Harm Reduction

Transcript: Rolfing, Structural Integration, And Becoming Whole – Daragh Crowley

The Third Wave · May 17th, 2020

Please enjoy this transcript of our interview with Daragh Crowley.

Daragh Crowley, certified rolfer and movement enthusiast, sits down with host Paul F. Austin to discuss why healing the physical body is central to becoming whole and what role rolfing, movement, and psychedelics play in this process.

Daragh is a certified Rolfer who lives and works in Brooklyn, NY, where he runs a private practice focused on human potentiation. His work draws on movement, manual therapy, and structural integration.

Daragh has spent more than 25 years on a personal journey of growth and healing. He has studied ashtanga yoga in India, bodywork in Thailand, and Rolfing in Germany.

Over time, Daragh has come to recognize the need for interdisciplinary solutions to complex challenges. Informed by a holistic perspective, Daragh encourages his clients to access multiple entry points—intellectual, spiritual and emotional – for healing and transformation.

In this episode we talk about:

00:00 Paul Austin: Welcome to The Third Wave Podcast. I’m your host, Paul Austin, here to bring you cutting-edge interviews with leading scientists, entrepreneurs, and medical professionals who are exploring how we can integrate psychedelics in an intentional and responsible way for both healing and transformation. It is my honor and privilege to bring you these episodes, as you get deeper and deeper into why these medicines are so critical to the future of humanity. So let’s go, and let’s see what we can explore and learn together in this incredibly important time.

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01:51 PA: When I first met Daragh Crowley, it was in a basement in Williamsburg. He had been holding on to a few of my things. As I was gallivanting from New York to Amsterdam, and elsewhere, I would often leave things with friends in New York for them to hold, and Daragh was kind enough, through another friend, to hold that stuff in his basement. So I went over there, we sat down and just started talking about movement, and started talking about psychedelics. And before I know it, Daragh is pulling out this like short three to four-minute video called Fighting Monkey, and instantly, I was hooked. A couple of minutes later, we went to a workshop in Asheville, North Carolina, with this Fighting Monkey group. It’s sort of a movement-esque group that does a lot of agility, and then they do tai chi, and they do speed and coordination, and meditation, and really, really fascinating stuff. And since that point in time, I’ve just gotten to know Daragh better and better and better. In fact, last year, after doing quite a bit of Ayahuasca as part of my integration process, I decided to start to do some structural integration.

02:47 PA: And Daragh is a Rolfer, and Rolfing is basically working through fascia to help the body better align. It was my first time to really do significant body work. And I did the 10-series with Daragh. And not only did we do the 10-series together, but he also got me into movement. And was just a great coach in really, how do I tune back into my body in a much more significant way? Now, one thing that we see in the psychedelic space is we see an emphasis on the mental, we see an emphasis on some of the emotional healing, emotional trauma, healing PTSD, depression, but there’s also a focus just on the trauma. What I love about Daragh’s approach is he’s like, “Dude, we’re an entire organism, and that means we have to take care of the physical body as well. We can’t be fully well unless we’re physically vivacious, we have vitality, we have energy, we have strength, we have movement. And so we get into the role that psychedelics can help play, from a wellness perspective, in just helping us come back into an intuitive relationship with our body.”

03:47 PA: So today’s podcast is about Rolfing, it’s about psychedelics, it’s about movement, it’s about anti-fragility. It’s about many things that I’ve talked about on the podcast before, but, again, done with a close friend in a backyard, in Williamsburg, in the late fall of last year. Just a beautiful, beautiful conversation. So I know you’ll enjoy it. I don’t wanna say anything else. So, without any further ado, I bring you Daragh Crowley.

04:10 PA: Raw, uncut, uncensored, living legend. Daragh, what’s up, man?

04:16 Daragh Crowley: Hey, man. How are you?

04:17 PA: I’m good. I’m so glad to be here doing this with you, and sitting down…

04:20 DC: Finally.

04:21 PA: In your beautiful… Your beautiful Williamsburg backyard. You look fantastic.

04:28 DC: Thank you. You also look fantastic.

04:30 PA: We just had a great weekend together.

04:32 DC: We did have a great weekend.

04:33 PA: Horizons.

04:34 DC: Yeah, the Horizons conference, we did some Rolfing, got to meet really interesting people, hear lots of interesting stuff. And, as always, the question that gets raised with any of these things in my world, in the Rolfing and movement world, in the psychotherapy world, in the medical world, in the psychedelic world, which was being discussed at the Horizons Conference, how we can becomes really siloed and focused on our work as being kind of the primary or singular answer to whatever problem people are presenting. And while we all have the intention of collaborating and integrating our work with others to create a more whole, complete approach to give people a bigger, more versatile, more complex toolkit, all too often, it’s not really happening. That bridge isn’t being built, and we’re not figuring out how to meet in the middle of the bridge and hand the information off to each other. Yeah.

