Show Notes:

22: Anatomist Gil Hedley discusses fascial debacles, debates, and dissection with Til Luchau.

In this episode,

  1. Gil Hedley’s Fuzz Speech: facts, fantasies, and furor;
  2. Sexuality in the dissection room;
  3. Conspiracies: pattern of meaning, or menace?

Resources discussed in this episode: 

Sponsor Offers:

Your Hosts:

Til Luchau Advanced-Trainings        whitney lowe
Til Luchau                          Whitney Lowe

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Your Hosts:

Til Luchau Advanced-Trainings
Til Luchau

whitney lowe
Whitney Lowe

Thanks for listening and subscribing to the podcast! Make sure to connect with us on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook to stay updated on all of the latest! Show your support for the show by leaving a rating and review on Apple Podcasts!

(The Thinking Practitioner Podcast is intended for professional practitioners of manual and movement therapies: bodywork, massage therapy, structural integration, chiropractic, myofascial and myotherapy, orthopedic, sports massage, physical therapy, osteopathy, yoga, strength and conditioning, and similar professions. It is not medical or treatment advice.)

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The Thinking Practitioner Podcast:
Episode 22: Gil Hedley: Fascia, Fuzz and Furor

Broadcast date: 9/2/2020
©Copyright The Thinking Practitioner Podcast, Til Luchau & Whitney Lowe

Til Luchau:

Welcome to The Thinking Practitioner. Hi, this is Til Luchau. When I was looking for a publisher for book that I wanted to write, I was lucky enough to have had two offers, one from a huge international media company and the other from Handspring Publisher, a small group in Scotland run by four great people. And I'm kind of just them, Handspring, because not only did they help me make the books I wanted to share, the Advanced Myofascial Techniques series, but their catalog has emerged as one of the leading collections of professional level books written especially for bodyworkers, movement teachers and all professionals who use movement and touch to help patients achieve wellness.

Til Luchau:

They have a new instructional webinar series, Move to Learn, 45 minute segments. I am teaching one of them, in fact. Head on over to their website, handspringpublishing.com, to check those out, have a look at their catalog and be sure to use the discount code TTP, The Thinking Practitioner, when you check out. Thanks Handspring. I am happy to be here with you today, Gil Hedley. You and I met a long time ago when you came to the Rolf Institute library.

Gil Hedley:

1991.

Til Luchau:

1991, I'm glad you remember the year. That's long enough for me not to even remember. You took the time to talk to me today. I got a few things I want to ask you about and talk to you about, so I really appreciate that. But you had quite an academic background, even when I met you.

Gil Hedley:

I was in a PhD program in 1991 that I completed in '94 or '93, I think.

Til Luchau:

Okay. You're training at the Rolf Institute was concurrent with finishing your PhD.

Gil Hedley:

Exactly.

Til Luchau:

Do I remember that as Theological Ethics?

Gil Hedley:

Exactly. Wow, you are a rare soul who couldn't even say Theological Ethics now as I remember it, but yes, I trained in Theological Ethics with a wonderful man who founded that field and retired while I was in my program and was followed up with a wonderful protege who became my dissertation advisor.

Til Luchau:

Tell me more about yourself, especially connecting the dots from that into Rolfing, into what you're doing now.

Gil Hedley:

Well, I was one of those fraught Catholics who wanted to know what should I do with my life. And sure I should, being... In all capital letters, that's pretty much how I lived. And so it was natural that I would, as an intellectual, become an ethicist or people who spend their entire lives thinking about what people should do or what they think they think they should do. So, Ethics at the University of Chicago is a meta field where you study moral systems and try and understand people's reasoning and how they come to believe what they should do is what they should do. So I spent a good eight or nine years doing that. Well, I was turning ethics... All my friends cross trained, but nobody cross trained in bodywork or massage or Rolfing or anatomy or anything like that.

Gil Hedley:

Our way of being in the world struck me as a very physical one and that it seemed preposterous that academics would offer prescriptions about behavior for people who live in bodies and know nothing about the body or what it's import might be for understanding how we live in the world or our way of being in the world, which is a summary catchphrase for the moral life. So I felt that the body had a whole lot to do with the moral life and that I ought to know something about it, and I ought to actually be in one, because most of us at University of Chicago lived somewhere about two feet over our bodies and didn't even enter it. We watched ourselves drink coffee, we didn't actually feel the coffee going in.

