Getting started on 2012 online(v2)



Getting started on 2012 online(v2)
It’s been a wonderful year...
the Guild in our new
space. A large studio at the
back of the property was
opened up for us and we
love it!
We would like to acknowledge
David Davis for his dedication to
the Guild over the years and
although he has not taught for the
Guild for the past five years he
was with us from the beginning.
Long time friend and a stellar
human being, teacher, practitioner,
David is no longer able to teach
for the Guild for personal reasons.
We wish him every success in all
his endeavors.
Thank you David!
We would like to thank
all who have
making 2011 a
great year.
From the
smallest gifts of
a donated
carpet to the
teachings from our talented
faculty,and assistants, to the
great students that come
from near and far, and our
supportive community who
encourage students to come
train. And the subscription
fees really help! We thank
We wish
you all a
very happy,
New Year.
With love,
Richard and Susan
Without further ado...
The Guild for Structural Integration presents its
2011 Year Book
Note: the 12th Annual St. Valentine’s Day Workshop with Emmet Hutchins on Kauai is not pictured below.
Attendees: Ted Bobzien, Ann Eu, Jutta Fohler, Donaery Guerrero, Puamana Guyang, Jules Harris, Kathryn Hood, Lori Karhu, Jim Myers, Kats Nakano,
Barry Nutter, Nick Pavoldi, Karen Sallovitz, Chris Shay, Carissa Shima, Cyndi Sinclair, Cody Smolik, Kelly Torok Emmet Hutchins(Instructor) Jason Pan
Esterle(assistant instructor), Ken Solin(assistant instructor)
2011 Winter Basic
February 7 - March 30
Back Row:
Jeff Linn(instructor) Lenny Meyerson(assistant instructor) Arisa LaFond(Guest Practitioner)
Middle Row:
Alexander Grosvenor, Jewell Machlan, Marla Sovoie, Sarah Michael
Front Row:
Philip Clampitt, Susan Melchior(Guild Director), Marie Thiebaud, Jessica Redding-Newhouse, Suzanne Hauserman
This was our first class in the new space on Spruce St.!
2011 Spring Prereq
May 2 May 27
Left to Right:
Jeff Linn(instructor), Julie Gamblin, Philip Clampitt
Middle Row:
Sarah Michael, Shelly Schmidt, Sachiko Nishi, Jane Smith (assitant instructor)
Front Row:
Desna Emslie, Jade Gordon
2011 Advanced Training
May 3 - June10
Back Row:
Elisa Noel(guest practitioner), Will Massey, Colin Rossie, Bradon Planty, Ken Solin(guest practitioner), Steffanie Stafford
Middle Row:
Amber Leigh Burnham(Instructor) Emmett Hutchins(Instructor), Jason Pan Esterle(Assistant Instructor)
Front Row:
Tom Shand, Danuta Sitarczyk, Fay Eu, Mitchell Gold
2011 Summer Basic
June 6 - July 27
Back Row:
Carrie Burt, Philip Clampitt, Alexander Grosvenor, Tomohiro Terada, Emilia Conradson, Claudia Sorensen, Stephen Gammack Siew Li Yap, Randahl
Middle Row:
Diane Kim, Jason Pan Esterle(assistant instructor) Amber Burnham, Danielle De Maio
Front Row:
Jade Gordon, Yuka Kikuchi, Desna Emslie, Michele Ch’ng
2011 Summer Prereq
August 29 - Sepember 23
Back Row:
Randahl RItchie, Katsuhiko Nakano, John Sorensen, Sandrine Duquesne
Front Row:
Jeff Linn(Instructor), Mariko Nakano, Mary O’Leary
2011 Kauai Basic
September 27 - November 17
Back Row:
Jessica Redding-Newhouse, Katsuhiko Nakano, Yumi Mortensen, Jennifer Piltz, Mariko Nakano, Tomohiro Terada, Ken Solin(guest practitioner), Masakazu
Middle Row:
Amber Leigh Burnham(Instructor), Emmett Hutchins(instructor), Jason Pan Esterle(Assistant Instructor)
Front Row:
Sarah Michael, Dario Di Lorenzo, Claudia Sorensen, Jaime Rogers, Pamela Hollett, Elisa Noel(guest practitioner - not pictured)
2011 Fall Basic
September 26 - November 16
Back Row:
