There are many benefits to having a structured training program one big disadvantage is that it dampens the evolution of that work being taught. But then life is a conversation between constraint and freedom. A 'program' has a tendency to freeze things. "The evolvement of the original concept" becomes just the promulgation of a snapshot. Ortho-Bionomy was originally intended to evolve. Ortho-Bionomy® is meant to hold it stable, unchangeable, reproducible. Orthobionomy is meant to encourage the use of creativity and imagination. It is not opposed to Ortho-Bionomy® but can be a well for it to draw from.
The word orthobionomy was coined after a residential workshop held at Wonder Valley, CA, led by four Advanced Instructors of Ortho-Bionomy: Baelyeay Callister, Rouel Cazanjian, Richard Valasek, and Alison Zuber. A weekend class and the five-day residential followed from weekly phone conversations the four engaged in for over a year prior.
The original impetus came from Allison Zuber, this is not the Alison Zuber who was one of the instructors but Allison Zuber, a student working toward becoming a practitioner. Somewhere there had been people thinking aloud about what instructors they would like to have a residential with. The four named ended up on top of the list. Allison contacted each of us and thus began the conversations.
One thing the four of us had been hearing from many students were complaints about the Society of Ortho-Bionomy International and the program. In a nutshell, they were expressing the feelings that they were being gouged. The barriers to becoming a practitioner, an instructor are grown beyond the means to cope: that was the gist.
Two things the four of us agreed upon was that we wanted to present this with a spirit of generosity and we would not be teaching within the confines of the 'program.'
Mostly, though, Unphased has come to be associated with an open exploration of the principles, unfettered by institutional constraints. It is learning for the sake of learning, getting better at what you do because that is the right thing to do, not for the 'credits,' the CEUs, the certification. It is a leaning toward the freedom end of the continuum, constraint on the other end.
In Phase 7 of Ortho-Bionomy, there are two sigils used to represent holding and releasing. The most important is a third, the spiral, and that represents the relationship between the first two. Ortho-Bionomy® is intent on holding. Unphased puts emphasis on the releasing, on freedom.
I don't recall how this name emerged in our conversation. It came out of some free-form group wordplay. It's a bit of a portmanteau word, mashing up unfazed with the idiosyncratic 'phase' of Ortho-Bionomy. As soon as we heard it we liked it. Being unfazed is a good state to be in while practicing orthobionomy. To me the word unphased suggests freeing oneself from artificial (albeit sometimes useful) categories. The human passion for slicing and sorting of things into categories does a kind of violence. That's an idea I got from Foucault and I did not get it. He wrote somewhere that naming things is an act of violence. That's a bit extreme, thought I, but more and more I get it.
The idea of phases in Ortho-Bionomy has served mostly to help me grok the body no longer as a separate and solitary object. First I stripped away the phases in my teaching writing. Gradually they have seeped back in but in slightly altered form. Eventually the word 'register' has come to replace. The body plays itself in multiple registers, no longer reduced and constrained as a fleshy 'cage.'
I looked at some of the many varying ways the body redefined itself and how the ideology of individualism is false, the body being an assemblage, a multispecies collective. A shimmering network with 'nodes' blinking in and out, protean.
I have been binging a tv show (Red Rock if you must know). There is one story line about a family with two parents and you adolescent sons. It is a solid middle class family with solid middle class values. The mother happens to be a sergeant with the local police. Eventually it is revealed that the eldest son, a talented college student, has somehow become a heroin addict. Many episodes are given over to display his descent, landing in a recovery program somewhere, and certain relapse. Not too much spoiler here. As this story is going along, even before the heroin bit is revealed, we are learning about the secret life of the parents. For years the husband has been in a parallel relationship with another woman. His romance wife. He has a construct of alibis for being away. The cop mother is fully aware of the situation but they keep up the pretense of being an ordinary family, for the sake of the sons. When the heroin (which has been ravaging the community she is sworn to protect) shows up in her son she feels deep shame. No one is to know about this. They pack him off to a program and make up a story that he went to New York (the setting, by the way, is Dublin, Ireland). He will be quietly fixed and it will become a blip in the past, a secret between just the three of them. Even with this brief description, you can see the relapse playing out from the start.
These fictional (and very realistic) parents see their son as having the problem. The illness resides in that body, that individual person. But when you learn to track the body in its social register this body has four heads and eight arms and eight legs. Heroin addiction is simply how the family dysfunction manifests in this particular body appendage. In one scene the addict explains to someone that before heroin he felt like he and the world didn't properly fit together. Heroin makes that right for him, at least for a little bit.
I could give examples of other kinds of registers (and many can be found scattered about these manuscript) But this takes us far afield. The point is that the 'phases' led me to reconstruct the body and finding along the way a lot of strong academic sort of support, a lot of which you can find when you wander about in the page called 'Sources.'
This has all been to give you just a hint of how the word 'unphased' romps and resonates in my brain; gives an idea of what it means to me. We have also seen immediate responses to the word by quite a few members of the Ortho-Bionomy community. It has become picked up and I have but little idea why the word has such an alluring ring to them.
[I took about a day off from writing here, but not from reading, not from thinking.]
The dream of Unphased is to move from work (a dangerous concept in its most common applications) to play. Growing out of Ortho-Bionomy it is not Ortho-Bionomy. It is a friend, a lover of Ortho-Bionomy. It is Ortho-Bionomy no longer a child.
For many years I have been reminding the SOBI board, and demonstrating, that there is a remarkably high titer of what is misleadingly called Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD aka ADD) in our community. I reject most strenuously the word 'disorder' seeing it rather as an advantage. This particular orientation of the nervous system is part of the overall survival strategy of the superorganism we call humans. This is not the place for a dissertation on genetics and why it may be no accident. The question is what sort of organizational structure will better make use of this resource?
And Unphased is another challenge to Descartes. The deal he made was self-serving. He told the Church he would restrict his diet to the chaff of life. Chaff is better than nothing at all, he reasoned. It is my ever-growing desire, to bring spirit into the work, up front, explicitly. Not hope it sneaks in the backdoor somewhere.
I want to be clear about one thing here. If you see anything I write or say to imply that this is what Ortho-Bionomy truly is or this is how Ortho-Bionomy ought to be taught that is a reading I refute and will endeavor to correct if the wording misdirects.
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The vision is for Ongoingness; Life continuing on . . . .
Richard Valasek 1308 Ala Kapuna St. Apt 103
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and, if I do not save it, I do not save myself. —JOSÉ ORTEGA Y GASSET
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, vision ––EMANUELE COCCIA Metamorphoses
Now, more than ever . . . our place in the universe and the place of the universe in us, is proving to be one of active relationship. That is more than a scientist's credo. The separateness of our lives is a sham. Physics, mathematics, music, painting, my love for you, my work, the star-dust of my body, the spirit that impels it, my politics, clocks diurnal, time perpetual, the roll, rough, tender, swamping, liberating, breathing, moving, thinking nature, human nature and the cosmos are patterned together.
—JEANETTE WINTERSON Gut Symmetries
What you do, what you become, is not my concern. –ROBERT MCCALL
"Don't immanentize the eschaton."