Wednesday, 7 September 2016

Gratitude and Presence in the Working World

When I started in on school for Registered Massage Therapy, I really had no idea what I was getting in to. I came from a place of openness, realizing after several interesting 'circumstances' that there was a part of me that was driven to 'fix'. Looking for a healthy outlet for this energy, I found myself thrown in to a 3000 hour incredibly intensive program faster than I could think, learning all about a technique and approach that didn't resonate with me.

I've always had a resistance to institution, so I tried to apply what I was learning in an objective way - note the results and go with what works. For my own personal physical stresses, the western approach to hands-on therapy did not, in fact, work. Physiotherapy, Chiropractic, Swedish Massage Therapy - none of these things created any substantial or lasting change in my own physical body. Moreover, the most significant observation around the effects of these practices was the fact that if a strong agenda was present in the practitioner, my body would react paradoxically - break out in hives, get worse, exhibit something like what is commonly referred to as a "healing crisis". I am not at all discounting the validity of these therapies, but I learned quite rapidly that the intention and presence of the person delivering them seemed to be as, if not more, important than the techniques they were choosing to use.

Going forward - and I consider myself incredibly lucky for this one - I started an internship with a man who has made his life about learning, educating on and working with fascia... Not just the connective tissue that's loosely talked about in medical programs (that is changing) but using it to address the WHOLE of an individual. I can't even begin to describe the presence this person had in treatment. His technique and knowledge of anatomy were subtle and masterful, but beyond the technical aspect his presence was what brought people back as lifelong clients.

Here was a man who didn't say much at all. He didn't try to tell you what was wrong, he didn't try to diagnose or presume or offer helpful home tips because he couldn't be responsible for you beyond this time spent together. He simply looked and felt with all of his intuitive and rational self in a way so profound it took me a few years to witness it again in another person. The difference between him and other people of a similar philosophy was that he was truly THERE with his clients. His whole life and world poured in to all 60 minutes of an hour, and it did not wear him out.

This was a defining and formative time in my life. I walked away from that internship, before even graduating from the program, convinced I needed to throw out all technique I had learned. And I did. In the student clinic I found a way to work with people in a movement-based session, without the oils, without the etiquette and pretense that as a student there was actually nothing I could do beyond making sure your central nervous system was relaxed and your blood was indeed flowing. I started seeing the results I knew were possible, and even with the completely superficial understanding of the techniques I was attempting to use, the fact that I could sometimes remain present and really try to feel what was happening seemed to lead to positive outcomes.

Fast forward to now. My practice has completely changed again. The underlying philosophy on presence has not changed but my suspected understanding of what is actually happening is something I'm constantly expanding on. I've learned a multitude of new, reliable techniques that are non-invasive and effective... All of this is integrated in to my presence with my clients.

Through BodyTalk, I've been taught ways in which I can objectively assess, work off-body altogether, and then reassess to show the (sometimes drastic) results of working with a potential in the field VS. the physical body itself. A prominent figurehead in the therapeutic world, Dr. Kerry D'Ambrogio (whose textbook on positional release was a required buy in school) helped to validate a lot of these concepts for me. And when you tie in some of the history and emotional charges associated with the way a body presents, the effect and change is undeniable. This leads in to the idea of working remotely or from a distance. I won't even begin to delve in to an explanation for how or why this works as I can only muse and guess at the realities of the physics behind it all, but I do know that it works. In my experience working with my own things and offering this type of session for others, sometimes the results are faster and more palpable than an in-person session.

It all still comes back to presence. Technique and knowledge adds to what my system can account for in another's, but at the end of the day I still can't disprove the effect real presence has on these exchanges. I am blessed to get to spend time bathing in gratitude for what I have experienced and what I can facilitate as a presence for my fellow human beings.

A beautiful testimonial on distance work from my amazing friend and colleague:

"I had the privilege of meeting Brodie on a Practitioner Development course in Indonesia. His knowledge and ease in conducting his BodyTalk sessions was incredible to witness. Since our meeting I have had a few distance BodyTalk sessions with Brodie and the information and results have been incredible.

Brodie's understanding of the body's anatomy juxtaposed with his understanding of consciousness and metaphysical principles leads to a wild ride....

The greatest shift Brodie helped to facilitate for me was one of being in a static state of martyrdom to shifting to a role of unconditional support. This was not only affecting my emotional state, but creating disharmony in the body, especially in relation to my endocrine system and hormones running rampant.

Brodie helped bring greater clarity on the physical move that was creating these issues and helped me to redefine and create better boundaries with my loved ones while helping me to feel better! And all of this pretty much overnight!

I love how Brodie makes his distance sessions work. The last session we had he recorded the notes and sent them to me in mp3 format. Listening to it made the session feel less "distant" and that he was right there in the session with me.

Brodie's humble confidence and warm neutrality speaks to his profound ability to stand in presence of the body's innate wisdom to heal. Not always an easy task. Brodie knows when to support this process to create the necessary shifts and changes.

Brodie's very presence is healing.

I look forward to an "in-person" session soon but absolutely love our distance work. I highly, highly recommend setting up a session with Brodie - whether you feel called for a specific reason or just "because" and whether you are in his neck of the woods or in another country - the results and shifts are the same 🙂

~Megan Adams
Certified BodyTalk Practitioner"

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