Lenny Meyerson(assistant instructor) Carrie Burt, Suzanne Hauserman, Shelly Schmidt, Randahl Ritchie, Dylan Saikin, Jeff Linn(Instructor), Cathie Schulte, Petra
Stedronova, John Sorensen
Front Row:
Mary O’Leary, Desna Emslie, Kathy Peters, Ryan Pack, Sandrine Duquesne
2011 Workshops - Redmond, WA
February 4 - 6
Back Row:
Valerie Keaton, Jane O'Keeffe, Christine Kommer, Lonnie Fox,Liz Stewart(Instructor), Wendy Walker, margaret, William Griswald
Front Row:
Molly Brackett, Karen Bolesky, Karen Clay, Anita Boser
2011 Workshops - Salt Lake City, UT
March 25 - 27
Back Row:
Weston Horne, Steve Padgen, Carl Rabke, Alan Cina
Middle Row:
Nadine Samilla, Amber Burnham, Liz Stewart(Instructor) Sally Cina
Front row:
Elisa Noel, Amy Olson, Monica Nardone, Larra Murdock, (Karen Clay - not pictured)
2011 Workshops - Tel-Aviv, Israel
June 10 - 13
Back Row:
Batia Biller, Dov Mechlovitch, Rachel Narkiss, Avi
Bahat, instructor: Neal Powers, Orna Bat-David
Middle Row:
Yona Priez, Rachel Aviran, Shlomit Yosifya, Shayna Alexander
Front Row:
Asher Elbaz, Shoshana Meiron
2011 Workshops -Torino, Italy
July 14 - 17
Back Row:
Jerome Blanche, Nicolas Molino,
Jessica Blean, Neal, Ennio Kaspar, Dario di Lorenzo, Diego Albertani,
Andrea Wilson, Fulvio Faudella
Front Row:
Adam Polanski, Mauro Tambone, Micaela Rubiola, Valentina Ercolani, Mario Finato
2011 Workshops - Salt Lake City, UT
September 9 - 11
Back Row:
Andrea Wilson, Jennifer Belcham, Neal Powers(Instructor), Bradon Planty, Tom Case, Weston Horne, Karen McAleece, Sarah Taylor, Elisa Noel
Front Row:
Camille Beers, Ticia Sheets, Larra Murdock, Cindi Sinclair, Amber Burnham
2011 Workshops - Seattle, WA
October 20 - 23
Back Row:
Matt Mahan, Margaret Haines, Lonnie Fox, Anita Boser
Front Row:
Jane O’Keeffe David Gross, Liz Stewart(Instructor), Wendy Walker, Karen Clay
News and Announcements
a practitioner and help us out at the same
It’s that time of year again. Sub fees are
As you all know, every class has an
time. There is no charge. I have a list of
assistant, sometimes two. We are often
people who would like to do this but
asked how does one become an
would love to add more...
due by Jan 15, 2012
We fully appreciate the sub fees. They
truly help! An invoice will be mailed
by the first of Dec as a friendly reminder.
The fee can be mailed to: GSI, PO Box
1559, Boulder, CO 80306 or call us
with a credit card, or email to
[email protected]
assistant? The individual faculty
members chose their own assistants and
often work with the same people over
time creating a supportive team, and
then again we are always interested in
widening the pool.
For your convenience, a copy of the
2012 invoice for
subscribers is attached
as the last page of this
Assisting does not necessarily lead to
becoming a teacher but it is a wonderful
“Meet your Body”
cases you learn from class to class and
by Noah Karrasch
the teacher and the students. Assisting
doesn’t pay very much in the Basic
Classes ($3000. for the seven weeks you
are in class), and we realize that very
few can leave their practices for seven to
Do you want to host a workshop in your
eight weeks. And most workshops do
and she can discuss what is needed to
get started. Thinking of Kauai,
workshop or Advanced Training? Our
deadline for enrolling in the Kauai
classes is now two months in advance of
the starting dates. See the schedule of
classes page for more information on the
workshops that are offered so far in
not have assistants and when they do
this is mostly on a volunteer basis. If you
are interested in being considered
please send your resume with a cover
letter about yourself and your practice,
whether you have had Advanced
Training or not to the Guild.
