Lately I’ve been remembering a quote that either Peter Melchoir or Emmett Hutchins attributed to Ida Rolf: “Maturity is the ability to discern finer and finer layers of distinction.” (This is as I remember; it may be slightly differently worded). I’ve been sharing it with students and clients quite a bit over the past month, because right now, it feels very important to me personally. Similar to a fine craftsman who puts his or her best work on creating the flawless finish, I’m more interested in showing clients, but more importantly myself, how to achieve finer and finer distinctions in my body.
I’ve mentioned to students that somewhere around 15-20 years into my practice, I looked at a picture of psoas, iliacus and quadratus lumborum, deep muscles of front of back and hips. Though I’d been looking at it for perhaps 15 years, I realized that though I’d been looking for all that time and teaching from it for a long while, I hadn’t realized the quadratus was so deep as to attach to the front of transverse processes as well as to the tips and back! Maturity.
In my own body, this attempted maturity currently translates in two major ways. First, I’m aware my left foot doesn’t like weight in the middle toes. I’ve been experimenting with adding weight to the front of that foot, with the result that I feel springier in that foot and leg. Maturity.
Likewise, my right foot has its own pattern. I prefer to turn it out slightly as I walk and stand, and the inner arch is higher than the left. This height translates into a pulling all the way into the adductors, groin, and a couple of sites of surgeries on my right side from years gone by. And, when I twist my body and arms to the right with weights in my hands, the right arch pulls up even further from the floor…unless I mind it, and ask it to stay grounded. Maturity.
So, currently I’m asking students to sharpen their observation skills….to learn to watch the entire client body to see more maturely where that client is holding, hiding and defending when they receive work. I challenge them to make their clients more mature in their bodies. If I’m teaching to students, I obviously need to learn for myself as well….still. So with my clients I challenge myself to get more mature, more aware, more subtle, more in tune with who they are (and who I am). I seek maturity for everybody that crosses my path.