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Posts Tagged ‘process-oriented bodywork’

This material is copyrighted by M. Kirby Moore.  Reproduction without permission is prohibited.

I am writing this post for the benefit of my clients, however, others may find this information useful. Please read the disclaimer at the bottom of the article when you have the chance.*  This is geared toward clients who might be willing to stick with the work over time – I personally recommend doing a series of sessions – whether four, seven or ten or more.  Simply coming in for one session, while potent and beneficial, may not allow for the necessary unwinding and re-organization which the body is requesting.  As a reference to my personal experience, I am including the following paragraph.  If you do not need to read about why I feel I have the experience to write this, then happily skip it. 

I have been doing Reiki Energetic Healing, Working with the Craniosacral System and practicing other modalities which I have been certified in, for more than six years.  I also have training and experience in working with Western and Spiritual (Humanistic) Astrology, having done more than 200 charts professionally.  My teachers include qualified, academically trained professors, process-oriented bodyworkers who have connections to Indigenous healing wisdom along with empirically-based graduate degrees, astrologers with more than 20 years of experience under their belts and numerous Tibetan lamas – recognized, realized heart teachers with lifetimes of living the healing wisdom of the Buddha-Dharma.  I have done a few Buddhist retreats, cultivating greater loving-kindness and compassion which is offered in my private practice.  In addition to the above experience and training, I have been on the receiving end of process-oriented bodywork since 2004, having cultivated and maintained quality self care since that time.  And of course, I am just an ordinary human being, doing the best I can with the resources I have available.

I plan to update this material and refine it, but at present, this is a quality, if a little rough-around-the-edges, description of a general trend I have been observing in my clients’ processes (over time).  Quality bodywork of any sort takes time to cultivate true, lasting healing (the trust required to go into the vulnerable, sticky-icky places where we need to do our deepest work takes time).  For most individuals, I believe the body/mind system knows what it needs to heal properly and appropriately – which is one of the reasons I resonate with Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy.  Biodynamic work is very gentle and patient – when the system is ready to reveal its healing plan, then the practitioner follows it.  Not a moment earlier.  There is nothing for the practitioner to do, nothing to fix and nothing to diagnose (without the client’s system giving its input first, and even then, the practitioner is always listening, going slow and doing less rather than more).  As a result of the body knowing what it needs and when, we cannot push this process.  That would not be kind and I believe it could result in shutting down the budding trust.

The body also knows at what pace to journey down its healing path, to create and nurture lasting healing – not temporary shifts which fall back into old patterns over time.  One of the many respected teachers in the Craniosacral field is Hugh Milne, also an Osteopath, he says in his book, The Heart of Listening, “that we can never go too deep, just too fast.”  I am a follower and proponent of this advice.  As a result, in sessions, no matter what is ailing the client, I work from the feet up – grounding their system and developing the feelings of comfort and trust that are necessary for them to let go of old stuff.

The body generally wants to work on the gross (largest, most pressing) issues first.  Whether structural (from an accident, injury or birth trauma), emotional (e.g. grief, anger, jealousy, etc) or energetic in nature, the body / mind system wants to move toward the fullest expression of its highest potential.  I believe that this desire is true for all of us – to actualize our highest potential and that this is the body’s deepest intention.  If the body needs to let go of something, or shift an old pattern which no longer serves this goal, then it knows what it needs to do.  In the beginning of any session, I ask the client to state an intention for that particular session – which can be anything from, “I want to be more calm and centered,” to “I’m ready to move out of my depression and towards healthy interaction with others” (and anything in between).  [I just want to state for the record that I do not treat depression.  I am using that example as one of the more ambitious intentions that someone could set.]  I believe that energy follows intention and attention.  This is what my teachers have preached; see Julie Henderson’s book on energetic health, The Lover Within. Therefore, the client determines the frame or intention for their particular session.  This is normally in alignment with what the body is looking to accomplish – or to add to this – the body does what it needs to, in order to move toward that intention, along with moving toward its overarching intention of self-actualizing.

