A conversation with Eleanor Greenlee
In this rare recording Eleanor Greenlee, M.F.T. talks about her experiences with Alexander Lowen, M.D., and shares her insights about the ways to help people feel themselves, reconnect with their bodies, and lead healthier lives. It also includes Fred Lowen's demonstration of the new portable Bioenergetic stool.
Ms. Greenlee is a Senior International Bioenergetic Trainer with over forty years of Bioenergetics experience. She has been a Certified Bioenergetic Therapist since 1976, had a private practice in Walnut Creek, CA, and led therapy, exercise classes, and training workshops all over the world.
She also presented together with Frank Hladky, M.D., the inaugural workshop for The Alexander Lowen Foundation in Tulsa, Oklahoma in 2008.
We hope you enjoy the recording and welcome your thoughts and comments.
This conversation was recorded on September 27, 2013 at Ms. Greenlee’s home. Due to technical problems, the audio quality is in this recording is not optimal. For your covenience, we added a full transcript.
Eleanor Greenlee & Frederic Lowen in Walnut Creek, CA, 2013.
Eleanor Greenlee & Alexander Lowen at "The Masters Workshop" in Gainesville, Florida, 2005.
Fred: I'd like to ask you a few questions about your background and about your feelings about bioenergetics, and anything that you'd care to share with the bioenergetic community, and hopefully people who are interested to join the bioenergetic community.
Eleanor: Oh my god... absolutely.
Fred: And I'd like to bring you up to date more still, on the Foundation and the publishing work.
Eleanor: I would love to hear what's happening with the Foundation, yes!
Fred: Because it does continue to evolve.
Eleanor: I am happy hallelujah!
Fred: It's a good thing, not only for the community but for the world at large.
Eleanor: I second that 'world at large'. I think it's important for the world.
Eleanor: Of course, I'm prejudice.
Fred: I've come to think of bioenergetics as the world's best kept secret.
Eleanor: I think of the world knowing all about bioenergetics because they need it to live and to survive.
Fred: That's right.
Fred: And the Foundation recognizes that the value of bioenergetics is not only in psychotherapy,
Fred: But it's also... it also informs us as to what real positive living is really about. And I'm still trying to define that for myself so...
Eleanor: I could add a lot in there because...not a lot, but there's one major major major thing and that is the body. The body. It's not just awareness because that's a mental thing. It's really the body, and getting in touch with your own body and feeling yourself. That's what you really put out to the world, is yourself, but you can't do that until you own it. And that's the gift of Bioenergetics. It's a wonderful thing. I'm very prejudice what can I say...
Fred: Yes, yes, I see bioenergetics as being the path towards freedom.
Eleanor: That's a nice way to say it, I like that. Yes, freedom from the inhibitions of the world and the conditioning that you experience and all that...yes, that's a good way to say it.
Fred: Well, I think that you have to be free in your body to be truly free in other ways.
Eleanor: True, yes.
Fred: You have to be free of the fear and free of the shackles as dad would call it. When you get to know your body often times you recognize that your body isn't just frozen, but it's literally shackled by the musculature. And the bioenergetics work really helps to soften that.
Eleanor: Absolutely, 100%! That's its gift.
Fred: And to allow the energy to flow, and only when people feel that, can they really be free not only in themselves, but also free as a people. Free from fear, or free from...social sort of...I don't know how best to put it. Because you know, by and large I got to say, my own belief is, is that technology has been a big problem for us.
Eleanor: Really? Give me an example or two.
Fred: Yeah, I would say so.
Fred: Basically it's my feeling that in the last 30 years we've had an explosion of technology. But we simultaneously had an explosion of social problems that are unprecedented and potentially terminal.
Eleanor: What's terminal?
Fred: Well I mean that...
Eleanor: Bioenergetics wouldn't exist if there was just that kind of termination.
Fred: Well, my concern is that we may not survive are intelligent mind we're not smart enough to manage the intelligence that we have to create these technological miracles without recognizing that we're really dependent on nature's way and a certain slice of nature's environment in which we need to live and we seem to feel as though technology is going to be able to solve all the problems in the world when in fact in the last 30 years as they say we've had an explosion of technology and we've also had an explosion of real problems and the idea that technology is going to solve those problems is I got to say in my opinion an illusion and yet most people...…
Eleanor: You sound like your dad… But you know what, when you approach it with that attitude you turn off the people who you really want to capture because most people, what you really want, you want the same thing that I want is to get people in touch with themselves and their own being but when you talk that way you really only to the intellect. You got to stay with the Bioenergetic process. Sorry, but I think that's what's really to it. …
Fred: No, please. It is because the foundation really aims to expand awareness and visibility of bioenergetic work to new people, to new people
Eleanor: and the best way to do that.. to new people is to give them the experience of their own body, nothing is greater than that. That's what the real key. That's what Al knew. That's why he went around the world with the exercise classes that's why he taught so many of us how to do the exercise classes you could talk forever, but when you get out there and get people doing the work and getting that energy flowing and acting and flowing through the body then they begin to feel themselves alive... that's where it totally is, that's what's gonna change the world. I have such strong feelings about this!
Fred: Yeah, I know you do
Eleanor: Thank you, thank you for understanding, because I do have strong feelings about it I think it's probably what's gotten me so many jobs around the world because I really believe this it's not an intellectual thing.
Fred: Why don't you tell me then a little bit about your background in terms of you know, did you get into psychology before bioenergetics or get into psychology because of bioenergetics
Eleanor: No, I got into psychology first in college, graduated and then got exposed to bioenergetics and then from there I just did bioenergetics, all my life.
Fred: Do you remember how you... because bioenergetics certainly at that time wasn't part of the college curriculum...
Eleanor: No, it never was …
Fred: and so how did you first
Eleanor: with the bioenergetic's trainers and spending time with Al that went around the world teaching bioenergetics.
Fred: But how did you hear about it...first?
Eleanor: Well you know I think I'm privileged to say that the trainers in my school heard about it and invited people who did bioenergetics and when they came to do bioenergetics with us, it was like "wow!" "I'm feeling me, not you. I'm feeling myself." that's really great. That was so powerful. That's what got me, that Hilton was probably the greatest mentor that I ever had. you know him?
Fred: I do ...
Eleanor: yeah, he's a great man.
Fred: and he's still practicing down in the San Diego area
Eleanor: yeah he still is, god bless him, god bless him.
Fred: yeah I'm so glad we were able to make this connection
Eleanor: absolutely, if you need an anchor of any sort, I mean I'm out of the loop now, because I haven't been teaching anymore I'm just enjoying my family and my grandchildren now, that's where my life is at They said "It's our turn, our turn!" and my kids were so understanding (inaudible) my children, they knew that I was committed and dedicated to the work, one, and two that I was bringing in the bread and butter sending them off to college, and so that meant a life to them
Fred: it should be gratifying to know that Italy is very strong in bioenergetic work now you know, it's one of the few countries that I believe what I was gonna say is it's one of the few countries that publishes all of Dad's books. Many countries just publish one or three or seven...
