Adaptability: “The Word Becomes Flesh”

“Rolfing…what’s that?”

To find oneself at the gunpoint of such a question is no unfamiliar experience. As tempting as it would be to have a pat answer that I could whip out of my back pocket like a bullet-proof cue-card, a response of this sort would fail to embody at least one of the five pillars of Rolfing® Structural Integration (i.e. the "Five Principles of Rolfing® SI are: Adaptability, Holism, Palintonicity, Support, & Closure). Indeed, in this case, as in so many others, the how of the answer is no less-crucial than the what. For this reason, in an attempt to embody the principle of Adaptability and not merely to talk about it, I have challenged myself to resist the temptation to respond with a ready-made formulation. I flatter myself that what I forfeit in convenience, I compensate with connection. Without a prefabricated answer to a question like “What is Rolfing,” I encourage myself to discover the interests and background of my inquisitor. Then together we can rëapproach the question on his or her own familiar terms. On a good day, an answer therefore really belongs to both of us, and Adaptability has emerged as a living experience even before any work on the table.

“What is Rolfing?” Without a ready-made response, this question is a pluripotent prompt. Like a living being, such a question bears infinite possibilities and could unfold in innumerable directions. Indeed, in the most fundamental analogy, a human being represents just such an open question. Every human being is a walking incarnation of the beloved Principle of Adaptability. In Rolfing work, one recognises in the most striking terms that the Rolfer's highest responsibility is not to fix patients. Neither is his office to impart knowledge to, nor impose beliefs upon, them. Instead it is the Rolfer's sacramental task to learn from his patients; to sit at the feet of masters and allow their bodies to convey the ambition of their souls. Then one may offer oneself in service, and become a disciple of life.

There is but one temple in the Universe, and that is the body of man.

—Novalis

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