Once the grosser issues have been worked through, which could take anywhere from one to twenty sessions – it depends entirely on the client (how much work have they done with other practitioners previously, do they maintain a healthy lifestyle, are they disciplined about doing the homework which healing-facilitators recommend, are they ready to shine some light into the darker recesses of the heart, etc).  On average, I would say it takes about four to ten sessions to re-pattern the old conditioning which led to our being out of alignment (on the gross, easily discernible levels).

Keep in mind that the body will always reveal more healing potentials if we have the capacity.  What this means is that as we make more space and clear the grosser issues, subtler issues can arise which we did not realize were present previously.  This is because our awareness is becoming sharper and more sensitized (healthier), and we are becoming better able to listen to what our body needs.  This is not always the case, but if someone has a history of trauma or abuse (and according to Thomas Merton, a Western monk and mystic, the fast-paced lifestyles that we live here in the West are more than just stressful, but that they are often violent, and certainly not kind – so it might figure that we all have many layers to work through), then it makes sense that we have a number of layers to process.  Until we come into easy, sustainable alignment and equanimity, there will be more to work on.  However, once we start to make some headway on our healing journey, bringing the light of awareness and wholesome persistence, then we start to feel more joy and gratitude with every moment we are blessed with.  As clients (one in particular said this) who have been with me for multiple sessions have said, “Kirby, I would have never known this was possible.  My life is full of sparkly joy now.  Finding the words for it is difficult, but I am happier and more at peace.” I know this sounds a bit corny, but it is what she was feeling, and what I had been noticing as she shifted.

In a future post, I will include an example of what I am referring to in the above paragraph – about the body / mind letting go of old stuff and then discovering new stuff to work on; information on the healing process.  However, I believe that the healing journey can be a lot of work, but it is worth it.  [See foot note below.]  Joy, clarity and lasting lightness of being are possible.  I believe the relationship is reciprocal – we get as much out of the process as we are willing to put into it – in other words, if we are willing to go to some uncomfortable places and do the work, then it will be worth it on the other side.  Sometimes we have to feel it to heal it.  Then we can celebrate our journey.  And with that I bid you a happy Spring!

[Foot note – there are a number of modalities which promise instant results, or immediate healing.  If I hear this, what comes to mind?  Here are my thoughts – do the results, the claimed healing, truly stick?  I believe this is possible but it really depends on the practitioner.  Miracles do happen.  But I would recommend looking at the people who say that they will give you lasting, easy healing, the practitioners themselves – are they balanced?  are they truly, unconditionally happy?  are they living in alignment within their communities and with the Earth?  do they seem to be very wealthy (if they are flaunting it, then this is not a good sign)  There are modalities which claim to go into our belief structures and re-organize them quickly.  Again, I am a little suspicious when I hear this.  What makes process-oriented bodywork so potent, is that through the bodywork aspect (hands on), you can create lasting shifts at the cellular level over time.  But again, the practitioner is not the one doing the work.  The client is the one doing the re-organizing.  The practitioner merely holds space, listens and provides containment for the process.  Rarely and only if appropriate does the practitioner throw in a little coaching.  I’m not trying to knock any type of healing modality, but I have seen people spend a lot of money on modalities which I believe provide very little in the lasting results department.  To wrap this up, have a healthy skepticism toward healing that sounds too good to be true.  Do a little research and analyze the practitioners – are they walking their talk?]

* Disclaimer: I have been trained and certified in working with the Biodynamic Craniosacral system (CST) along with Reiki Energetic Healing, and as a result, I do not treat, cure, prevent or diagnose any disease.  Craniosacral Therapy has had some success with a few, limited bodily issues, but I do not make such a claim. I recently completed undergraduate work with a bachelors of science in psychology.

