A Letter about Professor Allen

This past week, I became aware of some of his writings submitted to the local newspaper back in 1919. I knew many of these details but the way they are so artfully written really touched me. And I think it will touch you too.

It was only as I reached my 30’s and I began my exploration into holistic areas that I saw some of the original letters. John Henry wrote my grandpa when he was just a young boy when he had broken his leg. It was a serious break and he gave suggestions on how to think about the break and what he could do. When I became a Feldenkrais practitioner my Grandpa Henry said “You take after your great, great grandpa. He too used mind over matter.” He talked about people coming for miles to see him. How he would just lay his hand on a head for a long time and horrible headaches went away. I wondered what he actually did, and eventually I realized he had studied early osteopathy and yoga (all by correspondence course) among other things. He also taught music (although he didn’t play) and he would travel town to town and people would come for music lessons with Professor Allen.

PROF. ALLEN W RITES, MIRACULOUS RECOVERY FROM WAR WOUNDS

Osage County Republican Mar. 20, 1919

The battle of Iuka, Miss. occurred Sept. 19, 1862 (history has it the 20th) when a 1½ ounce ball, fired from a Belgian n1usket in tl1e hands of a Mississippi rebel passed through both my thighs, lower third, just behind femurs, cutting or tearing off lower third of biceps, and severing three fourths of ligaments – split ligaments into threads from wounds to knees and eight inches above wounds.

I lay on the field till 10 o’clock the following day, and was reported dead, but when the detail to bury came around I objected. It would take too much space to tell one half of my experience while my wounds were healing. After they healed, I returned home the following March, but was unable to board a passenger car without help.

My thighs and legs were greatly reduced in size, and my legs and feet were always cold for the lack of blood, my knees were flexed so that my limbs were 2 ½ inches short and could not have been straightened without breaking the ligaments.

I did some manual labor during the next 20 years, tho always at disadvantage. Got rheumatism and was told I must quit work or I’d find myself all drawed up into a knot and all the doctors in the state could not straighten me out. I took the suggestion and began to draw up alright. I passed many a weary week when I couldn’t put on my coat without help, and knots would form in my arm pits and other parts of my body as large as an orange and last for days, and I wore a cane for twenty years. In 1898 I began to study Psycho Therapeutics, suggestive Therapeutics, Osteopathy and several other scientific studies. From these I learned that the body is being worn out and renewed every little while, and that the kind of material built in depends entirely on the mental attitude.

In 1899-1900-01 I received several diplomas. Well, I was my first patient, with the result that in April 1902 I threw away my cane, and in May took hold of the plow handles and have made a hand on the farm ever since. Last fall I did the major part of the work of preparing land and sowing 52 acres of wheat, and sowed some wheat for a neighbor. My knees are as straight as a baby’s – have not felt a pain in wounded parts for 16 years. I will be 75 years young March 19, 1919… I used to weigh 115 pounds in winter and 125 in summer. Now I weigh 140.

Yours for health,

J. H. Allen, D.S.T,
Chamois, MO, Route 2

John H. Allen was seventeen years old when he enlisted in Co. B. of the Osage County Home Guards. As soon as the Home Guards were disbanded he enlisted under Capt. John F. F. Koops of Company H, 26th Missouri Volunteer Infantry.

Source: A letter to the Osage County Republican in 1919

I’m doing well, Thank You

Recently, I had knee replacement surgery (4 weeks ago, as I write this) and many friends and colleagues have commented that they are amazed at my recovery. All initial physical therapy goals have been reached ahead of schedule; and, of course, I walk better than I did prior to surgery.

Every day has yielded improvements and surprises. As those of you who have recovered from this kind of surgery know, the day you can stand to put your pants on is a celebration. Yesterday, I was able to put my foot up on my knee to put my sock on. Big deal! And then today (and my Feldenkrais wife is freaking out over this) I was able to kneel on a wood floor without pain.