Gil Hedley:

For me, I started doing Tai Chi and then learned acupressure and that was neat, and found out that I had pretty good hands. And then my mom got Rolfed and I heard about Rolfing and thought, "Wow, that's amazing." Studied Ida Rolf a little bit on my own and saw that she was a healer and an educator and I loved that combination of talents or vocation, is the way I would have put it at the time. To be a healer and an educator struck me as like what Jesus was, a healer and an educator. I was like, "Wow, Jesus and Ida Rolf, me too." I went to the Rolf Institute as a purely intellectual interest, and then they were like, "You need to get Rolfed to become a Rolfer." I was like, "What?" So I found a Rolfer, Alan Davidson, Chicago, who had been trained by Ida Rolf and had a good experience and the rest is history there.

Til Luchau:

Well, history took you to... I think most people associate that with dissections and with fascia, how did those things appear

Gil Hedley:

Well, as I was a novice Rolfer, I soon realized that I didn't know much at all about the body still, even for my little Rolfing training, which was wonderful and impactful and sparked a lot of ideas, but I didn't really know my way around the body very well, especially viscera and all that business. So, I thought, "I got to do some dissection." I had already done a little dissection at University of Chicago with a friend who was at the University of Illinois in a medical program. And I would go into the lab with him since I had been trained in massage and he was training and Rolfing, he thought that was a good asset. While he studied for his Monday morning tests, we'd go in on Saturdays and dissect them. And it was very impactful and I thought, "Wow, that's really cool. I got to do some more of that once I started practicing."

Gil Hedley:

So I just made some phone calls. I was Dr. Hedley at that point, and I could say, "Hello, this is Dr. Hedley from the International Rolf Institute, anatomy faculty," which I wasn't, but I was calling for them. And I said, "We need to do a research project and we hire a laboratory and a cadaver." Guy was like, "Come to my office." So we met and made fast friends immediately, who's a wonderful man from Harlem who've been embalming for 25 years at that point, or 30 years or something and we hit it off. Roger Faison, he became my mentor in all things laboratory and a wonderful friend until his passing. He opened the door for me and then I opened the door for everybody else, basically.

Gil Hedley:

Our first dissection, I did two weeks with one body and I did face up with four guys for the first week. And then I brought the next team in. And for four days, we first peaked at what we did on the front, flipped it over and worked on the back. It was horrifying. I mean, it was a massacre. It was like something from the Great Plains in 1825 after an attack on a convoy or something. And so the next year I thought, "I'm going to book this again, but it's got to be done differently." And after a series of nightmares and mental breakdowns, I finally came up with doing it in layers. The cue was from my F.O.B training with you and Tom and Elaine Newton and whoever else was there.

Til Luchau:

And Tom Myers. Foundations of Body Work in the Rolf Institute, that's where you met.

Gil Hedley:

Yeah. That was the pre-training for Rolfers the time who had no experience in touching. And so I had no experience other than my Tai Chi. I lost my train of thought.

Til Luchau:

Well, we got back to 1991 and I-

Gil Hedley:

1991.

Til Luchau:

... Yeah. You made an impression as a student there and the questions you were-

Gil Hedley:

Layers, I just got it. Layers.

Til Luchau:

Yes.

Gil Hedley:

We had done this psychometric exercise in that class where Tom said, "Okay the person on the table, go somewhere in your body, pick a layer." And someone would be like, "I'm going into a deep fashion, secretly." And then the person touching that would have to hunt the client and find them energetically in the body. And I was astounded at how somehow that information was conveyed. I can't say how, whatever psychometric queuing was involved, but I was like, "Whoa, we have layers in our bodies and they feel like something and their textures and we actually live there and we can move around in them within and by touch. And that made a huge impression on me, that exercise. So that was the framework that I thought, "Let me dissect that way," because if that's how we are, then it has nothing to do with regions, and it has to do with textures. And so why don't we dissect by texture rather than by region, like it says in this Grant's atlas I have on my lap here, that I'm trying to imitate?