Eleanor: Italy is where I talk the most that was my focus point and I went from Italy to other places, but Italy was where I taught predominantly for about 23 years or something, a long time I know that the Italians love Bioenergetics, you know that
Fred: the Italians and many of the southern people, Latin Americans, Brazilians love bioenergetics.
Eleanor: you know I spent more time in Italy because Italians are fun that's why I know more about Italy than I do South America although I've been there and everything but Italy is what I really know about
Fred: well it's too bad that Poland became so popular just recently because you would of, I think enjoyed going to Poland as a trainer
Eleanor: I would have, especially being polish
Fred: you know, they would have loved to have you
Eleanor: I would have loved it too.
Fred: because I really appreciate the workshops that you've done for us at the Foundation...
Eleanor: thank you, thank you...
Fred: oh totally, totally
Eleanor: well I would have loved to have gotten more involved in Poland because I'm polish, and German and that, but polish is my primary background, but it's ok, you know what, I've travelled everywhere and done every place, but I'm happy now and in fact my kids say Nana, we are glad that you are home and here for us
Fred: but you know any thoughts that you have regarding how, because it's very interesting when you say, you know that kind of talk tends to put people off and you really need, you really need to focus on the bodywork.
Eleanor: Yeah. Well that's what's unique, that's what bioenergetics is all about biological energy and that's what excites people because it touches their inside it doesn't just touch their brain and their intellect it touches their inside, and then they feel change in their body and that's what's profound. Intellectual change is very different than biological change.
Fred: But, I can't help but believe that once you use your sense of grounding, in terms of once you ground yourself to your body and to the world through the ground, that intellectually things become much clearer because you're connected to your feelings and so it's not like in intellectuality that's cut off and disconnected from everything,
Eleanor: it's integrated, it's integrated with your feelings
Fred: and so on that level there is a place and as you know dad was very intellectual and he was also, he worked very actively to make, to remake that connection with his body and so there's a real value in the intellectual aspect
Eleanor: only to the people who are intellectual because what you're really talking about with intellect is the mind what really touches people is feeling themselves on their own body the mind is a separate entity that takes in learning and you know, it's thinking and processing, stuff like that but the body that's a whole other story that's my opinion and that was always my approach to bioenergetics
Fred: what I'm trying to ask here is I recognize, like Reich recognized that just as there are energetic phenomena that happen to an individual, there's also energetic phenomena that happened to groups of individuals, populations, you know, that's a sociology...
Eleanor: that's sociology
Fred: but, but sociology, like psychotherapy until dad and Reich never really looked at the energetic aspect per se and they still go in terms of sociology
Eleanor: you don't think that you're dad did?
Fred: No no, dad did but just like bioenergetics hasn't been fully accepted by you know the psychological area,
Eleanor: but that's just a mental process and that's why they can't integrate it because they're coming from their mind instead of their full body.
Fred: but I think that you know if you look at the energetic aspects of populations that's a place that requires a certain intellectual connectedness you know because
Eleanor: can you say more of what you mean by that because ...
Fred: well I'm trying to justify a certain intellectuality you know I'm trying to justify a certain intellectuality that addresses things that are larger than ourselves
Eleanor: you only reach the objectivity of getting outside is when you reach yourself inside then you can...
Fred: that's where I'm going, that's where I'm going you know, I feel like the focus on the body is very important but it's really an initial step to… it's an initial step to being able to be in the world fully.
Fred: okay and to be in the world fully means and you need to be able to communicate with certain intellectuality
Eleanor: and hopefully when you are in touch with your whole body you're in touch with your intellect, your sensory awareness, your being… so yeah…
Fred: that's exactly right i mean you know
Eleanor: the whole picture.
Fred: the whole purpose of the focus on the body is feelings, it's sensations, it's perception, it's awareness, it's connectedness, it's grounding it's all these things I mean that's what bioenergetics really recognizes that's otherwise generally not recognised in the medical community.
Eleanor: oh that's, you know what don't get stuck on that, that's their problem because they think only medically
Fred: no but I'm just drawing the comparison, that's all, you know I invite, I think one of the things that I do in the foundation that is a very positive thing is to invite collaboration and to avoid conflict, and unnecessary debate.
Eleanor: okay, okay
Fred: you know so again like we were talking with Paris last night it's a lot more about collaboration versus competition
Fred: you know we were talking about how competition has tended to become at a balance...
Eleanor: well competition is this way you know ...
Fred: conflict, it's effectively conflictual
Eleanor: and anytime you're in conflict you have honour going in order to maintain that
Fred: I feel like with all the political discussion that's out there most of it is totally meaningless some of it is ...
Eleanor: give me something specific...
Fred: well any discussion about you know what the politicians are doing or who's running for what or whose policy stands for this or that or what the ideologies are, all that stuff is basically meaningless but, on a certain level you do need to talk about it
Eleanor: of course I understand that and I think you have to be able to talk about it and if you can't then you’re up the wrong creek ...
Fred: that's right… and you can't deny intellect and you know an ability to have a free discussion is very limited these days, you know that's the problem it's something...
Eleanor: what's your definition of free discussion?
Fred: one that's not contaminated by ideology, or assumptions, or fears, or slogans or you know, I mean something that's based on a real perception of how things are
Eleanor: perception can be deceiving…
Fred: that's right I mean, you're perceiving, you may not be right about everything but at least you're connected and you have a sense as to what the reality is compared to what everybody thinks, and you know what they want to believe
Eleanor: that's a big battle up hill though that gets you not very far because you are immediately challenging those people that are intellectual and what I have found over the years in my work in bioenergetics, is never ever to be right all that I'm concerned with is getting people to feel themselves and once they feel themselves then I've accomplished what I want to do what they do with it is usually follow their feelings but if say, you know the intellect well lets you know that's not so important, let's put that one aside, you immediately lost them, you can't get any place, it just goes nowhere
Fred: but you’re absolutely right in my experience that you cannot challenge somebody's illusions, how do you do that in therapy? When you're doing psychotherapy that's what you do...
Eleanor: I don't do that
Fred: well you don't do it consciously or cognitively
Eleanor: no what I do is I approach the body which is what Al taught me to do and once I get in touch with the person's body and they get in touch with their own body then they feel themselves and the intellect slips away a little bit and it's not so important anymore because they find that when they look at somebody that they love they feel it "oh this is what this is about, this is so wonderful, wow" you know somebody told me this "wow this is a really great feeling" that's where you got to go.
Fred: but is that not a process of melting away illusions?
Eleanor: if you want to use an intellectual explanation for it sure, yes yes yes, melting away illusions but you know that's a big category melting away illusions, oh boy. I don't walk in and say well I'm gonna melt your illusions lady so let's get started! If a person is going down the street you know they...
