the poetics of orthobionomy

a 'book' of beginnings 

...and of the impossibility of a beginning

(dipping into Life's ongoingness)


But before we get into all of that, some announcements of     



 Atlanta, GA

September 28 –– Oct 1, 2023

Ortho-Bionomy and Trauma-Informed Care


"Garden art at the Atlanta Botanical Gardens "


Contact Elizabeth Beeson to enroll


Phone: (404) 824-0211

One-day, two-day, three-day, four-day options



Trauma runs strong in the lineage of Ortho-Bionomy. Osteopathy was born from the ravaged bodies of the civil war. A.T. Still, founder of osteopathy, was a farmer/mechanic who became a surgeon in the Union Army. At the same time, a New York poet was serving as a nurse tending to the wounds of Union soldiers. Facing the body through its trauma, Walt Whitman discerned the poetics of the body––"I sing the body electric."  He described the stance we take as “both in and out of the game.”


Day One: Phase Seven and the Face of Trauma (8 units Phase VII or Self-Care credit)

  • The Magical Phase (all phases of the body have their magical aspect)
  • Introduction to the Shared Body
  • Phase Seven is a liminal space, a shred boudary
  • How the body metabolizes trauma
  • 'Trauma' can be contagious
    • What does this tell us about the body
    • How you can be immunuzed
  • Engaging the immune system of the shared body

Day Two: Ortho-Bionomy as Applied Embodied Ethics (8 units Ethics credit)

  • The 'techniques' of Ortho-Bionomy are exemplars of an ethical attitude toward self and other
  • Phases can denote levels of intimacy
  • An ethics of intimacy vs ethics of integrity (as in the unitary, separate individual)
  • Law of Reciprocity

Days Three & Four: Founded from Trauma (16 units Phase IV credit)

Co-taught with Elizabeth Beeson, Advanced Instructor

  • Some Theory, mostly Practice (Praxis)
  • Learning the basics from the point of view of trauma
  • What is a trauma pattern?
  • A System of systems––Networks within networks
  • Holding Posture--somatovisceral networks (e.g., Chapman's Points)--Trigger points
  • The glance and the gesture
  • Flying under the radar
  • "Start where you are -- Planes of Awareness"
  • Trauma in the flesh of the body
    • ​Psoas
    • Extrmities
    • Sacrum/Coccyx
    • Soine/Ribs/Diaphagm/Breath


One Day in Pittsburgh PA, June 17, 2023

Phase Seven and the Face of Trauma



Contact Rhiannon Rieger 


Phone: (724) 651-3627



Trauma is the imprint left in the body of a violent encounter. It may me of one impactful event or an accumulation of insults, like Chinese water torture. The fact that it is transmissible tells us much about the real nature of the body. Viral-like, the pattern of a trauma can seep from one person, sliding unseen past immune defenses, implanting a memory of another’s ‘event’ into your own body schema (the body’s own sense of itself).


Phase Seven engages the immune system of the shared body. When I acknowledge and refuse an invasive (violent) pattern (a pattern here is meant as a way of holding yourself, a posture) then that pattern is nullified. As this is done in the phase of the shared body it is generally nullified.


I was born. I am always a vessel for something other than myself. The self is only a vehicle for Foreign matter which comes from elsewhere and is destined to go on elsewhere without me, whether 

it's words, smells, visions, or molecules.   

                                     ––EMANUELE COCCIA  Metamorphoses



The mistake was to think of myself as singular, integral. I am multiple. And "life is round." Different ways to say the same thing. 

A 'session' of Ortho-Bionomy is always only a beginning, in the inchoative.

The correct (ortho) application of life's  (bios) laws (nomos): this is given as the intended meaning of the coinage: Ortho-Bionomy.

What is Life? What are its Laws? Ortho-Bionomy 'correctly' applies the laws of life while orthobionomy seeks to discover these unicorns.


This 'book' is messy. People are messy though we like to pretend otherwise. 


07 February 2023

It remains a mystery to me, the how and why of it. Reading books is felt as an obligation. Sadly, in my 80th decade, I feel I am only now learning how to read a book. I suppose this means, in one sense, that I am quite young, just learning how to read. Young in other ways as well: as aging systems begin to wobble and weaken I am learning technic of how to move, how to walk. how to be this person I am forever becoming.


