The force of gravity is a prime ecological fact. When we build we pay strict attention to the laws of physics.  We may play tricks with the eye in our architectural designs by adding in asymmetries and imbalances in the surface appearance. But, deep down, it's what any trade worker or architect would tell you: plumb and square. Level and even. Everything fitted to balance in the field of gravity.

Unlike static structures, the human body is dynamic, designed to move. And, it is segmented. feet, legs, pelvis, torso, shoulders, neck, head. The issue of balance in respect to the dictates of gravity is no less so with our bodies than with any physical structure.

Yet . . . When you look at the average individual in terms of the pattern of the body parts, you generally see a kind of randomness, or lack of organization according to how we know from the body's anatomical design things should go. It is so commonplace it is ignored. 

When I began my career in Rolf Structural Integration several years ago I thought it was an idea whose time had come. But, people resist. I don't think that people resist the idea of balancing the body with gravity as such. We all tend to not act unless the wolf is at the door. But, even then, the quick fix please.

If you are attempting to resolve symptoms of chronic pain and stress, please consider a regimen that works to bring order and balance into the structure of the body. Rolf Structural Integration is peerless and definitive. But, you may not want to take that step just now. So, pay more attention to how you use your body. Things like getting your workplace ergonomics right. Adjusting your walk so that both feet track directly forward. Bring your reading or computer monitor to eye level; not bend your head and stoop. If you are a big app user or texter, same thing. Bring your device to you, not you to the device.

The message of Rolf Structural Integration is simply that things work better physically when the body is balanced with the action of gravity. First subscribe to the idea that this is a value. I personally know it is a great value that could save a lot of time and expense in health care costs. A balanced body is a given if you seek to achieve top levels of physical performance, in athletics or on the stage. A body in balance has less inner friction, less noise. With a body in balance you can really live!

Rolf Structural Integration is the definitive tool when you want to consciously engage in the process of bringing your life into a higher order of balance. It offers personalized assistance to foster an evolution in the makeup of the body to a balanced, symmetrical, effortlessly upright stance with full range of motion. Grace, presence, power, vitality. Can you imagine any of that without some measure of balance as the foundation?  
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“. . . the phrase ‘align with Gravity’ doesn’t have a lot of impact for the average ear.”

Yet, When It Comes to Gravity . . . 

We’ve Just Scratched the Surface

I am in my thirtyfifth year as a practitioner of The Ida P. Rolf Traditional Method Structural Integration.

And I'm still every bit as enthusiastic about spreading the news that the force of Gravity itself can be enlisted for optimum health, healing, top physical performance, and fullest creative expressiveness. Cutting edge ecology? You tell me!

What are we talking about? The quick definition: Rolf Structural Integration is an educational system developed by Dr. Ida P. Rolf using movement and touch to align the body with Gravity. This does not mean balance as on a skateboard, or on a wire. Balance in the makeup, the arrangement of the body. Architectural. How things fit. How things work ... best. This sort of true balance is easily within reach for most people; of all ages, varying physical abilities, and different life circumstances.

What also needs to come across is the point about that business of alignment with Gravity, and so-called “true balance”. (True, as in correct, normal.) Probably the phrase “align with Gravity” doesn’t have a lot of impact for the average ear. However, most individuals do not live up to the kind of balance that can meet the scientific definition of “aligned in Gravity”. The simple fact that one can stand up on two feet is a passing grade for most people. The situation is so commonplace it goes unnoticed. Mostly we see random rough approximations of what’s really possible.

The hallmarks of a body in correct normal balance are 1) verticality — the major segments comfortably stacked up one on top of the another, and 2) symmetry — right and left sides matching. Again, true symmetry: not just that there’s an arm on each side, or a leg; that’s a rudimentary symmetry. But, symmetry in terms of how those arms and legs are positioned in space relative to one another, and how they fit in relation to the entire body; what’s in between, above and below.

If you want to contest this definition of true/correct/normal balance, let me sell you my garage that is leaning precariously into the neighbor’s yard. Or, maybe you would like a free overnight stay on the upper level of the Leaning Tower of Pisa. If you are a taker on either of those two offers, stop reading immediately! This is not the kind of help you need.