05:38 PA: We’re here to discuss what bridges the world of… I think, in particular, movement, the organism, somatic understanding, what bridges that world with the psychedelic world, but more so the world of expansion and self-expression, and…

05:54 DC: Self-development.

05:54 PA: And living, really, right?

05:55 DC: Right.

05:56 PA: Like living in a really vivacious, entertaining…

06:00 DC: Right.

06:00 PA: You know, embodied way.

06:01 DC: Being vital, being engaged through all of your senses. So not being stuck with just your mind, not being kind of caught up in that exclusively, and thinking of the body perhaps as some sort of rental unit that you’ve borrowed for a while and later you’ll get it patched up, but being fully in the body. And at the same time, on the other side, maybe not being all just trying to be in the body, but being engaged intellectually. So engaging in life through all of our senses, through all of the means available to us so we can fully interact with our world, with our environment. You know, I see, in my work, the potentials, but also the limitations. I’m not a psychotherapist. I’m not a physical therapist. And there’s great value in that work. There’s great value in psychotherapy, as we were learning about this weekend, and I’ve seen, through the information that you share through The Third Wave, and in the most recent podcast with Francois, that there’s this really rich, deep tool available through psychedelic work in the right set and setting, that, along with body work, the Rolfing work that I do, these are entry points into the whole organism.

07:19 DC: And Rolfing is a very direct way to create awareness for people in their bodies, so that their bodies can be more in contact with their environment, and that they can become more literally grounded, having more sensitive and aware relationship to the Earth, when they’re walking, when they’re exercising, when they’re sitting, when they’re just kind of moving through their daily life, and then into more complex movement practices.

08:00 PA: It’s another part of that Earth wisdom that Francois was speaking about on the podcast, essentially, right? And that Earth wisdom is exactly what we’re getting into, in terms of this movement back towards what does it mean to be human. What are those ways that we get plugged into the human experience? We’re not spending so much time here in the head, at this high frequency, but we’re really able to drop into a much more parasympathetic perspective, right?

08:22 DC: Absolutely.

08:22 PA: That sense of being calm and serene. So what I’d love to start with, just as a little bit of background before we get too deep, ’cause you’ve mentioned it a couple of times already, what is Rolfing? Give us a little just context, background, history, how it came to be a thing. And then how did you get involved in it? How did you become interested in Rolfing?

08:41 DC: So, briefly, Ida Rolf is woman who was born in New York, went on to pursue a PhD in biochemistry, and was a researcher for most of her early career. And then, through her own interest, started to explore the physiology of the body. And really, to my understanding, was one of, if not the first, people in sort of modern Western science to start to explore the role of the fascial system, Myofascia, which is wrapping everything in our body. It’s creating form and structure, and it acts to facilitate muscle and bone working together so that we can be organized and are supported and have tension in the system to move, and be upright, and be held together. And she was looking at how disruptions to that system and that relationship in the body is directly related to external stimulus and feedback, which the primary one would be gravity. We’re responding to gravity, which gives us that sort of tension to act against to be upright. And if the body becomes imbalanced or unbalanced through trauma, through injury, simply through lack of information and stimulus and limiting movement patterns, that can start to create a whole host of downstream consequences, but to stay in the sort of immediate physical, it can create pain and disease in the body, lack of range of motion, a sense of tightness.

10:28 DC: Ultimately, it’s really a lack of flow because when the tissues become inhibited, it’s preventing free movement of information through the nervous system and the free movement of fluids through the body because, essentially, you have these interruptions that are like little dams throughout the body, where tissues have become adhered to each other. They’re sticky, they’re dense, they’re not getting a lot of movement in that tissue, so there’s less flow. One of the things that’s tricky with this work is that it’s very hard to measure the effects of something like Rolfing because we’re dealing with this incredibly complex integrated system, which would be a human being. It isn’t a body and it’s not a mind, it’s not a collection of pieces. It’s this whole fully-integrated system. And so, as we work on the tissue, the changes physically are systemic. And when you touch anything in the body, you touch everything, like the butterfly effect.

11:30 PA: And we just finished up the Ten-series.

11:32 DC: We did.

11:33 PA: And when we had first met six months ago maybe, seven months ago…

11:36 DC: Seven, yeah. Seven months.

11:37 PA: Early March 2019.

11:39 DC: Yeah.

11:39 PA: Around that time, maybe February 2019, I remember I’d come in and, I think, mentioned how I’ve been looking at Ido Portal stuff, and you’re like, “Oh, wait. You gotta check this out.” You showed me Fighting Monkey.

11:51 DC: Yeah.

11:51 PA: The video of Fighting Monkey, and then started to tell me about Rolfing. And I was just like, this is really interesting because I just finished six months of more traditional psychotherapy, which was NARM, NeuroAffective Relational Modeling, which is basically helping you associate physical sensations in your body to specific emotions, whether it’s shame or anger, or sadness, or joy, right? Like how does your body feel when you’re experiencing these emotions? Something that most of us, I don’t think, are all that aware of or cognizant of. So super-insightful.