Gil Hedley:

I was basically wanting to toss to the medical paradigm of anatomy to the side for a minute, not to dispose of it, but put it aside for a minute and see what happens if we take our Rolfer's paradigm of a body built-in textural layers and dissect that way and see what happens. And what happened was it was amazing and extremely instructive. And the few of us who test drove that system were profoundly impressed to just lay eyes upon that big yellow layer. Like, "Whoa, where was that? How come that's not in the book?" We all knew, we touched it and to see what we touched was very profound. And so just kept on refining that process for the last 26 years until it's gotten pretty refined.

Til Luchau:

You're making me realize that layering analogy is really deep in that tradition, that lineage. I still use it now in my hands-on work, in my teaching and in my thinking, we done with the onion metaphor, things like that, you know?

Gil Hedley:

Yeah, the onion tree. I get called out by some people who object to the very word, layers, and get all their panties in a bunch the second they hear the word layers, as if it immediately excludes the possibility of connection and relationship, but-

Til Luchau:

Is that the objection?

Gil Hedley:

... That seems to be it, which is a funny thing they accused me of, since I've spent my entire career introducing people to the connections and relationships, to the biased point of integral anatomy. They say, "Well, it's not true. The architecture," they'll use the word architecture of the body, "is this endless web kind of metaphor." And I'm like, "Well, I'm not denying that, but that doesn't change the fact that tissues differentiate into textural layers. And that's true at the cellular level." If you don't believe in layers, you can't believe in cell biology because there are lipid layers in there. So I find it funny that people have a problem with it.

Gil Hedley:

I've even changed the way I draw my onion tree model, because I used to just have a very simplistic drawing of an onion and then tree branch is going through and actually made it visually like a photo layover of a tree passing through an onion, just to evoke the sense of our neuro-vasculature fractal branching, that also is working its way through what are, apparently, very clear textural layers that feel differently to the hand, that move over one another relative to each other. I don't deny the unity of Gaia when I look at the strata of the grand Canyon, I don't deny the unity of the human body when I look at the textural layers into which embryos differentiate, it's just a reality.

Til Luchau:

Whole or part. You're talking about almost like though the tyranny of wholism, how we get to the place where we can't see the parts for the whole, the other way around.

Gil Hedley:

That's beautiful. Exactly, the tyranny of wholism. I love it. That's wonderful.

Til Luchau:

You catch some flack for saying that there are layers, that we're not all one. You've caught some flack the other way too.

Gil Hedley:

Well, I didn't say that we're not all one, I say that there are differences within the unity. And this is the most political thing I can say. In other words, is that whether it's the body or the world, we are apt to perceive differences. And our aptitude for perceiving difference does not subjugate or deny the reality of our unity, it simply perceives the textures of the whole cloth and the different threads that make the weave. It doesn't separate them. The unity is not subsumed or denied by the perception of difference. And I think that that's an important thing to remember.

Til Luchau:

I am very tempted to step into that rabbit hole, but I'm going to step around it because I'm remembering visiting you in Paonia. This must have been late '80s, perhaps, maybe early 2000s, was it?

Gil Hedley:

No, no early 2000s. It was around 2002, maybe.

Til Luchau:

Okay. We had kids.

Gil Hedley:

Yeah, little kids. We all had a little kid.

Til Luchau:

Good. And you were excited about your Fuzz Speech. This is great. I got it. I recorded the Fuzz Speech. You got to see it, Til.

Gil Hedley:

I was so excited because I never had to say it again.

Til Luchau:

You got it done and never say it again. You talked about catching flack from say the tyranny of wholism. You caught some flack from the other side of the question, is that fair to say in terms of the Fuzz Speech? You know what I'm referring to?

Gil Hedley:

I've gotten all kinds of flack all my life. I don't know why I catch so much flack, I'm not that controversial. But the Fuzz Speech, people got mad at me about the Fuzz Speech saying I didn't know anatomy and I was making it up, that that stuff is fake, that it grows there in cadavers, I got the weirdest comments.

Til Luchau:

I think if you're okay with it, let's go ahead and I'm going to play a little bit.

Gil Hedley:

Of the Fuzz Speech.

Til Luchau:

Yeah.

Gil Hedley:

I can unpack that baby for you.

