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Rolfing is a big undertaking.  It’s not cheap, it takes a lot of time, it takes a lot of bravery and vulnerability, and there can be many uncomfortable side effects in the physical, emotional, spiritual, and mental realms of your life while getting Rolfed.  And so, I am often asked by my clients, “What can I do to help?”  When undergoing such a possibly transformative process, many people want to make sure they do their part to help things along, and to make sure they’re getting the most bang for their buck, so to speak.  (Which is awesome, btw.  I love when my clients are really invested in the process of transformation.)

Generally, most of what you can do to support the work of Rolfing, whether you’re doing one session, or the 10-series, or ongoing work to unravel old injuries and patterns, is a lot of stuff that we all know we should be doing regardless, but is extra helpful if you can do it around your sessions.  Drink a lot of water.  Eat the food your body is asking you to eat.  Stretch and move when and how your body asks you to stretch and move.  Rest when you body asks you to rest.  Don’t sit in one position for hours on end.  In short, pay attention to what’s going on in your body, then respond accordingly.  It’s so obvious, but a lot easier said than done.

There are, however, a few things specific to Rolfing that can be beneficial to supporting your sessions.  Exercising immediately after a session is not a great plan.  So, get your workouts in beforehand, and make sure you can take a rest day after your session.  Actually, this applies to more than just exercise.  If you have the freedom to schedule your sessions so that you can relax and tune in to what your body is asking for afterwards, that can be super helpful.  Even if you do hear your body screaming that it would like a nice, long walk after your session, it’ll be hard to manage if you’ve got back-to-back meetings scheduled for the rest of the day.  Also, letting your body be a body without many other inputs is great for the integration of the structural changes we’ve made.  This means no shoes, no tight or restrictive clothing, no sitting on/in furniture/cars, and no movements that don’t happen in nature (i.e. no treadmills, no ellipticals, and no lat pulls).  Pro-tip: If you need a machine or a piece of equipment to do it, it’s probably not a natural movement.  So save that stuff for after your session has had a while to settle out and your body has found its new normal.  Obviously, it’s hard to go 24 hours in our culture without shoes or sitting in chairs or cars, so I’m really just asking that you mindfully avoid these things as much as possible, but there’s no need to get obsessive about it.

And on the emotional/spiritual front, talk therapy can be very helpful for processing and integrating the changes being made through your work with Rolfing.  As I like to say, “There are issues in the tissues.”  If any of these emotional issues come up during your sessions, I’m happy to talk about them, but it can also be super beneficial to work with a trained therapist, social worker, or counselor who can more thoroughly and skillfully help you get to where you want to be.  I’m also happy to coordinate with your therapist so they have a better idea what you’re going through (as so many people, therapists included, still don’t know what Rolfing is), if that’s at all helpful to you.

But that’s it.  Try to be aware of what your body wants and needs (both physical and mental) and create space to do what you want and need.  That’s all it takes to support your Rolfing sessions.  That, and enjoy your new flexibility, balance, strength, and stability.

(And buy a whole new closet full of barefoot-shoes, and get a moveable stand-up desk, and probably quit your job, and do pilates and yoga, and start walking a lot more, and climbing trees, and sleeping outside, and throw away your phone…  But that’s it.)

Maybe.  Maybe not.  Perhaps the world will end on Friday.  Perhaps it will simply be another winter solstice.  Doesn’t really matter to me.  I love my life and don’t feel like I’ve missed out on anything I should have done if it’s all going to end on the 21st.  Then again, I won’t mind sticking around for a while longer if the apocalypse does not, in fact, decide to make an appearance.

Regardless of Mayan calendar accuracy or lack thereof, it feels heavy around me lately.  I seem to be hearing about a lot of deaths, and that started before the Connecticut school tragedy.  I have a good friend who called me last week and simply asked, through tears, if I could send him love because he was going through a rough time.  That same day, a potential client called saying she was at the end of her rope, and did I think maybe Rolfing could help when nothing else had?  People in my life who never get sick are coming down with the flu.  And I’ll be honest; I’m freaked out about the lack of precipitation we’ve had, even if I’ve been loving the sunny days.