Fred: that's what I mean to say when you can't challenge people's illusions on any level and I think that's really the trick to psychotherapy is is how to how to relate to people you know… that's right.
Eleanor: you work through the body, that's what Al always said and he was absolutely right. If you do it through the body then you can connect don't try to tell them that, that's the way to get there is getting into your fucking mind you gotta just go and get it get them to breathe, feel themselves and then they begin to say "ahhh I feel so differently, wow I can see the blue skies… I can smell the trees… they begin to get in touch with the world, because you've taken them out of their mind and that's what you have to do. You can't say "you gotta get out of your fucking mind" you know, Al taught me to be quite blunt about it
Fred: but in this day and age with the new technology we find that we're... you have to reach
larger groups of people with the internet and through the computer and through all the modern means it's a much less personal world now.
Eleanor: it's personal in the sense though that if you have a person who has heart and knows how to communicate words to intrigue people to come and be with you, to spend time with you and then you capture them with their breath and their grounding then you've got something, but you gotta come you know, I'm gonna teach you how to breathe you don't fucking know how to breathe, what's the matter with you some people are too hard-nosed about it, I take the soft path.
Fred: It's tough to feel good about the future these days for many people, for many people...you’re blessed, you are blessed I think, I mean you've had a wonderful career
Eleanor: I have, I have had a wonderful career...
Fred: you really have a wonderful family a beautiful place to live, I can attest to that, I mean I'm really jealous
Eleanor: but I've also been traveling all over the world, you ask my kids "Ma, she's never here you know, she's been gone for forty years"
Fred: but unfortunately that's not the experience of many many people now
Eleanor: when you say, what do you mean by that?
Fred: well I just mean that you know in my experience as I travel around I see a lot of people in every country it's not just the United States you know it's it's Europe as well and I'm sure every place people struggling you know, things are tougher now than they were five years ago even than they were 20 years ago in many respects for many people…
Fred: oh yeah I would say for the majority, I would say for the majority even in the United States I would guess maybe 70% of the population is under much more stress now than ever before I would say that that's… I could debate that very easily
Eleanor: I think you could debate it easily because you're really wedded to it I believe it, it's true that when I walk into a room with a group of people, I know that it means nothing to me other than it's just the reality of what is what I believe is in bioenergetics, I believe in breathing and grounding and helping people get in touch with their body, and that's what I do and that is my motivation and I am not intellectually captivated by other things that are going on because that's a waste of my time and energy I try to convince people, I get locked into intellectualism which goes nowhere goes nowhere, because most people are quite smart but if I asked you to breathe I've captured you in a different way.
Fred: but it's an ungrounded smartness many people are very intelligent but their intelligence is not grounded
Eleanor: oh I agree with you, I agree with you but you know what you never start out by saying that to somebody who is ungrounded
Fred: no no I wouldn't say that directly to somebody who who was ungrounded, but you and I talking in this context, I want to share experiences with you
Eleanor: okay okay, I can walk into a room with a thousand people and recognise that they're all ungrounded but I don't have to say anything about it just say, oh god I guess there's a lot of work to do here and so i get to work.
Fred: and a couple points that brings up to my mind you know when I think about bioenergetics and how it's evolving and and what I want the foundation to be more involved with, a good kind of metaphor comes to mind and that is you know, out of any group of twenty people, say the twenty people sitting right around us here, probably three or four are really in need of bioenergetic or any type of psychotherapy
Eleanor: I don't think that's a very good path…
Fred: no no let me just finish to say though that in comparison I think it could be said that all twenty could benefit from bioenergetic bodywork
Eleanor: probably, yeah but it's not an approach that's good because it keeps you from making contact and connecting regardless of whether their connected with themselves because once you if you're connected with yourself and you go up to people and you connect with them and they feel you and then they start to get connected with themselves, and that's the real contact and that's the real contact they're making with themselves but you can't approach it from here Al said that a long time ago to me
Fred: and the other point though, well I use that example really o distinguish between bioenergetic analysis as a psychotherapy, it's a form of psychotherapy where it's used really in the one to one setting or in the group setting something we're all familiar with but then there's a whole other aspect of bioenergetics which doesn't include the analytic aspect, the analysis aspect and that's really you know more along the lines of the exercise classes, or the TRE kind of work that David Bercelli is doing, and I think that that's an area...
Eleanor: I have some questions about some of the things you said..
Fred: no question I do too, but it doesn't invalidate I think the idea that bioenergetics can be very useful on the body level to large groups of people larger than what's the case in one to one psychotherapy.
Eleanor: but if you have a leader who is in touch with that and knows how to deal with it because you have all that energy that's mixed in the room and you have to be able to somehow, you need to be really grounded and good bioenergetic exercises to know what to do if you don't you're gonna lose them the same is true with an individual as well but a group is even more difficult you really have to be on top of that one.
Fred: suppose you had a group of 40 people who never experienced bioenergetics before and they came because they believe that this might be an experience that could make them feel better, I suppose that would appeal
Eleanor: that's a good thing, I wouldn't turn that one down
Fred: how would you think in terms of running such a group? what would you think in terms of introducing them? How would you introduce such a group who really had virtually no preconceptions of what bioenergetics was
Eleanor: I would have them meet themselves, get inside of themselves through their own breath and breathing and contact with themselves because what better technique do we have in helping people to do that, I mean it's not here, it's not here, it's here... I hardly do any talking
Fred: but would you have them, would you start them with...
Fred: the arch?
Eleanor: no just plain old ordinary breathing to start out with because the arch is too aggressive and too stressful for people who don't have any experience in bioenergetics, that's a big mistake to use the arch...
Fred: ok, so elaborate a little bit, no no I'm curious I mean suppose we have this group of ten people right here
Eleanor: immediately I would just say okay because they would be willing ...
Fred: right they're focused on you
Eleanor: I say ok, I want to introduce you to your body, to let you get to know more about your body and your energy in your body, and they look at me sort of strange and they say "sure energy, yeah right" but then I'll say ok I want you to close your eyes and just give in to your feet, and begin to just pump your knees up and down you get them breathing and doing that they immediately begin to energize their whole system. That's how I start my exercise classes. Because if you're doing this, you're engaging this, and it doesn't do anything, you don't go anywhere...
Fred:And then from there?
Eleanor: Doing anything energetic really that I can. Getting them to pump their knees, to get more energy into their legs, to bring the energy up into the top of their body, to get them breathing and feeling themselves, that's the whole goal of it. Because once I can separate you from your intellect outside here, and bring you into yourself, then I've accomplished what I want to do, is to get you in touch with yourself. Does that make sense? Well, that's what I do, I mean, that's my intention.
Fred: Would you introduce the arch and the bend over to a first-time group during the first session?
Eleanor:No, never, not initially.
Fred: Not initially, but maybe later in that first session?
Eleanor: Yea, later on.
