Energy is the life force that animates each of us from the moment of conception. At the time of death this life force exits our body and all of the elements begin to separate and go back to their source. When we examine a body right after death, we see that all the physical components are still there in the body. We still have blood, lymph, muscles, bones, hormones, brain tissue. Something is missing. There is no life, no energy. That intelligence, that spirit, is the life force that keeps us alive and sustains us during our lifetime. The disruptions in this primal intelligence are what cause disease and pain. As we get closer to the ultra sonic core of our true Self, we see that we are really only One river of life force manifesting in countless configurations. Working with a client who is open to deep healing and is willing to make a commitment to the process is a powerful impetus for a therapist to enter into practice. For a therapist to be truly available to the energies required for this kind of inner work, she must be willing to undertake her own healing. A therapist can only journey with her client as far as she is willing to go herself. Her vocation is a commitment to her wholeness: the light and shadow of the totality of her Being. It means going into the darkness and feeling the pain of her own resistance to the energy that is wanting to flow through her. It means being willing to face fear, anger, joy, sorrow and pain. It is about witnessing all of life in its full glory and terror . It is about being humble through it all and seeing that pain is resistance to energy flow. It is feeling that pain. It is knowing that life is change and being willing to let go and make room for the next breath, the next experience.
My first introduction to body work was in 1975 when I received some deep tissue body work. The therapist was working inside of my lower jaw. I experienced very acute pain as she was working and was feeling a lot of fear. I cried and released. It seemed to me at the time that I experienced my own death from a past lifetime . I was intensely moved and completely absorbed by the experience. It swept me back into that time and place . The therapist was present and patient and loving. She witnessed my fear and was compassionate. She persisted in maintaining her presence inside my jaw. After what seemed like an eternity, as time does not exist when we are in that deep a place, I felt a shift. Her pressure had not changed and yet there was no more pain. I continued crying and releasing. She stayed close to me and kept firm contact. I felt safe with her because she was not afraid of this process. I knew she had been here before many times. Her attitude of calm detached compassion inspired me to stay with the sensations. After I had calmed down, she increased the pressure in my jaw. There was no pain. I simply felt a peaceful radiance and lightness of being. In that session I first experienced that pain is resistance to energy flow. I was so moved by this moment that I was inspired to become a body worker. I felt that I wanted to witness people healing themselves. I wanted to have the opportunity to watch this wonderful process. It is almost like watching a baby being born or witnessing a death. It is sacred and transformational. I feel that it is essential for therapists to regularly experience their own vulnerability in order to be fully compassionate and humbly present in their work with their clients. We are all in this balancing act together. There is no one higher than the other. There is no room for arrogance. It only masks fear and insecurity. Pedestals only clutter up the room. Respect for each other is essential. Your client is your teacher. If your client doesn’t know she is your teacher, silently ask her higher self to help you in your work with her. Her higher self knows what she needs. The human body is a dynamic ecosystem based on the finer elemental energies of ether, air, fire, water, and earth. These same elements construct all the forms on our planet. We are intimately related to all that we sense around us as we breathe through our existence here on this earth. The interconnection and interdependence of all life is a powerful situation, especially with reference to the care, maintenance and balancing of our selves. Our human form is a microcosm for the balance needed to sustain our Mother Earth. As we get more out of balance with our Mother, she gets more out of balance with herself. When we are in a state of health, we experience this free flow of energy as a calm state of well being. All is right with our world. There is a relaxed quality of movement and an innate ability to be able to accomplish whatever our mind envisions with grace and ease. There is a strong connection with the earth. A sense of being grounded, centered and balanced is our birthright. There is love, joy and peace radiating in our cells, and an inner smile in our hearts. We know our strength and power and use it wisely. This state of health is rarely seen anywhere on planet earth. We are suffering from a state of imbalance that has gone on for so long that it has seriously injured the body-mind-spirit of most sentient beings, and of the earth herself. Polarity therapy seeks to restore and subsequently maintain this balance. Through an understanding of the five elements and practical application of this knowledge, balance can be