Audio:

The fuzz yields to my fingertips. Sometimes I've come across a stronger or thicker strand. It doesn't yield to my fingertip. That represents all the fuzz sometimes, or maybe it represents a nerve, but each night when you go to sleep, the interfaces between your muscles grow fuzz, potentially. And in the morning when you wake up and you stretch, the fuzz melts, we melt the fuzz. The feeling you have is the solidifying of your tissues, the sliding surfaces aren't sliding anymore. There's fuzz growing in between them. You need to stretch. Every cat in the world gets up in the morning and it stretches it's body and it melts the fuzz in the same way that the fuzz melted when I passed my finger through it. When you're moving, it's as if you're passing your finger through the fuzz, just like I did on the cadaver form here.

Til Luchau:

You said in the Fuzz Speech, basically that you get your fingers between the layers and that that's what happens while we sleep, perhaps. You were careful to say perhaps.

Gil Hedley:

Here's the thing, after 10 years when I finally recorded the Fuzz Speech, after 10 years of playing with that tissue, I knew it belonged there. But when I first encountered it, I did not know that it belonged there.

Til Luchau:

Say what you mean by, "It belonged there."

Gil Hedley:

That that cotton candy that I was demonstrating between, say one muscle fascicular and another, I wasn't so sure it belong there. We had been in our training and the body was represented anatomically in images without any demonstration of what I was looking at. In other words, the muscles were presented as discrete-

Til Luchau:

Clean, red structures.

Gil Hedley:

... clean, red structures, pristine with nothing, connecting them really. And we spoke a lot in our Rolfing training about differentiating tissues that were stuck to each other. When I first saw that fuzzy white matter between things that were, in my mind, supposed to be discrete, and that should be sliding along one another like silk stockings, my idea of silk stockings were that silk stockings are also discreet and would slide over one another and that they are connected by cotton candy.

Til Luchau:

This is Ida Rolf's analogy, sliding silk stockings.

Gil Hedley:

Exactly. So taking those analogies, those images, that language of differentiation to the table and seeing that I could actually create discrete things just with the touch of my hand, I thought, "That must be what I'm doing as a Rolfer. How cool? I'm Rolfing the cadaver, how cool? How pretty it looks when it's all independent. How cool is that?" And so when I first started doing dissection, that was the mode I was in, differentiate the cadaver the way I differentiate my clients with my fingertips and how marvelous, how wonderful, look at how I'm demonstrating this thing in practice? What I came to understand over the course of the 10 years that it took me to record that Fuzz Speech was that this is a tissue, it's ubiquitous. It belongs there. It's what relates the tissues to each other, it's not a mistake. But I also went in initially, there's more with the idea of hydrogen bonding and cross-linking of fibers that happens, and Tom had talked about this in our free training and in our training-

Til Luchau:

That's the way I learned, is that hydrogen is red.

Gil Hedley:

... we learned that, that that's how things get stuck to each other and so keep on moving. So the Fuzz Speeches is this weird amalgam of the echoes of my early confusion with my growing awareness that it belonged there. And so I said in the video, "Melt the fuzz," and the idea wasn't to obliterate or to dissect human bodies with your hands, but to restore the fluidity and slipperiness of the tissues. But I illustrated it, and this is the worst part, I illustrated it with first images of me obliterating it by hand and-

Til Luchau:

Pushing your hand between the layers and breaking apart this cross-linkings.

Gil Hedley:

... breaking apart, but we're going to put cross-linkings in a little parentheses over here, because I want talk more about that. The other images that I supplied were of Mr. Agape, my all time wonderful cadaver star of the Integral Anatomy Series, got to love that guy, and I showed one shoulder pre-dissected and looking very whitish and fuzzy and fascia. And then the other side was dissected and it was like this winged scapula flying in the air with no relationship between the scapula and the rib cage as if that were somehow an ideal. I use that imagery because for one, I did think his scapulas were stuck more than your average scapula. I was like, "I don't know if this dude lifted his arms very often." And also it was the only imagery I had to somehow demonstrate the concept of it.

Gil Hedley:

And it was very powerful imagery, but it's just intensely misleading because it gave the impression that the ideal was that there be no connection between the tissues instead of that the tissues that are there always be fluid and slippery. And so when I went back over the Fuzz Speech for my Fuzz tour, I figured let's just run with what people love. So I did the Fuzz tour in 2017, but the object of it, it's just spreading a message of unity and joy. The object is also to spend four hours dismantling my own Fuzz Speech because it takes literally that long to explain what's right and what's wrong with it.