Eleanor: The arch is too aggressive and too stressful for anybody who is brand new no, I would never use the arch to begin with, that's just not a good thing to do. You'd get people walking out of the room… no, that's a mistake.
Fred: And why do you think it's a mistake?
Eleanor: Because you're inviting them to mobilize energy in their body, which they are not even in touch with their own energy, what you're asking them to mobilize energy, which is deep down inside of them and their whole being, to bring it up to the surface and to experience it, that's like asking a baby: I want you to walk right now, it's time for you to walk, and the baby has not even barely cried yet or walked , or crawled, I mean, it's too soon. I often start my exercise classes sometimes standing, a lot of times, it's a very novice group, I'll have them lying down so that they can get their breathing open up into the whole body, and then mobilize them to reach a point where they begin to stand up on their own two feet. But if you try to do it too soon, sometimes it's not good. In an exercise class I don't have that option because everybody's standing, but I can manipulate that pretty quickly by getting them down… but you know, you want them to breathe, but you have to be conscious of what breathing does, it puts them in touch with themselves and that's scary. And if they don't feel the ground and they're not grounded you're creating a problem for them. I'm sensitive to all that stuff, that's for me why I think I've been so successful doing exercise classes, because I really am good at scanning and looking at people's eyes and telling when people are getting overloaded and then I need to bring this down a little bit, or go over and make contact with that person and give them some of my energy and help them to get grounded. You just have to be attentive.
Fred:Is it true in your years working with dad that his approach softened?
Eleanor: Absolutely, absolutely, yes, yes he was aggressive… I gotta do it my way or the highway… Yeah, he did, he softened after a while, I don't know who was responsible for that, whether Leslie was or you growing up, or what it was, but he did softened after a while.
Fred: Because I remember when I came back into the community, I think it was around 2005, and that was actually at the workshop that we did in Florida, that you and dad did, I shortly thereafter attended the training program with Frank Hladky…
Eleanor: O Frank is a great teacher, he's a wonderful man, it was good that you went to Frank, he's good.
Fred: And after the first half session I asked him, I had the opportunity at lunch to say, what is this? This is like bioenergetics light.
Eleanor:[laughing] And what did he say?
Fred: He explained, he said that that was one of the reasons that had so much respect for dad was that dad had actually recognized that he was too ambitious and too aggressive and that much more could be had with much less.
Eleanor: But you know, your dad wanted to sell something. He wanted to sell bioenergetics so he was eager to do it. So go ahead with your story, I totally agree with you, I understand where you're going...
Fred: Well I just mean to say that after being away from the community and from the work for really decades, I came back in 2005 as I say, to find it very different from what it had been in the sixties and seventies… and yet… there's a lot of value from the early work that hasn't carried forward.
Eleanor: like what for example?
Fred: Diagnostics in my opinion.
Eleanor: O honey that goes on the moment to look at somebody's body. You don't miss that one. I mean I diagnose immediately, but it's never part of what I'm doing. My job is to make a connection with you and let you know that I'm really here for you and that you can trust me… I got to gain your trust. My brilliance is not going to gain your trust, honey, believe me, it just doesn't work that way.
Fred: No, no, but… I think that I would say you're talking about the analytic aspect, but from a training point of view having attended some training during the years of 2005-2008, and also knowing a number people who are going through the training process - the whole aspect of diagnostics, using the body to really relay specific clues, I think was a valuable part of what dad did.
Eleanor: It was, but it never in the beginning… You were a bioenergetics therapist, you walked into a room with whatever, 10 people or 100 people, it doesn't matter, you're doing diagnostics, but you never talk about it.
Fred: No, no, I'm not saying that, it's just you and me talking professionally, this is not the kind of a conversation that you would have with a client. But for us talking about how the work is done and how it's evolved, and that sort of thing, I think that there're two things about the way training is done now that I think in the past, the way it had been done was valuable and is a little lost: one is that when people go into workshops and training, they're much more resistant to showing themselves, and I see that, the evidence for that is how willing they are to wear short clothes, in the case of both men and women perhaps right down to bikinis.
Eleanor: But why do you think that is?
Fred: I don't know, I don't know, but I think the big value of bioenergetic analytical work is to be able to read the body.
Eleanor: Of course it is.
Fred: And you can't read the body if you can't see the body fully.
Eleanor: But you can't expect people who have no experience to take their clothes off.
Fred: And I don't and I don't, but my sense is a little bit that this is an aspect to the early
bioenergetics that kind of got watered-down, and it's not as though it needs to be brought up in the trainees faces or people attending workshops into their faces, but I almost feel as though the bioenergetic community has forgotten how important it is.
Eleanor: The exercises? Fred: No, no, well the the willingness of people who want to do bioenergetics to show themselves, and in conjunction with that, this is a little bit why bring it up for discussion, I'm interested to hear your opinion, and in conjunction with that is the
very explicit kind of work that dad used to do in the demonstrations, and the workshops, and the training sessions, where he would go through and he would say this skin color is indicative of this or that shape is indicative of that, or the lack of alignment is this, or this represents a split, all that sort of stuff is obviously nothing you would discuss in the session…
Eleanor: No... I never saw him do that in a group setting at all.
Fred: Oh, really?
Eleanor: Absolutely, Al was very attentive that way he would not do that except in a training session.
Fred: Well, OK, maybe training, I mean, that's what I think of when I think of dad, I mean that that's the way dad is in my memory, is going through all this stuff line by line.
Eleanor: If you do that off the bat with a clean group forget it they're all gonna run out the window...
Fred: No, no, no, absolutely not, but at some point in the training it's appropriate, and what i'm saying is that my sense is that in too many training situations it's not addressed at any point in the four-odd year experience.
Eleanor: Well I don't know which training group you're talking about because mine don't feel that way.
Fred: Well, okay, and that may be the case because I've only attended one, but I do base it on discussions that I have with a recent CBTs (Certified Bioenergetic Therapists), and people who
have recently been through trainings
Eleanor: You've got to look at their trainers and see who they are.
Fred: Well, I've heard many different things, I've heard many different things, yeah and
we can talk a little bit more maybe… and this is the reason I bring it, because I do want to hear
your sense of things.
Eleanor: Okay, one small thing that I can say is you know that I've exercise classes around the world and with hundreds of hundreds of people, and I walk around the room and I'll have some people who are fully dressed, some will have shorts and a tank top, some people who take everything off but their bras and panties, and I'm okay with that, I don't say "you've got to take those things off," I go with whatever is there and I recognize that this is a statement about themselves, and that I have to honour that. And so then, when I say start pounding on your chest, that's a good thing that if they don't know what the hell they're doing, but it's touching their body and getting down there and feeling themselves, and that's what you want to do, it doesn't matter how ... you can be with a hundred people or ten people, they are all going to be in a different place, and you have to be perceptive enough to see where they are at, and take them where they're at.
