Not I, not I, but the wind that blows through me!
A fine wind is blowing the new direction of Time.
If only I let it bear me, carry me, if only it carry me!
If only I am sensitive, subtle, oh, delicate, a winged gift!
                                                         — D.H. Lawrence

In our work, we often lean on the metaphors of nature.

We speak of landscapes, flows, seasons and cycles. And yet often enough, our treatments are geared to interfere with what we find. We look to ‘re-channel’ the flow. To drain away that which we deem obstructive. To bust up qi, especially if we find the Liver to be involved. From an outsider’s perspective, we seem to have a bad attitude towards the Liver.

I often enough have asked myself the question when seeing patients, “Am I working from the perspective of Husbandry or from that of a Corps of Engineers manager?” Am I working with the environment or in some ways against it?

In this conversation with Karen Elisa we investigate what it means to attend and follow. Do we listen to what our patient needs, or our own ideas of what they should have? And short, do we trust our patient’s body and being, or not?

Listen into this conversation on using our hands and senses to attentively follow the body’s flow and get out of the way so our patients can allow themselves to bring forward a great state of wellbeing.

In This Conversation We Discuss:

  • Discovering Ortho-Bionomy®
  • Non-judgemental presence
  • The difference between judgment and discernment
  • The imposition that arises from having something ‘done’ to you
  • Karen’s unexpected encounter with Ortho-Bionomy®
  • “just because you hear it, doesn’t mean you say it”
  • It’s not helpful to assume we know what the patient needs
  • Practicing non-attachment to results
  • Presence and self-assuredness can be overwhelming to others, and it’s something worth having in your practice
  • The practice of following without interrupting, not getting ahead of the process
  • To facilitate presence, take what seems like an answer and turn it into a question
  • Judgment easily freezes things into time and space
  • Crafting a diagnosis that speaks to your patient’s strengths and resources
  • Most of us are fighting tooth and nail against the Dao
  • Consider that our work is not to fix people, but to recognize them as they are

The act of being a non-judgemental presence is the most important thing I do in any session.

I began studying Shiatsu in New Orleans in 1993. I became an AOBTA®-Certified Practitioner in 1995, certified in Integrative Eclectic Shiatsu – a form established by Toshiko Phipps, who was one of the first instructors to bring Shiatsu to the United States. I am a Diplomate of Asian Bodywork Therapy through the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine, and I maintain a practice in Saint Louis, Missouri. I am also a Registered Advanced Practitioner of Ortho-Bionomy®, a form of bodywork based in osteopathy and developed by the osteopath Arthur Lincoln Pauls. The principles of Ortho-Bionomy, as I understand them and practice them, are a practical application to bodywork of the philosophy of the Tao te Ching.

I have had the honor and privilege to study with several seminal teachers of the art of Shiatsu. These extraordinary and gracious individuals have profoundly influenced my life, my practice, and my ideas about the practice.




Links and Resources

Visit Karen's website to learn more about her work. And check out the resources she has on Tai Chi and Qi Gong. Some good stuff here as well!

Ortho-Bionomy® is a registered trademark of the Society of Ortho-Bionomy International, Inc. and is used with permission.

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