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Ida Rolf and her “object relationship” with gravity

A few weeks back one of my clients who knew of my long time interest in Ericksonian psychotherapy asked me if I would go to a Philadelphia workshop on couples relationships with Bill O’Hanlon, one of the leading proponents of Milton Erickson’s ideas.  Actually, I told her, I had considered it as I really enjoy Bill’s workshops, but the couples relationships idea was a little too far afield for me, I’d never use it in my practice.

She said something like “Ha! It is object relationship, and everything is object relationship!” (I didn’t go, in spite of saying, “True dat”.)

Then, in one of those serendipitous idea relationship experiences, I found myself with a couple of hundred folks at the Narberth PA Presbyterian Church hearing a couple of family members play for the Offertory, and also hearing a fine sermon on “faithfulness”. Then a brilliant thing happened. There was a baptism of a one year old baby.

The brilliance was this: after the preacher anointed the baby, he snuggled on his chest  the baby facing front and walked the entire length of the center aisle slowly, turning the baby gently side to side and saying, “These are your people. We are your people.”

The baby started out at the front of the church non-related to the audience, but comfortable with the preacher. By the back row, the end of the center aisle (where I was) he was looking at people with an interested air, and looked right at me! as well as others. I got goose bumps, this was a real connection.

Now my leap of faith: this is what Ida Rolf was creating for us, the relationship with gravity, a true connection with gravity which supports us and allows us to bring together the disparate body parts (these parts are my person!) to make a real connection with ourselves and potentially, others.

Here is her paper, which was published by the Rolf Institute. You can buy a copy of it for $3.00 here.   (A009, Gravity: … An Unexplored Factor in a More Human Use of Human Beings. 1962)

Basically this paper is a 50 year old manifesto for wholism and its relationship with gravity.  I am indebted to my colleague Mark Donahue for scanning this gravity paper and posting it as a free PDF on his website.

P.S. Don’t forget to have a piece of cake on Ida’s birthday, May 19. Several have noted her object relationship love of sugar!



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