Our body is a landscape of experiences and memories. From our inception until this moment, each one of us is on an evolving journey.
The influences from the outside world such as family dynamics, social conditioning and life experiences blend with our genetic makeup and produce our unique character. We, in turn, are resourced with attributes like a strong jaw or an ear for music. Likewise, we are limited by things that prevent us from being expansive such as trauma, a fixation in one belief system, or fear. Neither resource or limitation are positive or negative – they are simply aspects of being human that help us to manage our self in the world, a result of the nature and nurturing that make us who we are.
Most of us move through the better part of our lives being largely unaware of our resources and limitations. We may be told by parents or teachers that we are ‘good at this’ or ‘bad at that’, but this has little to do with true resource and limitation. While outsiders may observe and label the way we look or act, it is only each of us, individually, who truly knows the complexity of the tapestry of our life, and what potential exists for change and adaptability.
Over time, we travel over the panorama of life being in, and sometimes out of relationship with gravity and other people, things and ideas. Our body is the witness and keeper of these memories, embedding them into the fascia, the intertwining fabric of our manifest form. This becomes a map of our life as births, deaths, and everything in between are lodged in the tissue as holding patterns.
As the day-to-day of life goes on, we adapt these pulls in the body and our internal tension might fly largely under the radar. For some of us though, these tension strains reach a limit where we are no longer comfortable being in our own skin. We may have chronic pain, repetitive injuries or a general unease, and somehow, if we are lucky we arrive at Rolfing, the practice of releasing the tension strains in the body. As this process unfolds we have newfound physical space, and with this comes a shift in perspective.
One aspect of releasing fascia is that it gives us the opportunity to access memories. As the tissue softens and releases, we might relive an event or emotions that we have stored deep within the tissue’s matrix, or it may simply be that we take the time to remember our whole body is able to work together as one unit. Remembering takes on a different meaning for each of us. A unifying factor is that as the Rolfer navigates the landmarks of a life through the physical tissue, our primary relationship, that with gravity, is redefined. When we have clarity in the vertical plane, we are more grounded and aware – we have a memory of what it means to be human.
From this more stable vantage point, one possibility is that we may start to better understand relationship between the physical and emotional self. Relationships that have been held in one pattern for a long time have the potential for change as we become observant of fixations that no longer serve us. This may also bring confusion, perhaps even a challenge to our identity. We know ourselves, and others know us, in a certain framework, and when that framework shifts, uncertainty arises.
With the old references no longer in place there is the chance to redefine the old constructs that have made us who we think we are. We might see a different route to work for the first time. We might respond differently to a challenging situation. We may find friendships in unlikely places, or realize others are no longer serving us.
When we begin to loosen the grip on our attachments to fixed opinions and judgements of our self and other, we can ask the question Who am I? This simple question allows us to remember our essence beyond the strain patterns in the body/mind and return to a more authentic version of our self.
In the realm of the manifest world we each hold on to our own version of what is real, and the stories that we tell ourselves are powerful. They are responsible for holding us in a specific way in our body, and affix us to a limited reality. When we remember, understand, and test the verity of a story, we start to question what is myth versus reality, and as a result may find ourselves moving in a different direction, even at a different pace. This ‘differentiation’, our ability to change speed, path and even our mind, allows us to be more adaptable in the world.
What is more, is that as we continue to create memories and new landmarks along our own space/time continuum, a potential for awareness and acceptance of our past allows for a new accessibility to our present life and shifts the making of memories to come. In turn, our resources and limitations become interchangeable as we become clear on what purpose they might serve in our life. Through this we become more expansive, more vibrant, more true to our self.