restored and energy can flow freely once again. The elements show us where to start . They focus on the chakra system and on all areas of the body. The inter-relationship of the elements and the positive, neutral and negative poles of each element tell us what work needs to be done to restore and maintain health. Health is energy flowing freely throughout the body. Disease is blocked energy flow somewhere in the body. Through concentrating our attention on the element that is primarily out of balance, we can find a way into the damaged field. Since none of these elements exists in isolation from each other, we will be affecting all elements as we focus on one. It is a beautiful, simple way to begin the healing process. Most of us were not born with perfectly balanced bodies. We were born into this incarnation with impressions from past lives that have been stored in our mental-emotional field. This more subtle realm shows up in the crystallized energy blocks of our physical body. The finer mental energies are stepped down vibrationally into physical manifestations. Our cells are filled with information from past impressions. It is almost impossible to live a life that is free from the past. As our life goes on, these impressions pile up on each other until our elemental rivers are so clogged with the log jams of thought forms that there is very little free flow. The rivers begin to stagnate from all this energetic debris that has materialized from the toxic residue of negativity that causes pain in joints, muscles, bones and brain. Etheric energy is the most subtle of the five elements. This energy descends into the body-mind-spirit from the higher realms of Source energy. It forms the ultra sonic core of who we are. It manifest in the cerebrospinal fluid as tides of the great primordial ocean. It is our connecter to soul. It is through our etheric connection that we weave the strong silver cord with our soul. The Ether is the one neutral river from which all the other elemental rivers flow. The chakra center associated with Ether is the throat chakra. It is from here that we become discriminating. We intuit the course of our life. We communicate out into the world from our throat center and begin realize who we really are beneath the facade. This central core energy that flows through the body has the Big Toe as its most negative pole. The big toe is the manifestation of Ether in its most old and chronic form. It holds our past life impressions. In working on the big toe we can access our grief . We can begin to feel our essential self as we make space in our being to grieve, let go and experience that we are not simply the physical body. The sensation of ether is that of vast space and of emptying. When we attune to the space we feel the void, the vacuum that takes us into deep communion with soul. Soul is much more vast than this human body. Ether is the bridge. Etheric energy spins in the transverse current of the body-mind and forms the charkas, the wheels of energy at the core of our beings. Ether gets us in touch with our true nature. It takes us into our essence. We acknowledge our etheric self more clearly when we are in emotional pain. When we have lost someone who is very dear to us, all else seems unimportant. The energies that are directed by the lower charkas of our body, such as survival, sex and power are subordinate to the grief. This time of grieving lets us tune in to what matters most to us. Grieving can make us very receptive to spirit. It is during this time that we pray to the Source of all for help, even if prayer is not a usual part of our life. When we grieve, we experience a force beyond the ego. This grieving time is a very intense one and usually cannot be sustained for very long. What occurs during grieving is an emptying. In that emptying a vacuum is created in us. In creating deep space within ourselves we become receptive. We wait to be filled with what is next on our life journey. This waiting makes us receptive. All our hope, love and faith can be found in simply waiting and listening to that small voice inside. Our cup is emptying. We become thirsty, ask for more and are filled once again. The urn is always ready to fill us when we hold out our cup. Emptying ourselves is necessary in the journey of our body-mind towards the Source. As we grow and deepen we evolve into more complete humans. We experience this emptying often, possibly at the end of every exhalation. Letting go becomes a continual part of life. We know that letting go is an essential step in allowing healing energies in to our being. We are accessing our etheric energy in this realization. It is what makes us different from apes. We have the opposable thumb and we are etheric. As we focus on Ether and expand the capacity of our throat chakra to experience the infinite space inside and around us, we strengthen our ultrasonic core. This core, which runs through the center of our being and animates us, is like a tree that keeps growing rings. As we breathe in deeper and let go more completely, our tree trunk develops more rings that allow us to withstand the torrents, hurricanes and earthquakes of our life path. We can stay rooted when all that is around us is falling apart. We can bend in the wind. We are resilient. This core is the key to our flexibility. It is the One River from which all the other element emanate. The Air element