Friday, April 10, 2015

What's the Bid Deal About Gravity

So what's the bid deal I've been making about Gravity?

Yes, we all know about it. Simply put, it's what makes things go to the floor when you drop them. We would even acknowledge it's true that it is so constant and ever present we are inured to it. It passes under the radar. It's a given. Sort of like how kids today take computers and smartphones as just a part of their everyday life. The world into which they are born. We are born into the field of gravity. We don't know anything other. 

Gravity ... unspoken of and unrecognized as such, we learn to crawl, to walk, to live within its presence. Under it's influence. Like I said, it's a given. Sort of like how the fish and other creatures of the sea would probably not pay too much attention to the water, if they could talk about it, ever.

Maybe though, some fish would be aware of water as such. Those that leap into the air from time to time. Surely they sense the change, that there's an alternative environment. We humans too. We've traveled far enough from earth enough now to know what it is like to live without the effects of Gravity. Heck, there's even a NASA project going on right now with a human in space for one full year. His twin is back on earth, and they will use his brother as control to measure differences after his return to Terra Firma. Isaac Newton. Who doesn't know that name. He deduced gravity when he got the insight from a falling apple. 

[That apple. Adam and Eve. New York City, the Big Apple. The apple of my mother's eye. An apple a day. What's that about apples?]

So, as you know, I am scientifically and professionally interested in balancing humans with gravity. Fostering a transformation from Gravity as purely a concept, to being aware of it as a percept. And, having an active and conscious relationship with that natural ecological ineluctable fact. Why? Hey, it's a living. Seriously though ... for health and performance and creativity. And REALLY BEING ALIVE!

We are all in gravity. That, everyone knows. But, it's debatable on the point concerning just how "with" gravity we really are. If you look at your neighbors — don't forget to include yourself — with an architect's eye for structural balance and integrity, you'll notice something quite obvious now that you've looked for it. Most of us live slipped away from the simple vertically stacked pattern which both the science of Physics and Anatomy indicate is an appropriate arrangement for living under the constant pull of the force of Gravity.

Dr. Ida P. Rolf originated my field called Structural Integration. She put it this way: "Some individuals may perceive their losing fight with gravity as a sharp pain in their back, others as the unflattering contour of their body, others as constant fatigue, yet others as an unrelentingly threatening environment.  Those over forty may call it old age.  And yet all these signals may be pointing to a single problem so prominent in their own structure, as well as others, that it has been ignored: they are off balance, they are at war with gravity."

So the crux of it is not that what's been stated here is anything new. Not really. What's new is that something can be done about it.

What can be done? The human body is plastic. It takes the individual shape we see in ourselves and others over a period of time. Repeated movement patterns, a mix of good and bad habits. Throw in the occasional trauma, insult, and accident. We've learned copying adults around us who themselves may not have been adequate models. 

We all arrive at adulthood with a random mix of patterns, many off balance in terms of the simple level and square every architect and building trade worker takes into account as the rule for balance and sound structure. It happens so gradually we don't notice it as such. Dr. Rolf observed we naturally grow bigger and stronger as we mature. But, just how those parts come to work and fit together, that is to a very large degree learned. We may take it to be who we are. We become attached. "That's just the way I am." Do something? How dare you even suggest such a thing! There's nothing wrong with me! As if the mere fact that we stand on two legs and move about is enough proof that our relationship to Gravity is ... just fine, thank you! 

Structural Integration is something you learn. To those of us in the profession it's as basic as going to school and learning the 3-R's. Nobody questions the need to teach the children how to negotiate their world. Yet, when it comes to learning how to get their bodies into a healthy and correct arrangement, we leave that mostly to chance. We're all perfect, right? Perfectly, imperfect. 

Be that as it may, we mostly live well short of our easy and natural potential for simple architectural balance in the makeup of our bodies. Could it be that the war we wage is just an expression of something inner at conflict with itself? The merchants of war are not going to enlighten you on that point. War, Boy!, is good for business!

