FATHERS DAY


Fathers Day is today, and dad's are getting calls, gifts, accolades, and surprises.

For me, not likely. I may not fit the job description.

This post will probably not be well received in some circles. Either because someone might not agree. Maybe because it is a bit harsh, and some don't like to have their preconceptions and positons challenged. Whole families survive with the undercurrent and unstated invisible agreement and coercion that no one will challenge one another's prejudices and presumptions and that everyone subscibes to a certain historical family narrative and dances to the same tune. Let's call all that the glue that holds the family nexus together. I know, I know, there's the love. Love is undisputed. But, functionally, don't tread on me. Go along.

To clarify, I live my life by this . . . "What others may think of me is none of my business." Do what you're going to do, or not do. My happiness is innate. Just like yours is too. 

However, there is a sadness for me on Fathers Day. Yet, I know that it is a sadness that I have brought into it myself. Not in any way caused by howsoever things may or may not be. And, I also know that the Lord will continue to bring life to us in just the way we need to be sure that when it's time our heart will be returned to its original and true pure state. So, to it all, let's say, "Yes!"

There comes a time in everyone's life when you have to come to terms with the realization that your father is not what you thought, or would have wanted him to be. Justified or not, that residual inner friction is probably universal, and has its value. (If you are reading this and not identifying with having/having had any such inner friction yourself . . . I'll let sleeping dogs lie.) The resolution to that is necessary to have all of your heart available for all whom you love. Ignorance is not an excuse. But, it will be excused when you wake up to your forgetfulness.

In my daughters' lives, I don't know whether they contend with it, have resolved it for themselves, or (more likely I would guess) just shunt it away. As their mother proudly used to say, "I'll think about that tomorrow."

When I separated and divorced from my daughters' mother it was difficult for all of us. That is natural. My girls wanted me to "come back and be our daddy." Hearts broke. But, hearts mend. But, it takes doing. How long does it take? As long as you want. Now, is the best time to clear things up. Don't count on later. It may never come.

Regardless of what interpretation I may want to put on those events, the separation from my family did not go well. For everyone. And, for my daughters. You see, I was shunned. Still am. All her family, and all our (so called) friends.

The insidious aspect of it was that there was nothing supposedly said about the justification for the shunning. I am in some circles, just not given any thought at all. When I probed into that when my daughters were younger, they would snap at me that nobody ever said anything bad about me. The thing is, when you have some animosity in your heart towards someone, that animosity resonates of its own; no words need be spoken. It communicates.

In my ex-wife's family a similar situation occurred with an aunt on her mother's side. Her husband up and left. When I showed up to that family as a newlywed I heard the story that they were divorced, and not too much about him other than the distinct impression that he was a no good sonofabitch. His one daughter ostensibly was so shell shocked by the experience that she floated in and out of the scene in a kind of a melancholy trance. I don't know if she ever got out of it. The wife was looked at by all with pity.

Now, my ex-wife is too strong to entertain that kind of drama. But, I remain outside the family circle. My inquiries as to how everyone is doing get a thorough, "Just fine."

So now my daughters have the paradox facing them: to reconcile within themselves how to relate to the two people whom they love, who themselves do not relate to one another. Specifically, how to include those two seemingly irreconcilable positions. The circle of love wants to include. It wants to expand. Keeping anyone out of the circle of your love means that you do not have all of your love available even for those in your perceived circle.

Just for the record, it doesn't matter. I am blessed with my daughters, and all their family. In the way they are, and are not , in my life.

Don't change a thing.

As they say, just sayin'. And that is a dad's prerogative. My gift, seen with a clear heart.

Pulling the Plug

I remember following the various commentaries during the Clinton era health care debate. What was so then, is still true. The conversation is all about financing. Paying for covering everybody, cutting costs in an industry in which technological and pharmaceutical costs just keep growing. On its face, those are great objectives. Just, notice no conversation about what is fairly well documented to be a mediocre to poor performance in terms of the actual delivery itself.