is the closest element to ether in vibratory resonance. Air swirls in the fourth chakra, just as ether is in the fifth chakra. Air is one step down in density from ether. Its most negative pole in the body is the second toe. It resides next to ether, which is held in the Big Toe. Also, on the hand, ether is accessed through the thumb and air through the index finger. Air has a negative charge and is soothing.. Its emotional focus is on our desires. We can choose to have desires of a higher vibration which take your consciousness up and in to communicate with ether, or we can harbor desires that take our energy down and out into the world through the lower vibratory centers of fire, water and earth. Both “up and in” and “down and out” are part of life. If we only took our energy up and in, we would not be able to function here on this plane. If we only went down and out, we would lose our connection to Source and would not experience the kind of balance, discrimination and wisdom that come from the higher centers. The Air element is a strong link between ether and the lower centers. Its home is in the heart, where the qualities of love and compassion are felt. We access air through breath and the opening of our heart to life experience. The Air element also flows up from our second toe in the bipolar current through the body. It is easily affected by ether and fire which flow on either side of Air. Throughout the body the Air element works to balance our desires. We breathe in and out, continuously letting go of old obsolete desires and generating new desires. This element is felt most strongly in each of its poles in the body. The positive pole of the Air element is the shoulders. The neutral pole is the kidneys and the negative pole is the ankles. Our shoulders can hold the weight of the world on them if we allow ourselves to be swayed by the winds of adversity into emotional states that bring in heaviness and tension. Our kidneys experience the effect of these burdens and we feel them as fear. We are aware of the manifestations of our thwarted or misdirected desires as low back pain, urinary disorders and general weakness. Our ankles show us the most chronic manifestation of air element. If we are weighed down by desires, fulfilled and unfulfilled, it is difficult to move forward. We may turn our ankles. The strength of our mind is weakened by the confusion of our desire nature. Air, when out of balance, can bring mental confusion and depression into life. The mind needs balance with the heart and with the discrimination of ether. The Air element can be balanced with all three touches, depending on what the pulses and the client’s history tell us. If the client comes to you with shoulder pain, ankle problems or kidney symptoms, focus on Air. Working on one of the poles of Air element can directly affect the energy flows in the other two poles. I once had a client who came to me with his lower left leg in a cast. He had severed the Achilles tendon of his ankle 90%, by falling on a sharp piece of glass. He happened to be a Gemini. Gemini rules the shoulders, which is the positive pole of the Air element. This person was intellectual and an avid conversationalist. He tended to have mood swings that affected his ability to perform his job. My feelings, from listening to his symptoms and watching him move, led me to wonder if the accident was a result of some blocked energy in the Air element that wanted release. The soul inside this person was calling out for balance, but he was at a loss as to what was the first step to take. So his body-mind system used this accident to facilitate the healing and balance that his soul wanted. I worked with him regularly for several weeks. I did balancing work on his right ankle, the one not in the cast. We focused on his breath, his heart, digestion and his fear of moving forward. It was a straightforward Air imbalance. In you work with clients, you will see that there are no accidents. There is simply energy wanting to balance itself. There are many ways into the body-mind system. This paradigm of the five elements works very well for me in my work, as it may for you. It is important not to compartmentalize, judge or pigeonhole your clients. Always keep an open mind and keep looking for clues to the more complete picture of your client. She is a painting fleshing herself out. You start with a sketch and then move into more and more detail. Notice the fine intricate detail and see the elegance in this work. Know when to proceed with your treatment plan and when it needs modification. Listen to that still etheric voice within your heart. Trust your intuition and use your own Air element, seated in the Heart chakra, to access mental clarity and wisdom. Through this atunement you keep your breath flowing evenly, your heart open and your presence shining. Air can lead us to Ether, to truth. Air can also lead us to the next element, Fire. FIRE One step down in vibration from the Air element is Fire. The Fire element has its center in the solar plexus, the third chakra. Fire center is directly below the diaphragm, which Dr. Stone says is the “firmament that divides the above from the below”. Fire is directly affected by Air above and water below. Our Fire energy, vitality and creativity depend upon the Heart energy and mental clarity of air. If we are clear in our intentions, then we are able to materialize