12:17 DC: And we don’t… Yeah, it’s not something that we are educated or conditioned to do. It’s not really asked of us.

12:24 PA: No.

12:25 DC: Developmentally, to…

12:26 PA: We’re… Typically, it’s the intellect, right? So I came off of that, and then we started doing the Rolfing, and it’s actually got into this 10-part series, we went on a workshop together for Fighting Monkey. It really just kind of, speaking to the personal experience, just helped me to be more in my body, be more aware of my body, be more in tune with it, and have things like better range of motion, more flexibility. We just did a session right now. I feel kind of like after you feel going to the hot springs. I kinda have that chill frequency, so to say. So I’d love for you to go just through that a little bit, like what is the 10-part series? And how does that tie to what you’re talking about earlier with the integration, the systemic changes? And what are some of the specifics to the approach?

13:06 DC: So, again, in my understanding from having received a lot of Rolfing work myself, close to 300 sessions over the last maybe 14 years, and through being trained as a Rolfer, and now working as a Rolfer, and working with people four to six days a week, the Ten-Series is a means to work through the body systematically, from what we would call sleeve or superficial layers to the deeper, more core layers. Doesn’t translate exactly in the same way that core is typically used in exercise, it’s just more the deeper structures of the body. In working through it, in this layered process, we’re honoring the fact that the body is layered, and is not parts. We’re moving through it little by little, almost like you’re taking off outer layers or you’re loosening outer layers of clothing to create more freedom and space for the body to breathe, literally. It’s hard to get away from saying parts, because that’s how we understand the body.

14:03 DC: There are parts, but they’re not separate, they’re all integrated, but they can become disconnected. And working through it from sort of outside to inside, over this Ten-Series process allows us to free tissue that is inhibited, and then gradually start to integrate those tissues together so that the person achieves a more integrated flowing physical state, which of course, then, is gonna have lots of, you know, upstream and downstream effects in the mind-body relationship, emotionally, simply in people’s ability, in the therapy that you are engaged in, something like that, if you are more aware and feeling a greater sense of ease in your body, it will be easier, in all likelihood, to identify those kind of feelings and sensations, and to start to sort of tie those two worlds together. ‘Cause while they’re not separate, we do tend to separate them in our own thinking, in our own actions. Even, culturally, in society, we think of the mind and the body as these two separate pieces. And I think that’s where there’s this really important bridge into psychotherapy work, psychedelic work, many other things out there that allow for people to touch into themselves from these various access points.

15:20 PA: You know, one question we’ve been asking guests lately is what was that moment where you sort of like woke up to this somewhat deeper understanding than what you had understood before?

15:29 DC: It’s been a long and gradual process. And I was initially introduced to Rolfing… Truthfully, I have no idea where I heard about it. Someone I had talked to in the fitness and movement world had mentioned it to me, and I did a little research. I found somebody from reading about it on this person’s website. This was in South Florida. It made sense to me. Again, it’s a bit of a blur, which is sort of funny that I don’t have that aha moment, like, “Wow, I discovered Rolfing, and I really was like, yes, I have to go do this.” I recall that I had some issues going on in my hips, and I went to see this Rolfer in South Florida, Ari. And right away, I was just kind of grabbed by the work, that it was very different in sensation, and effects, and in the way that he worked than any sort of bodyworker massage that I’d ever had. At that point, I had already trained in a traditional massage therapy school. I had studied a little bit of Thai massage at that point, had been practicing yoga for several years, and had been involved in many other movement practices.

16:39 DC: Yeah, it’s tough to say. It’s just something about it felt very… Viscerally, was… It felt right. And the effects felt very immediate. I could feel more movement, more range of motion, more awareness of the parts of my body that he worked into, but also of myself, as a whole. I worked with him for maybe six months, and then, over the years since, I’ve worked with a variety of Rolfers in… Actually, in Thailand, an Ashtanga teacher named Mitchell who was a Rolfer and friend to me, and in some ways, a mentor. And then Bill Short in DC, who’s been a Rolfer since the ’80s, and through receiving a lot of work. Unlike many other things that I’ve encountered in time, it feels very open source, like there’s just always more to explore. And while experiencing these physical changes in my body and finding more range of motion, more freedom, less discomfort, which facilitated me moving deeper into physical practices that I was exploring, it also just creates a general sense of awareness for me in my body by… And so, by continuing to get the work myself, it helps me stay tuned in to my body. I think it’s a lifetime work, much like exercise, much like paying attention to your food, seeking out tools like therapy, psychedelics, whatever they may be, that… There isn’t really a discrete beginning and end. It’s an exploration, and it’s a journey. And it’s something that we can continue to work with for a lifetime.

18:12 PA: Yeah, it’s an infinite game…

18:13 DC: Yeah.

18:13 PA: Which we’ll get into in a little bit when we talk more about the Fighting Monkey stuff, ’cause I definitely wanna get into some of the movement stuff. But something we haven’t talked about yet is psychedelics. We’ve been talking about all the Rolfing stuff, awareness, movement. Let’s talk about you, your history, your past. Let’s go into a little bit of like where do psychedelics come into this picture for you, and how has that contributed to your understanding, as well, of who you are, and what you’re in touch with, and all those things?