Fred: Now given that belief.
Eleanor: I do have that belief.
Fred: Yes, given that, and I think you're entirely right by the way, I don't dispute any aspect of it, but given that belief why do you feel the academic credential is so important?
Eleanor: Oh, I think it's critically important. I think that it says a statement about your education, your knowledge, your awareness, it's critically important, are you talking about bioenergetics training?
Fred: No, no, academic licensure...
Eleanor: ...it is very important because... it's the basics in psychology to have it's very very important, I do believe that, it's really been helpful to make that transition into bioenergetics… Absolutely... I mean, but to take somebody say out of high-school without any background in high school or college everything biology and physiology and what have you win or lose them because they don't even have the education
Fred: wait I'm sorry, I didn't understand this last point could you restate that?
Eleanor: I think the people that are in your process and 90% of the time they come because they know what bioenergetics is the other 10% come because "she goes and she loves it" "and she says she gets so much out of it, so I'm gonna go and I'm gonna stand right next to her" and I look at who's next to these people all the time and where their support comes from and I don't expect them, if you've got all your clothes on and the one next to you has shorts and a tank top or a bra I don't deal with that that's bullshit because that's critical and judgemental it's where your'e at that I have to approach so it's looking at the person and taking them for themselves
Fred: let me ask you a little bit about you know how you think in terms of doing therapy over the long haul with the client you know a year or two or more perhaps?
Eleanor: I think it's critically important, it depends on whether the client has a good connection with you, if they can go the route, some people can't it's too much for them they don't even know what they're getting themselves in for, some of them are "I'm ready to expose myself, I wanna change" that's a whole other story, I have to approach those two people differently I only answered your question in the broad way..
Fred: no but that's very interesting I mean ah you know I sense that you will tailor your approach based on what you understand the client...
Fred: most needs or most wants
Eleanor: absolutely if I don't read your body, that's the first thing that you learn you know in bioenergetics, you read the body and if the body says I'm used to having my clothes on and being very tentative in public, if I say to you come on now let's just straighten up here and take those clothes off, oh shit you're gonna run out the room you understand what I'm saying.
Fred: I do absolutely...
Eleanor: I recognize and if I see somebody in a room full of you know shorts and tank tops and some people with clothes on I never question that, I just accept it I work with it, I deal with it and when I come near them then I respect them and their values and even if they don't have you know, they got only their shorts or a tank top I say look how great you're doing, your breathing is really good and I touch them because I know that they are more open to it. I have to read the body, that's my job.
Fred: speaking of which you know since you've done psychotherapy over a number of decades a lot of years you know...
Eleanor: I've done it for over 40 years yes
Fred: yeah I'm curious do you get a sense that you see changes in the basic nature of people over time? you know in their bodies? or just the way they are?
Eleanor: (inaudible) you can tell the people that are that way but there's a lot of people, we can look right around this room right now you can see people who've never had any body therapy obviously, they don't breathe, let alone make contact (inaudible) and it's okay I would never go up and say oh yeah, how are you?
Fred: no no no but I'm wondering if your sense is that people on some average basis have changed in the last forty years in terms of the kind of problems they present?
Eleanor: no I don't think so, I think people still have the same kind of problems unless they've had therapy if they've had therapy they've changed to some degree those that have had body therapy and specifically bioenergetic therapy have changed more, but ah...
Fred: No, but the general thing, as a culture changes if you see changes in people's personality, body, that sort of thing? You know because one thing that I think I notice is that in the area of sex for example, I think a hundred years ago the big problem that people had therapeutically as it were, is they had too much sexual energy and it was very difficult to contain it, and now it's turned around it seems you know 180 degrees in the sense that all of a sudden we need all sorts of medications in order to perform sexually. So it's almost like there was a libido that was too strong and yet it was too restricted a hundred years ago...
Eleanor:That's the key word - restricted, it's been restricted and that was the problem.
Fred: Well, sure, but, but now the libido is really weakened, and that represents a big difference over say the last a hundred years, say 1910 the 2010...
Eleanor: I agree.
Fred: And yet it accompanies a sexualisation it seems in the culture.
Eleanor: Give me an example...
Fred: Well, my general sense is that women and young women, they tend to think in terms of sex more and more without feeling.
Eleanor: That's because that is what the men expect and they're trying to perform.
Fred: Yes, I mean there's more of a performance aspect than I think there was even only forty or fifty years ago...
Eleanor: Oh, I totally agree with you. Of course, I'm close to 80 now... I've seen that trend.
Fred: Well, this is what I want to hear because I know you work with people sexual issues.
Eleanor: Oh yeah people come to me for that predominantly, that's a problem many come for all the time.
Fred: And I think it's something that we all senses is going on, but it's difficult for people to really understand it because they get confused, they see the sexualisation happening and it's obviously not a freeing because it's not really a gratifying sort of the a thing, but it's a way that's kind of expected to be and it's performance-based at the cost to feelings.
Eleanor: Yeah, I agree with that.
Fred: And so it's very difficult for people to understand that despite the sexualisation this higher availability of things sexual as it were, i mean...
Eleanor: you're talking about people that are that way?
Fred: what I'm talking about is a culture the population in general we're exposed to ads on television that are explicitly about sexual performance and you know the Viagra ads and that sort of thing...
Fred: and you know I mean it's basically exactly contrary to what's important from bioenergetic point from any energetic point of view but what I'm trying to say here is that I think that people are confused because they see the sexualisation and it's not a mature sexuality
Eleanor: in many cases it isn't that's why you can see it so openly because they don't know, they think this is great, I'm going to attract a man
Fred: this is the confusion...
Fred: so I get a sense of a high degree of confusion I think, much more so than ever before
and I think this is the source of it you know, people confuse what they see the sexualisation thing going on for sexuality and yet the two are very different
Eleanor: well I think - if I can offer you...
Fred: oh, please...
Eleanor: confusion is a mental thing it's a sensory thing, an awareness thing that they're out of touch with their own bodies they think everything through you know that, you get those people immediately (inaudible) and what you know is missing that they can't feel anything, that's what you really are dealing with, that's how you get them to feel themselves, and that's the key, not for you to feel me but for you to feel yourself, then you can feel me
Fred: what would you say the most...
Fred: what do you think the most common sexual complaint is that you've seen over years?
Eleanor: that they don't make it. They don't make that complaint, they don't come out and say I'm having sexual problems, I mean it's real, it's what 80% of the people can even say that. You know but I can tell, I look at the pelvis and point this in the chest ... (inaudible)
Fred: And if you ask how's your sex life what do you think the answer will be?
Eleanor: Oh, it's fine. And I say, oh, OK, so I know I've got my work cut out for me here... I think that to myself...
Fred: Right, right, but you say though that people come to you because you have a reputation for
dealing with sexual issues.
Fred: And amongst those people they must have a complaint that they can state.
