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invisibility

maedbh7 asked how the decision to research the textbook industry emerged from that Rubenfeld session. (Thanks, and hi! :-) ) Making a new post of my answer.

I went into the session with the question of why I was consistently getting to work 10-15 minutes late, despite feeling like I'd integrated its current role in my life. Reaching that conclusion just came from the dialogue aspect of the session. The touch aspect of receiving Rubenfeld hasn't been that significant for me personally so far -- except for facilitating me getting into therapeutic trance. Which is actually very significant because I'm so agile enough with talk that I don't get into that trance with pure dialogue.

Back before I picked Rubenfeld to focus on, I also checked out Rosen Method, which is a touch/talk therapy that focuses on breathing as the core element. I received three practice or demo sessions during a Rosen workshop, the theme of which I summarized as "where are you, I can't find you." It seemed like Rosen therapists were having a hard time feeling like they were connecting with what was going on for me.

I'm actually starting to frame how I've been receiving Rubenfeld sessions in a similar way. While cradling my shoulder the therapist will ask Gestalt style questions like "If your shoulder could talk what would it be saying" or "Is there anything you want to say to your shoulder". I open myself to whatever the answer may be to those questions, and often I don't get one. That's unusual, because it appears that most people, when they get into therapeutic trance, find they do have an answer to that kind of question. So I'm starting to think Rubenfeld is running into the same thing that Rosen was -- and the natural thing to do is turn that into content somehow. Work with the lack of an answer. Don't know what that'll look like, but I do have a whiff of the unknown in that direction.
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Textbook publishing

I received a private Rubenfeld session yesterday, at the end of which I came to the conclusion that I wanted to find out more about the social goods and social ills of the textbook publishing industry.

It's always been important to me that my employer was a *net* social good -- education needs textbooks, and we make good ones. I've also been aware as well that there's an ugly underbelly to the textbook publishing industry. eg new editions printed for the sole purpose of getting students to buy new books rather than used. I've thought that I had integrated that knowledge in my deciding to work where I do, but I don't have an explanation for why I'm always a little late for work rather than simply *on time*, which would would be easy, honestly, and more in accord with living in integrity. I also know I don't contribute my full potential while I'm there. It's certainly more than enough to stay employed amidst staff cuts, and I get a lot of positive feedback, but honestly it would be easy for me to do a lot more, even bearing in mind being a sysadmin is not my calling.

So, I decided I should find out even more about the industry, and make a freshly-informed decision to work there -- or not, if what I learn is too smelly.

I did some fresh research last night and learned the following:
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Addendum to yesterday's demonstration report

This morning I had a chance to talk to the fellow who was the principal in the story below. He said his legs have been feeling "delicious" and he's been out walking every chance he can get. He's been aware for many years that his left leg became stronger than his right while he was recovering, and the right leg never seemed to catch up after that. Even though he was trying to exercise it more it always felt weaker. Today he said even the motion of standing up is feeling like it's especially exercising for that leg, like he's putting it fully to use in everyday things for the first time in ages.
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2nd Rubenfeld Synergy weeklong

I'm at week #2 of my Rubenfeld Synergy training, which consists of 3 weeklongs per year for four years, plus a weekend in between each weeklong.

Ilana Rubenfeld is here with us for Monday and Tuesday, which is pretty cool. I'd done a weekend workshop with her back before the program started so I already had a sense of her, but the demo session she did turned out to be pretty powerful.

She worked on a fellow student who (it emerged) had been in a head-on collision with a drunk driver 30 years ago. He'd been asleep in the back seat, and went straight into shock due to his injuries (tibia crushed). He thus had no memory of the accident, only waking up from it a couple days later.

