My Discovery of Hakomi

Georgia MarvinI had studied various therapeutic modalities for many years but the discovery of Hakomi answered a yearning I didn’t know was there.12

I first experienced the power of Hakomi thirteen years ago at a supervision in Ashland, Oregon with the Hakomi pioneer Ron Kurtz. I had volunteered to be a client of one of Ron’s students and I had entered a deep childlike state. Ron, who would not hesitate to take over a session if he thought it needed mastery, stepped in.

At once the atmosphere dropped into a realm I can only refer to as wisdom. For the first time in my life I felt enclosed and protected by a whole circle of wise men. My concern about death and dying was real because my partner had been diagnosed with cancer. I had just found him, the love of my life, and I thought I was going to lose him. Ron acknowledged the reality of death. Then he made a simple statement—what I later learned in Hakomi training is called a verbal experiment—a brief statement which may or may not elicit emotion, but one that that has the potential to be nourishing. This simple statement, made almost under Ron’s breath, has reverberated in my psyche for over a decade: “You don’t have to worry about that right now.”

The deep relief and acceptance that flooded me then still informs my work with clients who are facing death and dying. While I ponder death, and meditate upon it, I have stopped grieving about it before it happens. This simple idea has comforted me and stabilized me, has given me the courage to stay in the present and not predict the future. I am thirteen years beyond that moment and it still reminds me to be in the beauty of the moment even though death is now closer for my husband.

It was like a mythological golden arrow, piercing the heart.

As I spent time at the Hakomi supervision in Ashland, I began to see and experience the power of Hakomi. One afternoon, while the students were on a break, milling around and talking, Ron was sitting at the front of the room, observing. Suddenly he called, very softly, to one of his German students: “Hilde, you’re good enough.” As I watched Hilde, I saw, to my amazement, that her whole face and body collapsed. She began to weep. I knew I had witnessed something very powerful and very subtle. It was like a mythological golden arrow, piercing the heart.

In that moment I knew that I wanted to learn Hakomi, a method I have continued to learn at deeper and deeper levels over the past decade. As I tell my students, I believe that not only is there genius in the method itself, but also there is great genius in developing a method that is teachable. I could see the brilliance of my teacher, but I wanted to learn a method that could be accessed by most people—the main requirements being the willingness and ability to be mindful and the courage to be an authentic and compassionate human being.