This will be the start of the story of my first time assisting in a Unit 3 basic Rolfing® training. I just completed the first week of my 7 weeks here. The class actually runs for 8 but I did not come in until the second week because to do so would have given me only 2 weeks in between my trip to Scotland and the start of class. My goal for relating this training is to have one defining picture per day and a small-medium blurb on the day’s events. I’m hoping this will allow me to keep up with posting weekly both to stay in touch with friends and clients back home and also to not end up swamped three months down the road trying to relate a 7-week experience into a couple thousand words. So, here goes…
Day 0 – August 14
Following a couple late nights of concert-going with friends, I boarded a plane from RDU at 9:30 AM and landed at DEN about 11:15 local time. Although I missed the AB bus by a hair, a friendly woman who was arriving for a flight offered me her day pass which seemed like a good little bit of luck to kick off my time here. Bussed it to Boulder, met my host, took a nap, then went out for a bit of burger therapy at Larkburger to help get landed and grounded before the training starts tomorrow.
Day 1 – August 15
Got up early on Day 1 of the training to meet Neal at Lucile’s down near Pearl Street Mall. Lucile’s holds a special little spot in my heart for doing grits pretty damn well so far from home. I didn’t actually find it until I was almost done with either my Unit 1 or 2 training, I can’t recall at this point.
Neal and I had a good discussion over a hearty breakfast then headed up to class. Day 1 was a lot of talking and a little bit of curious energy for me coming into a group that had already been working together for a week. I jokingly posted this photo on Facebook saying I had achieved opening band status and showed up a week late for my first rockstar move. Mentally I felt oddly at home in the classroom and started getting my footing adding in thoughts without stepping on Neal’s toes. Physically, my GI system was doing not-so-happy things, though I’m unsure whether it was something I ate or my body was more nervous than my brain was letting on.
Day 2 – August 16
On Day 2, the class was complete. One student had been delayed returning from a wedding over the weekend and didn’t make it in until Tuesday. So we had postponed setting up the class altar until that morning. There were a lot of strong ideas and emotions fit onto this small space and Neal and I were both a bit surprised by how intense the setting up was. My contributions were my now requisite class offering of Escazu chocolate bars and the knit Eeyore that one of my classmates from Brazil had given me.
I also did my first short demo session on one of the students (neck work, mostly stuff I learned from Jan) and in the evening the students got to meet their clients for the first time with some time to chat, do intake, and make some plans.
Day 3 – August 17
Today’s picture was taken out at a coffee shop as I waited for my client to show up for a meeting before class started. Our first session would be the next day but because she wasn’t available in the evening, I had offered to meet her for coffee in the morning to talk about the work ahead and any questions she had. I had thought about asking how she’d feel getting a photo together but honestly was so in flow talking to her that the thought didn’t even occur to me until after I’d headed to class.
Neal and the students all had their first session today and Neal and I both noted how it felt like it shifted the momentum of the class to be able to finally get to work after 2 very long feeling days of talking. And again I felt a little bit behind the group as I wouldn’t get to work with my client until tomorrow.
Day 4 – August 18
Had my first client demo session today. I think so far I’d been feeling like there was a sort of beginner’s luck going with the class. Good instructor who I seem to get along with, a young but mature class all of whom seem really solid in their skills, and my demo client seemed like a great candidate for being a class model. However, that luck took a stumble on my first demo as I talked WAY more than necessary. After finishing my demo and receiving that feedback from basically everyone in class I was… a bit downtrodden, but mostly fine with it. All-in-all a recoverable mistake and it’s been a good misstep to chew on the rest of the week in terms of how I’d communicate this aspect differently to someone else doing a demo for the first time.
Student sessions in the afternoon went great and I’m getting a better sense of how to offer advice to students. It’s also clear that the ability to see a whole classroom like I can in dance is going to take a while to transfer over to the Rolfing classroom. Nonetheless I ended the first week’s class mostly happy, grateful to be there, and doubly grateful for the 3 day weekend.
Day 5 – August 19
Friday morning came earlier than I would have liked with a 10:30 (I know, boo-hoo, so early /sarcasm) appointment for a session with Jim Asher. One of my goals to make the most of this trip is to get some work from some of the master Rolfers in the Boulder area. I’d seen Jim do a demo working with a child at one of the annual meetings but otherwise had no exposure to his work. At this point I’m not going for aches and pains but for optimizing mechanics, continuing to open more freedom in my movement, and just to keep learning about the work experientially. I don’t know how to encapsulate the session well at this point other than to say it continues to amaze me how much power I find in the touch of practitioners who’ve been Rolfing longer than I’ve been alive. It both gives me something to aspire to and gives me something to be awfully patient with as I expect there’s just no substitute for time and practice to achieve those sorts of levels.
The rest of the day was filled with glorious napping. 🙂
Day 6 – August 20
Day 6 took me back to the Rolf Institute for lunch with Thomas Walker, my original Unit 2 instructor. Thomas was in town to teach a workshop and sticking around through next week for a faculty meeting. While I’m not in a huge rush to assist again, I did want to get on his radar about being available down the line and we talked some shop around the new course series he’s teaching which I had taken part in last summer.
I went for a walk around the Twin Lakes near the Institute and relieved some distinct memories of walking that area in my Unit 2 when I got overloaded a time or two and had to find a way to settle my energy. I had intended to take the bus home, but for whatever reason, switched up and kept hiking the 5-6 miles back into Boulder. A quick check of the movies playing diverted me to go see Kubo and the Two Strings, then grabbed some dinner and headed home with slightly blistered feet and slightly more reddened face (I made sure to put sunscreen in my bag after I got home, oops).
Day 7 – August 21
Noting that I had failed to pack a few obvious staples like a water bottle, umbrella, or any shoes that weren’t sandals, it seemed like Sunday was going to be a good day to take stock and restock. I had come out with some intention of restocking my wardrobe from the vintage stores of Boulder and Denver and it occurred to me I might as well go a step further and get some gear like a new pair of hiking boots since the pair I’d had since Boy Scouts had bit the dust a few years back. So a few errands later, I had some new gear and a pair of hiking boots on order with REI since they didn’t have my size in stock.
Following this and some chill time, I met a colleague who was in town for Thomas’ workshop down at Pearl Street Mall for dinner and some tasty beverages. A few hours of chit-chat about my assisting, her class, and some nice time walking around the mall then she hopped a bus back to Gunbarrel and I took a leisurely walk home through twilight Boulder.
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