When you look at the way average folks’ bodies are put together — how things actually fit in space and in their relationship to one another and in terms of how things should be to cooperate with the pull of Gravity — you will see a lot of variation from the Anatomy textbook; clearly in violation of the Law [of Gravity]. Under arrest, in fact. But, self-arrest. What we do see is mainly a seemingly passable rough approximation of the kind of balance that is in the body’s basic design potential and dictated by laws of physics.

An obvious place to look for balance/imbalance for yourself is the shoulders. Strip to the waist and look at your upper body in a mirror. Are the shoulders level, or is one side higher/lower than the other? Is one side larger/smaller? Closer to the torso? One side more forward, or back? Such differences become obvious when you look. It is probably becoming clear that we generally don’t look at our bodies that way, certainly not in such detail. Also, because the body parts are interrelated, what’s going on in the shoulders most certainly is reflected in the pelvis. Not to mention the head and neck. If you have a head ache, besides whatever else you may do, be sure to check on the tension in your shoulders and neck. Likely culprits.

Just saying . . . Since I am for natural remedies, it concerns me to see so many women spending so much money and enduring pain to have their breasts enlarged. You could have beautiful and satisfying results from simply having the body balanced to a higher, more natural order. Let’s be clear. I’m not referring to what some call having good posture. Yes, you can get a nice look just like the girls at the strip club know how to do by arching and pulling the shoulders back. That’s for models and photographers. (And first impressions at the cocktail lounge.) The kind of balance and corresponding upliftedness I am suggesting here comes from the inside out. When the body is stacked up vertically along its central axis, this automatically lifts the rib cage, and thus the bust line. In balance your breathing is free and full; the rib cage expands easily. That’s what I call stacked. But instead, its big breasts on top of sunken chests. Cosmetic plastic surgery, same issue; a pretty (?) surface fix over an underlying problematic issue(s), left unnoticed/unresolved. Only time will tell.

We mainly take the arrangement of our bodies as given and don’t consider how the ratio of balance/imbalance in the makeup of the body affects or vitality, health, and experience of living. Those who strive for excellence and top form in athletics and full creative expressiveness in the performing arts are already engaged in the process of cultivating bodily balance. The vast majority of humanity lives below the line. Better to say, “Off the line.” The line of Gravity and the central vertical line of the body, when they match up, by definition that’s normal, healthy. Ever heard that before?

It’s important to understand that imbalances don’t live in isolation. Like a lot of therapeutic approaches often do, “Does it hurt there? OK, I’ll fix it there.” Perhaps this explains why therapeutic remedies that only address local symptoms often don’t seem to have lasting effect? Because with imbalances come compensations, complications. You can’t address just one. You have to treat the whole situation. Dr. Rolf’s genius was in coming up with a reliable system that gets at whole body balance gracefully over a rather short period of time.

These imbalanced fixations become set throughout the body in patterns unique to each individual. Why? Bad habits, unresolved accidents and traumas, lack of proper role models (“Isn’t it cute how Johnny swings his leg in an arc just like his daddy when he walks?”). Imbalances built into the fabric of the body over the years limit mobility and range of expression. They also play on the psychic-emotional level as well. It takes extra energy to live with unresolved imbalances in the makeup of the body. It’s an effort to hold yourself together. We put up with chronic pains and stress and fail to recognize how they are in a great majority of cases signals pointing to the simple fact that the body is out of balance. Think about this in terms of health care costs and lowered productivity.

Charlie Brown: “This is my depressed stance. [Standing with head down and shoulders drooped.] When you’re depressed, it makes a lot of difference how you stand.” Sister Sally: “The worst thing you can do is straighten up and hold your head high because then you’ll start to feel better.” Charlie: “If you’re going to get any joy out of being depressed, you’ve got to stand like this.”

The idea that any average individual would do well to cultivate such structural order in the makeup of the body does not occur; and, when first exposed to it, most people seem to glaze over. It is news that still hasn’t been delivered. Off the radar, so to speak. Funny though, we wouldn’t tolerate such shoddy workmanship in even the backyard tool shed. Imbalance in the architectural arrangement of the body, however, not much purchase there.