Eleanor: Well, you see, when I say that people come to see me because they have sexual problems, they don't know that they them, a lot of them don't even know that they have sexual problem. They come in and if I really ask openly about their sexuality... Oh everything is fine. "Yes my husband...we have sex... and he has an orgasm all the time" or "Oh yea, my wife she has orgasms all the time." But I know this is all bullshit....you know I can tell because there's no movement in the body. That's what I'm looking at. That's what Bioenergetics taught us. You've got to pay attention to the body. (Inaudible) I'm probably more blunt than you want me to be...
Fred: No I don't mind, it makes it more colourful...
Eleanor: But, I've never been one to mince my words.
Fred: Well, you clearly have very strong feelings.
Eleanor: I do have very strong feelings. I've been doing this work for a long time...and I have worked with so many groups of people that it breaks my heart, it really does, it breaks my heart that they're so out of touch with their feelings and their sexuality, it's tragic. We need to do more, we need to do more... but we can't come at it with "I'm going to work on your sexuality..." That's the fastest way to lose them. Getting them in touch with themselves, with how they feel.... It's a little scary, but not so hard...you can handle that... but you sell it... (inaudible)
Fred: Dad was a real salesman. He was many things...
Eleanor: Yes, well, your dad was, he was god in my world (laughing)
Fred: He not only was very intellectually creative but he was also very much a seeker...
Eleanor: He was a human being, emotionally tactful and he helped you make contact with yourself. God bless him for that, god bless him.
Fred: But despite everything, he also struggled.
Eleanor: Who doesn't struggle? I never met anybody in bioenergetics who doesn't struggle.
You know who my greatest clients are? Bioenergetic therapists! I mean, because we are all living... (inaudible) Who am I? Who am I? How do I feel? What do my feelings mean? How do I deal with them? How can I express them? It's the core. People get trapped in character structure (inaudible) ...and stuff like that instead of connecting with their hearts.
Fred: But still, bioenergetic therapists do need to understand that material
Eleanor: Of course they do. But you don't approach it from that perspective. You teach it ....
Fred: In practice...
Eleanor: You teach it from the language of the body. They are teaching you the language of the body, and you'll eventually get to the sexuality, but you don't start there. You don't ever start there, otherwise they'll fly out the window... Unless they invite you, and even when they invite you, you got to watch it. (inaudible) what I'm gonna do is when I ask them to breathe, what's they're breathing like? that tells me everything, it tells me everything and then I know all about it and I've got my work cut out, ok I'm gonna start here... pretty basic stuff, I can do work here for ten weeks on breathing and you'll be (inaudible)
Fred: in the long-term when you have an opportunity to work with the client over several sessions or more
Eleanor: which I have done hundreds of times...
Fred: no doubt! How do you think about getting them to breathe better over that period?
Eleanor: How do I think?
Fred: Yes, what do you do? I'm sure you don't even think about it anymore, but... how could you...?
Eleanor: I think about it a lot...
Fred: Explain perhaps, how you approach it.
Eleanor: Okay, I'm very attentive to being three feet away and then what happens to your breathing when I get closer? What do you do? How does it change? without being obvious, but I'm watching you, and I'm listening to you, and watching your breathing and how it's changing as I get closer. That tells me what I need to do.
Fred: Only partly.
Eleanor: Okay, what's the other half?
Fred: Well, the other half is what kinds of things do you see? We have to talk hypothetically here because we don't have an actual client.
Eleanor: The most important thing is the breathing. That's what Al said all the time.
Fred: But as you get closer to a person, I can imagine that some people would restrict their breathing more as an example, well what do you see as a therapist?
Eleanor: What you see is restricted breathing.
Fred: But what changes as you change your position?
Eleanor: The breathing is the most important thing. The posture changes, the closer I get to you the more you pull in, the more anxious you get, if that wants to happen then that's what's going to happen. So, I'm looking for what that is. That's reading the language of the body...
Fred: And then from there, how do you get them to breathe more fully?
Eleanor: Oh, it depends on the individual...
Eleanor: I've come to you because I've been doing bioenergetics for forty nine thousand years and I understand that I need to go further... I say Okay, and i'm still looking at their breathing, and I'm looking to see how are they breathing? And then that tells me what I need to do. If I present to them going over the breathing stool and they hesitate, I know right away, I need to do breathing in the standing position, in the grounding position. I'm cautious about making contact, because that would just alienate them or make them contracted or feel uncomfortable. I use my skills of reading the language of the body to tell me what to do. That's key. That's what Al taught me.
Fred: How much of a session do you spend actually on your feet as a therapist?
Eleanor: Probably, most of the time.
Fred: Most of the time, isn't that interesting...
Eleanor: what would I do? stand on my head?
Fred: well traditionally psychotherapists sit on their butt!
Eleanor: I'm not a psychotherapist, I'm a bioenergetic therapist, I stand on my feet! We're not traditional therapists.
Fred: no no of course not, but I think that is important... what about the client?
Eleanor: I let them do what is comfortable for them because then I get to tell where they're coming from and how they feel and what is most comfortable for them, I let them set the space between us and I let them do whatever is right for them, I want them to feel comfortable and then I go from there, and that tells me okay we have ten sessions to go before I might be able to touch him or something like that, but their body language speaks to me all the time that's the first thing we learn in bioenergetic training, it's the language of the body, you gotta read it right away and it tells you what to do. That's what I do. It may take ten sessions before I could ever say "How are you today?" without scaring them out of the room. Did I answer your question?
Fred: Oh yeah
Eleanor: Good. That's part of the reason that I wish bioenergetics would do more around the world. And I'm not talking about myself anymore because I'm almost 80 and my kids say: It's time for you nana to stay home and be here with us. And I want to, really, I've been traveling for forty years and I need to do that, I want to do it for myself... to do more bioenergetics around the world... stop pussy-footing around, we're just not doing it. At least that's how I see it.
Fred: Yea, well, this may be a little intellectual, but unfortunately, the way I see it is that the powers that be really profit from people seeking to relieve their various difficulties, and bioenergetics could address that and that's a lot of the reason why we have an uphill fight.
Eleanor: But wait a minute, you said a few things and you need to explain. What do you mean my first thing?
Fred: I think simply that the way the culture has evolved most recently is that it wants to keep people feeling uneasy and stressed-out and searching, and reaching for the next thing. I think
that's what drive...
Eleanor: If you really believe that then we are in a big doodoo...
Fred: I'm afraid I do really believe that. Eleanor: Well, see, I don't believe that.
Eleanor: I believe that every single human being wants to have contact. We want contact. We're scared... What would you do if I do that? Will you touch me? Will you touch my breasts? Will you want me to go to bed with you? What's going to happen? What is he going to do?
Fred: And I agree with that. I think fundamentally that is what every human being wants to do, but as we've seen it's not up to me human beings as much as it's up to the corporations now.
