Friday, September 24, 2010


Just last week, I updated my look.   My haircut is reminiscent of a male teen idol's style.   A face framing short-do that's a bit shaggy & jagged.   I felt pretty current and younger walking out of the salon.

For 7 days, I struggled with re-creating "the look" Megan the stylist achieved.   No luck.   As I applied more goop, I grew frustrated.   After a week, I pretty much looked like I had the same hair style of a month ago - only shorter - greasier and frumpier.

Yesterday, I went in for my color & highlights to cover the gray.   This time, I watched Megan more closely.   "Aaaah, I see," I thought, "she's moving my hair forward towards my face when she dries & styles."

Now back at home, what an effort it is to change my habit of drying & styling my hair!   It's awkward for me to change after 40 plus years of styling my hair "back."

I had to keep saying to myself, "bring it to your front body."  My arms did not want to rotate.  My hand could not properly hold the brush.   With attention, I found a way!

This reminds me of what we ask our students to do in therapeutic work.   We ask them to find a new way.   The shift requires total focus, and they often return to the next session with questions and a bit of frustration.

I am also musing - perhaps this is one of the reasons for a military buzz or a monk's shaved head.   External change happened quickly for both recruits on the day of the big hair removal.   The larger process of change is a shift deep inside - that requires a breaking down first.   The military and religious orders know this fact.

In therapeutic work, the break down is really a break through.   From what I've experienced and witnessed, it's about creating more space inside the body.   For me, it's been about busting through the concrete until the hard dense masses have been pulverized and excreted.   While that sounds harsh, I do not use a jack hammer.   I have been trained to clearly see the path, use the softest touch, and be patient.

As teachers, we can keep trying to externally re-arrange our students body parts.   This is only superficial - like me blow drying my hair forward.  

Finding the space and then the action from deep within the body is powerful teaching that changes lives.