Once, to claim (proclaim) I'd read a book all I had to do was look upon each and every word of the book. In that sense, I've read (ticked off) an awful lot of books. I have probably started more books than I've 'finished'. A few books I've reread: five times now for The Great Gatsby, Green Eggs and Ham I cannot count the readings. Some books do not begin until after the first read. 


It was Heraclitus, one of the first of the Philosophers, who gets credit for the saying that one can't step twice into the same river; you and the river are different moment to moment. Heraclitus might have said that about reading a book instead of stepping in a river; only difference, the text of a book typically doesn't change as does the flow of a river. Ah, but it does, words are as lively as water. What is freighted along in the fluency of language is as vicissitudinous as a river.


This 'book' (which is to say this so-called book is continuously being subject to change. Commentary can be added to by anyone. It constantly seeks a semblance of organization. Typographic errors remain a while, get seen, get fixed. 


I aim for transparency and I will always lovingly defend my opacity. Towards transparency, do I need to declare my neurodivergence? It is here to be seen, upfront, in this 'book' of beginnings . . .  



I am waiting here for someone 'important' to tell you (in writing here) why you should spend any more of your precious time (and it truly is precious, my dears) wandering in this inchoative construction I am calling a 'book' (for lack of any better name to call it). Should I ask . . .


(AKA Acknowledgments)

I have had to train myself to move gratitude up to the front. Perhaps I will explore in one of my three Introductions why I have struggled with gratitude. For now I will try some simple lists. The start of one list is simple: Karen Valasek, spouse, partner, co-parent, orthobionomer extraordinaire. I would for sure put Lynn Drummer on the list. Probably next after Karen though in Ortho-Bionomy she . . .


Wherein I make up a story of how this 'book' began. But can I pinpoint a beginning? Do beginnings require endings? Why am I doing this and why in such a peculiar way? Maybe I am not doing it but could it be that it is doing me?  One thing I can say that is sometimes true is that I do it for my entertainment and amusement. Would this be a good place in the 'book' to introduce myself as neurodivergent? Or does that belong in the Introduction?


Ortho-Bionomy® is a bodywork; a bodywork with a difference. It is a bodywork that has a desire to be something bigger, a desire to transcend itself. That desire to transcend, to evolve, to expand, is what I call orthobionomy. And orthobionomy precedes Ortho-Bionomy ("Life is round") and orthobionomy is a unicorn. 


What is 'writing' (and how is writing linked to speaking)? Writing is the art of exclusion. It's what's left over after everything else (that isn't writing, that isn't this writing), has been put aside. My problem in writing (i.e., a problem I confront in writing) is that I can never be sure that something I deem irrelevant to the telling of the tale is not in fact instrumental, hidden predicate. I read reviews of movies. I've yet to read one where the critic includes the meal most proximal to their viewing (or their writing), the state of their own relationships (or lack thereof), a report on the general state of well-being. The critic needs to be seen as having an objective view, telling us what a thing is. It is this thing the Critic says it is, regardless of what medications they are (or should be) taking, how many altered states visited or visited upon. Criticism creates an illusion of objective authority. Exclusion of the personal is a strategy.


[What intrudes on me here is the question: If I later go back and read what I just wrote and find I then (that fictive future me do not believe it true do I erase/replace or leave it as a trace? These sorts of meta intrusions, footnotes, metafluff, process stuff, commentary about the commentary, thoughts about thoughts--in other words visits from Ratatoskr: all that sort of thing I try to remind myself to put in square brackets and italicize. It is the voice of my (fictional) editor. Please also take note that you can click on that foreign name above and it is hyperlinked to where you can learn what I mean if you don't know (no reason you should know) what it means. What is square bracketed and in italics could all be skipped or it can tunnel you into some other world.]


[I want to add that I've tried to keep track of the conventions I deploy by describing them in a Key (Rules of the Game). Notice that this is hyperlinked and green instead of red, which means it carries your eye to another page internal.]


This word "Poetics" will be getting its own chapter but some things need be said early on about what I mean that word to mean. It is not poetry about Ortho-Bionomy (though that is not excluded). It is the creative act of studying something by looking at relationships, looking at the world acting back upon it. Somewhat in opposition to poetics stands reductionism. Only in opposition to the extent that reductionism claims hegemony and insists on a universe. Reductionism defines a thing by taking it apart. Isolates a thing from all other things and breaks it down into ever tinier pieces to figure out how the thing works. Then back-engineering to be its own creator.


