Of Grace and Gravity Preview
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People used to ask Ida,
"What is Rolfing?"
people didn't ordinarily call her Ida.
What is Rolfing really Dr. Rolf?
answered in so many different ways
that clearly Rolfing was hard to pin down.
One of the things I think about was that
she kept repeating so often that it
became called Rolf's first law,
that if it's anywhere in the body
it's everywhere in the body.
And the corollary was where you think it comes
from it being the adhesion the problem
what's stuck someplace, where you think
it comes from it probably doesn't.
Now that to me is
is really the beginning point to understanding Rolfing.
It's a question of perception
you know, you're trying to perceive
someone walks in, you're going to do something, ok.
So it all comes down to
different modes of perception, different
ways of perception, to get to the same end.
And to me what the end is,
when a person walks in, the question I hold in
my consciousness, in my awareness, is okay,
what would it look like,
what would I see
if this structure could perfectly express
the being the resides within it?
What would that look like?
That's the question.
That's the question that I look from.
Well I see the strains and the stress
in the tissue and how everything has organized
around that and that's what's so
fascinating to me is to find a way
over the years of being able to get
the client in to awareness about how
that has formed in some way and to be
able to move it, nudge up against it, but
then have them experience how that got
formed, how that belief or how that
organization started to happen and
to have a relationship with it in some way
so that they then may have a little more
choice to let it open up and move.
And it's a combination, it isn't just me
It's the relationship with the client
that is making the difference as well.
Because ultimately what I'm doing is
bringing it to their awareness so they
can use it as a way to stay more
conscious and so it's a tool for them.
It's not an enemy.
It's a way to stay awake.
A lot of times I feel like I'm in a triad…
There's me and the body and the person. So my job
is to help the person start to listen
to their body.
In a way that's what we do,
we help people bring things to
consciousness that they have buried and
they buried them because it can't deal
with them. They can't get out. So they
just go on, you know, never mind let's just
go on, do the best we can with what we
have left, right? So people are limping
along with all sorts of damage they
carry from all these things.
The real miracle is that the body can adapt well
enough for us to limp along (laughs).
That's incredible that it can distribute
the strain throughout the whole
structure and make it so that you can
keep going even with a
a joint that is very very compromised
right, you know. That's a real miracle is
that there's distribution of stress and
that is a whole system that can absorb
that kind of nastiness and then we come
along with our vision and our
ability to change tissue and we find
these areas of damage and clean it up.
You take your car into have a revision
but we forget about our bodies.
So I see myself as a car mechanic
or a cleaning lady,
sometimes a plumber, sometimes an electrician.
So my job is to get that mass into
relationship to the gravitational field
and for each muscle in relationship to
itself and all the other kinds of things
like relationship with yourself,
relationship to your space,
relationship to the people around you.
We were taught to look at gravity as a force.
Gravity is actually a relationship.
Gravity is the relationship between our body
and the body of the planet.
Everything in the world adds energy to the body.
The point about Rolfing is
to add energy to the body in a way that
makes a positive difference towards what
Dr. Rolf used to refer to as order.
And her idea of order has to do with how the
body organizes itself
by being weight-bearing
and whether it can do that in a way that is without pain
and with resilience or not.
When I look at the body I see this, this, this and this
which is putting stress here, there 'n there 'n there.
I can do a mechanical analysis
some structural, you know, and go well
yeah, of course the pain's there because that's
gone there and that's gone there and its (makes a squeezing sound)
The body actually starts to lay
down connective tissue twenty minutes
forty minutes after a whiplash injury.
The body begins to restructure the
tissue in a wounded area. So we are
shaped by the events that occurred to us.
Stress can accumulate from a number of reasons.
Physical stress is very obvious,
but emotional stress is equally
important and can
tighten tissues just as much if not more
sometimes than physical stress.
We hold particularly what we call negative
emotions, emotions that we're not proud of
or don't like to display,
we hold them in our musculature because we
tighten the muscles that would be
involved in the expression.
The body begins to restructure the tissue in a
wounded area, so we are shaped by the
events that occurred to us, the fall off
of the tricycle, the automobile accident,
the heartbreak, the virus that attacked
our liver, all of these events create
conditions in the body that cause contraction.