In the end, it’s all okay.  Whether we all die on Friday or not, everybody dies, as painful as that is for the ones who are left behind.  Sometimes we need to go through rough times in order to realize what’s not working and what other possibilities might exist.  Sometimes we have to reach the end of our rope before we’ll try something that seems totally insane, but just might work.  Sometimes the flu has to come and remind us to slow down and not work so hard.  And sometimes there is drought in December in Colorado.  That’s just the way it works.  It may not be easy or comfortable, but that doesn’t mean it’s bad.

I’m not trying to brag, but through all the heaviness of late, I’ve been feeling exceptionally good.  Not that I haven’t had a rough day here or there, but in general, I’m in a good place.  Which means I’ve been able to provide a calm harbor for some of the stormy stuff happening around me.  Yes, you can cry on my shoulder.  Yes, I’ll gladly give you a hug, and another one after that, if you want it.  Please, go ahead and tell me all about your hard day and I’ll make you some tea.  What a blessing to be able to provide that for others.  It’s been such a pleasure to be able to pour out love to people and situations that need it.  I know it’s cliché, but it’s true: the more love I pour out, the more I feel pouring down on me from the universe.

I know that you may be hurting right now.  Or you might be on top of the world and living the good life.  Either way, it’s okay.  I just want to ask that if you’re hurting, you ask for what you need, as scary and difficult as that might be.  I need a hug.  I need you to sit on the couch with me.  I need you to take me out and distract me from myself for a few hours.  Please don’t be afraid to ask for help, or love, or kindness, and to keep asking until you get what you need.

And I’m also asking that if you feel amazing, that you please be gentle with those who don’t.  Try to exercise a little patience, since you’re not in a hurry.  Try to be a little more sensitive, since you’re not feeling vulnerable.  Try to be kind, since you’re not feeling hurt or sad.  Because while breakdowns are natural and necessary, they’re not easy or fun.  We’ve all been in that place where things feel too difficult to manage.  So I’m asking that if you have gentleness and love to spare, that you spread them around.

It may be the end of the world as we know it, but I feel fine.  If the apocalypse happens on Friday, it’s been a pleasure knowing you.  I’m grateful for your presence in my life and I love you.  And if Armageddon doesn’t come, the same is still true and happy winter and enjoy your weekend!

Welcome to story time with Theresa.  This has nothing to do with Rolfing or SourcePoint Therapy, or anything else work related.  It’s just a (true) story and I like it and I’m sharing it with you.

On a side note, I got to see some real, live Samaritans when I was in Palestine.  They were loud, but then again, they were teenagers, and teenagers tend to be loud.  Moving on.  Here’s the story:

I have a friend.  His name is Ryan.  For the past few weeks, he’s been traveling around the country, camping wherever he goes.   He’s out in the wilds, searching for answers, healing, and just being with himself in nature.  Yesterday, Ryan woke up and packed up his camp.  It was time to move on, he’d decided.  So Ryan got in his car, put the key in the ignition, and turned.  With no result.

Oops.  Apparently, Ryan had been using his car to charge his phone battery for several days, without actually turning the engine on.  And all that phone charging really took its toll on the car battery, to the point where it was dead.  Which, in itself, is not that big a deal.  Sure, November isn’t really peak season for camping, so there are no other people in the tent area of the campground.  Sure, the lodge nearby is all but shut down for the season, with only a few off-peak workers who won’t be arriving until 4pm.  But surely there would be someone around to give him a jump, right?
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Well, no, actually, there wasn’t.  After a walk around the campground, Ryan could not find a single person who could give him a jump.  Now, let me set the scene a bit.  Ryan hasn’t showered in a few days, and he’s been sitting near a campfire each night.  He doesn’t smell so awesome (sorry, Ryan).  He hasn’t shaved in over a week, and Ryan’s a man with some serious facial hair.  His clothes are not freshly pressed.  Ryan isn’t exactly the picture of approachability.

So, Ryan walks out to the road going by the campground and waits.  And waits.  Eventually, an older woman drives by and Ryan is able to flag her down.  He explains his predicament and asks if she might be able to help.  She replies, “I’m just a woman.  I don’t know anything.”  Which is sad and maddening, and a whole different story.  But the end result is that she is unable to help.

After some more waiting, Ryan is able to flag down another car.  This time the man driving is politely apologetic that he can’t help, but he simply doesn’t have jumper cables and what else can he do?  Finally, after nearly an hour on the road, a third vehicle comes by, this time a deputy sheriff’s truck.  The man who stops seems annoyed that Ryan has waved him over.  No, he doesn’t have jumper cables; no he can’t help.  And why are you bothering me, anyways?