Most of us generally only take action when problems show up. If you are lucky enough to seek the services of a qualified practitioner of Rolf Structural Integration to relieve chronic pains and stress—and that practitioner is able to enlist you in seeing how those problems are related to how your body relates to Gravity—then you see for yourself first hand, unambiguously, the freedom and aliveness living with your body effortlessly upright, balanced, symmetrical and unstressed.

If you are dedicated to be tops in sports or a star of stage and screen, then you ought to already know that your instrument, your body, needs to be in top form, fine tune. And, if you really want to live, doesn’t it make sense that howsoever you may have that framed for yourself, you’ll be well served to cultivate tangible and lasting balance in the makeup of your body.

When you are ready to add “alignment with Gravity” to your resume, Rolf Structural Integration will be a significant boost. But, first you gotta be thirsty, before we can really show you where the water is.

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Tipping Point

Inspired by recent developments . . . 

If you get the news you must have some idea of what's going on. Of course, in this post-modern, relativistic culture which currently seems to have us all in its spell, there's no two folks that can agree on what's going on. And, each feels content, if not righteously secure, with the thought that they are the ones that have it right. We all shrug and say "[Let's leave it at] . . .Whatever."

As a wise man once said, "There's nothing you can say that someone can't prove you wrong." Duelling with Dualism.

A recent newspaper article just reported on how at some airports interactive devices with a holographic female human image have been installed to give directionsAVA, Airport Virtual Assistant. Technologically, this is a great idea. Humanistically, I'm not at all comfortable. Angry, is more like it. Are we slowly but surely being trained (herded?) into a mode of total and constant interactivity with machines? And, in the process, being winnowed from the work force, a life of activity, contribution, and shared experience? Maybe. But, to what? And, for What?

Just call a customer service center. After jumping through hoops to get to a real service representative, the idiot in who-knows-what- country is talking to you from a script. And, most exasperating of all, can only think within the confines of the content on the page. Who needs you, buddy, when a machine could probably follow a script even better. Think about that all you outsourced telephone answering robots. Your time will be brief.
We can imagine, thanks be to Jobsoh yes, let us not fail to acknowledge Spawn of Steve, Marky Z)a future not too distant where everyone will be content to stay home, really in an air conditioned container, connected to the hilt electronically and in every other way living a virtual life of each one's choosing. No waiting folks! Bandwidth will not be a problem in this Joberbergian future; so, everybody can go for whatever they virtually desire and no waiting due to so many others being online grabbing for the same ring. Everything for everybody all the time. Buffering, that's so early 21st Century.

This may seem a little cynical, you say. It does presuppose the human spirit can be suppressed so thoroughly that the mass of humanity will submit to such a life. "1984" and "Brave New World" are great fiction. If at least for being cautionary. But, do you think the actual will be delivered in the same fashion and therefore you rest content and snug/smug for not seeing it coming in a guise Orwell and Huxley had not envisioned? If you doubt all this, then just look at the recent historical record of the speedy adoption of interactive hand held devices. Convenient, of course. But, mainly amusements and distractions. There's an app that duplicates fart sounds, praise Job! In Steve we trust. Uncritically and enthusiastically. "Poof!" But, without any offending odors. So nice.

So there they will be, the mass of humanity, sealed comfortably and happily in their connected virtual reality chambers. Endlessly searching and engaging the MindScape. Life without end, amen.

Of course there will have to be a cadre of enablers, genetically engineered humanoids who tend those chambers while their occupants are alive. Clean up after the decease.

Also, a highly genetically refined class of actors and experts and performers to provide the imagery that is the nutriment of this virtual heaven on earth.

Humans will probably not in our lifetime be able to convert purely electronic stimuli into metabolites. Food as we know it in the early part of the 21st Centuryindeed, as we have known it since the time of recorded historywill still be necessary. For a short while anyway. Technology will be there also to save us, rest assured. Two words . . . Soylent Green. But, you should know we won't call it that and any thought that it might be that will be expunged for our browsing enjoyment.