We will make sure the
faculty then receives this
Also let us know if you are interested in
an Advanced Training in Boulder as we
set the schedule up a year - plus in
advance and need to know if the interest
is there so we can schedule it in.
book review:
learning experience and indeed in most
become more and more supportive to
area? Please contact Susan at the Guild
Emmett offers a
Also, on another note, we sometimes
need what we call a ‘pair up’ person
when a class has an uneven amount of
practitoners enrolled. This is a great
opportunity to learn, be in class again as
I have recently read a book by Rolf
Practitioner, Noah Karrasch.
This book, Meet Your Body, is a gem
in the field of Structural
Integration. All body workers with
allegiance to Dr. Rolf should
have a copy of this book. Here is
the best attempt, so far, to
describe how to 'talk' to a
Structurally Integrated body, hinge
by hinge. I've seen no better source
for body meditation and
awakening the integrated body. Noah writes with special intimate
knowledge of his material.
Emmett Hutchins
SI Instructor
2012 Schedule of Classes
Feb 6 - Mar 28
May 7 - Jun 27
July 2 - Aug 29
Sep 24 - Nov 14
Sep 25 - Nov 15
Apr 2 - Apr 27
Aug 27 - Sep 21
April 24 - Jun 1
Sao Paulo, Brazil
Victoria, BC Canada
Feb 11 - 17
Apr 13, 14, 15
June 8 - 14
July 5 - 11
Other workshops and classes will
be added.
Application Fee....................................................$100
Deposits (for all courses).....................................$300
Prerequisite Course...........................................................$3000
Basic Training Phase 1: Auditing........................ $4300
1-10 series as Auditor in Basic Training...............$200
Basic Training Phase 2: Practitioning..................$7300
Advanced Training.................................. $6200
Workshops: Six Days...............................$850
Three Days.......................................$450
Three Week Post Advanced...$3500
Annual Subscriber Fee...............................$150
Basic Class Re- Audit...............................$2000
To enroll in a class: Submit a $300 deposit and include a $100 one time application fee if this is your first
class. Please submit payments with your application. For workshops submit a deposit of $100. Tuition in full is
due one month prior to training dates.
All classes are subject to change. A class is confirmed when enrollment is sufficient; determined one month
prior to the starting date, unless otherwise stated in the class announcements.
Class announcements will be sent, including housing information, enrollment agreement, and other pertinent
* Guild Advanced Trainings are approved by the Rolf Institute and Workshops are approved for
‘CE Manipulative Credit’
Reflections on the Art
of Rolfing
Alex Lukeman
For those who don't know
me (I keep a pretty low
profile) I graduated from the
Rolf Institute in 1979 and
have been practicing, with a
few breaks, ever since. I see
six to eight clients a week
now, about the max my 70
year old fingers can handle.
(Before I go further, I'd like
to make a comment for the
Trademark/Copyright police,
should they happen to see
this article. Please assume
that any mention of Rolfing,
the Rolf Institute, or anything
remotely connected with Ida
Rolf is followed immediately
by one of those little circle R
symbols or whatever. That
saves me a lot of work.)
The Institute in 1979 was a
mystery school, no more and
no less. I was blessed by
having Emmett Hutchins and
Peter Melchior for teachers.
It doesn't get any better than
that. Emmett was the teacher
in my auditing class, and to
this day I can still hear his
voice from time to time as I
work, saying things like "Too
deep into the rhomboids will
detach the shoulder
girdle" (picture someone's
arms dropping off) or "It's
dumb to think about
directionality in the skull." At
the end of the day he'd read
something out of his little
green book of "Ten" or
whatever it was called. He'd
talk about the fifth ray of
service. I wonder, does
anyone do that now?
Peter Melchior was my
teacher for the second part of
the training. He was
awesome. He could just
touch someone and you could
watch the change flow in. No
one could see what he was
doing when his hands were
out of sight and he would
more or less explain what
can't be explained; how the
sense of the tissue coming
through your fingers tells you
what has to happen.
Meanwhile, the models were
watching someone go around
the room at the old Institute
carrying a flaming pot of
something to burn off the
accumulated yuck of many
sessions and wondering what
the hell was going on. Like I
said, a mystery school.
One of my models was a real
challenge. He was a fitness
freak, the kind of guy who
lives for the gym and running
and all that. There was no
problem defining the rectus
abdominus with him; he
could have modeled for one
of those ab machine ads you
see on TV these days. The
rectus (and the rest of him)
was approximately the
consistency of steel. He had
no sense of humor that I
could discover. He never
smiled. He ran because it was
good for him, not because he
enjoyed it. At the end of the
fifth session I asked him to
bend over, to look at his
back. The erectors rippled out
from his neck and formed a
wide, perfectly defined
diamond before they returned
to the base of his spine.
