Turning Point

This last week was a fulcrum in the debt that I owe to one Ida Rolf, who provided me with a vision of significant work to do some 34 years ago. Some have said that I am a drag on her mission, diluting the work with the changes I have proposed to the recipe, and by offering courses that blur the line between her work and other related therapies. Others, happily, see my work as a contribution to the understanding of Structural Integration.

Within my own world, neither these sins nor my advances are particularly noteworthy. The work is developing quietly on a number of fronts, with or without me. But I wanted to catalyze two things, as return favors to my mentor and teacher, however brief my encounter with her. For one, I wanted to see an umbrella professional organization that would draw in the various schools, some of which started before Ida died, some of which have sprung up in these last few years. When Marilyn (Beech) accosted me in Montana in 2002, I was willing to give IASI a go, though I held little hope for its success in the face of the egos involved.

Its success – largely due to Marilyn, but I will take a little credit for the initial presentation to the community – was measured this weekend with the second convention in Cambridge, MA. With 350 of the 900+ members in attendance (around 50 of them KMI grads), including teachers from most of the schools (the Guild for Structural Integration, a once-important school, is sadly and noticeably absent), the IASI has brought in the whole community into one professional body, one with power and possibility. The speakers and panels were generally good; the breakout sessions less so, but the conversation in the halls was great.

The exam that accompanied this convention – psychometrically valid for use in legislation and accreditation – was good but strange. I turned back about 30 of the 120 questions as having no good answer or (more often) too many. The exam was not easy, was constructed to require a lot of thought, and made presumptions about how the work was being taught that I don’t think we can yet make. In the middle of it, I found myself thinking, “My friends made up this exam?” I cannot comment on the content, but it will provide good grist for the mill of people objecting to this or saying we should have more of that. In combination with more cross-pollination among the faculties and administrations, I can see a way that finally the historical separation among practitioners of this work could be bridged and progress made in getting us a seat at the table.

We have for many years been stuck in our own navel-gazing, internicene conflicts, and unsurety as to where to go. Though there is still some talk of avoiding regulation with exemption or head-in-the-sand strategies, more and more we begin to live in the real world where the undoubted contribution of Rolf’s work can shine where it can – in fascially based postural compensation.

For my own part, the 48 hours of the conference were proof that one can live on pure attention and coffee alone. I felt like a hummingbird, wings beating 100x / second, going from blossom to blossom, either taking nectar or giving it to/from so many people I rarely get to see. So many great people in this crowd! By the time I got home from this kind of performance, I was a wreck – too many people, too many expectations, too many encounters, so I am a blob for a couple fo days catching up on sleep and solitude.

Just before I introduced Judith Aston to start the conference, one pill with a downturned mouth stung me like a scorpion from something insulting that I had done to her 18 years previous! Another student of mine was looking daggers at me until I confronted her to lance the boil. Last meeting, someone similar took me to task for something I did 27 years earlier. How the human mind hangs on! How our sins live on!

In turn, I was also carrying a lot of garbage for a senior Rolfing instructor who showed up for this, from earlier times when we were both immature – and he had seemingly dropped it utterly so that my residual angst was for nothing.

I hope I have changed in the intervening, but probably not much. You pays your money and makes your choices and the chips fall. In this case, the balance is strongly ‘Yes!’ and this one debt to Ida is paid.


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