So Ryan gives up on flagging people down and walks back to the campground.  He decides he’ll just have to make the several mile hike into town to try and buy some jumper cables.  Then, he will hike several miles back, try flagging down someone else, and proceed from there.  If nothing else, he can wait for the skeleton crew from the lodge to arrive at 4 and maybe get some help from one of them.

So, he packs up his backpack, turns to leave his car, and it promptly starts raining.  To put it mildly, Ryan is not having the best of days.  But there is nothing else to do but to walk towards town, so that’s what he does.  He walks the half mile to the main road, then starts the journey towards town, not really knowing how far away it is.  He’s given up on trying to flag people down, since he doesn’t have jumper cables and now plenty of cars are passing him as he trudges along in the rain, stepping over an inordinate amount of roadkill.  I don’t know why this detail is important to the story, but it’s there.  After he’s gone about a mile on this main road, a car drives past him.  Then the car slows, turns off the road into a parking lot, and the driver waves him over.

Inside is a young couple, maybe 19 or 20 years old, both covered in tattoos.  She has several facial piercings.  Both are smoking.  They ask if Ryan needs a ride somewhere.  He explains his situation.  And then, the most magical thing happens.  They tell him to hop in.  Soaking wet, smelly (sorry again, but it’s true), and ungroomed, he does.  They say they have a friend who has jumper cables they can probably use.  So they drive to the friend’s house.  He doesn’t have jumper cables.  So they drive to a gas station.  The gas station has no jumper cables.  Finally, they drive to an auto parts store, and Ryan is able to buy some jumper cables.  In the meantime, they’re all chatting and whatnot and Ryan learns that his two saviors are both on parole.  Also, the young man believes there’s a big government conspiracy to build concentration camps throughout the U.S. right now.  Even so, these ‘young punks’ are driving him all over the place, trying to help him.  Whatever Ryan asks for, they provide, without hesitation.  They drive him back to the campground and help him jump his car.  And they drive away.

Sheriff’s deputy can’t help.  Two kids on parole can and do.

Life’s full of surprises.

Thank you, to those angels for helping my friend out.  And thanks, to Ryan, for letting me share his story here.

Yo.  Here’s how it goes.  I write blog posts.  You read blog posts.  I think I’m funny and educational.  Maybe you do, too.  Regardless, maybe you get bored with listening to me ramble on week after week.  And so, I thought, perhaps it might be nice for you to hear from other people once in a while.  Get a different perspective; learn something new.  Maybe I could learn something new, too!  So, I got out my special internet-comb and started combing through for people that you might want to hear from.  And I found some good ones, wouldn’t you know!  Soon we’ll be hearing from Stephanie, who’s a bodyworker in Philadelphia, and I can’t wait!  I’m trying to get some other magic-makers from other fields in here as well.

But I got to thinking, as I was struggling with my big, unwieldy internet-comb, as it kept getting tangled in blogs which haven’t been updated in two years, that maybe there was an easier way to find super-awesome-healer-folk.  ‘Cause you all know them.  Don’t cha?  I mean, who do you go to when your kid gets sick?  Or when that weird pain in your arm comes back?  Who do you send all your friends to?  You know, those special magic workers you love and respect?  I want those people to guest post ’cause I wanna hear what they have to say.  Don’t you?

So, here’s what you can do for me, if it’s not too much trouble.  Send me the names and the contact info for anyone you want to hear from.  If you feel like including a blurb about why you love them so much, awesome.  And think big here.  I’m happy to talk with surgeons, crystal bowl healers, and midwives; and like Stephanie, they don’t have to be local.  If you think it counts as healing, it counts.  I’m hoping to compile a list of people not only to contribute to the newsletters, but also for referrals, ’cause you don’t want me delivering your baby, or playing crystal bowls, or cutting you open, but I’d like to be able to suggest someone else to do those things for you, if that’s what you’re looking for.

Cool?  Cool.  And thanks, in advance, for your help!

Once upon a time I wrote an article about plantar fasciitisWhile I found it absolutely brilliant at the time, I have since realized it’s lacking in the practical application department.  Sure, you can get a great basic understanding of what plantar fasciitis is and why you might suffer from it.   And those things are very helpful and all well and good and a wonderful place to start.  In fact, if you have no idea what I’m talking about, go here and read the article now, before you continue on with this little ditty.  But then what?  Yeah, it hurts.  No, I can’t run anymore.  Theresa, are you ever going to tell me what to do about it?