these intentions in the physical world. None of these elements exists alone in our bodies. Strength of purpose and the will to carry out that purpose gather momentum when we know what we want. The Fire element must be strong and flow unimpeded for us to lead a purposeful life her on earth. It is the seat of our power. It is where we process our intention. If this element is out of balance, in either deficiency or excess, we experience anger, rage, frustration, worry and weakness of life force. In order for us to achieve the results we envision for our life, we must have a strong Fire center. Most people living in our culture experience weakness or out of balance excess in the Fire element. They are either unable to realize their potential here because of low fire, or they are consumed by rage, frustration, anger and, or, depression. This age in which we live is characterized by an attempt to deal with these emotions in a counterproductive way. We are taught to combat these emotional excesses with drugs, addictive habits and superficial “Band-Aid” protocols. Instead of dealing with the source of the problem, which is out of balance Fire energy, we are given prescriptions for mood altering drug. Coffee and alcohol are socially accepted ways of lifting our spirits, only later to send us deeper into self destructive patterns of behavior. Instead of spiraling down and weakening our life force, it would be wiser to deal with the root of the imbalance: Fire element. The Fire element is dependent on air for its energy. Without enough oxygen, Fire is not able to burn brightly and warm us inside and out. The location of the Fire center, in the solar plexus, makes it the “sun center”. It whirls and spins right under the diaphragm muscle. The diaphragm is a key part of the body for Dr. Stone. It fuels our Fire and keeps us balanced. Dr. Stone said that when the diaphragm is open and breath is flowing freely and deeply, a man is more male and a woman is more female. We become the fullest of who we were born to be. We are able to realize our true potential. The diaphragm connects the above and below in the body. The higher centers, Air and Ether, are only able to be accessed fully when the diaphragm is open and the higher energies can flow down into the Fire center, mix with fire and ground down into water and earth. The diaphragm is the key to our success here on earth. The diaphragm regulates our breath. When the diaphragm muscle is relaxed and open, the breath is deep and our life force is strong and available to facilitate oxygenation of all our cells. The breath fuels the fire so that we may think clearly, be alert, digest our food fully and walk with vitality. The three poles of the Fire element: Head, Solar Plexus, Thighs, are where the fire element surfaces for access. The positive pole, the head, and more specifically, the eyes, instigates the Fire energy. When we have a clear vision of our intention, we can begin to practice it. If we are blind or our eyesight is impaired, it is difficult to walk or run with ease. If our exercise is limited by our lack of vision, we do not breathe deeply enough to fully digest our food. If our food is not fully digested, we experience sluggishness, tiredness and lethargy. These three poles work together in allowing us to live fully. The neutral pole, the solar plexus, houses our digestive organs. If our Fire center is weak, we do not have enough fuel to burn the nutrients we ingest. The body is too cold because the Fire is low. The digestive organs need heat in order to chemically transform the nutrients into fuel for our cells. If there is not enough heat, the organs must work too hard to digest. It is easy to see how poor digestion can lead to lack of mental clarity and physical vitality. The Water element forms the basin on which the Fire element rests. It is greatly affected by fire. When the Fire element is out of balance, and the client is experiencing the negative emotions described above, the imbalance can escalate into serious emotional problems. Water holds passion, emotionality and irrationality. Its seat, the second chakra, has its home in the pelvic basin. Dr. Stone called the pelvic basin the Noah’s Ark of the body. It can be rocked and tilted by the watery emotions of our deep internal life. This is the seat of the unconscious. It is affected by our monthly cycles, both as men and women. Sexual frustration finds its expression in the Water element. It follows that the imbalances of anger and depression can begin to sink into the pelvic basin and get stuck there, affecting hormone secretions and keeping us from feeling peace and harmony. Sometimes when we are in a certain mood and don’t see a way out of that mood, we are in a water element imbalance. We lash out at those closest to us and then feel remorse. We don’t remember what possessed us. It is as if we were visited by demons which rise out of the water’s depths. The three poles of the Water element are chest, genitals, feet. These three parts of the body hold our ability to nurture, generate and express love and passion. When these poles are in balance, we have healthy sexual relationships and are able to nurture. We use our passion in positive, loving ways. We have compassion. That is, we are able to be with suffering. The ark is stabilized and the ocean of our emotional being is calm and serene. Our vitality is purposeful, our