Til Luchau:

I see. Sure. You're coming up to a million views on that. People still send me that link and says, "Til, I know you're into bodies and stuff, did you know that fascia does this?" I still get that link from people. I go, "Thank you, Gil, for being brave enough to go where angels fear to tread and put out some stuff," but it has been revered and pilloried and in some ways was part of the furor that we're still sorting out. What role do adhesions play? What are the actual mechanical effects we have with our hands? How about slipperiness, where does that go in the picture?

Gil Hedley:

Exactly. The thing is, the more I drill down on that frigging thing in 46 cities of lectures in the course of that one year, the writer had gone. I was like, "Damn, the only thing that's really wrong with this stupid and fricking Fuzz Speech is the imagery that I supplied." It's actually pretty accurate if you listen to it in terms of the mechanics of things, we really do get gummy in our sleep. We really can restore slipperiness through movement. And no, we shouldn't dissect our bodies and it won't be dissected by our touch because it doesn't have the same properties as an embalmed body.

Gil Hedley:

And what I was really doing in those images was basically busting a membrane system with my hand. And you can, when you place it, intention, take the fibers out of their normal organization and then break them up. I was dissecting the body, but if you touch a person in a wet system and lean into those membranes, you actually are introducing effects that the response of which shifts in hydration, movement of chemistry, restoration of slipperiness and prevention of moving on to crystallization beyond gumminess when you literally have brittle tissue that can snap when you step off the sidewalk.

Til Luchau:

The first part of what you said, consensus is way too strong a word, but I think there's less disagreement about the first part of what you said, that we can, through our touch, increase hydration probably, but we certainly increase glide and mobility. The model has shifted between getting in there, ripping apart and more toward increasing the fluid quality is what's happening here.

Gil Hedley:

Exactly, exactly. I think that '70s, Rolfing was pretty REPI and we were taught, I was taught by '70s Rolfers, right?

Til Luchau:

Yeah.

Gil Hedley:

And yet I didn't even have the physical strength to do the REPI thing. Literally, I thought that Rolfing and was told that Rolfing was the therapy that they take your muscles off the bones and that's pretty much what it felt like.

Til Luchau:

That's funny. I first heard of Rolfing in the '70s too. And it was somebody says, "Hey, that's where they dig down between the first layer muscles to the deepest layers of muscles, tear those apart and get to your bone. And I'm like, "Wow."

Gil Hedley:

I was like, "Whoa." That was some negative branding I had to overcome when I started Rolfing in the '90s and I was like, "Damn, everyone thinks I'm going to maul them and I'm not mauling them, so they're disappointed."

Til Luchau:

Yes. Thank you for being willing to go where angels fear to, by the way, and for your Fuzz Reconsidered and for keeping the conversation alive. Another place though, that I've always respected, I think, is your willingness to bring sexuality into your dissection room and into your teaching. Would you agree, by the way?

Gil Hedley:

I do consider myself to be a sex educator, for sure. And I also hope that people show up with their whole person intact and don't feel that they have to only be a certain way in a room. In other words, I spent my entire first part of my life cutting out my sexuality from the rest of my person as a devout Catholic, thinking I was supposed to be a priest and I divided myself pretty severely. In the second half of my life, there is little that will provoke me to divide myself in that way again, and I like to be a whole person and I like to respect people as whole persons and I also like to demonstrate the continuity of everything. Your skin or your hand goes right over your crotch, so there's no region there, it's continuous. And so I do feel the dissection lab is an incredible opportunity to do sex ed, so I do a lot of that.

Til Luchau:

You do sex ed, you do sex reframing. You reframe it in technical terms, I think, but is there more?

Gil Hedley:

Yeah, for me, when you recognize that sex is just life force and you can channel it through your voice, you can channel it through your whole being, call it sex, call it life force, call it anything, but to say that there's really nothing... I can't believe that the gift of the body comes with caveats. It's like, "But that's dirty or that doesn't belong there." To my mind, to be a whole person, to interact with other people in a vital way, energy has got to move on. I mean, I've read a lot of Wilhelm Reich. I think he made a few good points there about the armoring of the person.

