“Can you feel how much more open your neck muscle is?”
This is the question from my Rolfer in our fourth session. I’m relaxing on a table in an intimate space and he is behind my head manipulating my neck, under my shoulders. I nod and take deep breaths when he asks me to.
“Can you feel how much more open your hips are?”
It’s about half an hour later and he’s now positioned at my side and working on my legs. I say yes. I keep breathing.
I’m mulling it. Over and over again I have written that word in my morning journal pages. I want to be more open. To opportunities. To new things. To challenges to my deeply held beliefs. To love.
My Rolfer is speaking of literal, physical opening of tissue. But we both know it’s a metaphor. For starters, Rolfing is something that requires an open mind. According to the Rolf Institute of Structural Integration’s website, it “manipulates the body’s connective tissue, called Fascia, to rebalance the body and may bring relief from chronic pain, stress and injury.” It goes on to say that Rolfing is a “holistic technique in that changes in structure can impact the whole person, physically, emotionally, and energetically.”
Yes. I feel this. It’s infusing me. I tell him overall I am different since our work together but I wouldn’t have languaged it as open. I am more aware of my movement, my gait, my posture. A simple walk from one destination to another is filled with heightened senses.
When I leave his office and hit the pavement of Greenwich Village, my eyes are scanning my surroundings more. I feel pulled into a market to see what smells so good. I pause to look in a clothing shop window. And then I have the urge to stop into a restaurant – Mario Batali’s Otto — that I have passed umpteen times and never visited. I glance at the menu posted outside and venture in to sit at the bar.
I order a glass of Friulano wine and a chopped salad. I engage the people around me a bit, but mostly I let my taste buds enjoy their little party. Batali is sitting at the other end of the bar and I smile because it makes it more fun that he’s there.
It hits me that what I’ve done here is (yes) opened to an experience. I could have gone straight home after my appointment. I could have grabbed a bite to eat in any number of familiar establishments. But I chose a new one that has always intrigued me.
As I sit there I recall that after my last Rolfing appointment I had stopped in a lovely café with a fireplace that beckoned me from the sidewalk. I walked through its door and felt it envelop me. A pot of tea and an apricot crepe were a salve in bitter temperatures as I did a bit of writing.
To busting out of my routine. To finding new spots to write. To exploring a neighborhood.
To sharing what helps me transform and shift.
To hearing how others open their minds and hearts and ultimately their lives.
Oh so open.