The thing is, since any number of things can cause plantar fasciitis, it’s awfully difficult to give generic advice about.  But I’m going to try.  ‘Cause I’m an overachiever.  So, first things first, we need to figure out where the root or roots of your particular plantar fasciitis may be hiding out.  Let’s start with the most obvious.  Have you injured your foot lately?  Stepped on a big pokey rock while barefoot?  Gone a bit overboard with the salsa dancing?  If so, it’s probably best to use the RICE method for a while.  Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation; just like you would for a sprained ankle.  And we all know that with ice we’re doing 20 minutes on, then 20 minutes off, right?  After 20 minutes of icing something, you start to increase the inflammation, so don’t go pushing this, trying to be an overachiever, too.  After a week or so of the chowing down on your RICE, you can start pushing around in there to see if you’re ready for some soft tissue work.  If it’s still super sore to the touch, keep RICEing ’til it doesn’t.  If you can get a moderately deep foot massage without pain, you’re ready for deep work, if you need it.  If your pain’s gone completely, congrats! you just healed your own plantar fasciitis!  Otherwise, use a tennis ball, standing on it and rolling slowly, slowly over the owie spots to get them to loosen up.  You don’t want to bring back that inflammation, so be careful.

Now, let’s say you have not injured your foot, but you still have plantar fasciits.  This is where it gets tricky.  Naturally, we’re going to be looking along your back line for a super tight spot that could be causing your foot pain.  Starting with your heel and using your fingers (or someone else’s) or a tennis ball dig into your soft tissue (not the bones) slowly working your way up your calf.  Be careful as you get to the knee ’cause there’s a whole bunch of juicy, yet delicate stuff right there in the open at the back of the knee.  In fact, just don’t press into the back of the knee.  It’s not worth the risks.  Then head up your hamstrings, which could take a while as those are some meaty suckers.  Speaking of juicy meat, head north through your glutes, going slow and savory-like.  Next up, low back, heading up to mid, then upper back.  Again, you should be able to manage all this while lying on a tennis ball on the floor, but having a friend do the work for you is extra nice.  If you still haven’t found your “ouchy!” spot, head up (gently!) to the neck, then over the head, all the way to your eyebrows.  If you haven’t found any especially tight spots, you’ve got a catch-22 to deal with.  On the one hand, you’re the only person in the whole country who doesn’t have a single tight spot along their back line.  You should get a prize!  On the other, you still have no idea where your plantar fasciitis is coming from and you’re probably going to require some help from a professional.  Can’t win ‘em all, I suppose.

If, instead, you have found a tight spot, or six, you now know where to focus your efforts.   Loosen up that fascia, nice and slow and easy-like, using that same tennis ball if your hands get tired or you can’t quite reach.  Little bits at a time; like 5 or 10 minutes a day.  Max.  Again, I’m the only overachiever allowed here.  I don’t want you doing more damage than good.  Don’t go pretending you’re a Rolfer.  Besides, when Rolfers work on themselves they tend to get all messed up ’cause they don’t respect their own boundaries and stop when they should.  Better not to go there.  Trust me.

After a week or so working on your trouble areas, you should start to notice a shift in your plantar fasciitis pain.  If not, reevaluate.  Retest your back line and see if maybe your tight spots have moved.  If you feel like you need the help of a professional, give me a call.  You may also have some energetic blockages that need to be cleared and we’ll go into that next.  But if you’re noticing a difference in the right direction, keep up the good work!  Remember not to overdo it, but consistency can go a long way here.

Energetic gunk and plantar fascia.  I don’t have a logical explanation for this, but I do have a story.  My mom called me and told me she had plantar fasciitis and she needed me to fix it.  Lucky for her, I was flying into Chicago the next week and I could take a look.  We did a session.  All went well, but I couldn’t find any outstanding tightness in her back line that pointed to causing this foot pain.  So after the session had a day to settle out I asked how her foot was feeling and she said the pain was still there.  I was heading back to Denver that evening and didn’t have time for another session, nor did I think that would help.  Instead, I asked her to do some energy work on her heel, whenever she could.  I told her to pretend to draw the stuck energy out of the bottom of her heel, as if she were pulling yarn out of a ball.  Just an inch or two at a time, over and over again.  Maybe only 3 minutes at a time, but several times a day.  I told her to do it whenever she sat down.  So she did.  And 2 weeks later, she said it was completely gone.  That was in November and she hasn’t had any problems with it since.  So, hey, why not give it a try?  It’s free, it’s easy, and at least for one person, it worked.