I'm pretty familiar now with Ilana's way of working that homed in on this memory related to that leg. What was new to me was her way of working with it once they were there. She said something like, "I'm going to propose that we rescript that memory so it comes out a different way, would that be ok?" That got a nod and also a positive response she could tell through her hands, so she proceeded. He'd never seen the car or how the other driver looked at the time so she asked him to describe them how he imagined. He filled in various details, including bleary eyes from the intoxication and looking in the wrong direction. There she said let's change that to something not as dangerous, and he changed it to he's sober but half-distracted talking to his passenger and looking at her instead of the road some of the time. Next she asked him to visualize the other car coming towards them, on a collision course, closer, closer, and then WOOSH the other car turns aside just in time. "That was close!" she said, moving her hands down from his hip where they'd been, off the end of his foot and out several times.

It was quite clearly a big release for him, and brought up a lot of feeling in his chest which she attended to as well, alternately rocking his ribcage gently and flowing her hands from there up to the top of his head and off. As he started to settle down from all the stuff going on for him (which I don't know much about yet), she checked again the mobility of his hips by rocking his feet, and they'd become very loose (compared to unmoving / unable to relax before). He also reported feeling surprisingly, welcomely good in the hips.

The first thing I checked out when Ilana asked for questions was whether she'd chosen that intervention because the trauma in question was so old, and that if it had been just earlier this year and he was still upset about it would she have done something different? She said her guiding thought was that this injury was old news and he seemed ready for a change, and yes if he was still processing stuff related with that she would have been following into that instead.

Another student said she was having a hard time with the intervention because especially with rape and incest victims, it can be so important to be clear and strong about the fact that the trauma really did happen. Ilana agreed with that strongly, also adding a key question for her is "Does it serve you?" If a person was handicapping themselves with the burden of an experience, she would look for a way to help them change that. She gave an example of a small woman who'd been raped by a very large man. When invited to change it in a way that gave her more power she visualized him shrinking a la "Honey I Shrunk the Kids". After a bunch more work around that imagery she ultimately put him in a box and offered him to God.

In case it's unclear, there's no question in my mind for either of these stories that the client in question has any confusion after the intervention about what historically happened to them. My fellow student didn't come away with the idea that the accident hadn't happened. But in both those cases the person was still carrying the fact of the accident with them in a way that didn't serve them anymore. The visualization of a different story to it, along with the listening hands, helped their bodies let go what was unneeded.
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Start from the waist down

This morning we did a movement section focused on how to change our body position while reaching out our arms (to an imaginary person on the table). Keep the back straight but allow movement at the waist and knees, so that as the arms go forward the butt goes a little bit back. As a result the body is still balanced over its center of gravity.

My massage therapy school also started the movement training part of things with the hips and legs. Both feet firmly planted in a lunge (one foot somewhat forward, one somewhat back), shift most of the weight from one foot to the other while keeping the spine upright. As a result the hips glide back and forth while everything above them just comes along for the ride.

Each is appropriate to the intention of the movement. In Rubenfeld the purpose is to reach out from a centered place to just touch and listen. In Massage Therapy the purpose is to facilitate shifting one's body weight into a massage move.
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some useful distinctions

A different member of the faulty, whose specialty is movement, led a session this afternoon. She introduced some high-level distinctions about movement and the body's design that I found useful:

-The primary design principles of the body are safety and efficiency, in that order.

-Muscle movements can be divided at a high level by purpose: balance vs. manipulation.

-The guidance system behind a set of movements can be said to be operating in "feedback" or "feed-forward" mode.

That last was the most interesting to me. It's illustrated well by occasions where you mis-judge the number of steps going down stairs -- the jar when you discover the mistake is evidence that you were in a "feed-forward" state, in which a large chunk of muscle movements are planned ahead based on routine and familiarity with the environment. I think also of how horses can't see their feet while they're in motion -- they're continuously mapping the ground ahead for where their feet will land. Most familiar motions are executed in feed-forward mode.

A great contrast from my own experience is the Tia Chi walking I do at Twilight Covening when the ritual involves blindfold walking through the woods. Feedback walking is all about feeling the ground with your foot before you shift weight onto it, as opposed to finding out what's there when you land on it.

