Through Sensory Awareness, we are able to live more fully in the world, rediscovering the wisdom and interconnection of our bodies and our minds – our whole selves and reclaiming our natural being.


From: Sensory Awareness: The Heart of Somatic Psychotherapy & More Background about Sensory Awareness by Judyth O. Weaver, PhD
See more articles and many beautiful photos on Judyth Weaver’s website:

San Francisco, California


Sensory Awareness  and journal writing

Fort Mason Center

a benefit for the SAF

4 Sundays, 10am – 1pm, 6/8, 6/15, 6/22, 6/29, 2014

Fee: $35 per class, $110 series

Leader: Richard Lowe, LMFT

Contact: 415-485-5457

Natural or Performed?

Natural or Performed?

By Charlotte Selver

This article is based on an excerpt from the newly published audio tape of Charlotte Selver’s August 3, 2001 class on Monhegan Island, Maine.

It is very interesting to find out how life is when we are more spontaneous, and when we don’t embellish anything. What happens when we don’t repeat ourselves and say “this is right and this is wrong”, but simply feel in the course of momentary living? At first we may notice that even when we don’t try to be good, even when we just let things have their own way, that we still have this tendency to perform. Could we gradually give this up and let the true person comes out? Can we feel what is really, honestly, happening?

It is very helpful not to judge, just to allow, feel, and see what effect something has. This is true not just in class, but in everything we do. Whether you are with your friends or enemies, or at your job, it is very important to begin to discriminate between that which comes naturally and that which is performed and then to choose what comes naturally.

It is important, however, that we don’t watch from our heads but that we feel throughout. We have feeling nerves everywhere but very many of us watch mostly from our heads. I wish we could gradually become conscious of it and trust our ability to sense from head to toe.

If you were a tight rope walker high up on a suspended rope, how much sensitivity would you need for the next step forward, the next step backward?

Usually, we swallow our sensations as though they are not existing. And yet there is this possibility to sense – as you know, the whole work we are doing is called sensory awareness, awareness of the senses. That doesn’t mean that the mind tells the senses, “Be good,” but the senses, in themselves, are able to feel and discriminate. It is very interesting to realize that we can notice even the slightest lack of air in a room. When we notice that, we open a window. Who knows what I mean? In the same way, when we notice that there is not enough sensitivity in ourselves, we open our inner windows, so that we feel more.

This possibility to feel more can be exceedingly helpful to us, because then we can feel what feels good to us, what we are afraid of, what we withdraw from, where we hold back, where we give ourselves fully. This can be a great teacher in life and I would suggest that you find out about it. For instance, when you go away from here, from the school house, every stone on the road can tell you a story. It’s very nice to walk on the stones and to let them help you to wake up. And you would hopefully not complain and wonder: “Why is this road not smooth and even? Why is the road not parquet?” No, it is as it is! And you respond to it, and hopefully your response is spontaneous rather than directed.

Even if you do the greatest nonsense spontaneously, it’s much better than directing yourself. But the important thing is to find the middle way: to be personal, spontaneous, and at the same time not oppressive. It would be very beautiful to be awake enough – not watching, but being there – for what you notice of yourself and of the other, and then to respond from that experience.

From “Zen and Psychoanalysis” to Barra de Navidad

From “Zen and Psychoanalysis” to Barra de Navidad

SLG: I was hoping that you would tell me a little bit about your work in Mexico. How it came about and – also how you discovered Barra.

CS: I don’t remember the year in which Erich Fromm and Daisetz Suzuki, the old scientist of Buddhism, had together a seminar in Cuernavaca, Mexico, which a great deal of psychotherapists attended*. At that time Erich Fromm was very interested in Sensory Awareness and he invited me to join him and give a talk about our work. So, I went to Mexico and it was for me a very significant and beautiful occasion. The relationship between Erich from Daisetz Suzuki was a very beautiful and close one. Erich Fromm felt of Daisetz Suzuki as the wise father of knowing.