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I just returned from Va Beach, where I attended Drupon Thinley Ningpo for Chod teachings and practice.  There will be a post coming soon with additional pictures from this enjoyable weekend.  All posts on this blog are copyrighted by M. Kirby Moore.  Please obtain my permission before reproducing anything.

Beautiful shrine for Chod teachings, Va Beach

Beautiful shrine for Chod teachings, Va Beach

I am writing this post because I had some interesting conversations with my generous host.  We spoke about Tibetan Buddhism, Biodynamic Craniosacral therapy, Zapchen Somatics, Spiritual Astrology, about his non-profit and my recent comings and goings.  In the midst of these conversations, I happened to explain, in a simplified version, about how I believe process-oriented bodywork is able to function.  It went something like this.

There are many, many ways in which we in the West are “stuck in our heads.”  What I mean by this is that whether academic pursuits, personal philosophical explorations, reading up on an interest, etc, there are so many ways in which we conceptualize our learning experience.  For the majority of people in the West, we take in information with our eyes and ears only – whether through reading, broadcast media or attending professors / teachers.  In the above conversation, I went on to say that a lot of Buddhist practitioners spend much of their time in their heads – whether meditating, contemplating, studying or attending teachings (and I might say they spend too much time in their heads).  Therefore I could speculate that as we purify our karma (in whatever way this comes about – I would recommend meditation as a tried and true method for purifying the mind stream) we are pushing out a ton of mental detritus. And this process is primarily in the conceptual realm, although there are some teachers who check in with the body.  As the mind becomes more and more clear, the body may become more and more left behind.  So how does the body catch up with the pace of the mind?  Or the mind slow down to the body’s pace?

[I want to insert a note here, that Tibetan Lamas in general do just fine through merely purifying their mind stream.  There is a definite and reliable method of transcending the body during spiritual accumulation.  I am just offering another possibility.  That is of consciously and mindfully purifying our conceptual stuff while simultaneously bringing the body and its cellular memory into the equation – unwinding, re-organizing and shifting into new, healthier patterns.]

Fascinating artwork (lamps) in the shrine / meditation room, Heritage Center

Fascinating artwork (lamps) in the shrine / meditation room, Heritage Center

One direct counter to this overly-conceptual tendency is to receive process-oriented bodywork from a qualified practitioner.  As we purify our mind stream, a gap or a growing difference in what the body has processed and what the mind has processed and released, can arise.  Therefore, if we have purified enough stuff (mentally) and afterward we attend a qualified bodyworker (see the next paragraph to help determine what makes a practitioner qualified and appropriate), if all of these causes and conditions come together, and if one maintains a sincere meditation practice and approaches bodywork without many expectations or enormous resistance, then the sky is literally the limit in terms of what you can process and release – in a manner that is lasting – it sticks with you for the rest of your life.

How do we determine who is a qualified practitioner?  What I mean by a qualified and appropriate practitioner is pretty complex.  However, the short version is as follows: first and foremost they practice quality self care (you may not want to go to a ‘healing facilitator’ who smokes or drinks excessively, or who is noticeably depressed or anxious – if they take good care of themselves, there is a good chance they can be of service to you), second – attend someone who seems humble – too much pride and cockiness in a practitioner will make the sensitive, vulnerable wounded places in the body shy away from their contact and they will not accomplish much in the way of lasting results, third – in conjunction with the humility piece above, while you want your practitioner to be skillful and well-trained, it is also good if they are okay with saying, “you know, I don’t know exactly what your body needs but I am willing to provide a safe, contained space with presence to listen to your system and see what it wants to share” (every once in a while, there might be a rare case that has not been covered in our training – to claim to know everything about a subject is just plain erroneous), fourth – go to someone who maintains good boundaries and negotiates contact (if someone is physically or energetically invading your space, this will also make parts of the body / mind system shy away from their invasive presence), fifth – trust someone who is willing to go slow and is patient with the process (they realize that the body’s inherent health will unfold and reveal itself when all the causes and conditions are right, which might take a few sessions).  This is a good start in relation to a qualified practitioner (and good high standards for any of you out there who call yourselves healing facilitators).