This has huge relevance for any kind of touch therapy. If you're touching someone in feed-forward mode any sensations you're receiving through your hands are coming too late to make a difference in your contact. If you're touching someone in feedback mode your contact is fully informed by changes as they occur. It has to be slower, never committed to full follow-through of a given motion because you may get information part-way along that says you should stop the motion sooner than you thought. (Or equally, continue further than you though -- you're always finding out as you go along.)
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Rubenfeld has landed

As some of you reading will know, I've been waiting a long time for my training in Rubenfeld Synergy to start. It was over two years ago that I signed up, thinking the next training would be starting in ~6 months. There were various delays on the organizers' side, but I've just stuck with the plan, whenever the plan manages to catch up with me.

Well I'm here at the Omega institute now, having just finished my first evening session of the first weeklong in the 4-year course. YAY.

I carpooled up with friend-of-a-friend Kamela, to whose journal I should figure out how to link. We had a lot to talk about -- and it was extra good arriving feeling like I had found some solid connection with someone at the outset.

There's 16 students in the class, 5 faculty, and 3 interns. I'm one of two men among the students. There's a great range of ages, from mid-20s to mid-60s.

Each weeklong is going to have a theme, of which this one is Ground. The introductory exercise they did was to have everyone stand and get a sense of their feet on the ground, and expand that to what their ground felt like metaphorically (steady/shaky/loving/leaning/etc) and share a few words about it. Then they invited us to expand on that, to represent our ground on a big sheet of paper, which we then used as a basis for sharing our ground with the group. (Which was a roundabout, but much more effective, way of saying "say a few things about where you're starting from".)

"Ground" got me thinking in an elemental metaphor, and I think of myself as mostly a creature of water and air rather than earth, so I made those the frame. In the middle my ground was a series of concentric platforms with stairs between, being my foundations in philosophy, counselling, and massage therapy. I'm a dot in the middle facing more stairs that lead up further still. Katherine and Tom are dots on the sides supporting me, Katherine on the water side and Tom on the air side. When I spoke to the group I took the opportunity to mention my life-partner and her other partner. When someone spoke up later they said they want to hear more about that -- to some friendly laughter. So I feel good about laying out one of my risky bits early.
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Netbank closed by fed, deopsits bought out by ING Direct

ING Direct Steps In as US Bank Collapses

Summary: Netbank was closed on Friday by the federal government following losses on subprime mortgages, failures to improve underwriting, and exceeding the federal deposit insurance limit. Netbank declared bankruptcy and was promptly bought out by ING Direct (a much bigger online bank).

CEO Arkadi Kuhlmann said, "This is all about confidence in the market. Since we are the largest direct bank we were very pleased to assist and help out and hopefully take on these customers who will continue to do business on the Internet."

NOTE: Netbank deposits are protected by FDIC up to $100,000. Plus, they're officially ING Direct deposits now anyway. A notice on the site reads:

You will still be able to access your money the same way you have in the past, using your ATM card or Visa® check card, checks, online bill pay, wire transfers and standard deposits. Any automated features, such as bill payments or direct deposit, will continue as scheduled. Please Note: As of 5:00 PM EST Sunday, September 30, you will be able to resume all normal account activities via the NetBank website.
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Course delayed

The start-date of my Rubenfeld Synergy course has been pushed back again, due to a number of factors, to May 2008.

From the sound of things it's a sensible and difficult choice on the part of the organizers. So I hope I have good reason to be optimistic that this isn't a new institutional pattern for them. They *have* been starting a new group every year or two for 20-odd years.

So, 9 more months. *sigh*
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Things not to do

Remember those volcano pictures we posted last year from our Hawaii trip? Did we mention the lengths the park service went to convince tourists wanting to see lava entering the ocean NOT to walk out on the "new land"?

Here's why.

(Timelapse duration: 1030-1600 on 11/28/05.)