Peter said, "You see that?" I
said, "Yeah." Peter said,
"Now put your fists here (at
the farthest points of the
diamond)." I did that. "Now
have him straighten up and
bring it in." I held the
pressure and the model
straightened up and his entire
back changed before
everyone's eyes. I'll never
forget it. The model went
"Oh, my God." I said, "I wish
you could have seen that." He
said, "Seen it? I felt it!"
That is seeing. That is the art
of Rolfing. That is what Peter
and Emmett taught me. To
see, not just the lack or
presence of alignment but the
essence of what is needed to
go to the right place and with
the incredible hubris that you
need to become a Rolfer, dare
to sculpt the human body and
try to evoke the potential
perfection that lies within.
I have a fear that the art I
learned is being lost. Perhaps
it's just the inevitability of
change, the evolution of the
work. Perhaps I'm wrong, but
it does seem to me that there
is more and more focus on
the "scientific" aspect, the
linear, logical mind, the
research into fascia, the
desire for validation of what
we do from a scientific point
of view, the politically
correct desire to include all
those different schools as part
of it. I feel it is at the expense
of the true sense of what the
art of Rolfing is on a visceral,
tangible, spiritual, intuitive
level. I'm sure Ida would
approve of the scientific
inquiry. I'm not so sure she'd
approve of some of the things
I've observed or heard of or
experienced about how the
work has changed.
Take the "line", for example.
As far as I'm concerned, it's
fundamental. You can't have
Rolfing without the line. It's
not a concept, or a theory. It's
a reality, waiting to be
evoked by the best work we
do. Take certainty of that
away and you are not a
Rolfer, or doing Dr. Rolf's
work. When I work with
someone, I am constantly
thinking of the line. I see it in
the body, waiting to emerge. I
think it, I intend it. I see the
person on the table and I see
how they were when they
were young, before the
injuries and illnesses and
accidents and stresses of life
layered everything over. I see
the bone structure, and I see
how it could work to support
that being, how it should
work by virtue of design.
Because I see that, I can
evoke the line. Always.
The other fundamental for me
is integration. I've had
sessions from other Rolfers
who hadn't a clue what that
really means. Not from Guild
members, by the way. But
from experienced Rolfers
with ten to twenty years of
experience. How do I know?
Because I can feel it in my
body, and I know the
difference. When you've been
Rolfed by Peter and Emmett
and folks like Jim Asher, you
know the difference. Anyone
can take things apart, with a
modicum of intelligence and
practice. Putting it all
together again at the end of
any given hour so the client is
stable is another story, and it
is key to the art.
It really isn't that hard, but it
takes practice and intention
and awareness. Everyone
develops little tricks to ensure
integration, at least I hope
they do. But to do that, we
have to see that it is essential
to the art, not an abstract
concept. Then at the end of
ten or whatever, that person
gets up and they are more
than they were before.
Here's a final thought. Too far
onto the path of research and
scientific inquiry, without the
counterbalance of the
intuitive and non-linear,
"right brain" sense that cares
nothing for such things, and
the art will be lost. Too much
accommodation of other
schools and their approaches
substitutes technique for art
and will dilute the work
beyond recognition. It's not
what you know about fascia
that brings change. It's not a
new technique or approach.
It's how you sense it, how it
talks to you, how you listen
to it, how you follow its
direction. Lucky for us, we
still have folks at the Guild
who understand that.
About the Author
Alex Lukeman Ph.D
is a Rolfer, author, musician
and a friend of the Guild.
Check him out on Amazon.
Our thanks to Alex for
sharing this with us.
Some Excitement in Academia
Parent rating of satisfaction (1-10): 9.6 Parent rating of child satisfaction (1-10): 9.6
Design. Randomized crossover pilot study. Participants were evaluated at baseline (T0), and
randomized to treatment or control. They were again evaluated (T1), crossed over into the other
condition, and re-evaluated (T2).