18:40 DC: Early in my life… I don’t know that this is terribly unusual in the psychedelics community, and also, when you think about people that utilize psychotherapy as well. You know, I came out of a childhood that was quite traumatic, in many ways, both sexual abuse, physical abuse, and was very shut down to these things. And in fact, until much later in life, was unaware of some of them, so very repressed memories. And I became a regular user of… I’m cautious about the word addiction now, because my understanding of that has morphed and changed over time. To make this easy, I will say I was addicted to heroin as a teenager and used alcohol and other substances in an abusive, really escapist fashion, where I was running from myself, and had no sense of… Was, again, much later in life before I began to sort of understand what that was. I had no sense of what I was running from. During that time, was introduced to psychedelics when I was quite young, 16 or 17. To be honest, I don’t remember exactly, LSD, Psilocybin, things like MDMA. There was no set and setting. Well, there was a set and setting, but as Michael Pollan, in his recent book, discusses at length, that the set and setting really is critical to any experience. And for something as powerful as psychedelics, the set and setting is crucial to be able to have a safe and useful therapeutic experience.

20:16 DC: And when you’re a kid, taking that kind of stuff with friends, and running around and being silly, and going to concerts, and doing other drugs that perhaps are conflicting with how the psychedelics work is a very different kind of experience than what we were hearing about it. Horizons this weekend, where there are people doing really valuable research with PTSD, with cancer, with people coming to the end of life, and now starting to look at many other areas where psychedelics can be of use to people. So I had a… Let’s say, to me, I would call it a very distorted early experience of substances like that. And then, because of the challenges and issues that I faced as a teenager, wound up being sober, being abstinent from substances for most of the next 25 years, from when I was 20 ’til I was 45. I’m now 48. And being re-introduced to psychedelics was really through hearing about this kind of work, becoming aware that, in addition to… I had spent a lot of time working with receiving Rolfing, with body work, with movement work, with an Ashtanga Yoga practice, utilizing those kind of very physical, physically-oriented tools to work on myself, my self-development, and I had not found therapy to be a useful tool up until that point.

21:43 PA: But through receiving… And I think this is one of the potential bridges, that through receiving body work and being engaged with my body through movement, over time, allowed me to soften and open in a way that I became able to engage in talk therapy, that was just not… It was cut off from me, quite literally, when I was younger.

22:07 DC: So I see these things as collective. In being re-introduced to psychedelics, I’ve had some experiences, and they… I think of them as very valuable tools in the right set and setting, which I’ve been lucky enough to experience. And they are facilitating and layering on and collaborating with the work that I’ve been doing in receiving Rolfing and moving, but then also having been able to engage very intensively with a psychotherapist for about a year. So how each piece sorts of fits into the puzzle, and together, they form a whole. And psychedelics are a tool in that, of self-discovery. Movement is a tool for self-discovery, self-development, as are psychotherapy, as are many other pieces. And I think that ultimately, to me, it makes sense that we engage with all of them fully in whatever… To whatever level fulfills our needs at that time. So the entry point into transformation and development could well be through body work. It could be through talk therapy. It could be through some psychedelic experience. It could be through movement. And it doesn’t have to start with any one of those in a particular order. What feels accessible to the person at that time? And obviously, for me, it was the body, was to come through the body, which then allowed me to access deeper parts of myself through therapy, psychedelics, etcetera. Does that answer what you were asking? Yeah.

23:36 PA: Yeah. And we were talking about something interesting before, which was an observation, which I’ve been aware of for some time, and which you picked up on, I think, at the conference this weekend, which is, in psychedelics, in particular, there’s an orientation to isolate, and that’s largely because the medical model is predominant within the psychedelic space at the moment. So not only does that mean in terms of an academic or a research perspective, where you just have… By and large, much of the community is made up of people who are specialists and specific to academia and research, that means they really focus on one specific thing, without having, at times, an awareness of the entire organism. The focus tends to be more in the intellect, the mind, so to say. And one observation that I have become aware of is that, as someone who is really quite intentional about how I take care of my physical self, in terms of how I move, and how I eat, and how I sleep, and that, I would say I find myself in more of a minority in psychedelic spaces than a majority.

24:36 PA: And from my perspective, that’s because, within the psychedelic space, the priority tends to be more on the collective, so people are just less individualistic. They focus less on themselves and they’re more giving, giving, giving, right? That energy goes outwards. And I think that’s an interesting kind of talking point, which is like what’s that balance between the focus on the self, in terms of the sexiness and the aliveness and the jubilee, and then also being able to contribute back. And from my perspective, it’s like, that’s a relationship of reciprocity, and by investing in one, you’re investing in the other. And coming to things like Rolfing and movement, and getting into the physical body, for many, it’s the frontier they cross once they get in the psychedelic space, but not everyone.

