The Nature of Water: Connection and Transformation

With Margot Rossi and Nick Pole

Have you noticed that sometimes, simply when allowing a patient the space to unspool their story something happens. Not only do you hear something vital and important, but the patient might pause as they seemingly for the first time listen to themselves.

The 10 questions in Chinese medicine is not just about gathering information so we can find out what is wrong. It is an opportunity to listen our patients into their own wisdom and experience.

Listen in as two practitioners of the art discussion the how language and story, like water, can go anywhere.


In This Conversation We Discuss:

  • Someone should so this…oh, maybe its me
  • The movement practice that changed Margot’s life
  •  The simple practice of attention
  • Clean questions allow people to slip into what is actually bubbling up from the unconscious
  • Acupuncture points embody different aspects of consciousness
  • The difference between “taking more time” and “applying more presence”
  • Water as presence
  • Metaphor is not just a powerful way to communicate with each other; it’s a powerful way to communicate with the body-mind
  • Conscious awareness of communication can be used manipulatively, or use to bring ourselves into a deeper resonance and connection
  • The work of Ted Kaptuck
  • While we are having a mind to mind conversation with our patients, at the same time, we are conversing body to body
  • The Nei Jing on conducting ones life with spirit
  • Who are you when you are with your patients?
  • Compassion can create movement that allows for change in structure

Margot Rossi

It's not an exaggeration to say that Eastern medicine and philosophy saved my life. They have rocked my world for over thirty years. Along the way, here and in China, I've learned much from remarkable teachers, including my family, peers, patients and students. My mission is to share that bounty of wisdom with my community. In private practice, I see myself primarily as an educator, aka wizard of possibilities.

Creating a clinic environment conducive to learning and being a neutral sounding board, I use the interview process as my main modality for diagnosis and treatment. Patients and I explore the fabric of reality and build an awareness of experience and perceptions. Along with mindfulness, using nature's systems to understand ourselves helps us feel right at home and capable of shifting with self-compassion, confidence and resourcefulness. Another essential in my repertoire is movement therapy either Dao Yin or yoga.

I find mindful movement and breathing can influence all issues regardless of where they're housed, just like water can flow in places nothing else can or wants to go. This medicine keeps reminding me: there is wonder here, simply awaiting our presence.

Nick Pole

I've been practicing, teaching and writing about shiatsu since I graduated from the Shiatsu College in the UK in 1989. I spent the first ten years of my shiatsu studies trying to find the best teachers I could and then doing my best to copy them. It always worked for a while, but then I would come back to the same intangible sense that something important was missing.

Meanwhile, to improve my skills as a shiatsu teacher, I studied NLP in some depth and that led me to Clean Language. That was it! – a way to bring language into my sessions by asking questions that make sense to the body. With its Zen-like simplicity and rigor, Clean Language invites both practitioner and client to listen to themselves in a truly mindful way.

How could someone who loved language as much as I did come to be practicing shiatsu, which in its original Japanese form at least is done almost without any words at all?

Bringing this subtle and elegant questioning process into my sessions helps my clients listen to themselves, and helps us to come to a shared understanding of what they want to achieve. When you invite the bodymind into the conversation like this, painful and frustrating symptoms can rapidly turn into signposts on the path towards the kind of life a person really wants to be living. And in researching my book Words That Touch (2017), I found the neurological explanation for Lao Tzu's great riddle: the Tao that can be spoken of is not the “constant/eternal/real” Tao because speech traps us in the left brain hemisphere's abstract world of names, concepts and categories, at one remove from reality.

It's only through the right hemisphere and its wordless but deeply embodied way of knowing, that we can ever get a sense of what the unspoken Tao is really all about. This is how I love to work, integrating gentle and respectful questioning with the meridian-based bodywork of shiatsu. That way, we invite the two sides of the brain to have a better relationship with each other and our patients to have better relationships with themselves.