A medical doctor writing in the New York Times Op-Ed section back then wrote, "The American health care system is very good at keeping sick people alive." That statement stuck with me and I hear it from time to time from other sources. Please, when something is broken, there is nothing better than modern medicines and technologies. But, in the main, we are the most medicated and technologically advanced society with, arguably, the least to show for it.

Which brings me to the point. If the general culture is one in which profits come first, and it's every man for himself, then doesn't it seem possible that a system that keeps sick people alive might decide to not want to do that any more? In other words, why spend so much money to keep a dying person alive. Dr. Kevorkian sounded the opening bell. "My dear patient, there's nothing medically that I can do for you. Why don't you kill yourself and save everyone the trouble."

When you add in a generation of adults schooled since childhood to avoid strangers, the ethos could evolve where so called "death panels" could become a reality. Factor in the growing eugenics industry where you can in-utero do a genetic profile on the fetus. If we see something nasty, abort.

So, when grandma's medical condition and costs to keep her alive get nasty, let's pull the plug.

After all, it makes perfect fiscal sense. And, grandma isn't any longer a viable contributor to the economy anyway. Nothing personal, just business.

It could happen.

Here is a scene from Critical Care, a movie that puts a great satirical spin on the subject. And, another.

Self-Blessing



"Sometimes it is necessary to reteach a thing its loveliness . . . until it flowers again from within, of self-blessing." (From St. Francis and the Sow a poem by Galway Kinnell.)


I am recalling a beautiful, auspicious dream in which I was in a session of Rolf Structural Integration with a very young client. 

He was a handsome blond boy, around five years old. Old enough to communicate accurately, but still immature like you'd expect a five year old.

The session was being observed by some other, more senior practitioners. But I established my  prerogatives with them, that they were to observe and support, and that I would do the work.

The boy expressed some fear about maybe not liking what we were going to do. As I washed my hands getting ready to work, I joked that it would be even worse than he thought. I don't know why I said that, except sometimes you can break the ice going into someone's worst fears, rather than being patronizingly reassuring. He started to cry, and that touched me deeply. I sat next to him as he lay on the padded table and held and kissed his head in a chummy sort of way, comforting him and telling him I was joking and that we would work together, that I wouldn't do anything that he didn't want. That entire transaction seemed to establish a good rapport between us. (In my work with clients, rapport is key. There needs to be a framework of trust and confidence and clear communication.)

The session went on as a typical first session would, working all around the rib cage and the entire torso to release any restrictions that could limit the full action of the breath; also working with movement and touch to train the rib cage, shoulders/arms and legs/pelvis to move in economical and aligned patterns.

When the boy stood up after the session he was aglow. Like some spiritual light had been lit. Beaming and ecstatic. Thanking all of us in the room for his discovery of himself. He looked like someone eager and enthusiastic to continue into the next moment of life. Wonderful.

Afterward, my teacher from several years back when I first was certified as a Rolfer® said to me, "That was beautiful work."

I knew it was well done from what I could see for myself and the report of our young friend. But, it was a powerful affirmation, especially coming from an expert in the field. She wasn't one to throw compliments or praise readily. It was a significant statement. It reminded me of why I am so enthusiastic in my life's calling; and that, indeed, I do beautiful work.

________________________________


There was another earlier dream in which I was in charge of giving Ida Rolf herself a Rolfing® session. No sooner was she lying on the cushioned table when she was giving orders on where and how to work.

I trained just after Dr. Rolf passed away. But her spirit was conveyed very clearly to me by her original teachers and through the work itself. She was not the least shy about telling you how it was. Especially about the work that she originated.

I mark it as a sign of passage that in that vivid dream I kindly but firmly told dear Ida to not say anything, that I would proceed with the work based on what I saw needed to be done.

(After all, clients don't come to see me to rehash what they already know. The practioner provides another point of view, fresh insight if you will.)

Now, Dr. Rolf, take that.

And, my sincere great gratitude for your genius and the gift you gave me.