Gil Hedley:

And I realized that in my Rolfing practice, in my massage practice, when you facilitate someone's movement, so the decompensation of their lifestyle and offer them an opportunity to move more fully in their whole body, their sex life's going to change too, their sexuality, their vitality, the way that they move through space is going to change. And that's disruptive. It's actually culturally disruptive to move outside the box of the social frameworks of the family or the church or the society that we're placed in. And so I do find that an experience of the whole person is provocative, socially disruptive. It doesn't have to be overtly seductive, which is different. See, this is the thing, that in our culture, any movement towards pleasure and away from pain, which is actually the virtuous side of the polarity in our culture, any the movement towards pleasure is instantly labeled hedonism and seductive and all of that.

Gil Hedley:

And I would say that's not true, actually. It's actually stepping into the vitality of our human gift. Isn't seductive at all, it's just human and the perception of seductive hedonism from any movement towards vital vitality and pleasure is the legacy of a puritan culture and a very controlling culture around the body and sexuality even, and it's actually the very culture that produces a porn culture, because if it weren't for frigging uptight Victorian and puritan notions about sexuality in the body, we wouldn't have a porn culture because instead, we would just have people interacting as human beings with their life force intact, and they wouldn't need to desperately reach out to other forms that access that part of themselves, although in a taboo format. It's hard to call it taboo and every kid has it on their telephone.

Til Luchau:

Well, and it's such a fraught area in our field, not just culturally and historically, but in our field as body workers, the wounding, the vulnerabilities, the baggage, all of culture and gender and sex and all that is right there with us in the room as well.

Gil Hedley:

That's right. And the wounds are deep. We live unconsciously with respect to those deep wounds and we live at the effect of them and they shape our lives in a profound and often distorting ways. I mean, I've had guys say, "Well, I'm so glad I was circumcised as a baby because that would have really hurt. I wouldn't want to have that happen now." I'm like, "Dude, you endured that hurt. That was you on the table, strapped down and cut by an unfeeling, partially trained practitioner who also was not feeling themselves. And you were taught not to feel on that day and subsequent days to it and that feeling was discounted.

Gil Hedley:

Basically, a zombie produced another zombie. That's like one unfeeling person produced another unfeeling person. And if there's some person who is in the habit of doing circumcision in a hospital, I asked you, "Please, go to a therapist and think about what you're doing, please, because it's a brutal act and we do it in secret in hospital rooms, apart from the loving parents who birthed that child and that who spent it's nine months in a womb to come out to meet a knife.

Til Luchau:

Well, you were kind enough to invite me into your recent online class. And I was there for the... What did you call it? What was your Latin term?

Gil Hedley:

Pars intima.

Til Luchau:

For the guy's penis and you very respectfully, but very clearly were educating as you... Who would know that the guy with the scalpel in the dissection would be giving us an education about the penis and its intactness on the table? It made me squirm, I got to say. But it was fascinating, and I learned a bunch of stuff as well.

Gil Hedley:

Wonderful, wonderful. I've written a 40-page chapter on circumcision and all I've realized in the months since I wrote it is that it's too short and that I have another 10 or 20 pages to add on the emotional component, which I failed to articulate to the extent that I feel is important.

Til Luchau:

Okay. That makes me think a little bit about what I'm after. I haven't done the dissection thing much. I've been in several, but I haven't taken the lead on leading them or even being actively involved in it because they make me squirm so much, because they're difficult for me to be around. I also think of what I'm doing as even more focused on the non-physical in my work. I'm fascinated by the physical, I have a background as a mechanic. I love anatomy and my teaching is anatomically-based, but I think my bias is saying that what really counts is what happens beyond the physical, that's the living thing that happens for people.

Gil Hedley:

Absolutely. I completely agree. For me, the cadaver is just like a box to stand on for that experience of the living. And I squirmed a lot too, Til. I was terrified to go to my own class for years. The very prospect of having to go in there and do that again, just put me into PTSD nightmare state for months before my own classes. What I do now stands on the shoulders of a lot of really hard work, moving through my own disgust, horror, terror, fear and loathing for the human body. I didn't go in loving it, I went in dissociated and then when I associated, the associations were terrifying and then I had to move through that until I could have loving associations, associations of appreciation, associations of wonder or curiosity or the impulse to know more.

