SOMA BodyworkTestimonies... See what people are saying about SOMA
What is SOMA
SOMA History
Find a Practitioner

Amanda Coleman LMP
3400 Harbor Ave SW


Find a practitioner >Washington > Amanda Coleman > Articles > Inspired by the Dead

Inspired By the Dead

"Every man is the builder of a temple, called his body, to the god he worships, after a style purely his own, nor can he get off by hammering marble instead. We are all sculptors and painters, and our material is our own flesh and blood and bones."
-- Henry David Thoreau (American Essayist, Poet and Philosopher, 1817-1862)

One November I took a cadaver dissection class. I knew if I could see inside a human body, I could then "see" inside the bodies of my clients.I needed to see in three dimensions,anatomy books wouldn't cut it. And this was a "fresh" (frozen and thawed) cadaver, not preserved in formaldehyde, thus it retained much more of its natural colors and textures than the typical medical cadaver. I had thought it would be "a dead body". But it wasn't. It was a man. A 70 year old man with a tale to tell. A story told in missing toes and adhesions around the heart. A saga of medical implements: shunts and stints and metal wedged deep inside bone. When we started taking this person apart, we knew nothing about him except his age. We were asked to lay hands on his cold flesh and "listen" to the pulls and twists and drags inside his body's tissue web. I felt a flash of heat over his sternum. "Heat? in a frozen cadaver?" one of my colleagues quipped. We were asked, as the dissection progressed, to see if we could determine what had ultimately killed him.
We looked at the outside of his body; we looked at the inside; we looked inside the insides. My instructor's knife hit an artery with a scraping, crunching sound...huh? A tube of woven, coppery metal flashed inside the femoral artery. And later a tube of corrugated plastic traversing from one femoral artery to the other.Heavy hardening of the arteries elsewhere. I could put my finger inside the aorta and feel the "dots" of calcification. It felt just like those dotted grippy work gloves. Finally we discovered the mystery: he died of a massive heart attack.

I was astounded by the enormity of this man's gift. To offer up his body to teach us what could never really be learned otherwise. He now lives on in each of us. Like a great work of art that changes one irrevocably, this man's body, his most intimate work of art, has changed me forever.

I'm seeing what one creates in a lifetime.
The story unfolds.
The mysteries revealed in part. Like looking at tree rings showing the great fires, droughts, and years of plenty.
History told in flesh.
We spend a lifetime creating these bodies. These brains.

The brain, just another organ,
sliced up like a meatloaf along with the others.
A fascinating organ, to be sure, but more so than the liver? The kidney?
Did you see the Bodies exhibit with the blood vessels of the kidney lit up like a jewel? I was not surprised that some thief could not resist that one.
Like the apple, red and juicy and shining, invoking a desire so deep not the wrath of God or Justice could dissuade.


That burning from within that compells us to grow, to seek out that which will inspire our development: as individuals and as a species.
Is this burning the driving, spiral quest of our DNA? Twisting toward the light like some vining morning glory?
Is this hunger the curious gravitation of the brain toward the beacon of new stimuli?
Having seen introduced material grown into the flesh, I can say that the brain is not.It is most definitely the body. Not some separate cyborg GPS technology "hooked up" to the rest of the body.

From the images we gather from books and words we cannot fathom the incredible seamless unity of our flesh. All is interwoven, originating together, and yet there is still distinction, separate movement, individual purpose within the collective.

So how is it that "spirit"? This energy of life...
Can be dissected from this wholeness?

That which made him go was gone. I gape in awe at the fascinating wondrous husk left by the being who animated my cadaver. It's all that is left.

ALL that is left? Look what he left!!! How many ever appreciate what a man has built? We give a few honors to it, though the undertaker does most of this for us in his secret lab. And then We bury it, or burn it: the fate of everything else in our trash. I've always wondered at the purpose of a "viewing". Are we pausing to appreciate the body this person has spent his whole life creating? His life's work. Truly. The only project you have worked on every moment since conception.

Body Reuse click here or here
Body Recycling/composting click here
Body Reduce click here or here


© 2008, Somanda Bodyworks. All Rights Reserved.