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Hey there, SassyPants, I’ve got a question for you.  When you have an injury, or a painful spot on your body, how do you talk to it?  When you sprain your knee, does the conversation go a little something like this?  “Stupid freakin’ knee.  Always gotta be hurting and twisting all funny-like.  Why can’t you just work right like other people’s knees?  Why can’t you just do what you’re supposed to?  Man, how long are you going to take to heal?  Does this mean I can’t play basketball on Wednesday?  Great.  Thanks a lot, you stupid knee, you.”

Or does the conversation go more like this?  “Oh, hey knee.  Well, you certainly got my attention.  Is there something you need?  Something you’ve been trying to tell me lately, that I haven’t been listening to?  Do you just want some time off?  Take a little break?  That’s cool.  You got it.  I love you, knee.  Let me know if you want some ice or gentle stretching or anything, okay?  You’re awesome.  Thanks for everything you do for me.  I know we’ll get through this just fine.”

I know my first instinct is to go the first route and be angry when I get hurt, or when something hurts.  But I think it makes a difference when we go the second route and send love towards the pain instead.  I can’t prove that it speeds the healing up.  But I know that whatever you think about all day trains your brain to keep thinking about that same thing.  It’s like when hundreds of people take the same shortcut across the grass in the park and pretty soon there’s a path worn through it.  From then on, it’s easier to take that path than to cut a new one through the grass, so you probably walk the path.  Your brain works like that.

If you spend your day thinking “my knee is so stupid and weak,” then your brain starts to believe your knee is stupid and weak.  So your knee behaves as if it’s stupid and weak.  But if you spend your day thinking “my knee is so healthy and strong,” then your brain starts to believe your knee is healthy and strong.  So your knee behaves as if it’s healthy and strong.  I don’t know about you, but “healthy and strong” sounds better than “stupid and weak” to me.

Now, I try to send my injuries love instead of hate.  Compassion and patience instead of frustration and anger.  So, SassyPants, what’s ailing you these days?  Wanna try sending it some love?

I get the same question all the time.  And it’s about time I just laid it out for you, Sassy Pants, plain and simple, once and for all.  The question is not, “How do you do that magic that you do!?” or “How did you get into Rolfing in the first place?” although that’s a common one.  Maybe next week’s post can get into that.  Unfortunately for both you and me, the most common question is not “Can I schedule ten more sessions right now?”  Wanna know what the most popular question of all time (in my practice) is?  Well, of course you do, so here it is:  Does anybody ever fall asleep during a session?

And the answer, of course, is yes.  Yes; a million times over, yes.  People fall asleep during sessions all the time and it’s perfectly normal and acceptable and nothing to be embarrassed about.  In fact, of the close to 50 Rolfing sessions I’ve received in the last four years since I first tried it out, I’ve probably stayed awake through three of them.  Possibly.  Maybe it was only the two.  I lost count with all the sleeping I was doing in between.

The thing is, I want you to be engaged during your sessions with me.  I want you to show up ready to meet me halfway.  I can only change what you’ve allowed me to change.  And you can do more from the inside than I can do from the outside.  Part of the whole point of this work is embodiment, meaning that your consciousness is in and related to your body.  If you’re hungover from a rough night, disassociation (the opposite of embodiment)  may be the most comfortable option for you, and that’s no good for me.  So, yes, I want you to be present and participating in the work we do together.  But, that doesn’t mean you can’t fall asleep.

Huh?

Well, first of all, my goal is to bring about health.  And if you’re sleep deprived, like most people in this country today, then sleep may be the quickest way to bring about health.  So go for it.  More power to you.

Secondly, I don’t think it always has to do with sleep deprivation when you (or I) fall asleep on the table.  I still fall asleep during sessions and I use an alarm to wake up about four times a year, so I don’t think I’m sleep deprived.  I still fall asleep while getting Rolfed immediately after a large cup of coffee and I’m so sensitive to caffeine I usually don’t sleep well at midnight if I had black tea at 8am.  So I think there’s more to it than tiredness.  I think sometimes (often) with a good session of bodywork, big shifts can happen not only in the structure, but on the emotional, spiritual, mental, and energetic side of things as well.  And as we let go of certain traumas and blockages, the ego may try to get in the way, claiming it needs to hold onto that issue for whatever reason.  “I have a bad back” may be part of your story.  And if we shift things so that’s no longer true, your ego may feel a little frantic, wondering how you’ll define yourself in the future.  “I was abused” may be true, but if we let go of the painful trauma around that, will you still be you?  Your ego might not think so.  And so, when your body is making big shifts in the direction of health, it might be helpful to get your ego out of the way.  And so, you “fall asleep” or go into what some people call a healing trance.  You’re still conscious enough to stretch your right arm out, or roll over onto your stomach if I ask you to.  But you’re not conscious enough to fight what your body needs.

At least, that’s how I justify all the sleeping I do during sessions.  You can come up with your own excuses, if you’d prefer.  Regardless, know that, yes, plenty of people fall asleep during sessions, and I don’t mind if you snore.