Change in GMFM Score during MSI and Play
“He is such a happier boy, he is almost a different child.” – Mother of subject 002
“She gained a lot of confidence.” – Mother of subject 005
Most common physical disability in childhood
Affects 2-4 children/1000 ages 3 to 10 years
Follows injuries to the fetal or infant brain
Permanent, non-progressive neurological condition
Peripheral effects of damage (i.e. spasticity) change as child grows
Severity of CP classified using the Gross Motor Function Classification System
(GMFCS): - Level I indicates minimal effects; Level V profound disability
Current treatments focus on reducing spasticity & improving function
Oral medications
Botulinum Toxin A (injection)
Dorsal root rhizotomy (surgery)
Tendon lengthening (surgery)
Physical and occupational therapy
Participants. Children aged 2-7 years with spastic CP and GMFCS levels 2 – 4.
Treatment Condition (MSI). 10 session therapy series with a certified advanced MSI
therapist (KSP) over approximately ten weeks. Standard MSI is modified to accommodate
children, such as allowing flexible positioning to ensure the child’s comfort (e.g. floor during play,
standing, or parents lap). Included in the therapy are take home instructions individualized to the
child and the session, including active and passive stretching, and balance exercises.
• Trauma (physical and emotional) and clinical
conditions (cerebral palsy) create disorganized
patterns of structure and function
• Once an imbalance exists, gravity exerts an
unequal force on muscles and joints
• Fascia tends to magnify these effects through
continued tightening in a chain reaction
• MSI manipulates muscles and fascia through
pressure and deep tissue massage-like techniques
to bring the soft tissues as close as possible to
anatomically correct position
• Enhanced function occurs as a result of myofascial
OB1?Q!B0.-,<)-T!Z!`;4D9C:[email protected]!
This study evaluates the therapeutic potential of Myofascial Structural
Integration, a novel and safe technique of muscle and soft tissue
manipulation, as a complementary treatment for children with spastic CP
¾ One showed improvement after MSI and continued to improve after play sessions.
¾ One shows apparent deterioration. This child has visual impairment and cognitive
disability; she could not comprehend language adequately to follow instructions.
[email protected]!B:G7C9CL4!!C=>5C6=479!
Three children showed improvements in ankle dorsiflexion after MSI.
Parents reported many observed changes in their children beyond those that were
reflected in outcome measures.
Only one child showed clearly recognizable improvements on OGS. Scores on the ICF
interview were highly variable.
Myofascial Structural Integration Therapy holds promise as a
complementary treatment for young children with cerebral palsy
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[email protected])!!
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Six of the eight children in the study showed improvement in their GMFM score
¾ Three showed greater improvement after the MSI therapy than after play sessions.
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Additional Observed Improvements
Reproduced ,with permission, from the Rolf Institute.
!!!!!!!!!+ !!!!A!!!!6*&#!!!A!!!!+C!!!A!!!!"9B!!!!A!!!+F!
• 10 sessions
• Therapist works on a different anatomical area
each session to systematically treat the entire body
• Each session is approximately one hour
• Specific manipulation technique developed by Ida P. Rolf PhD that focuses on
putting body into alignment with the gravitational field
Change in ankle dorsiflexion during MSI and Play
“I wish we had done it earlier.” – Father of subject 011
“It was only 10 sessions and we have seen a lot of improvement.”
– Mother of subject 013
Myofascial Structural Integration (MSI)
“He went through developmental stages he never experienced before and continues to
do so – like he’s catching up with his age. . . . The hardest part about it was [leaving]
the last session because you see all this progress and you don’t want it to go away.”
– Mother of subject 010
Recent research shows local changes in muscles and fascia in CP
“I was stunned. It is the most dramatic, quick improvement we have had with anything
we have tried . . . . It made me look at body work in a new way; as something for
long–term improvement.” – Mother of subject 009
• May contribute to pathogenesis and maintenance of spasticity
• Preliminary studies and clinical observations support the effectiveness of treatments
directly targeting peripheral soft tissues
• There are few rigorous evaluations of such methods
Control Condition (Play). 10 sessions of interactive play with a member of the research
team (ABH). Activities included coloring, card games, puzzles and imaginative play.
“He always asks when he can come for the next appointment.” – Father of subject 008
[email protected]!!A!!!"9B!!!A!!!+C!!!A!!!6D8E!!A!!!+F!
[email protected]!!!A!!!6D8E!!A!!+C!!A!!!"9B!!A!!!+F!