Look for a coming-soon post to detail some of the experiences I have observed both as a practitioner and as a recipient of quality bodywork.

So, allow your body to catch up with your mind today – go out and ask around, (do some research) and make an appointment with a qualified practitioner.  Then relax deeply and allow the mysterious healing process to unravel and reveal itself on its terms.  This could be in a variety of modalities – some I would recommend, provided the practitioner is skilled and kind-hearted, are Biodynamic Cranio Sacral therapy, network chiropractic, massage, Reiki energetic healing, Zero Balancing, Bodytalk, acupuncture, Continuum movement, Zapchen Somatics practitioner, biodynamic psychotherapy, and more.

Finally, I want to state for the record, that the healing process is gradual.  There are many, many layers to the onion as it were.  Personally, I have been receiving bodywork sessions since 2002 and today, I am seeing the results of maintaining the work.  After seven years, deeper changes and increasingly potent insights arise.  Through the practice of gentle kindness and dedication to meditation, I am moving, albeit very slowly, toward lasting happiness.

On a separate note, on editing this months later (Jan 26, 2011), I wonder if we can also over-emphasize treating the body and leaving the mind behind? Eh? For instance, having a conceptual pattern which needs to be released to move toward our highest potential, if we simply receive bodywork, does that get to the root of the issue? Curious…

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This material is copyrighted by M. Kirby Moore.  Reproduction without permission is prohibited.

The Kind Root Lama, Vajradhara (Dharmakaya)

The Kind Root Lama, Vajradhara (Dharmakaya)

To explain Biodynamic Cranio Sacral Therapy in brief, it is a healing facilitation modality that works with the central nervous system, the cerebral spinal fluid and the structures of the head (cranium), spine and pelvis (sacrum).  There is very, light, gentle touch applied with the practitioner primarily holding space and make very slight palpation if appropriate in order for the client’s body to shift toward self healing and reorganization.  There are specific holds and techniques for specific presenting symptoms.

Cranio Sacral work is very beneficial for headaches, spinal problems, pelvis and sciatica issues, stress, nervous tension and insomnia.  And due to the soothing effects on the central nervous system, there are many diseases and problems that can be benefited by this profound modality.  Clients range from people who have experienced significant trauma or serious accidents, to ordinary, healthy people who are moving toward wholesome embodiment.

To be honest, it would take many words to fully develop and explain Biodynamic work, so here are other references: Franklin Sills (the founder of Biodynamic CST), William Sutherland (osteopath who started it all), Roger Gilchrist (one of my instructors), Michael Shea (a biodynamic practitioner of another lineage).  Just make certain you look up Biodynamic Cranio Sacral Therapy.

I have been studying and practicing Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy since 2005.  I see clients in my private practice and maintain connection to the material in a study group.

silly fun fun (egg yolk on plate)

silly fun fun (egg yolk on plate)

I have been fortunate to be apart of a number of incredible training groups.  My initial training was with Janet Evergreen of Charlottesville – she led groups of Craniosacral work, Zapchen Somatics and meditation / peace-building fusion workshops.  It was very dynamic, inspiring and provocative.  In September I was a member of a week long training with Roger Gilchrist in Maryland.  He leads larger groups (than I was used to) of about 20 students and he has several well-trained assistants who hold space and help to create an incredible container for learning the material and dropping into a comfortable listening space.

All totaled, I have been apart of 250 direct hours of time-with-teacher Craniosacral classes and then another 500 hours of practice for the classes on top of that.  Plus I have been seeing clients professionally since 2007.

many references between C.S.T. and opening like a flower

many references between C.S.T. and opening like a flower

May all sentient beings know happiness and the causes of happiness!

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