As I grow older I soften. I tune into my fluid self and feel my tissues, my joints with more tenderness.
Meanwhile, the mirrors society hold stifle and stiffen me, encouraging me to feel threatened by my age, my natural growing old. They present me with options to ‘fight’ and negate it: die my hair, buy anti-ageing creams, hide my wrinkles with botox, get plastic surgery…etc
Why is age such a burden in our Western societies? It’s nothing new of course, we have always yearned for immortality, the elixir of youth …
But it is a sign of our times to wish to ‘fill in’ the natural signs of our ageing collagen with a toxic bacteria like botulinum for example: another element on the road to let’s-all-become-disembodied-robot-look-alike and step further away from our beautiful authenticity and connection with each other and other living, and dying, creatures.
Fascia, on the contrary is the great connector and conductor. It envelops each organ, each vessel, each part of us with a jelly-like ‘film’ and fatty tissues that protect and interlink everything.
Cranio sacral therapy loves fascia for that very reason. As the system slows down, these amazing interlacing structures communicate the softening and relaxing to the whole, and help facilitate release and balancing where it is needed.
Everything in nature mirrors this interconnection of all things but society's rigid moulds have restricted the expression of our being-ness rather than opened us towards the multiple possibilities of its wholeness, its abundance and its natural sophistication.
It was quite a revelation for me to see this almost transparent mesh of connective tissue when I was studying craniosacral therapy.
Seeing the detailed intricacies of this whole body suit highlighted the deeply caring and loving nature of our fascia system and introduced me to the great magus of this edifice: biotensegrity.
Indeed biotensegrity, like the choreographer of an exquisite dance, allows for the perfect balancing act, the perfect equilibrium between tension, compression and fluidity, an essential vector of homeostasis and the expression of health.
“The stability of a tensegrity structure is due to the equilibrium between outward pushing of the rigid elements that tense the tension network, and inward pulling of the tension continuum that compresses the rigid elements without letting them touch each other,” explains Stephen Levin in Biotensegrity, the Mechanics of Fascia.
He interestingly adds something that deeply resonates with my work as a craniosacral therapist: “Relaxation”, far from being a simple“letting-go”, with its well-known effect of collapsing and weakening, is a redistribution of tension within the tensile fascial network with the qualities of space and strength, and a balance of tension. Space, tension, resistance, strength, internal support and relaxation are concomitant, even equivalent, characteristics.”
Why does our outside system, our society instead of mirroring this most amazing interconnected inner world decide to feed us recipes that disconnect and fragment?
“Human beings aren’t born, human beings are made,"reckons Stephen Jenkinson, author of Orphan Wisdom and Die Wise. "(…) it’s in the nature of being human that nobody is born that way. Every culture worthy of the word culture has always practiced human making. It’s not that indigenous people are good people and the rest of us are lost (…) but they have found a way, an understanding of being human that includes the temporary amnesia around being one and so it has to be taught…”
Part of the beauty of being human is this ability to connect at a deep cellular level with each other and other livings beings.
I love the authenticity and honesty of the bodies I hold in my practice. Surrendering to their truth allows for such a rewarding connection at all levels of the being.
This also applies to connecting in society: the more honest I am and the less ‘masked’ I appear, acknowledging my belonging to a species that participates in the great natural cycle of living and dying, the more real and human I become.
It is high time we remember that ageing gracefully is part of being human and that death, growing old are companions, not enemies.