Til Luchau:

No, no, but thank you for that too. The way that you approach that in your lab and your teaching has always been very sensitive to that, even reverent. I remember several conversations. I remember you telling me that you love a good conspiracy, or I even think of you as a conspiracy sewer. Are you familiar at all with the Michael Shermer's concept of patternicity? He's got an interesting idea that humans biologically are programmed to see pattern in the world around us and that our ability to see connections between things and patterns of those connections is related to our ability to detect menace or to project meaning, fill me a sense of meaning. The connections that we see through that pattern recognition process are what give us either menace or meaning.

Gil Hedley:

That's really cool. It's like one of the first time I saw my horoscope and I was totally pegged. I was like, "Wow, that's that's me to a T." I'd have to say, you got me there. I see patterns everywhere. A lot of them are menacing and some of them give me a sense of meaning, but also I do think that a good conspiracy theory has some evidence and that we wouldn't have conspiracy laws on the books if there weren't conspiracies. And what amazes, and this is a good conspiracy, is how the propaganda machine has turned the very word conspiracy or conspiracy theories into a dirty word and a means of dismissing and trivializing someone's perception of patterns for which there's actually evidence, which evidence is being subsumed to meanings alternate to what I would consider a positive intent.

Til Luchau:

Your role has been to look for those connections or patterns or hidden meanings even, in the body and then your gift has been to bring those out, but I'm just thinking, there's got to be some vulnerability in that for you, like the Fuzz Speech furor or whatever. Do people dismiss what you say as crazy? Are there patterns that are obvious to you, but not to other people?

Gil Hedley:

Not much. Really, my haters are fewer in number than my lovers. And the haters, having studied psychodynamics for a number of years, I don't see in those haters a whole lot of capacity for meaningful or rational conversation. It's more just hating you from a gut reaction because it serves my psychodynamic defense structure somehow. I can forget those people. I mean, not everybody does the work to realize why they react the way they do, even if a person is completely wrong. In other words, someone's wrong. What's the big deal. In other words, why does that provoke an intense reaction? That's the question, it's not about whether you're right or wrong. It's about, can you still breathe knowing that someone else is wrong. I don't mind people being wrong about certain things. Whatever, I've been wrong about all kinds of things, and then you'll learn something and then your... But to divide the world into right and wrong itself is a function of a psychodynamic structure. It's the classic psychopathy that perceives everything as right or wrong.

Til Luchau:

You're talking about how we polarize around right and wrong, as opposed to what the pattern is or what the meaning might be or what the menace might be.

Gil Hedley:

Exactly. It took me long time to heal from my own propensity to need something to be right or wrong. That was part of the driving energy of my personal psychology going into ethics. I need to know what's right or wrong because it's a life or death matter. If I get it wrong, I'm going to be bad. And if I'm bad, I'm bad and I'm supposed to be good and blah, blah, blah. That's classic psychodynamics, you know?

Til Luchau:

Yes. Polarizing.

Gil Hedley:

Yeah, exactly. I've healed a lot from that. I don't react so much. If someone has an opinion different from my own, I welcome it because it's like, "Cool. Wow, there's probably something in there for me. You wouldn't believe it if there wasn't something true." So I can learn from that rather than I'm thinking, "Oh my God, they're wrong and I have to correct them."

Til Luchau:

Okay. Now I have stepped in this rabbit hole because one of my thoughts, one of these ideas that I'm working with and testing out is that our basic division that separates us is about this question about, are things relatively true or absolutely true? Can we be certain something that's actually true or is everything shades of that? And that actual question there is the fundamental division, I think, between a lot of our polarities.

Gil Hedley:

I think so. I've seen a lot of them for certain people. Like for other people, those polarities don't matter at all. They don't even blink. My daughter wouldn't blink about that.

Til Luchau:

What would she say?

Gil Hedley:

Interestingly, just as we've been talking, I've been thinking about my daughter in the back of my head because I've always thought our brains worked very differently, and now I realize they're actually similar, just working in different realms, which is surprising and exciting for me to think about because she's an artist and she'll be having a conversation with you and the words are coming out of her mouth and your words are coming out of your mouth, but she's really not listening to either of it. She's actually figuring out how to draw your eyes. She's actually looking at the wrinkles in your forehead at this moment and thinking how interesting it would be to draw your face with a surprise or action or an aha moment. And she's actually seeing the patterns of your face more so than the patterns of your verbiage.