25:15 DC: Absolutely. I think, in fairness, that I see this in communities, in general, they’re within the Rolfing community, within any particular movement community, whether that be yoga, Jujitsu, whatever it may be, that we can become singularly-focused and give that much more value than other tools, than other practices that are out in the world, and sort of shut ourselves down to potential. One of the things that has really made sense to me, in the last couple of years, and being introduced to practices like Fighting Monkey with Jozef and Linda, that thinking about exploring and developing ourselves from many different angles, creativity through perhaps dance, maybe through singing, maybe through making art, in my case, selling with the intention of making my own clothes, cooking, and then exploring movement in different forms, engaging with different intellectual pursuits, touching into all of our capacities and potentials. And within the psychedelic world that we experienced over the weekend, people are doing this amazing work, helping people that have been crippled with PTSD and other issues for many, many years, helping them break through. But the work seems to stop there. And it’s not that they don’t recognize that there is value in these other pieces. I perhaps think that the work they’re doing is more valuable. And I’m not gonna say that it is or it isn’t, but…

26:48 PA: Because I don’t think that’s the question.

26:50 DC: Right, I don’t think we wanna put values on, and go like, “Oh, well, psychotherapy is 10 times more important than body work or body work’s 10 times more important than psychotherapy.” I think that’s silly. It’s like these are tools to help people gain access to themselves, become more integrated, resolved, find more ease and comfort in the world. And so they’re all…

27:10 PA: I wanna say something to that point though, which is, over the weekend, Bob Jesse, who is really one of the architects of the modern psychedelic renaissance, and very wise, said something which I really resonated with, which is there is this element of psychedelic exceptionalism. In other words, we do believe that psychedelics, to some degree, are exceptional in the transformation they can help to catalyze. There was another talk on Saturday afternoon by Dr. Carl Hart from Columbia about addiction, where he made the point that, A, we shouldn’t judge people based on the drugs they use because most, like methamphetamines and heroin and stuff like this, aren’t as dangerous or as addictive as we make them out to be.

27:48 DC: I can only speak from the world and the culture that I live in now. I don’t really have a sense of what it was like 100, 200, 500 years ago. I wouldn’t imagine that it was all that different, just the dissemination of information was quite different. And so, today, things become sensationalized. Clearly, there is an enormous problem right now in the US, with people using or abusing opioids, but we’re getting very sensationalized stories. And from my understanding of what Carl talked about on Saturday, and I actually watched a TED talk with him and listened to some other interviews with him, we’re hearing about the most extreme examples. I think Hamilton Morris talks about this quite a bit also, and that most people that, for good or bad, if they’re choosing to use alcohol or illicit drugs or prescription drugs, whatever they may be putting into their bodies, that most of those people, to one degree or another, are living what we would think of as fairly regular, functioning lives. And that certainly there are people whose lives, I was one of them as a teenager, who was devastated by using drugs and alcohol. But we then believe that that’s inherent to the substances. And then I think you were getting at… Where, in the psychedelic community, there seems to be… Again, I don’t know if this is right or wrong, that these are somehow separate above, beyond and better than these other substances, which may well be true and different…

29:14 PA: And that’s my perspective, to some degree. It’s like based on the research that we have and based on the outcomes, as Bob said, we’re not looking at economic models of expansion for opiates or cocaine. We’re looking at economic models of expansion for psychedelics, in particular, because, based on objective science and research, we know that they are healthier than other substances.

29:36 DC: Certainly, from what I understand from listening to the…

29:39 PA: That’s why I was like, “I don’t get what… ” I disagreed with some of what Carl Hart was saying [unclear speech].

29:45 DC: I don’t know that I agree or disagree with him. I think that it’s a conversation that we should have more of, because there is a lot of mythology, much, much like the mythology around psychedelics. If you read Michael Pollan’s book, much of what we… Certainly, from my perspective, much of what I believe to be true about the inherent dangers of psychedelics, the history of psychedelics, and recent history in North America and around the world, that there were all of these horror stories of people jumping off buildings, and there doesn’t actually seem to be any factual basis to that. And…

30:18 PA: Well, there’s some factual basis.

30:19 DC: Some, right. These things certainly have happened, but cause and effect, and the other elements that were involved, we’re getting into stuff then that’s really complex, and we don’t actually know. And so we choose the thing that’s easiest to blame.

30:34 PA: Which, in the 60s, was LSD.

30:36 DC: Right. It was LSD…

30:37 PA: Well, what Carl Hart was talking about was PCP, which I thought was interesting.