Yes!  I did it!  Practical tips for dealing with plantar fasciitis!  Done.  Bam.  Oh, and one more.  Call your favorite local Rolfer, if you don’t seem to be making much progress on your own.  She might be able to help you out.

Winter is a hard time of year for a lot of people.  Low levels of vitamin D, due to our position in relation to the sun can be one contributor.  Heap on some cold, snowy weather and we start exercising less, decreasing our natural ‘good mood’ chemicals in the brain.  Throw in a pinch of holidays and the attendant difficulties with family members and junk food, and it’s no wonder we’re all wearing our cranky pants.  It’s also easy to withdraw when things get tough.  No, I won’t be able to come to your super bowl party.  I don’t think I’ll go out dancing tonight.  I’d rather stay home, alone, in bed.  Which is fine and all; until it’s not.  Think of this time of year as the emotional equivalent of moving day.  Sure, it’s tough work and there’s a lot to do, but you’re strong and able bodied.  You can carry tons of boxes by yourself.  But you simply cannot move the couch alone.  No matter how strong you are.  It’s just too big and bulky and heavy and you have to turn it just so to get it to fit through the door.  We all have our own emotional couches that we just can’t carry alone.

As members of the human species, we do better when we work together.  And asking for help is a good idea, with physical heavy lifting, as well as the emotional kind.  But as prideful beings, we hate asking for help.  It’s a catch-22, deedlee-doo.  When we’re feeling low, hanging out with a friend can be more helpful than a bottle of prozac or vitamin D supplements, but a lot harder to ask for; which is too bad. ‘Cause no matter what, it’s easier to get the couch up the stairs, through the front door and into just the right spot with a friend (or three) helping you out.  Emotionally, or physically.  But asking for help can make us feel incredibly vulnerable.  And all sorts of old stories can come up about being whiney, or needy, or mopey, or a crybaby, or a Debbie Downer.  So we keep our mouths shut.  And the couch stays out on the sidewalk.  Getting wet and muddy and not helping us feel comfortable in our living rooms.  Blech.

I’m one of those people who really struggles to ask for help.  Always have been.  Probably always will be.  But here’s a trick I learned that’s helped me a lot in recent years.  Think about how you feel when someone asks you for help.  Do you roll your eyes and feel completely put out?  Do you think to yourself “what a whiney, needy, crybaby?”  No, of course you don’t.  You probably feel like:  Yes!  Of course!  I’d love to help!  Why didn’t you ask sooner?  Is there anything else I can do?

See, it feels good to help.  And again, we humans do better when we work together.  Our brains know on a basic level that cooperation increases our chances for survival.  And when you help someone else out, there’s a better chance that person might help you out in return.  I LOVE when people ask me for help.  Want me to teach you some of my awesome dance moves?  Sure!  Need me to translate that letter your Italian lover wrote you?  No problem!  Need a hand with the couch on moving day?  You got it!  Need to lean on me for a bit while you sort this mess out in your head?  Let me grab some tissues and a mug of tea for you!

Whenever I’m feeling like I should just tough it out on my own instead of asking for help, I try to remember how great it feels when people ask me for help.  I turn it around and think of it as doing them a favor.  I’m just trying to make them feel better, by giving them the joy you get from helping.  And they can always say no, but it can’t hurt to ask.  I’m generally surprised at just how willing people are to help.  I just needed to let them know I needed it.  Give it a try, next time you need some help, but are hesitant to ask.  Think about what you would say if a friend asked you for help in the very same way.  Then go ahead and ask for help.

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Speaking of asking for help, I could use some help myself. The next Demo Days (two in February!) are just around the corner, and I could really use some help making them both a huge success.  The first one is in Lafayette on Tuesday the 14th from 1pm to 6pm.  Next up is Denver’s Demo Day on Wednesday, the 15th from 11am to 8pm.  I still have several spots to fill in each one and I’d love it if you’d send your fabulous friends and family members in to try out this funky thing we do.  30 minute sessions for $10.  You can’t beat the price and it’s a great way to get a taste of Rolfing and SourcePoint without committing to a whole session.  Thanks, in advance, for your help!