Gil Hedley:

And I realized that I am also, as you mentioned, a pattern recognition person, but I recognize patterns in words and in the body. And then I see those patterns and I see them in my environment around me reiterated. And so I'm constantly going back and forth between my external and my internal worlds, recognizing the patterns between them and then questioning and laughing at the fact that I ever perceived any difference or separation between the two. And so what my perceptions have led me to is to perceive the continuity of my body with the earth. My daughter's pattern recognition has led her to have an amazing capacity to put a line on a piece of paper or on someone's body, she's a tattoo artist now. That was a total tangent, but...

Til Luchau:

Anything else you want to tell us about? I basically got one more question myself.

Gil Hedley:

What is it?

Til Luchau:

What do you want people to know or discover or experience when they work with you?

Gil Hedley:

That's a nice question. It's my hope that folks will come away from our shared experience of studying the body and exploring that inner world as someone ought to. It's my hope that they'll come away with a surprising respect and appreciation for the gift they are living and that they'll recognize that same gift to the operating in everyone around them. And that the body will be rebranded as a result of that as a gift, rather than a problem to be solved. And that that shared gift in the sense that the body isn't maybe necessarily just that thing on the table or the limits of their own skin.

Gil Hedley:

But that we're actually one body, one human body operating under the same sun and the same moon pulling out our tides, that puts half of the planet to sleep and half of it to wake up because the earth is turning and that there's this one incredible organism that we're all participating in. And to me, it's the great democratizer of the planet and that all of the things over which we separate are peripheral and superficial to the actual profound unity of our human body. And so to hurt someone is to hurt yourself and we can hopefully stop hurting ourselves.

Til Luchau:

Amen. Thank you, Gil.

Gil Hedley:

You're welcome.

Til Luchau:

What do you want people to know about, about what you're working on? Where can they connect with you?

Gil Hedley:

I'm so easy to find. You can type my name wrong on Google and they'll still send you to my website, gilhedley.com, where I have a whole bunch of free courses. Basically, I put everything I've done that's worth anything up there for free to watch. If you want it for credit, you got to pay me because I got to make a living. But if you just want to watch this stuff, you can watch it all for free. So you join the website, there's a little blue button in the middle and you say, "I'll join," and you don't even have to let me email you back. It's literally a free gift. I'm trying to educate. I want the world to experience itself differently.

Gil Hedley:

This is my little contribution and I'm not stomping on the bed for everybody to come to my courses or whatever. They're too expensive for most people and no one wants to travel anymore, anyway, so I'm doing stuff online, which has been going really well. You mentioned it earlier, the live stream, I have all kinds of plans for more educating that way. I'm happily associated with the laboratory for Anatomical Research in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Please look them up and send them money. They're a nonprofit, they need money desperately. Basically at the moment, we're keeping each other afloat.

Til Luchau:

We'll put the link in the show notes as well as the link to your site and some of the things we've mentioned as well.

Gil Hedley:

Thank you.

Til Luchau:

Thank you, Gil. Thanks for joining us and keep up the good work. I look forward to the conversation and doing even more.

Gil Hedley:

Thank you. It's my great pleasure to see your smiling face and hear your voice.

Til Luchau:

Likewise. All right, our outgoing sponsor today's episode was sponsored by Books of Discovery. We're going to hear from Drew Beale. Take it away, Drew.

Drew Beale:

Books of Discovery might be best known for producing trail guide to the body, but we're also a whole lot more. We bring you the clinical learning tools you need to inform your intentional bodywork. Check out our kinesiology, pathology and AMP texts. They not only build the foundation upon which great educators like Til and Whitney rely, but we'll also support you through your entire career. Books of Discovery is proud to support The Thinking Practitioner and are offering a 15% discount when a listener enters thinking@thebooksofdiscovery.com checkout page. Enjoy the show.

Til Luchau:

Thanks again to our sponsors and stop by our site for show notes, transcripts, extras thethinkingpractitioner.com, or my site advanced-strings.com, Whitney's site academyofclinicalmassage.com. Gil's site will be linked there as well. Questions, email us at info@thethinkingpractitioner.com or look for us on social media. Follow us on Spotify, rate us on Apple podcasts or wherever else you listen and please tell a friend.

 

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