I am not surprised, nor do I think my recovery is anything special. We (my wife, my health care team and I) took steps to make it possible. Let me tell you what we did.

Preparation Work:

We learned that one thing I could do prior to surgery is exercises to strengthen the thigh muscles in the leg. My health care provider suggested specific exercises, and I did them. We also got some good advice from a colleague of my wife. He is an experienced Feldenkrais teacher and has had the surgery himself.

We talked to people who have had knee replacement surgery and asked questions, especially questions about the doctor and how well the procedure went. How happy were you with the follow up physical therapy? We asked non-orthopedic physicians which orthopedist they might recommend. We talked with local physical therapists about their recommendations. We then interviewed two orthopedic surgeons and scheduled surgery with the one in which we had the most confidence.

We investigated what equipment we would need once I got home. A friend loaned us a commode with the frame of which would fit over our toilet and an icing machine – a canister that is filled with ice water. Icing on a regular basis is important and the machine was so much more convenient than using ice packs, especially through the night during which it could be turned on and off. And we picked up a few other items I would need at home. We arranged to take physical therapy near our home at a place and with a therapist in whom we had confidence. (It was a good choice. We have recommended her to others.)

The hospital offered a class in what to expect following surgery and I went. It included some of the exercises the physical therapist would have us do and how to use a walker, how to stand from sitting and how to sit from standing. In addition, since there are a couple of steps to negotiate in order to get into the house, my wife learned how to help me to go up and down steps.

Mentally or emotionally, I hold the belief that I recover quickly and held to that expectation. In addition to that, I believe that I am in charge of my healing. Doctors do not heal. They create internal and external environments in which the body heals itself. I am a part of the healing team and, ultimately, I’m in charge.

Having done these things, I went to the hospital in good spirits, with no discernible anxiety or nervousness. I was taken to surgery around 10:30 AM (2.5 hours ahead of schedule, which I liked). The surgery took about 35 minutes and closing another 10 minutes. I was taken to recovery for a couple of hours but only because they couldn’t find a room for me.

Before the day was over, I was using the walker to go to the bathroom. The next morning, I received some physical therapy and testing to make sure I was ready to be discharged. They taught me how to get in and out of a car. By afternoon, I was home.

Recovery and Physical Therapy:

At home the first day and night, I took the pain meds I had been given as prescribed. We wanted to stay ahead of the pain. However,within a couple of days, I cut the dosage in half. I experienced no excruciating pain. I used the walker to get around the house and walked sometimes just to keep the leg and knee moving.

Surgery had been done on Monday. Our first trip to physical therapy was on Wednesday. The therapist tested to see how capable I was and what were my limitations, which were many. She gave me some exercises to do at home while sitting or lying. I did them. I had physical therapy three times a week. On the other days, I did the exercises at home. And I walked using the walker. I did not walk long distances, but I walked a little bite very hour or so during the day. Of course, those first few days I also slept a lot. By the 4th day, my wife was going to work and I was able to be by myself.

Two other things I took advantage of that are not a part of normal protocol are my wife’s Feldenkrais work and my powers of mental processing and imagining. Feldenkrais is a method of learning to move with less effort and more comfort. It does not shortcut or lessen the physical therapy I was doing. Every day, getting up and down and moving around the house became easier and easier.

When I was facilitating a cancer support group,participants used their imagination to strengthen their immune systems, and weaken the unwanted effects of chemo and radiation therapies. In the early days after surgery, I had time on my hands so I imagined my knee healing – as if knitting or cementing itself back together. I imagined what that feels like on the inside. I saw my thigh muscles becoming stronger and learning to take over the job of those tendons that no longer exist.

We have likely heard stories of PT torture after knee replacement. And I had one session of that but then decided I was going to continue to be in charge of my recovery. So next time the physical therapist needed to push my leg into an extremely painful position to measure my flexion, I said something to the effect of, “We’re not doing that again?” She said, “Well you have to push yourself.” I said, “I agree, but I don’t have to scream to do it.We have the same goals. We’re going find a better way to get there.” She gave me a strap to wrap around my leg and to pull it into position. I was in charge.The flexion increased significantly and rapidly after that. It actually gained 10 degrees over one night.