Bodily balance. Do you need it? You tell me. I'm just here to tell you that you can change. If and when you want. It does take some doing. Nothing all that difficult though. Just some doing. There's no need to be living putting up with a body out of balance. Which, more likely than not, translates to pain and stress. Not being as effective as you know you can be. 

Whether something should be done in any individual case, I leave that for you to decide. You can take the usual approach. Go on as you are and wait until something happens. A surgery to cut away the problem part. Pills are available. Just call your doctor, though, if — I kid you not, this is a disclaimer I recently heard — "your breasts start to produce milk." And that one about calling your doctor "if your erection lasts more than 4 hours." Heck, call all the girls you know first. Alright, in light of the current zeitgeist, the boys you know too. Whatever.

But let me say this on a related subject. About putting things off. You know about the environment. There are those saying that the time for doing something in certain areas was several years ago when the alarms first went out. It's a common assumption — hubris, really — that technology will fix anything in the future we encounter. That may be a good strategy for business if your profits come from the tech sector. But, there is such a thing as a Tipping Point: a time and situation where things are beyond the point of fixing. Just how many pieces of plastic in the waters of the earth will be too much? We wait to see. Need I get into subjects that have to do with the pollution of drinking water and the air? Or, the melting of the polar ice caps? A Native American spokesperson, Winona LaDuke Anishinaabe, recently said: "Someone needs to explain to me why wanting clean drinking water makes you an activist, and why proposing to destroy water with chemical warfare doesn't make you a terrorist."

Fortunately, the human organism itself has a great deal of restorative power. Not to suggest that there could come a time when things can't be corrected. But, the more time passes the harder it'll be down the road to make those necessary changes. It's never too late. But, do you want to experiment with your aliveness and health to wait and see? 

It's a fascinating part of my career to be involved in such a discussion. Of course, I am a convert. Just what it takes, if indeed there is anything that it could take, to awaken another to the same understanding, I don't know. You know you've been asleep only after you waken. 

I give it my best. But mostly, sleeping dogs will want to lie. Praying for a gentle awakening.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Don't Waste Gravity

A Waste of Gravity

When you’re tuned in to how to correctly cooperate with gravity, you’re tuned in to the world. Tuned in, not as an idea, but as a lived experience. Not as a concept, but as a percept.

Gravity is an ineluctable environmental fact. But would you believe it if someone told you the force of gravity is on the leading edge of the ecological frontier? What? What? Understandably, the force of gravity is so steady and ever-present we are inured to it, unconscious to its presence.

Well then, consider something that is as plain to see as a mud fence. What we observe walking around every day around us is a wide variety of patterns of use of the human body which, to one extent or another, show signs of being at odds with the simple architectural dictates of gravity. Coming straight to the point, the doctor diagnoses your condition: “Out of Whack.”

The human body is like any other physical structure on earth. Architects and building trade workers know that things need to be “plumb and square” to hold together, to work properly, to last. The anatomical design of the human body calls for the same. Things need to be stacked up vertically, level, and symmetrical. In that correct, or normal stance, you experience living effortlessly upright, unstressed, easy, and free. Thing power, presence, grace. Capable, spacious,fluid. As the writer Scott Russell Sanders who was quoted in Reader's Digest so elegantly phrased it, “When the bubble is lined up between two marks etched in the glass tube of a level, you have aligned yourself with the forces that hold the universe together.

On an everyday basis, however, we are mostly living with only a rough approximation of what the design of the body calls for in terms of correct or normal adaptation to the force of gravity. And when I say “mostly” I’m saying that it is rare to see the kind of grace and ease and power and presence manifest in our fellow men and women. When we do see it we are naturally moved by those manifest qualities. We recognize it as our birthright. We want it for ourselves. 

