Almost all of my clients, at one point or another, ask me how I came to be a Certified Advanced Rolfer™. “What got you interested in this work?” they ask. The real answer is complicated and long, and sometimes I shorten it, depending on how much I sense they want to know.
What I usually do not reveal on the first or second meeting: If someone had told me, ten years ago, that I would be spending my life touching people and helping them work through pain in their bodies, I would have nodded, sure, and walked away, thinking that they’d best not try to make a living predicting people’s futures.
Both of my parents were doctors. My father, a surgeon, had slides from his practice that he used as teaching tools for medical residents. They showed intestines, guts, blood. As kids, my brothers and sisters and I would send our friends away squealing after allowing them peeks of these slides. For me, that had settled it. No way would I be anything medical! Bodies were gross!
I began my adult life as a musician. I played the double bass—a massive, cumbersome instrument that I had managed to master enough to pursue a professional career in an orchestra. But I realized during my last year at music conservatory, that such a life would be limiting. I shifted directions entirely, and went for a Masters Degree in Clinical Social Work, drawn by the mysteries of the human psyche.
Over the next few years, I learned so much about the different styles of attachment and the variety of defense mechanisms we develop in order to protect ourselves from psychic harm. I worked with a variety of clients, from children with severe emotional difficulties, to teenagers in an inner city high school dealing with abuse, neglect, pregnancy, and poverty, to Ivy League college students trying to ease their transition into adulthood, to mid-aged adults going through life crises, to the elderly in need of placement in skilled nursing facilities. I wouldn’t learn, until much later, how this work would serve me in my Rolfing practice. But one thing I can say I began to glean: the ways we protect ourselves from psychic harm and the ways our bodies protect us from physical harm can often end up becoming problems in themselves.
In 1993 I met my husband, a cellist, and moved up to New England to be with him. Ever willing to start over, and having always been a writer, I pursued a degree in Creative Writing. I wrote short stories, book reviews, poetry, and essays. I graduated from Emerson College in Boston with a Masters of Fine Arts. Shortly afterwards, my husband and I relocated to Los Angeles for the musical opportunities it afforded him.
In L.A., I started a dog walking business.
It was a great job! I enjoyed the days scooping up my ‘clients’ and taking them to the park for exercise. But it was not exactly the most challenging or intellectually stimulating career. I began to look around for inspiration and direction. A friend of mine had recently enrolled in massage school. I went to watch him in class one day. And it was like a jolt of truth shot through me: I could do that. I want to do that. I have to do that.
I researched schools and chose IPSB–The Institute for Psycho-Structural Balance. I went and got my massage technician certification. I’d been hearing about Rolfing and Structural Integration. It seemed to offer a deeper understanding of human structure and the physical troubles we get into. I investigated several schools, and found myself on an endless path of learning and growing. The body is an endless source of information and truth. I founded Rolfworks in 2008 and am so glad I did.
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