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Life, Death & The Space Between

Apr 20, 2023

“On the other side of not reacting is new possibility, new potential, and conscious choice.” – Dr. Luke Sniewski





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How easily can you sit with uncomfortable feelings? Would you believe me if I told you that a world of entirely new possibilities is available if you can learn to ride out those waves?


Today we talk with Dr. Luke Sniewski, a somatic therapist trained in Gabor Mate’s therapeutic approach, Compassionate Inquiry. Luke trains and mentors other practitioners in this approach and strives to reconnect clients to their bodies so they can listen to and care for themselves, and from this place, leave behind old stories and patterns.


Listen in to hear about the relationship between the body and mind in healing, the innate wisdom our bodies hold, how Compassionate Inquiry can help us bridge our past and present experiences, and more!

Topics We Discuss:


  • [3:18] Healing the body and mind, which comes first? Depends who you ask, but you can’t argue with your body’s physiological response to something. For example, how do you feel while following a specific diet, regardless of how someone else says you should feel? Paying attention to our body’s cues helps open the door to choosing differently.


  • [9:09] The mind and stress. Our minds react to somatic stressors, such as experiencing anxiety after drinking a lot of coffee. The mind tries to come up with explanations outside of the body to explain the stress and anxiety. If the body is stressed, the mind is too.


  • [13:19] Responding to a thought, whether in a “healthy” way or “unhealthy way”, engrains reactive patterning in our minds. Stillness is the key. Return to your breath.


  • [18:51] Integrating insight in the body. Noticing not only our psychological patterns, but also the way our bodies feel in these patterns gives us another layer of understanding and an opportunity to choose differently for ourselves. Pausing before reacting allows us to make changes.


  • [21:56] Compassionate Inquiry- Gabor Mate’s method- bridging the present-day suffering to what happened in childhood. Avoidance, repression, and numbing are the common coping mechanisms developed in childhood. 


  • [25:25] Urge surfing. Riding out uncomfortable experiences until they pass, without responding to the experience. Everything eventually passes. We can’t fight the wave, but we can learn to surf.


  • [30:14] The body has wisdom the mind doesn’t understand. Fever and vomiting are two healing processes of our bodies that feel alarming to our minds.


  • [33:05] Luke’s journey as a somatic healer and experience with Compassionate Inquiry. The CI approach calls for the practitioner to see the patient as the expert and remove their own assumptions. It puts you in relationship with the patient’s mind and body, which helps the patient see their own mind-body connection.


  • [36:35] Most people are disconnected from their bodies because this disconnection helped them survive in childhood. One way to get around this is by imagining someone else going through the same situation and how that person must have felt. The goal is to bypass the mind’s defenses to connect the patient with their felt experience.


  • [40:58] Someone being present with us without reacting to the pain we are experiencing allows us to connect with and move through emotions. Parents often rush to calm their children because they are uncomfortable with their child’s emotions instead of just witnessing them. Healing ourselves improves our capacity to be present with others.


Find Dr. Sniewski and his Somawise programs at his website.


He is also on Instagram, YouTube, and LinkedIn.


Dr. Sniewski’s book, “Somawise” is available on Amazon. (affiliate)


Life, Death and the Space Between is brought to you by:

Dr. Amy Robbins | Host, Executive Producer

PJ Duke | Executive Producer

Andrej | Podcastize | Audio & Video Editing

Mara Stallins | Outreach & Social Media Strategy

Claire | | Podcast Cover Design