Founder, Practitioner Instructor & SPRe Practitioner
The journey to create Somatic Personal Resonance has been a progressive and organic one, during which one discovery has led to others. I have intuitively known that my physical pain was related to my personal experiences. Searching for a life’s career that might help me explore this knowing, I was drawn to both Western medicine and psychology as potential careers; the Western model, however, is a Descartian one - mind, body, and spirit have long been separated. Pursuing medicine or psychology as they are, meant I could not include both body and mind and feel satisfied, therefore, traditional education felt at odds with my needs.
Looking for relief of my physical pain, I turned to Rolfing. Simultaneously, I discovered Dr. Candace Pert’s book, Molecules of Emotion: The Science Behind Mind-Body Medicine. Dr. Pert made it scientifically clear that there are chemical components of Emotion – peptides – which are omnipresent, and our body is biochemically communicating with us all the time; mind and body working as one. This made it vividly clear that my body was validating what I didn’t yet know how to verbally express.
This combination of structural bodywork and groundbreaking science gave me the freedom to continue along my path, and I attended the Rolf Institute, achieving certification in 1994. As a biochemist, Ida Rolf recognized that “the body is inherently a system of seamless networks of tissues rather than a collection of separate parts,” and her focus was on affecting that network – the fascial network. She understood that when that network is changed in a body, there are accompanying emotional “possibilities,” but she chose to focus only on the body.
In search of a bridge between these two actively separated worlds - mind and body - I was fortunate to discover DFA. Annie Duggan and Janie French, both part of the early years of Rolfing, became interested in what happened to clients after their Rolfing experience, pursuing the idea that one couldn’t just alter a shape without including who made it, as well as what was happening during its formation. They created a Somatic Program that let the body lead the discovery of belief systems, with Jung’s understanding of “Shadow”, and aspects of Ron Kurtz’ Hakomi. I studied with them in Seattle and Barcelona over ten years, as a DFA Practitioner and later as an Instructor.
During that time, the world of Mind-Body work caught on as a way of focusing on Trauma Recovery. In my work, however, I felt compelled to speak for the Everyday body, not just those who identified as trauma survivors: I wanted to actively include those people who don’t identify as trauma survivors but are still uncomfortable.
The concept that stress can become stress-related diseases also entered more mainstream medicine, leading me to reason that if we could learn to listen or feel the information from ourselves before the emergencies - those stress related diseases – happened, we could be more at choice, more able to respond to life, not just react to it. We could take effective action on our own behalf in daily life.
I met Martine Dedek in 2000 and knew my path was turning again. We shared a similar vision - that the connection between personal experience to physical discomfort and disease exists - and our long collaboration and friendship brought SPRe to its current form and Somatic Education status in WA State.
A mirroring and evolving movement process accompanied this journey. Growing up, I knew I loved movement but felt bizarrely physically inhibited; as if I was a mis-fit. Rolfing created greater ease and I discovered Power Lifting. I engaged in two years of intense training. At the time, all I knew was that I felt stronger. What I came to understand was that the weight was matching an internal pressure that had yet to be addressed.
I competed only once and in the middle of a 325 lb. squat realized that this wasn’t my path; the way I was engaging with Lifting – my method - was creating an unwanted shortness in my tissues. Next on the journey was Hot Yoga, another intense endurance modality where balance is the goal, something I was unable to find. Pilates helped me establish my internal horizontals and verticals but I still needed more space or expansion in my system.
When I discovered Gyrotonic Movement, it was like Goldilocks finding the right porridge, chair, and bed: bliss through movement, strength through length, and healthy organic spiral mobility. Truly a longevity program. As I now walk more in comfort than not, I am also finding more availability for “subtle” energy systems, such as the less visible world of chi/energy in its many dimensions.
I often work with: those who are at a crossroads and recognize a need for change; those who don’t know what to “say” and sense that life could be better; people who have a great deal of cognitive information, i.e. talk therapy, yet still feel there is something missing; movement professionals and cognitive therapists with an urge to work cognition with sensation simultaneously; and people whose intuition and sensitivity may seem like a burden but discover it’s really a Super Power!
Jill has a private practice at Studio Evolve, Seattle, WA