The situation of our species-wide lack of adaptation to the requirements of the force of gravity may never get recognized as such, and thus continues to self-perpetuate until and unless there is an intervention to alter its pattern. Most people function in an endless recursive feedback loop of fixated bodily patterns and regularly elicited feelings and emotions. Those patterns get set in over time because they continue to reflexively prompt the same sets of feelings and emotions which formed them in the first place. For most of us living vertically upright and balanced in the makeup of our bodies is still over the horizon as an evolutionary potential. 

My aim in writing this is to make it visible on that horizon. Like when Columbus sailed to the New World, the story goes that the natives did not see the ships; only the wise elders saw. 

Another way to express it is that we are shaped by our experiences, set in our ways. And, few of us question whether this is necessary or that anything can be done about it. We take it as a given. We become identified with those patterns ingrained into the fabric of our bodies. Attached. Literally. You could draw the analogy of a bird on a branch: “perched” there, holding on for support. We maintain the body patterns which got fixed into the fabric of our flesh which are a result of our individual unique history of bad habits, limited training, and accidents and traumas. This goes on all the time without pause and thus becomes our inadvertent default state.

We relate to it unquestioningly as if it is somehow genetically ordained. We leave it at, “Well, that’s just the way I am.” Or, “I was born that way.” We put up with living below our potential, robbed of vitality, energy diverted into maintaining imbalanced structural arrangements in the make-up of our bodies. These put a damper on productivity, physical performance and mental capacity, and creative expressiveness.

What’s worse, over time our bodies become fixed into patterns based on repetitive use. Imbalanced patterns betray our ignorance of gravity. We live at odds with the upright and level equipoise so very clearly called for in the human anatomical design. 

This need not be. At least in that respect, you weren’t born that way. Just that some bad habits may have set in, and some accidents and traumas haven’t been fully processed. And, oh yes, and who taught you how to walk, to stand, to sit? You went to school and learned so many things; but, on the point of how to use your body correctly — which, by the way, is at the center of all you do — you were mainly self-taught. The models on which we’ve patterned ourselves probably wouldn’t be getting any prizes as examples of correct body balance themselves. Mother didn’t always know best, every time.

Now that you know . . . don’t waste the opportunity with gravity! Your date is waiting on the doorstep.

Nevertheless, unless you’re a rocket scientist or drop the teacup, gravity gets little attention on an everyday basis. Understandably, the pull of gravity is so constant and ever present we easily become unconscious to it. What’s more, the very real survival issues presented these days by other ecological concerns already in our face may make the question of gravity — and the consequences of the ways we are misusing gravity — seem less urgent. Maybe even meaningless. So much so, it’s probably not even on the radar. So easy to let slip by. “Don’t waste gravity!” “What. Huh? Next?”

It is arguable, however, that becoming conscious and actively engaged in our lived relationship to gravity will have far reaching effects in all aspects of our lives. Not the least of which would be an awakened awareness and engagement with those other pressing matters at or soon to be at our doorstep. Simply put, when you’re tuned in to how you yourself operate in the gravitational field of the Earth, you get tuned in to the world. As a colleague used to love to say, “What we need around here is a firm grasp of the obvious!”

Yet we waste a great opportunity and lose productivity because we ignore it. Not to mention how this depresses the general quality of our life experience, and limiting performance and creative expressiveness. For want of access to our native inner resources we lack the creativity for adapting effectively to change and seeing the road clear to improving our ecological stance on the Earth. 

What to do?

Well, my preference is you call me and book an appointment to start a series of Rolf Structural Integration. Or, at least give some thought to how the way the makeup of your body and its imbalances affect your health, vitality, performance, and expression. Once you make the connection and come to the conclusion that you’d be better off in balance and in line with gravity, you’ll know what to do. Like a moth to the flame.

If you’re not reaching for the telephone right now, here are sometips to get you going in the right direction.

And, when you are ready to get it done call a professional trained in Rolf Structural Integration. 

That is, if you REALLY want to LIVE!