digestion is good and we walk with grace and ease. A balanced Water element is necessary for a positive expression of our true nature as men and women. The feminine aspect of all experience that serene calm nurturing ocean inside our pelvic basins. The fourth toe is the Water toe. Manipulating this toe and working out the calcified deposits can bring a release in the upper reflex center of Water. The Water toe is generally curved in toward the fire toe in many people. I have noticed that a lot of younger people have Water toes that are more straight and do not interfere with the expression of Fire. This change may be due to a more balanced passion and sexuality in the lives of these particular people and how they were raised. It is most interesting to observe these patterns for yourself and come to your own insights. The nurturing of a balanced Water element translates into a nurturing of our Mother Earth. EARTH When the four upper elements are flowing and spinning in their centers, unobstructed, the Earth element can ground all of these forces of nature and brings a concentration of mind that will allow unimpeded creative expression of our high ideals. A balanced Earth element allows us to realize firmly our potential here in the physical world. Without this grounding, we will be unable to fully experience our self and the realization of our true nature. Earth is the most solid part of who we are. It is the basic bones of our being. Its importance is paramount for all those seeking realization of the self. So many seekers after truth neglect the physical aspects of their being. Earth rules our ability to have a successful life . It is important that we make our own way in the world and to provide for our own physical needs. Earth rules our possessions and how we take care of them.. Having a balanced Earth element allows us to be the master of our physical life. We are not slaves of our possessions or to our work in the world. We use them wisely. They do not use us. We do not seek to accumulate wealth. We use our wealth in service to our higher purpose. We always have what we need. We know how to share and let go. I cannot stress enough how important a balanced Earth element is to our well being. If Earth is deficient, we experience fear for our basic survival. We are unable to hold a job, pay our bills, or fulfill our responsibilities. Life can be very chaotic and confusing for a person with an out of balance Earth element. These people are a continual source of frustration to themselves and others. They become a burden on society. You can imagine the downward spiraling of this imbalance. The Earth element is suffering inside each of us . Polarity work can be an ally in healing this civilization threatening imbalance. The three poles of the Earth element are key places to look for signs of Earth element malfunction. They are the neck, the bowels and the knees. We all have experienced or know people who live with stiff necks or chronic neck discomfort. Necks that are constricted are extremely common. The kinds of activities we pursue in our lifestyles do not lend themselves to relaxed necks. When neck releases are facilitated during a polarity session, there is a dramatic feeling of letting go followed by a sense of peace. This release allows the bowels to normalize and the knees to move freely. When we hold tension in our neck, our bowels cannot function properly. We may experience constipation, diarrhea or a combination of irritable bowel syndromes. The key to a healthy bowel is a relaxed upper body that can breathe fully and freely. It is important to clear the fifth chakra to have a clear first chakra. It is interesting that the positive pole of the Earth element is the center of the Ether element. As above so below. The higher centers need the lower centers in order to balance. The denser vibration of Earth allows Ether to be light and free. The more healthy the roots, the more beautiful the tree. The Earth toe is the smallest toe. In many people it is malformed. This toe gives us a clear picture of how out of balance the Earth element is . There is such a deep wounding here. So many people are afflicted with bowel disorders that threaten their capacity to lead functional lives. So many people are addicted to accumulating more and more possessions. The insecurity that compels people to keep buying, even when they know they are unable to afford these things, is a strong sign of how dysfunctional the Earth element has become. It is a pathological holding on that is trying to simulate a false sense of security. Fear is the imbalance associated with Earth. It is a lack of trust in the safety of existence here on Earth. To a certain extent fear is a healthy emotion. If we were not afraid, there would be no need for courage. Fear enables us to strengthen and to harness our energy. It helps us to grow in the face of overwhelming odds. It helps us to discriminate between wisdom and foolishness. Out of balance, fear is crippling and threatening our very survival. The fear is stored in the bowels of our body. If we can learn to let go and trust, we will experience a profound release and strength. Our necks will not need to hold on to tensions that exhaust us, and we will be able to eliminate waste naturally. Our lives will feel simple and we will feel held in the arms of our Mother Earth rather than being terrified of her destruction.