by Cinnamon Cranston
Certified Rosen Method Bodywork Practitioner
Five years ago, before I began the Rosen Method Bodywork Practitioner Training Program, I had arrived at a place in my life where I felt I had plataued.
For many years previous I had been working diligently on myself and had gained much insight into the whys and wherefores of my life. I had great relationships with my family and friends and a satisfying career yet something was still missing. Inside me crept feelings of anxiety, restlessness and dread with their incessant question: "Is this all there is?"
The emptiness seemed unforgivable because I had so much to be greatful for in my life. The problem was I couldn't connect to myself as deeply as I yearned for. I wanted to feel more aliveness, more spontaneity and more connection to myself and others but I didn't know how to get there.
I felt like there were places in me that I couldn't access and I both longed for and feared these places. What would I discover? Would there be pain? Joy? There were still things about me I didn't know yet and that both excited and scared me at the same time.
Then, as fate would have it, someone introduced me to Rosen Method Bodywork, a new kind of somatic bodywork that I had never heard of before. I decided to give it a try, thinking it might help me discover some of the missing pieces of myself. I wasn't wrong. During my first Rosen session I was able to experience myself in a way that I had not been able to since I was a small child.
Afterwards I was curious about how this combination of touch and words had given me an experience that I had never had before in any other healing therapy. I was invited by my practitioner to participate in an Introductory Weekend Workshop in Rosen Method and was so moved by the work that I continued in the training and became a Certified Rosen Method Bodywork (RMB) Practitioner.
RMB gave me a way of living and being in the world that I had been looking for and it gave me a way of being with people in a deeper more spiritual way. As a Registered Massage Therapist I was trained to treat and ‘fix’ specific soft tissue problems in the body through various manipulative techniques. But I wanted to have a different relationship with people, to touch them in a different way.
During the RMB training I learned about how people hold their bodies in certain ways in an effort to hold their emotional self together. At times when our feelings about what we are experiencing are too much for us, our bodies tighten and work to hold down our feelings so that we can carry on.Over time we forget about our feelings and the way we’ve had to hold our bodies becomes just a part of who we are and how we carry ourselves in the world.
Marion Rosen, the founder of Rosen Method said: "the body tells the truth" and she was right. Our minds may forget what we experienced but our bodies never do and it shows up in our posture, our breath and the way we move.
During one transformational Rosen Method session, a memory came forward of a very traumatic experience that occurred when I was eight years old. I was lying on top of my mother, clinging to her unconscious body. I was in absolute despair, afraid she was going to die and leave me alone. Although I had been aware of this memory before, I had never been able to let the feelings of that moment come out. Feeling the love and support of the Rosen Method practitioner, I was finally able to let myself feel that experience, knowing it was finally safe to do so and that I could now handle it and let it go.
After the initial feelings of pain washed through me, I felt myself lighten and in my mind I saw my little girl get up off of my mother and come back to me. I felt a deep peace within myself. I noticed all the muscles in my hips, back and legs release from what felt like years of holding. I then had a moment where I felt a profound joy in just being alive. I felt like I’d found myself and that this was what I had been looking for all long.
The RMB technique meets you through touch at the exact place where unconscious holding is evident in the body. Using both presence and words, the RMB Practitioner invites the client to be present to their own experience of themselves. When the client allows themselves to fully experience the ‘holding’ and whatever feelings are being held there, the body can then begin to release the holding and relax.
Students are drawn to the RMB training for two reasons. The first is that they want to become a practitioner and the other is the internal process for themselves which is a big part of the training. Receiving and giving the work is an important partof developing the skills which are necessary to be a practitioner.
I decided to do the training for both reasons. What I liked about the training was that it was a safe and supportive place for me to learn more about myself as I learned to be there for others in a way that they could experience themselves (without me trying to direct them or make something happen). The hardest part was getting out of my own way and trusting the process.
I had to learn sit with the question of how do I touch someone and bring my presence and connection to that touch at the place where I see/feel their unconscious holding in the body. Then I had to be patient and wait for the client to meet me and themselves at that place. Words were incorporated later as the ‘third hand’, a way of meeting what is coming up for the client without doing anything with it.
Students of RMB are taught that people are perfect just the way they are. Nothing needs to be fixed. When longheld feelings arise in a client and are allowed to be experienced, this is what creates the possibility of letting go and the oportunity of experiencing something else in themselves. To learn how to do this for someone I had to be willing to drop into my own experience and what I might be holding onto unconsciously within myself. There was no faking it in this training and I both loved and respected this work because of its inherent integrity.
Training to become a RMB Practitioner has changed my life in more ways than I could have imagined. The anxiety and emptiness are gone. I have deeper connections with the people in my life because I am more present and engaged with the people in my life. The most precious gift, however, is that I am able to be fully present to myself and allow myself to be the person I always wanted to be: trusting, creative, spontaneous, unconditionally loving, playful and fun. I love my life and am free to co-create my experiences because I am free from the many unconscoius beliefs and feelings that were holding me back from fully engaging in my life.
I love my work. It doesn't even feel like work. It feels like a precious gift to be able to be there for people in a way that they have the opportunity to experience themselves as they truly are. Rosen Method is a sacred work. I can't imagine doing anything else.
Cinnamon is a Certified Rosen Method Bodywork Practitioner and the Vice-President of the Rosen Method Institute Canada. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or 780-203-5159.
Note: This information is for educational purposes only. It is intended to supplement your current health program, not to replace the care of a licensed medical doctor.
Published originally in Mosaic Magazine Summer 2013 issue.