Trauma provides an opportunity, a re-direction from the path we were walking. Levine describes a portal, the trauma vortex, one needs to go through in order to attain the transformative influences that trauma can provide. “Trauma sufferers are so frightened of their bodily sensations that they recoil from feeling them. It is as though they believe that by feeling them they will be destroyed or, at the very least, make things worse. Hence they remain stuck.”8 The key to unlocking one’s ‘stuckness’ requires one to feel the physical sensations of paralysis without becoming overwhelmed by the fear associated with the immobility. This must be done gradually, in a titrated manner, so that the person can surrender to the underlying feelings that lead to transforming trauma. “In addition, the ‘awe-full’ states of horror and terror appear to be connected to the transformative states such as awe, presence, timelessness, and ecstasy. They share essential psychophysiological and phenomenological roots.”9
Prior to my plenary talk at the Rolf Institute®’s 2011 Membership Conference, Levine said to me, “Let’s not forget to remind them that Dr. Rolf gave us a blueprint, a map, of getting the person’s chassis, their frame, balanced, connected, and unified with the field of gravity so that they may have a container to tolerate more of what may be arising at any given moment.” Good Rolfing work creates more space in the body, providing an opportunity for the client to meet his/her issues of holding. It is natural for feelings, sensations, emotions, and memories to arise during a session. What can a practitioner do to meet these unfolding processes? I suggest following these simple guidelines:
-Meet clients where they are . . . Don’t try to change them or fix them!
-Give clients space while providing a holding environment – a kind of mothering.
-Ask at every level: “What does this moment need?” . . . And be willing to expand your window of tolerance.
-Stay open . . . You don’t know where healing is going to come from!
-Let go of control . . . So that power can come through.
-No two sessions can be the same; know that there is an ongoing continuum of change.
-The key to resolving our clients’ traumatic wounding is by guiding them to self-regulation.
There is a classical shamanic motif that embraces the death and rebirth of the old self to permit the emergence and integration of a higher-order self. The shaman knows that The Hurt of One Is the Hurt of All! I can’t think of a more poignant description of what the healing of trauma can provide than: ‘From the One to the Many and the Many to the One.’