A Fable of the Forest’s Fauna: Featuring the Dancing Millipede & Karma Incorporal as the Oliphant, but not Descartes…

A centipede was happy – quite!
Until a toad in fun
Said, “Pray, which leg comes after which?”
Which threw her mind in such a pitch,
She laid bewildered in the ditch
Considering how to run.

—Katherine Craster

In Sherwood Forest there lived a millipede who was the most beautiful dancer. At the gatherings of the forest’s fauna, she was always the center of attraction—her myriad appendages all in step, a picture of exquisite coordination. So graceful was her tarantella that the toad began to envy her.

“I could gobble her up,” he mused, in tantalising toadlike fantasy, “but everyone would notice she were missing.” Then the clever amphibian hatched the meanest mischief that had thitherto transpired under Sherwood’s boughs…

At the festival of Midsummer, the grandest of the year, the pretty millipede danced, sure as day, in all her wonted grace. And sure as the night that follows, the toad stalked her every step. Finally when she paused to enjoy some of the festivities herself, the toad saw his opportunity…

“Madam le millipede–” he addressed her, “I am your toad-alest admirer. Indeed my admiration waxeth such that it becometh unbearable & I cannot help but inquire: when the music achieve its climax, what sequence of steps do you employ? Do you lift first leg number two-hundred and twenty-seven & then volteface back to the contralateral appendage number 666? Or is it with number two-hundred twenty-one that you begin? I eagerly await your kind response…”

The poor millipede, confronted with such a question, found herself confounded. “I don’t know,” she confessed completely to the smiling amphibian. “Let me try—”

But alas, something in the circumstances left her incapacitated. Before, her thousand feet had frolicked, lifted not by her volition, but as if born by the music itself. But when she sought to recreate this magical choreography on demand, she faltered. “I-I can’t an-answer,” she stuttered, & crept away into the sylvan shadows in sheer misery, never to be seen again at any forest festival.

The toad watched her every hesitant step. Pleased with himself by the part he had played in another’s demise, he made the most wicked grin. And he was to be found so grinning right up until the instant he was squished by the Oliphant, who had observed the entire exchange and had dutifully lumbered over to do his duty as Karma’s minion and step on the evil creature. The festival continued afterwards, but all were deeply saddened by the whole affair. They greatly missed the millipede & her graceful gamboling. They even came to miss the toad, but not so much.

What’s the moral of this fable? Whatever it is, the good posture from a Rolfing® session won’t hurt…

In the fable, the Oliphant stepped on the toad & all lived happily ever after. This was the end of this particular storyline. But when the millipede crept away into the gloom, she initiated her own divergent storyline, which we will forthwith pluck up and follow. It was recounted in the fable that the millipede wandered off into the shadows never to be seen again in Sherwood’s glades. This is because she left Sherwood. Greatly troubled by her confounded dancing, the millipede journeyed far & wide in search of something that would allow her to regain her former grace. After many months of hopeless wandering, she stumbled into The Way of the Elbow’s office in downtown Anchorage. Here she discovered Rolfing® SI & after only three sessions was once again the gracefullest jitterbug West of the Mississippi. That’s because through the Rolfing process, we help to differentiate not only the various layers of soft tissue so that each unit can function with autonomy, but also develop differentiation in the various strata of the psyche. We discover harmony when every aspect functions according to its design. Then the thinking brain can think, the emotional brain can feel, and the dancing brain can…



Fables from the Fishmonger’s Apprentice II: Red-Herrings & the Matrix

Perhaps most preeminent of all points in regard to catching proverbial fishes is that not all fishes are worth catching.

Jelly-fish are utterly unpalatable—they don’t even go well in stews. Also, thinking about these enterprises without engaging them is useless—a red-herring, or jelly-fish goulash. We acquire true understanding only through direct experience, not through the intellect. Our understanding may begin with the latter, but it cannot end there.

Yet how easily we are lured into the futile pursuit of this scarlet hooligan! We so naturally fall into a symbolic relationship with our bodies—relating not to physical reality but to our ideas about it. Have you ever tried to eat a menu?
If so, chances are it tasted more like the product of a paper-mill than anything from the kitchen. And you probably left the restaurant less satisfied than you arrived, likely with dyspepsia & general malaise. Ironically, we perform outrageous analogues almost continually:

“My shoulder hurts.”
“I feel lousy.”
“I should stand up straight so people don’t mistake me for a Neanderthal.”

None of these statements bears any direct relationship with reality. Why? Because they are all mediated through the filter of our prejudices. “Hurts” is not a sensation; it’s an abstraction wrought of besmirching our experience with our biases. Likewise with an evaluation like “lousy.” With no prior prejudice by which to evaluate the conditions that invoked these hypothetical judgements, they could not possibly have arisen—that’s a good litmus test for my fidelity to the world instead of merely to my own preferences.

These statements are also like shorthand that represent embodied experience, but are not it; like pointing fingers, not the Moon. Such declarations represent abstractions from our experience; they are the products of mental proliferation—psychological derivatives of real experience. Mind-poop.

When we relate to the world only through our ideas about it, we only see what we already expect. I don’t see how the reality is, I see how I am. The world becomes a venue for the projection of our peculiar beliefs. This is distinctly relevant to Rolfing® SI in that such vicious circles serve to perpetuate habitual vortices of consciousness manifest in thought & action. Often it is precisely these habits that hinder the responsiveness & ease that we live our lives withal.

But rejoice! For Nature endowed us each with a lifeboat to escape such intellectual vortices!

Simply return attention to the direct experience of the body.
Let your bones & sinews serve as ballast, even amidst the winds of mental proliferation! No tempest can break this bond!
Take refuge in physical existence itself—embodiment within the soft matrix of matter (it seems fitting that matrix is the Latin word for “womb”).
Sensations bind us to Gaia, our Mother Earth, the environment personified as maternal deity.
Perceptions, interpretations, judgements—these divorce us from the maternal material matrix of the world.
In thoughts, we loose our ground & float away into Neptune’s interminable void.
In the body, we are always & already whole.
“Behold! [The Way of the Elbow]…who shall prepare thy way before thee!
The voice of one crying in the wilderness…to make thy paths straight!”