I didn’t leave the house except for physical therapy for the first 10 days or so. By then I was no longer using the walker in the house but only for going to and from the car. Shortly thereafter I started using crutches and found myself going to the movies. I will say, I hadn’t remembered those theater hallways being that many miles long! Soon, the crutches just got in the way. On the 20th day, I drove myself to church in a stick shift car, (using my affected left leg) and negotiated steps though it was one step at a time; lead with good leg going up and healing leg going down.

My message: First not everyone needs knee replacement and I recommend you do Physical Therapy, Feldenkrais and work in your imagination to be sure you can’t bring yourself to a place of healing without surgery. But if you do need it:

  • Prepare.
  • Have confidence in your healing team, believe in yourself (including your body).
  • Pay attention to your body; push it but not too hard.
  • Gather all the resources available to you and do the work.
  • It doesn’t have to be too difficult or painful.Physical therapy, whether at home or at the facility, can be taxing and tiring,but it’s good.
  • A good balance of work and rest is required.
  • Get out and about as quickly as possible.
  • The keys are attitude and doing what’s best for you.

Art Exhibit Star/Flower: Patterns of Nature by Suzanne Fisher

Join us on Friday, November 2nd at 6:00 to 8:00 pm

at Future Life Now and meet artist Suzanne Fisher

Several of her artworks will be on display. Guitar music by Todd Juengling.
Meet Suzanne and connect with new and old friends alike. 
Light refreshment will be served. We hope to see you!

Purchases from this show can be picked up the week before Christmas!

 

Future Life Now is located at 4138 Hamilton Ave, Suite B, Northside, 45223. Free parking will be available in the lot behind our building and on the street. The entrance is on the Knowlton St. side of our building. Come up to the second floor for our suite.

Artist Statement

This exhibition includes both mosaics and mixed media resin paintings. The resin paintings are all initially based on floral forms.

I have been fascinated with flowers since I was a child. In our garden, I remember looking down into the center of a red tulip and being intrigued by the elegant and stark geometry inside, velvety black and orangery yellow. I was also particularly taken by black eyed Susan’s, with their unbelievably dark centers in stark contrast to the orange petals. Each flower seemed to be turning its dark face to stare at you. I also have vivid memories of paper flat daisies on wires we bought from Pier 1. They were flat but could be twisted to become more dimensional. In these resin pieces, my flowers evoke some of these different childhood memories.

I combine several elements, acrylic paint, collage papers, and bits of plastic and metal and submerge them all in resin to get a compelling depth and gloss, like amber. The mosaics are created as a variation on Monet’s stars in The Starry Night Painting. They are made primarily of colored glass. Some of their geometric forms are reminiscent of parts of a flower. And some of the flowers look like starbursts.

About Suzanne Fisher

Since I was a child, I have been endlessly fascinated with the magic of creating something wonderful out of colorful scraps and a little bit of glue. Initially I used pieces of scrap felt; now I use shards of colored glass, broken china, and many other discarded items such as broken windshield glass and incorporate them with traditional glass and ceramic tile, stone, smalti and marble to create mosaic murals of all sizes. In addition, I combine mosaic elements with acrylic paint, resin, and collage materials to create mixed media pieces I call resin paintings. I am currently interested in abstracting elements from nature in my artwork. I also work with community groups to create large-scale mosaic murals and create separate mosaic panels in glass as well.

I received my BFA in painting from Miami University and my MFA in painting from the University of Cincinnati. I was awarded a 6-month residency at PS 1 in Queens in 1987, which hosted artists from all over the world. In 1997, I spent 3 weeks at another international residency, at the American Academy in Rome. In addition, I have received numerous grants from the Ohio Arts Council, Summerfair, and the Kentucky Foundation for Women for my artwork in various media.