For me, a great moment in the conference was when Erich Fromm began to explain what he wanted to offer during this time and then gave the word to Daisetz Suzuki. Suzuki was at that time already near eighty and had spent his entire life digging deeply into Buddhist knowledge and Buddhist beliefs. He raised his eyes to the audience and said: “I want to introduce myself. I am a student of Zen.“ – after which all the doctors and professors [who had previously introduced themselves with all their titles and credentials] nearly crawled under their chairs with shame. As they so proudly sat there in the audience . . . “I’m a student of Zen.” I will never forget this. This is very similar to what Elsa Gindler meant when she said, “I want not to teach, I want to find out, and want to go as deep as possible into the forces which move the human being.” I was greatly impressed by this statement. It’s also very similar to that what Shunriu Suzuki said in the book titled:Zen Mind – Beginners Mind. So, we all are in the same boat.

I was asked to give a lecture [at this conference] and I did so with the help of slides. The conference attendees were very interested. After the lecture two leading psychiatrists in Mexico, Dr. Dias and Dr. Chavez asked me if I would be willing to give a longer course in Mexico. This then later on took place. I don’t know whether I should mention my own attempts at speaking Spanish. It was very difficult for me because I thought, “All the Mexican people. How can I possibly work with them, not being able to speak Spanish? So, I took a dictionary and wanted at least to know with what I would work [in the first session]. I looked into the dictionary and found the word for forehead, eyes, nose, cheeks, mouth, lips, chin. All the psychologists were lying on the floor and I began to ask questions . . . . Silence. I was very impressed with their attention. At last, when I came to the chin – there was still a deadly silence – suddenly Dr. Diaz sat up and he asked: “What did you say?” (Laughs) [This is when I] realized nobody had understood my Spanish and that everybody could speak English. (More laughter). After that everything went beautifully and until today the psychologists and psychiatrists either come or send their patients to my courses in Mexico.

When I gave this first course in Mexico we worked always Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. And then there was a pause until the next week. And I was invited by one of the patients of Dr. Chavez to live in a very beautiful and sumptuous house in Mexico City. I was also permitted to bring four friends with me, who also were invited to live there. This was the first time that I brought Charles Brooks with me who was one of my students. And there was also a torch singer, a very fabulous woman. So we were living in this house; we were beautifully take care of; we eat there; everything was just unbelievably sumptuous and beautiful. But that was only the first time. Later I rented my own place and a room for working. This was very extraordinary, this first time and the connection with these psychiatrist and their relatives has been very warm and very deeply appreciative during all these years – until today.

SLG: So, and then one year you traveled with Charles through Mexico.

CS: Yeah. We traveled through the big, big valley of Mexico. And suddenly we saw a very elegant new truck with a sign on the side: “Barra de Navidad. The Côte d’Azur of Mexico.” Charles saw the sign first and said, “What, Barra de Navidad, The Côte d’Azur of Mexico? Let’s go!” So, we went long, long ways traveling with our little Volkswagen through Mexico and came at last to a river. There were a number of boats, no bridge, nothing. And there were also two or three boats over which wooden planks were laid, where one could go with one’s little car on one of these boats. And Charles rolled his trousers up to his hips and waded through this very unusually stony river. And always, when he found a little more of a passage, he would give us a sign that we could come. In other words he was the guide. When we landed on the other shore we went a little bit further and finally came to Barra de Navidad, the Côte d’Azur of Mexico. (Laughter)

I can’t tell you how it looked. The cows were on the beach; and the dogs were chasing the cows over the beach; and not a single person. There was absolutely nothing except for a place where we could have a drink, and where we took quite some drinks, I remember. The only other guests were a Scottish man who sat silently with his drink and a nurse tried to win his attention. (Stefan laughs) The man who owned this restaurant was a lover of Spain and behaved like a Spanish Grande: Always when I came he kissed my hand and bowed deeply. I was anything but the Côte d’Azur of Mexico (laughs). Of course we were the sensation of the place. But it was so inviting – and the man who owned this place was also so inviting. So I said: “For the next Study Group we could come to Barra de Navidad – the Côte d’Azur of Mexico. (Laughter)

SLG: You probably don’t remember what year that was.