Eleanor: Wait a minute, what's the big jump to the corporations?
Fred: Well, in my view the corporations is what creates the environment that we all share.
Eleanor: No, no, no, no, it's the other way around. The people do it, the people do it and corporations eventually have give in.
Fred: Well, I think corporations do have to give in eventually
Eleanor: Yes, and what the people have to do is to to convince them that that's the thing to do.
Fred: I think what I'm trying to say though is that there is... just like Reich postulated, if a positive energy impulse is rebuffed by whatever sort of conflictual thing, whether it's a baby who reaches for a mom,
Eleanor: That's pretty basic stuff yes...
Fred: ...and gets this horrifying look of anger or disgust, or whatever, to a culture that really reaches out for civil rights or that sort of thing, a positive impulse of energy...
Eleanor: You're talking about miles and miles and miles that we're trying to go, that's a long trip. That's why we're in bioenergetics, because we believe in it, and that's what we're planning for, that's what we're walking towards.
Fred: Right, but what I'm saying, let me finish to say though, because I want to complete this connection to the corporations. Just like the mother is the source of that negative energy, so have the corporations become the source of that negative energy for our culture. That's about as simply as I can put my belief. And it is a belief because there's no way you can prove this.
Eleanor: Do you want to go into therapy with me? I'd clear that one up for you.
Fred: (laughing) Well I'd sure be interested in your thoughts.
Eleanor: I just think that's a negative statement. But it's a positive statement in terms of your ability to express how you feel, if that is really how you feel. And if a client said that to me, I would just be like: "Thank you God for bringing this person into my life so that I can be there for them."
Fred: (laughing) I can't help but believe that's the reality.
Eleanor: For me it is.
Fred: No, no, I'm talking about what I was explaining for me. I think that's not only how I feel, I think that that's my reaction to the reality of what we're all dealing with.
Eleanor: I agree with you. I think that's what we're all dealing with. That's why we're living with... we have these separate tables and the tables are so far apart... and we don't touch, and we're afraid to make contact, we don't want to look anybody in the eye.
Fred: Right, especially in the US.
Eleanor: O yes, much worse than in Europe. Europe is much more open. I love working in Europe.
Fred: I do too.
Eleanor: I can walk over to somebody and say, "Let me help you breathe," (inaudible)
Fred: But stick with me a little bit, help me with my negativity
Eleanor: Okay, good, be as negative as you want to.
Fred: Boy, I can be awfully negative...
Eleanor: Okay, that's fine.
Fred: I got a lot to be angry about!
Eleanor: Oh listen, I can tell, I would love to get you in my office and deal with you...
Fred: Well, that's just it, how would you deal with me though?
Eleanor: Well as soon as I can get you over the breathing stool, I would do that.
Fred: Well, speaking of that, as soon as we get home one thing I do need to do is show you my
new portable breathing stool.
Eleanor: Okay, well I have the greatest breathing stool in the world, but you can show me yours. I had mine handmade. Except that you're barking up a tree that says: I am assuming that all bioenergetic therapists use their breathing stool. (whispering) I can tell you that's not true.
Fred: I know that and by the same token I think...
Eleanor: And they all know that about me though... "I know you use the breathing stool, that's why I'm here."
Fred: Well, it's interesting, I recently showed it to a recent CBT (Certified Bioenergetic Therapist) I'm not sure that she'd ever used the breathing stool.
Eleanor: I'm not surprised. I've had that experience a lot. But nobody that ever came to therapy with me would ever go without. No way! I get them over the breathing stool as quickly as I possibly can.
Fred: Oh, good that's good to hear. Now, with somebody who really doesn't know anything about body work how many sessions does that normally take?
Eleanor: Well, it isn't so much about not knowing about bodywork, it's the kind of a relationship they had as a child with their mother, with their parents, what kinds of trauma did they have, and I have to take all of that into consideration before I can even touch them physically, literally, I can be there for them and I can hear them and give my heart, and how I feel, but I can't touch them yet. The biggest mistake I've seen is when the therapist asks: "How can I help you?" What a way to scare somebody right off the stage...
Fred: So how would you approach it?
Eleanor: I get within three feet and then I see what the energy response in the body is and then I decide how close I can get, and then of course, I always ask about the history, and I'm always looking at the eyes, I'm looking at the body constantly telling me how are they feeling about me being close. And it's going to tell me immediately what I need to know about their contact as a child. That's my basic approach.
Fred: But what do you feel are the most important qualities for a therapist?
Eleanor: Oh the specific qualities?
Fred: What would you think? What comes to mind?
Eleanor: That they are grounded, that they are in touch with themselves and their feelings, that they breathe, that they talk with feeling, that they're human, contactful, intimate, those are the kind of qualities that I look for. I just love those people that come in: I'm here to do bioenergetic therapy. Yes! I've got my work cut out for me... But I think bioenergetics is the best form of psychotherapy that exists. I really do. I'm sorry that it hasn't taken over more, I think that when Al stopped teaching, the essence of him and what energy he put out and his traveling all over the world, doing workshops and exercise classes, and things like that, he just gave so much of himself, he really did.
Fred: But he also got a lot back. He had a really good life.
Eleanor: Listen, he could not have given what he gave if he didn't get it back. There's absolutely no way. I mean those two go hand in hand.
Fred: And that's a good argument for American capitalism, in fact!
Eleanor: Oh, I wouldn't go into that. It's not worth it...
Fred: I know, it's all intellectual. But, you know there is that reality.
Eleanor: There is! So yes... reality is that that ground is there, that's reality so I don't have to talk about it...you have to get beyond that. Al would say to make contact, to make contact, at least that's what he said to me.
Fred: But it's interesting because after this bunch of shootings we've had in this country these past number of years, which only seem to be getting more frequent. You know everybody tries to figure out oh, what can we really do to address this so it doesn't happen.
Eleanor: To address what?
Fred: Well, the frequency of the mass, senseless mass killings that we have
Eleanor: (laughing) I'm laughing not at you, I'm laughing because otherwise I would cry. Yes, that exists, but we are approaching what to do about that, and its through us and the changes in our being in touch with our own feelings and being grounded, that's what makes the difference. That's what's gonna make those changes. Not trying to say I have to change their mind and not think that way!
Fred: But what do you think it is that creates that kind of behaviour?
Eleanor: Abuse, abandonment, a lack of love, ungroundedness...you want any more adjectives?
Fred: My belief is that it is a disconnection, just as you say, it's another way to say it. But also a lack of means to express the anger.
Eleanor: Yes, I agree that's true. See, I think those things, but they're not what I ... I'm more in touch with what happens when I come near you, what happens when I touch you? Those are the things that are meaningful. That I know those things.
Fred: But as a society, and again, when you start talking about sociological things you have two resort to intellectuality.
Eleanor: See, I have avoided that.
Fred: But I don't think you can. I think that the problems today are such that you have to be able
to talk on these terms...