Cerebral Palsy (CP)
Myofascial Structural Integration may be particularly valuable when
children are young and beginning to develop motor skills
Myofascial Structural Integration may have benefits beyond decreasing
spasticity, such as increased growth and appetite
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1. Koman LA, Smith BP, Shilt JS, Koman LA, Smith BP, Shilt JS. Cerebral palsy. Lancet. May 15 2004;363(9421):1619-1631.
2. Friden J, Lieber RL, Friden J, Lieber RL. Spastic muscle cells are shorter and stiffer than normal cells. Muscle & Nerve. Feb
3. Lieber RL, Runesson E, Einarsson F, et al. Inferior mechanical properties of spastic muscle bundles due to hypertrophic but
compromised extracellular matrix material. Muscle & Nerve. Oct 2003;28(4):464-471.
4. Palisano R, Rosenbaum P, Walter S, Russell D, Wood E, Galuppi B. Development and reliability of a system to classify gross motor
function in children with cerebral palsy. Developmental Medicine & Child Neurology. Apr 1997;39(4):214-223.
5. World Health Organization. WHO Disability Assessment Schedule II (WHO DAS II). Geneva: World Health Organization; 2010: Accessed April 4, 2010.
6. Rolf I. Rolfing: The Integration of Human Structures. . Santa Monica, CA Dennis-Landman Publishers; 1977.
7. Toporek R. The Promise of Rolfing Children (monograph). Philadelphia, PA: Transformation Network; 1981.
8. Perry J, Jones MH, Thomas L. Functional evaluation of Rolfing in cerebral palsy. Developmental Medicine & Child Neurology. Dec
9. 27. Anna H Mackey GLL. Reliability and validity of the Observational Gait Scale in children with spastic diplegia. Developmental
Medicine & Child Neurology. 2003;45(1):4-11.
This poster is representative of preliminary data in a
pilot study. We are always happy to see Dr. Rolf’s
work being studied and scrutinized by the scientific
community. Please visit for
more information on Karen Price and the study at
Stanford. Our thanks to Karen for permission to
reprint here.
A peak into Susan’s Email Inbox:
Hi Susan
I was just down in Big Sur, and it brought Peter back so strongly
I wrote this
Feel free to use it or not, on the site or in a newsletter or whatever,
or maybe it will just give you pleasure, I don't know
I think I am going to be in Boulder in a couple of weeks, visiting Martin - want to visit?
Ode to Peter from Big Sur
Peter Melchiorʼs spirit and this world–class setting are inextricably entwined in my mind, though I never met
him here. Never met Ida Rolf here either, but for me she is forever associated with New York via her accent
and world-view, even though it was the tendrils from her sojourn at Esalen that reached out and ensnared me
for a lifetimeʼs work.
But for me Peterʼs ʻhomeʼ was always Big Sur, no matter how many more years he domiciled in Boulder. When
I first came to Big Sur in 1974, Peter was already gone, waiting in my future for our intersection in Boulder, the
new home of the Rolf Institute. I was newly-rolfed then, and an enthusiastic neophyte of the Human Potential
Movement. After a day of teaching / assisting in the spiritual boot-camp of an Arica training up the road in
Ventana, we would come into the famous Esalen baths after midnight. It was allowed, but it felt like sneaking
in – a glimpse into the cradle of all this new work: rolfingʼs deep journeys into the body, the radical cracking
open of Gestalt, the promise of peace in Alan Wattsʼ full-catastrophe approach to Zen meditation. It was all
new and exciting.
It wasnʼt just Esalen, it was all of Big Sur- the redwood glens reeked of good pot and the grassy tan shoulders
of the hills thrummed to the sound of congas. I got to meet Jack Downing and stay at Fort Sufi perched above
Pfeiffer Beach, met the illuminated Richard Price and his yet more illuminated wife Christine, and tasted the
remnants the indomitable (but already gone) Fritz Perls It was heady stuff for a 25-yr old.