CS: No, I don’t. But I could – I could probably dig it out. In any case: The owner of this place loved to sing. He had a beautiful voice and he always wanted the most lovely girls to sit on his knees. He always sang and made music between our Study Group sessions. It was a hilarious time. The people who were mainly fishermen were speechless. They couldn’t believe that such a thing as we existed. It was one of the most hilarious Study Groups I ever gave.

SLG: I ‘m trying to imagine how much this place must have changed since you were first here.

CS: Yeah. It was really a fisherman place. But now it’s unfortunately becoming more and more of a resort.

* Seminar with Erich Fromm and D. T. Suzuki: Zen and Psychoanalysis, held in Cuernavaca, Mexico, 1957.

The Wonders of the Organism

The Wonders of the Organism

By Charlotte Selver

We don’t need to watch; we simply could be awake. The moment we watch ourselves, we split ourselves in two.

Editor’s note: This is a transcribed excerpt from one of Charlotte’s classes in which she speaks about the natural, spontaneous nature of change within ourselves.

The change from insensitive to becoming sensitized is one of the wonders of the organism. In the moment in which our sensory attention is aroused, changes happen in us. So that at the moment when one might feel, “1’m pressing here, ” it might change by itself, or when one might feel, “I’m too drowsy here”, it might wake up.

As students in Elsa Gindler’s classes we spent many months every day in allowing just that. She would ask, “Is there anything where you suppose your head is? Do you feel anything there?” Or, “Is there anything feel-able in the region of your pelvis? Is there anything going on there? ” And the question would sink in without that we had to make an effort to focus anywhere. We were just there and we could hear it. That means all our molecules can hear it. And when this happens then something begins to make itself on its way. That’s the riddle. That’s the mystery. That’s the possibility which everybody has. That’s, in other words, sensing. Now, when you have been Jumping {the class has recently spent many minutes exploring jumping}, I ask, “Can you feel how the impact of what you have been doing continues in you? In which way it continues, and what happened?” Who noticed that I didn’t ask you if the impact of your jumping continues in your arms or your legs or your other parts, but in you?

So what you are doing might influence you everywhere-not Just where you do it. When something opens somewhere, the need for opening in another area may be strong enough so that it also opens. If we are only sensitive in one area we could eternally work on opening here, opening there, opening another place. When I’m concentrated on one region instead of being both sensitized and changeable everywhere, the hunger for more freedom where it isn’t free is frustrated very much. (I like to say that when one child gets an apple the other children want also to get an apple, and they begin to complain when they don’t get one,) But in the moment in which permissiveness is allowed everywhere we feel something of the self-adjustment of the organism which we hinder when we are too much concentrated on one spot.

This whole question is very much bound with wishful thinking, You know, very often after we have felt an astonishing change, our imagination becomes active, and we begin to feel to think we feel reactions. We get our hopes up for more. “How is it here?” we ask ourselves. “‘How is it there?” When one isn’t quite innocent anymore, when the sensations don’t come by surprise, somehow watching comes in, wishes come in, and we distract ourselves with wanting more than nature offers us at that moment.

Now the art is not to watch it. Not to try to feel it but just to be there in it. You can’t be in a higher state of being than to be there for something. In other words you are not thinking about it, you are not watching it. You don’t even make an effort to feel it because every one of these things will diminish your possibility to sense, to get impressions.

Most of us are still under the influence of an education in which we were constantly watched, and watching, and judging was constantly asked from us. It was asked by our parents, and it was asked by our teachers, but they didn’t understand what the organism actually is.

We have very much more endowment for being aware, for being alert, than most people realize. I must admit it is not easy to know the difference between letting something be conscious and watching it. And it doesn’t come by trying to get it. It will only come if we are hungry for it. We don’t need to watch; we simply could be awake. The moment we watch ourselves, we split ourselves in two.