 

Beyond Monkey Mind

That the more one fights against, the body, the more powerfully the body fights back.

If this is true, then how can one effectively move away from sleepless nights?

Have you ever thought or said to yourself, “I’m bone tired, so why can’t I get to sleep?” Those who have difficulty getting to sleep know that the reason they can’t sleep is not because their body is up and running around.

Sometimes it is because of what some call their monkey mind. Many of the practices that are described in our Sounder Sleep sessions address the issue of monkey mindedness. Numerous people have found those practices to be very useful in getting to sleep or returning to sleep. The practices are, use the body to calm and to quiet the mind which allows sleep to come naturally and easily.  

However, there may be some occasions in which the mind is not necessarily focused on a specific issue or even flitting here and there as a bee or butterfly flying from one blossom to another. I once had a client who was almost perpetually tired and exhausted.

Her experience was that she would go to bed and drift off to sleep. However, she would awaken after an hour to hour-and-a-half and would be wide awake and would be awake for an extended period of time. When asked what she did during that time, she replied, “I say to myself, ‘I have to get back to sleep. I know I can’t, but I have to get back to sleep.” It doesn’t take much imagination to recognize that those words increased anxiety and the more she said them and the more intensely she expressed those thoughts, the more anxious she would become. The levels of stress hormones would increase dramatically. The “fight, flight, or freeze” response took over. As the degree of danger increases the ability to relax and allow sleep to come decreases. What helped her was to change that internal dialogue. She learned to say to herself, “Wow! I’ve been asleep for an hour and it seems like only ten minutes. I wonder how much sleep I can get in the next hour-and-a-half.”

Einstein has been credited with having said, in part, “Imagination is more important than knowledge.” In Neuro-Linguistic Programming, we can help clients develop their imaginary control center. In that control center there are switches, levers and buttons that manage many physical and mental systems. And the use of imagination can impact no only sleep but other significant challenges. I know of people who “go inside” and turn up the metabolism rate while they sleep. A result is fewer blankets in the winter and for some it’s an effective assist to weight loss programs. One client who had undergone a heart transplant but sometimes felt as if the heart was not his was able to lower the degree of rejection and immunosuppression drugs by “going inside and having all his organs thank the heart for the great work it was doing and by imagining a large plaque on his heart that read “Jerry’s Heart.”

There is incredible power in internal dialogue. What you say to yourself matters. Even if changing internal dialogue does not help you get back to sleep, having positive and hope filled thoughts is much more enjoyable than having negative anxiety producing thoughts.

Video: Feldenkrais Method and Chronic Pain

Since the recent article by Jane Brody in the New York Times on how the Feldenkrais Method helps with chronic pain, people have been asking but how? Based on my experience, research and the work of Dr. Norman Doidge, I lay out what I think at least a couple of the mechanisms are that reduce chronic pain. And I give you several things you can do right now to make a difference for yourself.

 

Art Opening: A Soul’s Journey Collective Collage by Pamela Lee

Join us on Friday, July 13th at 6:00 pm

at Future Life Now and meet artist Pamela Lee

Several of her artworks will be on display. Guitar music by Todd Juengling.
Meet Pamela Lee and connect with new and old friends alike.
Light refreshment will be served. We hope to see you!

Future Life Now is located at 4138 Hamilton Ave, Suite B, Northside, 45223. Free parking will be available in the lot behind our building and on the street. The entrance is on the Knowlton St. side of our building. Come up to the second floor for our suite.

 

About Pamela Lee

I am a singer.  But the silent communing through visual art has called to me often in my life, now more than ever.  I was an art major in high school.  My mom always had us doing paper Mache or some art project at home, growing up.

After two sons and a divorce, I became a successful hairdresser and so scissors became my favorite creative tool.  As a single working mom of two boys, I went back to finish art school and was recruited by the head of an interior design studio.