One night in the old cement baths, I met John Lilly up close and personal, stoned on ketamine and soft of
body, hip, hair, voice, and eyes with the female hormone he was reportedly injecting. We had a long and silent
conversation. (I met him many years later in London, not long before his death, still strung out on K, but very
male, very thin, crew cut white hair, like nothing so much as an old oak with a masterful voice – “You a
wrestler?” he boomed, as soon as he saw me. Of course he had no memory of our previous encounter, as I
Ida I had met the previous spring at the ratty conference room of the Dawn Dee Motel on Santa Monica
Boulevard, where Jan Sultan ʻrolfedʼ me twice a week after her class finished. I met Peter in my fraught
admissions interview at 200 Abbey Place, where he gently but firmly told me to wait - but he ended up being
both my auditing and practitioning teacher. For my final phase in ʼ76. we were with Ida for the morning lecture
and demos in her advanced class, and then with Peter for the afternoon. His childlike innocence in front of Ida,
working under her watchful and abrupt tutelage (now up on YouTube at
v=mJxajGLepyQ) belied his shamanic calm in the afternoon, when he had the six of us, including the
physiatrist Dr Frank Wenger, well in hand – a steel hand in a velvet glove.
I was square in the middle of the hippie era, but I had done my homework on the beats, reading Dharma Bums
and Been Down So Long It Looks Like Up To Me. Richard Farina held a special place in Peterʼs musician
rebel heart, as did Joan Baez. For some reason, I guess ʻcause I played music, he told me many stories of the
early days in Big Sur – like folkie ʻJoanieʼ Baez rockinʼ out with ʻDancinʼ in the Streetsʼ up in Monterey.
Peter was one of the few living members of the ʻWest on Oneʼ Club. Highway 1 swoops around the ridges
and into the canyons from Carmel to Morro Bay with a cliff on its western edge for most of the way, so the
driver losing attention through fatigue or intoxication generally got into the West on One Club only by way of
being a posthumous member. Peter fell asleep at the wheel one night, and went over the edge toward the
sea, but luckily hit a tree and lived to climb back up, have 5 children, and a long and influential career.
When I got back to Esalen in the 90ʼs to teach a workshop, a landslide had taken the famous old baths down
the hillside to the sea, and the new ones were much ʻnicerʼ, higher on the hill with new plumbing and a bigger
view, but it was a disappointment to me, because of the treasury of memories the old tubs had. The
workshops too, at that time, seemed prosaic, the consciousness deflated, the energy moribund. It seemed an
era had disappeared.
Now I am back, with the ʻuh-ohsʼ decade over and the twenteens begun. The baths have been restored in
their old spot over the ocean. The update still leaves the feel and sense of the original baths that Michael
Murphy parlayed from a family inheritance to a world-affecting center, and son Mac shows every sign of
continuing. Peter - I want to tell my old friend - theyʼve done a good job. The crazies and iconoclasts are still here trying
to awaken the world, as well as the smelly and beautiful youths with outlandish hair, startling body art, and
charming accents, whose world is just unrolling before them. Some are hangers-on, some are cleaning up the
kitchen, some are working the expanded gardens, a few still tending to the Gazebo School. Yes, they all have
iPads, and the jargon has changed, but I see my ʼ74 self very clearly reflected in their starry eyes. Even
though the Hollywood types in their shiny cars abound and there are a few new galleries for questionable art
along Route 1, the Big Sur Inn is still here, and Nepenthe. Like Bali or Greece, it is still easy to shed the
tourists by going just a bit off the beaten track.
Esalen itself has a bit of a new feel – thatʼs the nature of a change agency - but the essence of exploration
and opening up is back, while the names – Rolf, Maslow, Perls, Huxley, Porterʼs Yurt, Gazebo school – echo
back from your time here. The fog has lifted for today, and I am looking out among the sparkles for a spout or
the tell-tale back of a gray whale. But my mindʼs eye is looking back on your silent wisdom, when you were
leviathan in my life, where the things you didnʼt say had more influence on me than even the minimal maxims
you did utter with that little laugh to (and at) yourself. Such a force for good, in my life and so many others,
your inner silence has been my ʻUmbrella for a Hard Rainʼ. That was his book of poems, the one Allen Ginsburg threw over his shoulder – Peter reported, with his same
little laugh - with the brief critical review: ʻArchaic drivel!ʼ – but I liked them. He gave me a copy, lost in my
many moves since, sad to say. Poet, raconteur, teacher, friend – Peter, you embodied the Esalen spirit. Even
though you have left that body behind, the spirit endures.
Thomas Myers
Director: Kinesis
318 Clarks Cove Rd
Walpole ME USA 04573
+ 1-207-563-7121
[email protected]
Many thanks to Tom for sharing.
Invoice Date: 11/1/2011
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