30:40 DC: Right. Which, in fact, it’s interesting if you listen to Hamilton Morris talk about that too, what PCP is. And now Ketamine is being widely-used as a treatment for depression, and I think the use of that is expanding. They’re very closely-related substances. And the mythologies around PCP are overblown. Most people… Let’s take heroin or cocaine. If everybody that was using heroin, cocaine was just melting down and becoming incapable of functioning in life, we’d have an awful lot more people out in the streets. There are people whose lives are devastated and they’re unable to hold a job, they’re… It certainly seems, from more in-depth research that’s been done with people like Gabor Maté, that there are much more complex issues at play. It isn’t a binary of drugs are bad and they will destroy your life if you’re somebody who is deeply in pain, psychologically, physiologically. They are tools that may actually offer you relief from a condition that you can’t live with, but then can turn against you. So I think it’s really complicated and I think part of what Carl was talking about is that these are not binary issues. These are very complex…

32:02 PA: They are.

32:03 DC: Integrated, much like with… What we’re talking about with the body, with Rolfing, with movement, the body is not this binary thing. It’s a really complex integrated ecosystem. And the mind is not a separate piece. The mind and the body exist as a whole.

32:16 PA: It’s a system. Often, when I’ve heard about the process of integration, it’s really about this practice of coming back to wholeness, and that always reminds me of our conversations because whenever we talk about movement and Rolfing and psychedelics and complexity, we’re often talking about it can’t just be one thing. It is a very complex system. And when you fiddle with one thing…

32:38 DC: How do you know you don’t like broccoli until you eat broccoli? You need to try vegetables.

32:42 PA: Trial and error, right? Let’s talk about that.

32:44 DC: Right. Experimentation. And we humans, we’re gonna be our own best research scientists when it comes to our lives. One thing that comes up a lot, and this is in any of these areas we’re talking about, whether it be body work, movement, psychedelics, psychotherapy, the medical model of treating disease, the medical model with psychiatry, that we get lost in thinking about, with trial and error, with experimentation, we’re often given this external, objective hard science information, which is incredibly valuable, but if we’re relying upon that exclusively to be the answer, we’re missing the internal piece where we can engage with that and begin to become more autonomous and become… Trust in our own subjective experience.

33:35 DC: If you have an experience with eating certain foods or with drinking alcohol, whatever it may be, that’s positive or negative, in your experience of it, do you need somebody, externally, to tell you that that’s correct? Or can you trust, to some degree, in your own experience? Certainly, investigate, explore what’s out there, but experiment, and not recklessly. Experiment in your life through touching into different aspects of your life. How do you find out what you’re interested in for work? By being exposed to information. How do you find out what works for your body? By being exposed to a variety of different possibilities in movement. And if you’ve only done one or two things, do you really know these other things work or they don’t? Or that you’ll like them or not? Or that they’re gonna be positive for you?

34:25 DC: You really have to kind of test yourself. And something, in the podcast I listened to just recently with you and Francois, that she talks about, that was a theme, is that going into those like deeper, darker places to really heal. And I would say, for the body, that’s something that I observe, is that people are often… And I did… Certainly have observed this in the psychedelic community around the research that’s being done, that there is a discussion of… And a sort of an aside that perhaps movement or some body work could be somehow useful, but it isn’t given the weight that these other pieces, whether that be the psychotherapy, the psychiatry, the psychiatric medications, psychedelics, whatever that may be.

35:16 DC: Truthfully, if you want to experience deeper change in your psyche, you need to go deep into your psyche. If you want to experience real deeper change in your body, you’ll need to go into deeper, perhaps more intense, harder places, practices, not getting stuck at the surface or relying upon external directives. People saying, “These are the correct exercises to do and you should do them in this way, with this frequency, at this intensity.” Instead, yes, gather that sort of information. Go try a yoga class, go try Pilates, try CrossFit, try Brazilian jiu-jitsu. Anything that’s out there, that’s a way for you to meet yourself physically, and explore and find the pieces that nourish you, but also don’t run from the things that perhaps you suck at, and that you find frustrating or you find uncomfortable, because in discomfort is the potential for growth.

36:16 DC: And I know, for myself, certainly in my younger life, I didn’t like to do things that I wasn’t good at. I didn’t feel like, okay, I’m going to get this, or I’m pretty good at it kind of right away. So there was certainly a lot of avoidance, which I could then now look back and trace that into my psyche as well, how I did that in so many ways in my life, and through gaining access to all of these different tools, with body work, with movement, with psychotherapy, with psychedelic work that I now can embrace sucking at things, and see like, “Wow! I’m really trying a new physical practice,” or in my journey of learning sowing or exploring other artistic pursuits, that, in the beginning, I have no idea what I’m doing, and that can be both exciting and also frustrating, and holding space for both of those has become really valuable to me, that, in the frustration, being willing to be frustrated and not be able to do something, but keep trying, there’s real benefit, there’s real pay-off. And there’s potential, but also it’s a great way to engage with parts of myself, that we don’t like to sit in frustration, we don’t like to sit in discomfort, but in looking at that and having these experiences, locally, here in Brooklyn, Movement Brooklyn with a studio Kyle runs and teaches in the Ido Portal Method.

