In the penultimate post of this series, called Ye Five Elements, Vertical, I presented the metaphor of an elevator traveling on vertical trajectory about the pentad of elements. I suggested that good maintenance of the elevator is essential to a pleasurable experience (lest one end up stuck between floors in this five-storied turret and find oneself forced to breathe through one nostril withal as a means to ration oxygen while one awaiteth a coordinated rescue operation to save one from one’s own refusal to release a particular involvement—remember, this is a metaphor…). Joyriding demands fluid transitions—otherwise it’s not joyful, and it really couldn’t be called “riding” either.
But what does this mean, actually? Where is the relevance to Rolfing® Structural Integration, practically? Since I’ve managed to neglect answering this through the entire series hitherto, now at it’s very conclusion, I feel compelled to meet such inquiries. Let me be therefore concrete, which is to say, solid, manifest, focused, involved—let me descend the elevator to its ground floor.
Levator scapula, a muscle infamous among certain company with tight shoulders, in concentric contraction, literally elevates the scapulæ or shoulder-blades, drawing up the shoulder girdle so that the latter comes to swallow one’s neck in its voracious clavico-scapular maw. There is no harm in this advancement…unless the shoulders get stuck that way. Say we become so violently involved in a given enterprise that we forget to evolve back outwards into a neutral posture—literally to relax the levators. We find ourselves fixed in solidity—represented by the Earth element—& sporting our scapulæ like a pair of ossiferous earrings. This is macabre jewelry & furthermore in poor taste. Questions of fashion aside, we understand levator scapula to be soft-tissue. Rigidity of soft-tissue indicates a deviation from its natural state. It serves as a signal that we have become over-lustily involved in some object or pursuit & by this fixation, forfeit our native suppleness withal.
As a Rolfer™, my task is to dissolve this axial ossification (sometimes by means of an elbow or two) to allow the necessarily evolution for movement to resume. And to encourage a stretchier, suppler perception of the environment—one that allows for the continual response & adaptation to ever-changing circumstances. This shift in perception will preclude recidivism (see Ye Three Kingdoms of Integration for a conception of change on various planes)! Thus the acutely solid shoulder-muscles, gradually and in the body’s own time, resolve from the rigidity of Earth, to the fluidity of Water and spiral outwards into the zero-point of bodily ease & pure potential (i. e. they come to settle atop the rib-cage).