It's like unwrapping all of
our belief systems, our patternings that
we've developed and kind of absorbed
over the years from our culture, from our
religion, from our parents, from our
teachers, from our different experiences
and then we never questioned how we got that.
And so it's part of unwrapping
as I call it and just like we do in Rolfing,
is unwrapping our belief system so
to speak and come to maybe a new way of
from who we are now and coming from our
own experience rather than someone else's.
You change the structure,
you change the function.
You put things where they belong,
thinking is clearer…
there's a better conversation between mind and body.
What is more profound
than changing the perceiver.
all perception is subjective.
In some sense, everything is subjective in that way.
So in a way, when we talk
about matching the subjective and the
objective, I think that that's one of the
one of the things that we're doing is
we're trying to get the subjective
cleaned up to the point where it can
actually perceive the cosmos as it is
and themselves as they are.
She would say, you know, you don't…as Rolfers
you don't make change.
She said, what you do is make change possible.
put the healing process into
the body's system as a whole
and she saw it as a whole, and by whole,
every level…not just physical…
you know, not just the physical structural level,
but others as well.
So you see a hodgepodge
of forces that have acted on
the structure. The Rolfer's job is to seek
out what's the underlying natural
pattern and then get the organism,
release the barriers that prevent the
organism from agreeing with itself and
manifesting it's natural pattern and it
it's not a mysterious thing, it's very
obvious once you start working. Because
it's a kind of blooming that occurs in
organism. It actually wants to go there.
You work on the level that you can get your hands on
and usually the body
can be the best, one of the best ways to
get in and make a difference in that
person's body mind.
I mean, it's almost impossible really to separate body and mind.
Every part of our life is
connected to every other part
our life, just like every part of the
body is connected to every other part of body.
And that the emphasis in the culture of
compartmentalizing and breaking
things down into component pieces,
you know, is good for analysis, but it's not
good for operation.
Analysis requires breaking things down, okay.
But working with a live structure is a
matter of integration.
I don't think it's so difficult to take
a body apart (laughs) you know and…that goes on
all the time, but it's putting it
together again and in the process of
learning Rolfing and practicing that,
you learn to see that way and you learn
to look that way. It's not necessarily
about symptoms, you know, alleviating
symptoms. Yet symptoms can be a focus
also, but it's saying what's causing the
symptoms, where's the imbalance, where's the,
where's the integration lacking and
what can I do, with Rolfing, to help
that be released and then bring the body
When the system organizes,
when it coheres, when it agrees with itself,
it's as if all of a sudden it
sort of pops open and there's a…as if
there's a special presence inside the
body that is expanding it and that's
very different than what most people
think of when you say stand up straight
because when most people think of
standing up straight its head up they
lift their chests they throw their
shoulders back and there's no increase
in volume. In fact there's a loss of
volume. Most people lose the backspace
altogether. But when the body opens,
it opens in three dimensions.
And it's a magnificent feeling.
It's freedom. It's to work with people to
achieve freedom of movement,
freedom of movement in their bodies
to assist people in
optimizing their options so that they
have more resource for adapting to
whatever comes after them in the world.
Ida used to talk about it as the potential
for the evolution of consciousness.
As I've thought about it over the years,
she was doing her best to try to crack our
thick skulls and open us up to an
Einsteinian kind of model of existence
and she would talk about it sometimes
about the limitations of the
Cartesian Newtonian kinds of physics as
brilliant as they were, they were linear…
too rational…they didn't take into
account all the other stuff…the space…
just as classical anatomy in it's
beginnings in the 15th century or
whenever that happened. They were so
interested in inventorying the bones
and the muscles and the nerves and organs
and taking people apart bit by bit
they discarded the fascia…
the substance that really forms the medium
of relationship and communication in the body.
Ida always saw connective tissue and
fascia as a means by which something
else could be accomplished.
And that means, I think, has to do with the
capacity to…be open to, engage with and…
…and…explore…the energy of life itself
more and more fully, and
more and more fully, you know its just…
you open the fascia, there's more life.
And…I don't think fascia is the end of it….
Yeah, it gets…
it gets pretty quantum…. (Laughs)