Awakening

From: A Caveat Regarding Spiritual Opening, DIVINE DYNAMITE
by Robert Augustus Masters.

"We may like or romanticize the idea of waking up from all our dreaming, but when we begin to realize how much we have invested in our dreams, the possibility of waking up from them may lose much of its appeal.

"We may like to think we know what the optimal conditions are for our awakening, but the odds are that we don’t know (and that we want it not to ask all that much of us). But Life “knows” and thus provides such conditions for us, for which we are, understandably, rarely grateful at the time.

"No one gets through the Holy Gates who is not ready."




 

Comments on Fascia Research and Structural Integration, Dr. Ida P. Rolf's Seminal Approach to Human Health and Well Being
As Research Assistant to the Director of the International Fascia Research Congress I participated in the inception of what has become a full fledged new area of study in human biology. It's called Fascia Studies. At the 2007 inaugural event researchers from around the world were brought together for the first time under one roof to present all the latest and best research on the human fascia for both other interested scientists and clinicians who work in modalities where the fascia is a key consideration, both in theory and practice.

As of this writing there have been three well received conferences, with proceedings books and recordings of key presentations from each. A textbook has also been published in 2012, further adding to the growing cohesive body of knowledge in this field.

Fascia is that tissue component of the connective tissue system of the human body that is central to the biomechanical organization of the body. It forms a ubiquitous and continuous matrix of support/structure for the body. It interpenetrates all the muscles and organs down to the cellular, even intracellular levels.  In gross observation it starts just below the skin level and reaches down to the bones. It's role goes beyond the obvious and important biomechanical role in movement and expression; the health of this tissue system undoubtedly significantly impacts biochemical functioning (hormone secretion, metabolism) and neurological functioning.

The human fasciae factor prominently in the discussion among professional Structural Integrators, the field that is primarily concerned with the overall balance of the arrangement of the human body as it lives in the field of gravity. Dr. Ida P. Rolf, the originator of Structural Integration, called the fascial network the body's organ of support/structure. And, in fact, the Fascia Research Congress idea originated with researcher/clinicians trained in Rolf Structural Integration. Even so, from the onset it was clearly seen that understanding the fascial system would be of interest to an audience beyond the circle of Structural Integrators. The community of practitioners in Structural Integration as well as those in other fields that directly manipulate soft connective tissues of the body are naturally interested in fascia and its underlying mechanisms.

Fascia Studies is now a bona fide field of knowledge that is expected to contribute to understanding of its importance also for clinicians in medical and the complementary/alternative fields. A Fascia Research Society has been created as an ongoing source of new information and discussion.

Rolf Structural Integration is a field now with 19 schools recognized by the organization accrediting professionals in the field, the International Association of Structural Integrators. The Ida P. Rolf Research Foundation has also been created fairly recently to support and foster rigorous scientific investigation into the outcomes and efficacies of Structural Integration. Part of its interest is research into the specific nature and properties of fascia/the fascial system itself.

The following comments are posted to add some perspective on how new research should be considered relative to the overall goal of establishing Structural Integration in the marketplace of health care options. Organization boilerplate notwithstanding, what actually gets supported and funded in this area reflects the preferences and priorities of those making granting decisions.

Pure research in which there is an open ended investigation into the subject of the human fasciae is certainly a necessary part of possible scientific investigation. Yet, as a clinician and dedicated professional in this field of practice, I am also very interested in how new discoveries can translate into my hands in actual practice with clients; does it pass the "So What" test. More broadly, as a supporter of the work bequeathed by Dr. Rolf, my position is that research needs to address the efficacy of the work itself in palliative outcomes as well as the ways in which it prospers the human being in terms of performance and creative expression. What does balancing the body actually mean to the life of men and women?