Eleanor: I don't think you can talk people into that.
Fred: I don't know about you can talk people into it, but you have to be able to talk on those terms, otherwise...
Eleanor: I think you need to feel on those terms...
Fred: But that's what's different about bioenergetics is that the feeling and the intellect is connected.
Fred: and that's why I say that there's too much intelligence that's ungrounded and unconnected.
Eleanor: That's a true statement. I agree with you. So what? Should that stop me from feeling and touching?
Fred: No, no, but by the same token it shouldn't stop us from talking about it.
Eleanor: Okay, we can talk about it.
Fred: It exists.
Eleanor: Yes, it exists.
Eleanor: The best that we can do know that I understand it, that my teachers, my bioenergetic teachers say: It's not the talking about it. It's the being it... a contactful person... being in this role and being present.
Fred: Right, and being fully perceptive.
Eleanor: You live that way. Present.
Fred: And present.
Eleanor: Yes, perceptive is good, but present is much better, because that's what people notice.
Fred: But it's a sensing in all ways as opposed to analytically trying to... frankly, I think what most people do is they use their mind to convince themselves that the world is the way they want it to be.
Eleanor: Yes I know, but Al taught us about those things down there, making contact with the ground, which then enables you to bend your knees, and that send sensations through your body, and then you have feelings, and then you can contact other people, if you can't approach it any other way... that's why I love the exercise classes, I do them whenever I have a chance. Anytime I get an invitation to do it i do it. Because i think it's the best way and the fastest way to communicate with a whole lot of people.
Fred: And the Berceli [David] work is very interesting because it's focused. He focuses on the outcome of achieving the energy streaming, which he calls vibrations, which we all call vibrations. To come up as far up in the body is possible, and he does that by this sequence of a series of seven exercises, which begin with the feet and culminate in the psoas muscle.
Eleanor: But that puts a lot of emphasis on sexuality, which I think is a mistake, but go ahead.
Fred: All I mean to say is that I think what's really interesting about his approach is that that kind of an approach at a targeted outcome could be replicated in other ways with bioenergetics and that's only a half-baked thought, but it's a little bit...
Eleanor: I think it's too sexualized myself.
Fred: Well that particular approach, but it doesn't have to be sexualized...
Eleanor: Good, Okay.
Fred: It could be oriented towards anger or it could be oriented towards expression of all sorts, or it could be oriented towards vulnerability.
Fred: I mean, there are a number of different things and out here especially in SCIBA (Southern California Institute for Bioenergetic Analysis) Barbara English has been doing some very interesting things like doing these workshops: "No time to think no time to breathe" And they're doing another one: "I'm too busy to live my life". And all of them are body based, and I think that this is kind of the way that you work with groups in the future, this makes a lot of sense to me.
Eleanor: Working with groups has always been the way, I mean, Al said it all the time. You'd work with the groups. I mean that's one of the reasons why I've been doing groups all over the world for forty years. Groups are critically important because you can reach a higher mass of people, because you have the techniques and the skills to be able to get them into their body and to get them to feel themselves, which is what you motivation is.
Fred: Yeah and so yoga I think, that's probably a big reason why yoga has become so popular now, because it does help along those lines.
Eleanor: Yeah, probably.
Fred: What is your feeling about yoga?
Eleanor: Well, I think it has a limitation. It's contact with self, but it's not a contact with ultimately this is what we really have to do. I have to get in touch with myself before I can do that. But yoga gets in touch with this, but it doesn't get in touch with that. But I think yoga is good.
Fred: Yea, it's well worth the effort. Eleanor: But I would do a bioenergetic exercise class a hundred times over before I do a yoga class. I think that's real clear. And yoga, I agree with you, I think yoga has got a couple of problems and some limitations as well... But that's right, I mean it's healthier for people to be doing yoga than to be doing calisthenics...
Eleanor: See, I don't think in those terms... I think it's great to do bioenergetics because it gets you in touch with your body and it gets you connected to the ground, and your breathing, and then your ability to get in contact with other people, then you get to all the other things. First, your self. At least that's what Lowen taught me, Pierrakos [John]... Yep, first you got to make contact with you!
Fred: Okay good, because I want to, I need to show you that stool! Well, come on have a seat and let me show this to you. This is really... I'm really proud of this... And as you can see it folds up into, into a little piece that will fit into most suitcases.
Fred: This is the portable bioenergetic stool version 2.
Eleanor: You're kidding!
Fred: No, that's what this is.
Eleanor: Are you selling this?
Fred: Well yes, we will be. We don't have that exactly figured out, but yes that is the plan absolutely, and plans for people to make their own.
Eleanor: Excellent. That is going to be such a gift for people that can't afford to do it any other way. Oh, what a gift you're giving. Thank you! Did you make this?
Fred: Yes, me and a carpenter.
Eleanor: Excellent! I'm so excited!
Fred: And there are no tools required. Notice how it goes together with no tools and you watch how it all comes together. And it's the exact dimensions of the old fixed stools and dad's old portable stool. He had a nice stool that he used to have a carrying case for, but it needed screwdrivers, and it took a little while to put it together. And also if you remember, it required these slots on the sides to make it real stable. I'll have to put one together because I have, I have his old portable stool
Eleanor: You ought to put that as the old and the new. Fred: Version 1 - Version 2.
Fred: I certainly will you know, this is still still a little bit of a prototype but there you go, right out of your suitcase good to go for your own personal use or demonstration work.
Eleanor: It's fabulous!
Fred: And you saw how small the package was.
Eleanor: Yeah! That is great! [Fred goes over the breathing stool] I'm impressed!
Fred: What's your thought?
Eleanor: I think it's actually quite excellent. Looks like it's working really good, Fred. Oh excellent.
Fred: Yea, it's exactly the dimensions of the old stool. Ah, but it's nice to go over it. Sure... Oh, that feels great...
Eleanor: It'd be good if you could let some Ahhh...
[Breathing and making sound]
Fred: This is a real treat.
Eleanor: Well, I'm know I do it all the time... keep your eyes open...
Eleanor: There you go. Fred: I'm just stretching a little in my legs. You can prop you knees a tiny bit, that'll help them breathe
Eleanor: I hope that wasn't too much. Fred: No, that was great! And I noticed when you're using your hands to pound on my back a bit you stay away from the backbone... Absolutely! You don't touch the backbone! Al taught me that. He said: Even though it's one of the strongest places, there's nothing there, it's only bone. Why bother? You want to get the muscles along side because this is where all the tension is...
Fred: Again, show me...
Eleanor: The tension is right here and not here… because that's where the spine is, you don't want to touch the spine. Great! Fred: God, I wish we could stay longer. I wish you could, well come plan next time to stay longer. You're welcome to stay over, I've got plenty of room.
Fred: God, I would look forward to it again. Eleanor: Please do, I would love it. We could talk more. Fred: We could talk more, yes!