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I’ve been thinking about Core a lot lately, SassyPants. Therefore, I wanted to write about Core. But I thought to myself, “Theresa, you always write about Core. And yeah, it’s important and all, but come on. The masses are tired of hearing about Core.” Turns out, I’ve written about Core twice. Once on January 3rd of last year, I wrote about my favorite Core muscle, the psoas.  And almost two years ago, I wrote about your energetic core, or your golden midline. So I’m going to write about Core again, since I don’t actually always write about Core. I just always think about Core, and I always want to write about Core.

So, ‘the Core’ is something Rolfers are always going on about. A whopping 4 sessions of the 10-series are devoted just to the Core. We’re always rambling about movement being initiated from the Core, and lengthening the Core, and accessing the Core. And while it all logically makes sense, I didn’t know what any of that felt like in my body until I was halfway through my second 10-series in the middle of my training to become a Rolfer. I got up off the table, and could feel my Core. It was lovely! So strong and stable! So long and tall! I felt like I could stand forever without getting tired. My Core could support me and my ‘sleeve,’ on the other hand, could just rest. Physically, I finally knew what Core meant.

In the last few years as I went through my Saturn Return, I had a very real sense of my non-physical Core. This was the essence of who I was as a human being. It felt as though my Core was a ceramic vase, and was being smashed to smithereens. Not exactly a pleasant experience. But among the shards and dust, I felt like a new core, this one made from un-smashable steel, was emerging. As painful as it was, it turns out I’d rather have a steel pipe than a ceramic vase as my Core, and I’m grateful for that brutal smashing. I now have a very clear sense of this indestructible mental, emotional, and spiritual core, to go with that physical core I found back in Rolfing school. Huzzah!

Lately, I’ve been doing a lot of yoga. Well…a lot by my standards, which means 2 to 4 classes a week. And those yoga teachers, man, they just won’t stop talking about Core. Engage your Core! Use your Core! And they’re so right. Each pose, each movement feels better and stronger and more stable when my Core is engaged and active. It’s when I forget about my Core that I fall over or tweak something in a weird way.

So, yeah, Core is important. It’s a big deal. I might go as far as to say Core (and your ability to access it) is critical to a happy, healthy life. But learning to relate to your Core can be challenging. In my case, it took 15 Rolfing sessions before I could feel it. It took years of soul searching, and a fair number of tears, before I could emotionally access it in a moment. It took a lot of journal entries and long walks with friends before I felt confident in my Core. So if you’re there…if you know your Core and how to access it on all levels, good on ya! I’m so impressed. And if you don’t, if Core is still a bit of a mysterious concept to you, don’t fret. Little by little you will learn, if you want to learn, how to relate to your Core. And more importantly, how to make sure every movement you make, every word you speak, every spell you invoke, and every thought you think comes from your Core. And that will be a beautiful day, indeed.

It may be hard to believe, but sometimes I forget about Rolfing and how helpful it can be.  It’s especially hard to believe considering I am a Rolfer.  This is what I do all day, every day.  But you see, I have this weird thing in my brain about Rolfing: I think it can help just about everything, for just about everyone.  Except me.

Someone tells me how their knee’s been bothering them; I think to myself, “I can help with that.”  Someone tells me how they feel out of whack and off kilter; I think to myself, “I can help with that.”  Someone tells me how they get headaches a few times a week; I think to myself, “I can help with that.”  Someone’s freaking out about work and their house and their boyfriend; I think to myself, “I can help with that.”  Then, I break my toe, sprain my shoulder, get emotionally wrapped up into a giant-multi-colored-extra-knotted ball of string and I think to myself, “Whatever am I going to do?!?  Who could possibly help me with this!?!”

And so, last week, I found myself with said broken toe (my first broken bone!), and sprained shoulder (thanks for nothing, yoga), and emotional ball of knots and I finally (finally!!!) remembered that Rolfing might be able to help me.  So, I called up my bud, Dave Sheldon, a Rolfer in Boulder, and asked if he could fit me in.  He said yes and I walked into his office with a laundry list of complaints.  It was one of those sessions (do you do this?) where you go in, planning to mention just those two or three things that are really bothering you, and by the time you’re five minutes into the session you’ve listed 23 things instead.  “AND my roommate’s dog is driving me crazy!  AND my sister’s coming to visit next week and it’s stressing me out!  AND my sacrum feels all wonky!  AND I’ve been wearing flip-flops for two weeks now and I’m sick of it, but I can’t wear any other shoes without my toe hurting and I can’t exactly walk into the bank barefoot, can I?”  And so on, and so forth.

Then, the funniest (and at the same time the most natural) thing happened.  I got on the table and closed my eyes, and Dave started working.  All of a sudden, it felt like all these layers were falling away from me.  Like I’d been wearing a suit made out of 23 layers of tissue paper.  So light that I hadn’t thought to take it off, but enough that it was affecting the way I looked and that rustling noise was really getting to me.  And one by one, Dave gently cut each layer away, and let it fall to the ground.  Some layers were wrapped tightly around my foot, keeping it stable, but I didn’t need those anymore.  Some of them were wrapped all around my shoulder, all the way down to my wrist and around my ribs and spine.  I didn’t need those anymore either.  Most of them were wrapped around my heart, or my solar plexus, or my throat, or my head, getting me caught up in unnecessary worry and fear and distress.  I didn’t need a single one of those tissue paper layers.

And I realized there, on the table, why it was that I fell in love with Rolfing in the first place.  Dave wasn’t taking away anything that I needed, or anything that was inherently me.  And he wasn’t adding anything to me, either.  He was simply uncovering the real me, and giving me permission for that to be enough.  I didn’t need any of this tissue paper to make me stable or pretty or to cover anything up.  I was perfectly me, without all that other stuff.  He was reminding my shoulder and my toe that they already knew how to recover from an injury quickly and with ease.  He was reminding me that worry and fear were good intuitive signals to listen to, but there was no reason to walk around spinning in them all day.  And the greatest part was that he did all that without saying a word.  He worked with the physical tissues and the energetic patterns and gently unwound them until there I was, just the way I should be.  And when I came from that centered, more-me sort of place, I realized, my sister and I had shared a house (and usually a bedroom) for 16 1/2 years.  We could probably figure out 3 days just fine.  Oh, and my sacrum felt better, too.

It was funny.  When I walked into his office, I didn’t feel like someone other than myself.  But when I walked out…the change was drastic and clear.  I’d walked in like a papier-mâché doll of myself and walked out as me.  And that right there is some good shit, yo.