Why would anyone want to set such a thing up? Well, let's call them the ruling elite. Sort of like what we have now in the government; that's both branches, the public and the private sectors. All those sequestered interactive folks will be mind-mined to provide the mental technological and creative output to enable the ruling class to enjoy actual living on Terra Firma. Oh, they will be benevolent, let us be assured. Anything, virtually that is, your heart desires. And when you become a situation where the cost benefit ratio is in decline, well then they will arrange for your departure; but, rest assured, in the nicest possible way. Virtually. And, as alluded to previously, you won't go to waste even after your productivity rating indicates terminal retirement. 

The rulers of this utopia of the alive and the virtually subsumed will be what we now call the statisticians, actuaries. They will possess the expertise to mine our interactive histories and create algorithms that keep the whole thing going. Of course, this "going" is not a static thing, but a growing wonderment of Jobian fantasies. Every goddamn iota of human potential and possibility will be explored and displayed. The show's the thing, yes?

At the end, on the Day of Days, these words will be written: We did it all. We did it all. We made it all happen. And, that. And, that. And, that And . . .

If you are as enthralled as we all should be of the current explosion of technology, then you must be wondering excitedly when will all this happen. I can't hardly wait! What for the love of Steve and/or Mark makes you think it hasn't already happened? The new world will look just like it does now. Only better, howsoever you envision better.

Tipping point? Who has ever seen a tipping point. It happens, then you deal with it. Just now we are scrambling to get into position to be on the side that's dealing.

The perennial wisdoms all point to phenomenal existence already being a kind of virtual reality. If you're thinking the Matrix movies, perhaps there's a little truth to that. Now the virtual reality, this dream of Maya is conjuring a dream within a dream.

Waking. It's the only thing to do. We should have faith that the human spirit is indomitable. Just look at the moral and ethical evolution of the human race after such exemplars as Buddha and Jesus and Mohammad. We've come such a long way. Let's leave it for you to weigh on that.

Enjoy this quaint piece of entertainment:

Universal Life Energy

When I was in the middle of my initial 10 session series of Rolf Structural Integration, my Rolfer® invited me to be initiated into the Usui Method of Natural Healing. It is called Reiki, an ancient healing method. Most people probably have heard of it.

Soon after my initiation into Reiki I was called to fetch my seven year old daughter, Kristina, from school. She was complaining of stomach pains. I took her home and, as she lay in my lap, I put my hands on her tummy.

As my lovely, innocent little girl lay in my arms, after a little while I was amazed to see her color turn . . . to an ashen gray. This is not typical in a Reiki session, but my teacher told us to abide, in trust. (Please Note: This is not to say that you abandon common sense; if you see that outside help is necessary, you take appropriate action.) But I simply stayed with the situation, and soon her color returned. But now, it came back as a lovely peachy pink. My child's trust allowed her to surrender at a deep level. Be as little children, indeed.

After a while Kristie opened her eyes and said something amazing: "Daddy, everybody died, except you." Only years later did I understand what that meant.

I prepared dinner for the family that evening, and at the table Kristie announces, "Daddy's God!"

You have to know that such subjects were not usual in our family. I don't recall ever having a conversation with the girls about God. This was completely out of the blue. So I felt her exclamation needed some context. I asked, "Then what are you?"

"I'm God! . . . Everybody's God."

The following day I stayed home with her and her little girl ego materialized. "I am the queen, and you must obey me!" she confidently announced to me without any hesitation. Yes, ma'am!

Years later I realized in the context of that Reiki session Kristie had a rebirth. The slate was wiped clean. "Everybody died, except you" was her expression of the experience of being fully in the present moment. The past, not forgotten, but out of present mind.

Reiki is a Japanese word for "Universal Life Energy." If you want to understand what that is, the most direct thing I can share is that it is the difference between a living human being and a corpse. It is life itself.

If you are struggling with an ongoing chronic condition I heartily recommendbesides, of course, whatever you do for yourself medically or therapeutically—to treat yourself to Reiki. I suggest a practitioner trained in the Traditional Usui Method. Reiki is the simplest thing. No words are necessary. A lot of people have tagged on a lot of exotica, terms, and mumbo-jumbo. No need.