37:45 DC: I’ve done work with him there that has been deeply frustrating but also really exciting ’cause it’s like, “Wow! I can’t… I think of myself as being pretty physically-adapt and capable.” And then you run into this corner, this part of you, this direction in your body or these collection of movements that I can’t really make sense of. And by staying in that frustration, to whatever degree you’re capable of, which, for me, is varied, that I find that not being good, doing it anyway, and repeating it over and over, that, “Wow, you start to find these potentials that I had no idea existed within me.”

38:27 PA: One of my favorite writers, Mark Manson, we’ve had on the podcast before, he wrote ‘The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck‘, brilliant dude. I saw a post of his lately that was basically something around how he writes about self-help that sucks, which essentially means that most self-help is how you can make life easier for yourself, whereas, his is you have to go deeper and deeper into the discomfort to often live the full life that you wanna live. In other words…

38:53 DC: Hedonistic.

38:54 PA: Lifestyle doesn’t actually offer the substance that we might hope it does.

39:00 DC: Look at that perspective on kind of the whole person, of like how do you evolve and grow and become full of yourself. And we have so much comfort and softness in our world, which is lovely, and at the same time, does actually make us… Disconnect us, and in some ways, make us weak. When you look at people like Wim Hof who… The way that I think of his work of exposing yourself to intense cold and developing a comfort with that, an ability to go into that place that you’re expanding your range as a person, your ability to move in the world without having to be in such controlled, contained artificial environments, that you can be in the cold, you can be in the heat and, obviously, we had to do that, evolutionary perspective, or we wouldn’t have survived. We didn’t have North Face or Patagonia 100,000 years ago, yet, somehow people were able to be in the world where they were exposed to pretty extreme elements. And today, we have less and less of that and we buffer ourselves in the chairs we sit in, in the shoes we put on our feet to feel less. And through feeling less, you become disconnected.

40:18 DC: And there’s certainly an epidemic in our society of depression, of other less ideal states of being and, as you were saying with self-improvement, this idea of self-improvement, I would kind of reject that. And I would say that there isn’t really anything to improve, everything is already there. Whomever you are, however you’ve arrived in the world, that’s you. And have you disconnected from your body? Have you disconnected psychologically? Have disassociated? Have you somehow created barriers between your internal world and the external environment, the world that we live in, such that you are disconnected? And the more that you buffer yourself against the elements, the less range you have, and the less you’re able to explore the potential that you have. So it isn’t improvement. We’re not adding to a person. The person is already whole. It’s helping them remove obstacles through whatever means are available to become realized and resolved as a whole person, as opposed to living within ourselves like we are a collection of parts. And that we don’t have connection to parts of ourselves because we haven’t had an interaction with external stimulus in our environment to help us realize what’s there.

41:43 DC: So I would say human development, exploration of and uncovering the inherent potential that you have versus some idea of improving, and that certainly, in doing that, one is going to need to be uncomfortable at times and, obviously, everybody is going to have to find their own limits with that and trust their own limits, but also question your limits. Sometimes, you’re a little uncomfortable, but you can stay with it, that could be on a bike ride, that could be rock climbing, that could be sitting in a sauna, it could be taking a cold shower, it could be talking about your feelings. As Francois has talked about, it’s going into darker, deeper places in your psyche through psychedelics or in a talk therapy situation. If you don’t go into those deeper places, those are not bad, they’re not evil, they’re not pure darkness. They’re parts of us, and the discomfort that we feel in our bodies when we engage in physical practices, when we receive work like Rolfing, are opportunities for us to see how we meet the world, and do we meet the world with ease, with strength, with vitality, with the ability to regulate ourselves or are we hypersensitive?

43:04 DC: Do we need too much comfort, and if that’s the way that you choose to live, I don’t know if that’s right or wrong, those are your choices. I know, for myself, that my path out of addiction, in my youth, was initially through movement and then psychotherapy and other tools that have crossed my path movement, that have given me a deeper sense of myself in the world. I feel that it has given me a literal sense of grounding, where I feel my connection to the earth. I spent a lot of time barefoot. I engage in physical practices that allow me to feel. And so things that might be painful to one person who has very limited experience through movement or body work will not be painful to somebody who is an experienced mover, who is meeting their edges and finding that they can actually move past that, that you then become more able to interact with just a huge variety of environments. It’s just like if you… Socially, if you live in a very closed, limited, narrow community, be that economically, for religious reasons, racially, that can be very limiting. And the more that we interact with others, the more we can understand ourselves, the more we can move more freely and with more comfort in the world, and can be open to possibilities, to new experiences.

44:41 PA: What I wanna talk a little bit about is just what you’re working on right now. So what are you most excited about? Not necessarily your professional work, but just, generally, what are you most excited about right now that’s going on for you?