The field of study is broad indeed. It is also recognized that fascia is not an isolated tissue. We talk about it separately for precision and clarity sake, but fascia has an intimate relationship to muscle and nerve tissue. Particularly in the matter of the plasticity of the human body, fascia itself is involved most certainly. But how it works in terms of the observed ability of the body to change shape under repeated patterns of movement and induced manual pressure also most certainly will have to acknowledge muscular and neurologic involvements/interrelationships. Perhaps even the psycho-somatic aspect, how client willingness to engage this process affects outcomes. As you might see by now, rigorous research into the more general whole person effects is a complicated matter to sort out the many variables, very difficult to isolate causative effects.

The founders of the Ida P. Rolf Research Foundation and its core scientific advisers are principally (and, granted, quite legitimately) interested in their own careers in fascia research and palliative care. That career specialization has coincided to time fortuitously with the keen receptivity for information on that overlooked area, particularly from the clinicians who work with soft tissue modalities.

That notwithstanding, I am expressing the need to also document the results of Structural Integration as a whole and in the broad range of human functioning. This is a necessary piece of the picture. This will grow the field of practitioners and help further establish this approach with the public and associated professionals.

Dr. Rolf spoke about fascia in connection with her concepts and approach to balance in the human organism. It is arguable whether that subject has pride of place in her and her many students' interest in the field. By my reading Gravity and enlisting its constructive nurturing effects on human functioning and the potential of the makeup of the body structure to be organized to take advantage of that force (regardless of the underlying mechanisms, as interesting and compelling as they may be to investigate) are closer to Dr. Rolf's principal concerns. Doubtless, this is all debatable since Ida is no longer available to directly express herself. Read her brilliant paper, "Gravity, an Unexplored Factor in a More Human Use of Human Beings." 

The Ida P. Rolf Research Foundation is an independent organization. But, just to point out that it is an outgrowth to extend the mission of the Rolf Institute, founded by Dr. Rolf, to further scientific understanding of Structural Integration on all fronts. The concern is that private professional agendas taken up with the current keen interest in fascia could skew the activity in that direction and it could lose sight of the other, perhaps more significant and more practically useful areas of study. My concern also is based on the distinct impression that many of the Foundation's key scientific advisers are not schooled in Rolf Structural Integration and may only understand it in terms of their own career orientations to palliative methods and local body treatments. This could be a factor skewing preferences in choices for research that are targeted mainly to tissue related subjects and palliative techniques and results. Again, all good, but the other areas of study deserve attention.

In view of its association with the founder of Structural Integration, the Ida P. Rolf Research Foundation, while it may not technically have any requirement to act other than by its own lights and self generated plans, there are reasons of good faith to take into account the interests of the field itself and its practicing professionals. The Foundation has the rights to feature Dr. Rolf's image and personal signature as a key feature of its masthead. This could be construed as an imprimatur from her on whatever that organization, however well intended, may choose to do. That is simply not the case. That personal signature compels an organization with such great potential to be vigilant to keep to the founder's overall perspective, even when it may not be under any legal compulsion to do so. It is more a moral and ethical consideration. The right thing to do.

Offered in support of a successful, thriving and useful Ida P. Rolf Research Foundation.

Best wishes.

David Wronski


It is Rare . . .

An earnest student is rare. Rarer still, when the teacher becomes a student . . .



Yen Hui said, “I am making progress.”
Confucius asked, “In what way?”
Yen Hui said, “I have given up doing good and being right.”
Confucius said, “Very good, but that is not quite enough.”

...
Another day, Yen Hui saw Confucius and said, “I am making progress.”
Confucius asked, “In what way?”
Yen Hui said, “I have given up ceremony and music.”
Confucius said, “Very good, but that is not quite enough.”

Another day, Yen Hui saw Confucius again and said, “I am making progress.”
Confucius asked, “In what way?”
Yen Hui said, “I just sit and forget.”
Confucius was startled and asked, “What do you mean by sitting and forgetting?”
Yen Hui said, “I am not attached to the body and I give up any idea of knowing.
By freeing myself from the body and mind, I become one with the infinite.
This is what I mean by sitting and forgetting.”
Confucius said, “When there is oneness, there are no preferences. When there is change, there is no constancy. If you have really attained this, then let me become your pupil.”