Richard? Richard who?
Richard Valasek, RN, one of the original instructors of Ortho-Bionomy and the primary facilitator of this summer’s workshop.
I took my first workshop with Richard in New York City in the cold, wintry spring of 2005. In the small yoga studio where the workshop was held, he dominated the room, both physically and energetically. Not in an overbearing sort of way but in a magnetic, make you want to hang onto every word he said, kind of way.
He spun magical tales, punctuated with the occasional curse word, of war veterans recovering from extreme Post Traumatic Stress Disorder at the Tripler Army Medical Center where he uses Ortho-Bionomy in his job as a Pysch nurse.
He imparted sordid details about the beginnings of Ortho-Bionomy, shared details of how living the art of Ortho-Bionomy has impacted his life and demonstrated practical application after practical application of esoteric concepts.
He somehow brought together the science of networks, cutting edge psychological research, string theory, and systems theory in a brilliant weave of conceptual explanation and hands-on application of Ortho-Bionomy principles.
I sat in class, jaw slack, and just drank it all in. And, well, I’ve been hooked on Richard ever since.
Naturally, with the early bird discount deadline approaching this Friday, I’ve been thinking a lot about him.
Specifically, I’ve been thinking about the things that I began to truly embody thanks to his unique way of presenting, practicing and living the art of Ortho-Bionomy.
In honor of him, I want to share with you 4 small concepts (with huge rippling effects) that have changed the way I view and participate in the world … in the hopes that one of them will land softly in your heart and begin to work it’s magic in how you view your world.
1) Everything really *is* about me (or you).
Richard is big into systems theory – which is an approach to self-care and healing that is dependent upon the therapist’s ability to maintain a non-anxious presence and to modulate his or her own internal reactions.
Richard, however, doesn’t teach systems theory as some theoretical framework within a psychological setting.
Rather, he presents it as a dynamic, living thing that *anyone* (you, me, anyone!) can use to re-gain calm and clarity when distressed.
Further, he demonstrates how to consciously change your position within a system for the enhanced wellbeing of everyone and everything involved.
Through consciously changing our position (either externally or internally) to whatever is distressing us, we change our experience.
Imagine being an absolute basket case of emotions and heartache one moment and totally snapped out of it the next. Or, at least, being in a place where you have access to your internal sense of calm and can witness the emotions versus being overwhelmed by them. It’s possible!
And, it feels like magic. Systematic, understandable, and though his simple exercises, easily applicable magic.
2) It doesn’t matter whether or not you believe in the method being used. If it works, use it.
There are some pretty crazy techniques out there for helping people resolve pain, heal old wounds, and nurture a deeper connection with themselves. Whether or not I, as a practitioner, believe in the method matters not at all. If it works for my client (or myself!), I’ll use it.
More than anything, perhaps, this concept allows me to get out of the way of my own standards and beliefs about how healing and self-care ‘should’ work. If what I have to offer doesn’t work for you, let’s find something else that does.
3) Healing arises through re-finding right relationship.
Right relationship, in the words of Richard, is defined as “that relationship that allows the maximum degree of well-being and freedom for the individual wihtout putting at risk the larger system.”
The thing that is causing us distress (natural disaster, family problems, physical or emotional pain…) is far less important than where we are in relationship to that thing.
In order to re-find right relationship, however, we first need some space between ourselves and our reactions. We need some breathing room where we can begin to witness the problem or pain or emotion and find that sense of internal calm and wellbeing in relation to the issue.
One of the tools I teach for accessing this sense of space is Owl Eyes. Richard has many, many more. All simple, all things that work.
4) Ortho-Bionomy (training) is for everyone.
This concept has been on my mind since receiving an email last week (from a massage therapist) asking whether the upcoming workshop is for massage therapists or for the general public.
Somewhere along the way it seems Ortho-Bionomy training became the domain of those of us in the alternative-care industry. And, there seems to be a sense of possessiveness around the method.
While I may not gain the popularity of fellow alternative care providers, I emphatically state:
Ortho-Bionomy IS for everyone. *Especially* the general public.
The founder of Ortho-Bionomy, Arthor Lincoln Pauls, DO, envisioned Ortho-Bionomy as a system of self (and other) care that would be accessible to anyone who wanted simple, reliable techniques for helping themselves and their families.
This is the spirit of Ortho-Bionomy that Richard espouses and that I intend to carry on through my work.
With all of this in mind, I invite you to join Richard and myself this summer for a self (and other) care workshop. Click here for all the details.
Judy Murdoch says
Thanks for sharing your experiences with Richard, Larisa. How fantastic to be doing a workshop with him in a teaching role!
Is Richard a magical wizard? I heard he cried one time because he was eating cheese and was so moved by the flavor!
Larisa Koehn says
Yes, I am quite excited about it! Thanks for stopping by. 🙂
He just well may be. 🙂
And, I can indeed confirm that rumor. I was there. He did cry. No matter how tough he pretends to be, his soft, soft heart always gives him away.
I like RIchard’s approach to “sacred cows” _ Every organization I have ever been a part of has gotten into a protectionist self serving racket and its really up to the people in the organization to slap that down whenever they can. But then you can really see that an organization is an organism concerned about self preservation – its all about me hahah
Such amazing work Larisa and a great post!
Lots and lots of luck for your summer workshop – enjoyyyy!
Hope your ‘right people’ find you. Richard sounds incredible too.
(So moved by cheese! What a lovely story too.)
Point Number two is especially good to hear – reasurring those
amongst us who may have fear, doubt, anxiety about something new
and unknown. In the end – ideology matters little, grab what works, soak it up. Just a little jealous that I can’t attend!