I am telling a story about orthobionomy that looks through many different lenses. Phase 4 in Ortho-Bionomy is a crude equivalent to reductionism. I have found it most useful to see the seven Phases of Ortho-Bionomy as a metaphor. The fact of seven Phases is a signal, a pointer. 7 is a semiotic device, not a number; neither ordinal nor cardinal.


This 'book' is being written on multiple fronts. It is a froth. A topic emerges for a bit, a word needs to be traced out, a joke needs to be told, an acknowledgment needs be nodded, proofing and editing, all in a saltatory manner. 


I don't know fully what I am introducing. This piling up of words, of fragments and beginnings, keeps becoming something different. Different purposes.


This introduction is associated with deadlines, which I love and hate. 


Wherein I introduce myself as a person and very aware that far more is being excluded than this skim I will present. At som point I will leave off here and hyperlink to other pages. There is a page I call Who Am I that tells more, as well as one called Colliewobbles telling some stories of what's going on with the fleshy Phase of me.


The Phases and the Poetics of Ortho-Bionomy

(Ortho-Bionomy as orthobionomy)

An online Study Group.

[Please note that the word "Poetics" is hyperlinked to its own page where I say what it is I mean the word to mean.]


Theory and practice


Our time together will be brief, we will be apart far longer. We will apportion most of the theory into the apart time. Most of our study group time will be praxis: practice (doing) + reflection, thinking/talking about, making sense, meaning-making. (there is a thing to know about thought: when a thought is only inside it is partial; a thought is complete only in its expression.)


I encourage you to read these notes before we meet up to practice and I know many will not. Some will start and find the writing too something, put off by the 'bad' writing. Many reasons I need not know why you could not do the preparatory reading. I Don't need to know. Yours will be a green experience. We need those in the mix.


There are a lot of words here. That is so that there need be fewer words during the study group time. Chances are good that many reading the notes may feel puzzled, and might find them difficult to grasp.

We will be doing things. If you only do the doings, not read the text, the doings may cause you different meanings. We will want to hear some of one another's experiences of some of the doings. If you read the notes first, which is what I recommend, many things will come into focus. 


<< New text box >>


An Introduction to Ortho-Bionomy® 

Has moved to its own page

For Montana Chapter of AMTA Annual Conference 

19 May 2022


Body Schema

Looking back at my list I wonder where this might go next. We won't know until we are there together doing it. But right now body schema is salient. I direct your here to see what's in the glassary on body schema. I hope to add more to this entry, or direct also to Motor Cognition (see References, Jennerod, Marc) but that's not yet written. 


Whatever names we use, whatever words, the curiosity at the core is this: How does a concept, a thought, move matter, achange the world. We want to hang our in that hinge. Playing in the "as-if." We will certainly play the childhood game of Simon Says but will be aiming for a different impact, a different take-away (not "You must pay close attention" as your teacher taught you).


As we play this game we will start to look at movement itself, a phenomenological examination of movement, the experience of movement. Heraclitus wrote that there is nothing but movement. Octavia Butler wrote that God is Movement. We will look at movement apophatically.


News flash! There is no Universe! It's been a multiverse all along.


The Extended Organism

If we were to define the body as the site of physiology then the appearance of the body radically changes. Many necessary physiological functions take place outside of what we normally define as the body. We can begin by looking at the microbiome. 





If we can define magic as (subversive) resistance to a fixed point of view, then . . .

The natural metabolism of trauma will be a main focus True healing is reciprocal. That is to say, You get the work through giving the workit's not a zero-sum game. We will be playing with the body schema because if there's magic involved . . .


Orthobionomy clarifies the bond between self, other, and world. Care of the Other through Care of the Self


These three classes offer the best methods that Ortho-Bionomy® has to offer to allow the transformation of trauma. Care of another done from a base of care of the self. 


More than anything this is time for yourself but it is far from selfish time.

Orthobionomy clarifies the bond between self, other, and world

The Principle of Reciprocity: Care of the Other through Care of the Self


"Yes, there is beauty

There is love

There is joy.

All you who suffer from the world's

misery defend them."


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© Richard Valasek