The treatment is very gentle, hands lightly placed on points on the front and back of the whole body. You lay on a padded table and wear comfortable clothing. Nothing for you to think, or learn, or believe in, or adopt. Just be there, receptive. You'll see for yourself.

During an important transition period I was going through a lot of personal change in just about all areas of my life. The mind tended to thrash about; old moorings were lost, old ties undone. Reiki was a great healing resource. Always relaxing and becoming present. Renewal. Revitalizing.

In time I have learned that healing is our birthright. It is always there. In the present moment. Ever new. Reiki is a powerful doorway toward that birthright. Enter.


Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj

In the following passages, you will find the unparalleled words of Nisargadatta Maharaj as seen in the book I Am That, translated by Maurice Frydman from Acorn Press.

Only the dead can die, not the living. That which is alive in you is immortal.
In reality there is only the source, dark in itself, making everything shine. Unperceived, it causes perception. Unfelt, it causes feeling. Unthinkable, it causes thought. Non-being, it gives birth to being. It is the immovable background of motion. Once you are there, you are at home everywhere.
In reality there are no others, and by helping yourself you help everybody else.

That which you are, your true self, you love it, and whatever you do, you do for your own happiness. To find it, to know it, to cherish it is your basic urge. Since time immemorial you loved yourself, but never wisely. Use your body and mind wisely in the service of the self, that is all. Be true to your own self, love yourself absolutely. Do not pretend that you love others as yourself. Unless you have realized them as one with yourself, you cannot love them. Don't pretend to be what you are not, don't refuse to be what you are. Your love of others is the result of self- knowledge, not its cause. Without self-realization, no virtue is genuine. When you know beyond all doubting that the same life flows through all that is and you are that life, you will love all naturally and spontaneously. When you realize the depth and fullness of yourself, you know that every living being and the entire universe are included in your affection. But when you look at anything as separate from you, you cannot love it for you are afraid of it. Alienation causes fear and fear deepens alienation. It is a vicious circle. Only self-realization can break it. Go for it resolutely.

I see what you too could see, here and now, but for the wrong focus of your attention. You give no attention to your self. Your mind is all with things, people and ideas, never with your self. Bring your self into focus, become aware of your own existence. See how you function, watch the motives and results of your actions. Study the prison you have built around yourself, by inadvertence.

The seeker is he who is in search of himself. Give up all questions except one: 'Who am I?' After all, the only fact you are sure of is that you are. The 'I am' is certain. The 'I am this' is not. Struggle to find out what you are in reality. To know what you are, you must first investigate and know what you are not. Discover all that you are not - body, feelings, thoughts, time, space, this or that - nothing, concrete or abstract, which you perceive can be you. The very act of perceiving shows that you are not what you perceive. The clearer you understand that on the level of mind you can be described in negative terms only, the quicker will you come to the end of your search and realize that you are the limitless being.

Nothing is wrong with you, but the ideas you have of yourself are altogether wrong. It is not you who desires, fears and suffers, it is the person built on the foundation of your body by circumstances and influences. You are not that person. This must be clearly established in your mind and never lost sight of.

What is really your own, you are not conscious of. What you are conscious of is neither you nor yours. Yours is the power of perception, not what you perceive. It is a mistake to take the conscious to be the whole of man. Man is the unconscious, the conscious and the superconscious, but you are not the man. Yours is the cinema screen, the light as well as the seeing power, but the picture is not you.
The source of all has all. Whatever flows from it must be there already in seed form. And as a seed is the last of innumerable seeds, and contains the experience and the promise of numberless forests, so does the Unknown contain all that was, or could have been and all that shall or would be. The entire field of becoming is open and accessible; past and future co-exist in the eternal now.

Only when you realize the true peace, the peace you have never lost, that peace will remain with you, for it was never away. Instead of searching for what you do not have, find out what is it that you have never lost? That which is there before the beginning and after the ending of everything; that to which there is no birth, nor death. That immoveable state, which is not affected by birth and death of a body or a mind, that state you must perceive.