Now I had a lovely career arranging parts into a beautiful whole, (and yes, I was still also doing hair). I started making collages in what little spare time I had.

I have since attended Arrowmont School in Maine and taken other workshops in print, paint, and collage. My favorite teacher/mentor is collage artist and teacher, Holly Roberts in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Her work inspires me.

 

Artist Statement

 I am especially interested in spirituality, in dreamscapes, other worlds, and especially our

 inner worlds of our experiences,

individually and collectively.

In my work there are often other paintings beneath the one that gets to stay.  And watercolor or pencil rejects get cut up and become part of something else entirely.

Through the process I enjoy being a conduit for seemingly unrelated parts to form a landscape, a “place” to experience, maybe recognize ourselves in. It’s an exploration that begins and evolves without any plan or concept, to hopefully let something meaningful to all of us come through.

Pamela Lee

 

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Pamela Mallory-Yeager is a working vocalist in the Cincinnati area.  She often works with her husband and pianist, Wayne Yeager.  They live in Montgomery, Ohio with their two dogs and lots of trees and flowers-her favorite past-time is making art with her grandchildren.

She signs her art as Pamela Lee because those are the two names that she has always been.

 

 

Prime Directive

You probably know that I am a student of the integral model of understanding the plight of human that shows humanity is still developing, becoming more and more complex and able to solve problems that are becoming more and more complex. I’m seeing that some systems that we have taken for granted for many generations are no longer adequate to deal with complexity of twenty-first century problems. Because of this I am believe that we humans have a prime directive and that is to intentionally engage in practices that stimulate and precipitate personal development. The scientific community might say it as “Evolve or die out.” The religious community would understand this as a call to become more and more like the One who created us – to fulfill the will of the Creator.

You may not know that I am also a fan of Star Trek, not that I am wowed by the great acting, but by the underlying message and theme of the show. The original series displayed great diversity in its crew and its willingness to engage with diverse cultures and life forms, even if doing so sometimes created problems. Both Voyager and The Next Generation versions of the show emphasized commitment to what is known as the Prime Directive: To explore the universe in search of unknown life forms without interfering with those life forms, their culture or development.

I recently watched an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation in which problem to be solved was the legal question of whether the android Data was or was not a sentient being. If Data is only a machine, “it” then is the property of the Federation and must submit to being disassembled with the possibility that much of “its” experience with sentient beings could forever be lost. If Data were a sentient being, then he would not be required to submit to that demand. The purpose of disassembling Data was that it seemed necessary so that more Datas could be created. The long-term implications were the Federation could create a race of beings which it owned and could use or sacrifice as it wished, a race of slaves, so to speak. All the empirical evidence, history of having been made, not born, super-human mental and physical abilities, etc. seemed to point to his being certainly not human.  It fell upon Captain Jean Luke Picard to demonstrate that Data was more than “just a machine” and he did so by showing that Data could and had established relationships with other beings, he also had self-awareness and other qualities that complied with the definition of a sentient being. The judicial decision was, “I don’t know whether Data has a soul, whatever that is, but I cannot condemn him to destruction without knowing that he absolutely does not.” Data was saved or spared.

Humanity has the capability of destroying the world in or on which we live. (Don Beck says the only things to survive a nuclear war would be cockroaches and viruses.) The problems we face will not go away or become easier to solve. Nuclear war is not the only way we may destroy ourselves. There are environmental issues, physical and mental health issues that outpace our ability to deal with them, and economic issues that continue to divide and create conflict.

Yes, we have the ability to destroy, but we also have to ability to use our collective intelligences to create flexible systems that can adequately address the hard issues at hand. But it will not happen by accident. It will be intentional. It is up to each of us to grow up, wake up, clean up and show up. We must mature intellectually, emotionally and spiritually. We must wake up to our true nature and our Oneness. We must face our own prejudices, biases and blindness. And we must join with others in whatever way we can to help make a difference.  This, I believe, is the Prime Directive of our time.