44:51 DC: Well, there’s the fact that, in the last year and a half, I’ve transitioned from Philadelphia to Williamsburg, Brooklyn, and I just really love the community, the neighborhood that I live in. So many new people that I’ve met here. Kyle, that I mentioned, Movement Brooklyn. Some other people that introduced me to the Fighting Monkey practice, getting introduced to people working in psychotherapy, in this psychedelic research that’s being done, potentially having the opportunity to engage with that community through my work to start to build a bridge so that we can begin to collaborate and help people have more complex and deeper toolkits, and giving them the tools to become more autonomous, to be their own explorer as they explore their development, as they continue their journeys. I am excited about my work. I’m excited about the movement work that I’m being exposed to, particularly through Fighting Monkey RootlessRoot. I’m excited to be sowing again and creating… Yeah, mountain biking. My life is just really full. I have wonderful friends. I have the opportunity, the resources to explore all these wonderful things in the world, and I’m really grateful for that. And basically, I’m just pretty excited about my life right now.

46:13 PA: That’s a great place to be.

46:14 DC: It is.

46:15 PA: That’s a great place to be.

46:16 DC: It also can be oddly-challenging because historically, for me, I wasn’t necessarily comfortable or happy in my life. I always felt a little dis-ease in my life, uneasy, maybe anxious, not necessarily happy, and my circumstances weren’t always ideal. And now that I find myself in, for me, what really feels like just a really ideal life, where I have great work, I have great friends, I’m just engaged, I have to remember to drop into that and recognize, yeah, wow, this is my life and I have done the work to get here, which has been facilitated by hundreds, if not thousands of people that I’ve interacted with throughout my lifetime, that have created opportunities for me, opportunities to learn, opportunities to fuck up, opportunities to grow, health space for me, taught me. And here I am now, I’m 48, and I have… I have a pretty amazing life. Now I’m learning to be comfortable with having an amazing life.

47:24 PA: It’s a tricky switch up, isn’t it?

47:27 DC: Everything is great. Nothing’s wrong. And, wow, that’s pretty cool. So I’m excited about everything. I’m excited professionally. I’m excited personally. There’s just so much ahead of me. There’s some movement work that I’m doing personally. And then, professionally, taking tools from that, and really, for myself, trying to create, build a bridge between myself and my clients so that I can really communicate to them what I’m learning, what I’ve learned, what I’ve experienced through my own journey, physically, in a way that I can offer them tools that they can take on to become more autonomous. When somebody comes to me with… Their knee hurts, they have a shoulder issue, I wanna help them with that immediate discomfort, but I also wanna give them an awareness that they too can start to work with that and perhaps create change in their bodies now and in the future, that when you have a pain, it’s not always catastrophic or bad, that it’s information, and that you can use that as something to draw your attention to what you’re doing or not doing in your life.

48:36 DC: I wanna be able to offer, and I’m working to create videos and written information to start to share these tools with my clients, and perhaps the larger world, where it will empower people in their bodies. That’s really what I wanna do. That’s what I’ve been given through teachers that I’ve worked with, through work that I’ve received. So I wanna pass that on, and I’m gonna do it in the way that I understand it. I’m articulating ideas that… I’m not creating or inventing anything. I’m simply pointing toward what I understand to be there within us, and saying, “Here’s a way to go to deeper places in your body. Here’s a way to explore pain as information, as a tool, as an opportunity for growth and change, to deepen awareness. Yeah, that’s a project I’ve been working on for a while, and then now it feels that it is beginning to happen in a more organized and immediate way.

49:39 PA: Beautiful. Well, Daragh, thank you. Thank you for…

49:42 DC: Thank you, Paul.

49:43 PA: The insight and the wisdom, all the great Rolfing. It’s been a… I’ve really appreciated your friendship and the lessons and the workshop that we did together, so I just… Yeah, I wanna express it was awesome to have you on the podcast and be able to chat about these things.

49:58 DC: Yeah, I gotta say that, when we met, it was really interesting to me how immediately engaged you were with the work. It’s not always… When we’re introduced to a new idea, very often, people need some time and coaxing and coaching to engage with it. And not only did you immediately engage with the Rolfings, we had this really collaborative experience where we could talk about what’s going on with you. And then your movement history, your goals, where you’re at now, and do some very direct… Create some direct change in your body, which is a collaboration. I’m not fixing. I’m not making this happen in people. I’m working with them to wake things up. And the fact that you were so ready to just dive in. And month-and-a-half after we met, we went to North Carolina and got to experience Fighting Monkey together in a workshop with Yusuf in Asheville for two days? Yeah, it was two days. It’s just really exciting that you were so open and willing to dive into this new area, seeing the value of it, in addition to all this other work that you’ve been doing.

51:04 DC: And that’s what I want with people, that… It’s exciting to have this relationship with you, where you’re so willing and open to try new things and build out your own personal formula for change and your own toolkit. And that’s what I’m trying to do. It’s so cool to be able to help you on that journey, and hopefully, we both get to continue this conversation together with other people in all of our various communities, so that we start to really communicate, not simply hand things off to each other or point toward each other, that we say how do we actually really create an integrated community to help each other realize our potential, and to be happy and whole and free in the world, physically, psychically, emotionally… Yeah, I’m really grateful for this opportunity, for your friendship and for this life. Thank you.

52:03 PA: Boom. Thank you, Daragh.

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