The Planting of a Seed
INTRODUCING THE CELLO AND CRANIOSACRAL THERAPY
1st Meeting with Dr. John Upledger
It all started right after I had a Christmas concert with the Boca Pops Orchestra in 1996 in Boca Raton, Florida. The conductor, Crafton Beck, had selected me to ”play” one of the vacuum cleaners in a Concerto for Four Vacuums, an old Boston Pops spoof and crowd pleaser piece. We were to have two performances. The other three vacuum performers were recruited stagehands. I was to emerge from out of the orchestra, after having already played several pieces from my proper cello section place, and become a Vacuum soloist. I must have made quite an impression, for Crafton to have the thought to introduce me to what has now become my new calling. No not Vacuum playing, but my of passion and growing of my new seed, Cello Tonal Vibration Sound Healing, now called “The Healing Cello”.
Craft called me after the last concert to say he had “a proposition for me”, “a one time favor”. I had no idea what he could be referring to, another Vacuum concert? Within thirty seconds thousands of possibilities crossed my mind. He wanted to know what my schedule was after the Christmas break and would call back then with more details. About a week later he called and told me about a doctor who he’d gone to when he first moved to Boca, eight months earlier, on recommendation from his doctor in Cincinnati. This doctor in Florida wanted to experiment with the sounds of the cello in combination with his therapy to see how the body responded.
A few days later, Craft picked me up from my apartment one morning and we drove to North Palm Beach to the doctor’s home. The second I met Dr. John Upledger I felt “in tune” so to speak with his manner. I sat on a high stool as Craft lay on a message table. Upledger went to his feet, I was guessing, to get a feel of the body’s energy flow. He then asked me to play a note. I started with an open G. The open G-string, if played with a feeling of weight, gives my heart a feeling of sinking. Dr. John felt an immediate response in Craft's body. That was the beginning; the handing of the seed had taken place.
We went through several tones but found that the open G was Crafts “note”, meaning the note his cells respond to readily. I also think it is Dr. John’s “note” as well. At the end of the session, about forty-five minutes, I said I would be interested to see if a woman responded differently, because of the difference in our voice range. I wondered, “Would my “note” be higher?” Dr. John said “Lets see” and put me on the massage table while Craft attempted to play my cello. We all had a good laugh at his well-intended attempt to switch gears from conductor to cellist. Finally we synchronized our energy and “Zap”! I felt the magic of the cello’s effect together with CranioSacral therapy. That was when I was convinced. Before that, I admit, I was a bit of a skeptic. I can’t now remember if we found my “note”, but my body did respond to certain vibrations more than others, some of which Dr. John felt and I couldn’t. It wouldn’t have surprised me if I also responded mostly to open G. It was just that kind of day.
At the end of the session, we were all excited with intrigue and Dr. John and I exchanged telephone numbers.
2nd Meeting - At the Upledger Institute
I called Dr. John when I had some free time in January of 1997. I was in the middle of a very busy performance schedule but knew I wanted to learn more about how the Cello’s vibrations intertwined with CranioSacral Therapy. We arranged for me to come to the intensive therapy unit of the Upledger Institute in Palm Beach around 12:30. When I arrived, I came to the back of the clinic on the 2nd floor to a large room. There were 5 or 6 massage tables each with a patient of various ages. Every patient had 1 or 2 therapists attending to him or her personally. They seemed to be holding very calmly different places of the bodies. For example one therapist might have one hand on the lower back while the other hand was opposite on the stomach. Another therapist would be holding the feet in a certain way. At this point all this had no meaning to me except that I was about to break the silence of this room with a continuous stream of Pure Cello Vibes.
I learned this was the 1st week of an intensive two-week care program for spinal cord injuries. Dr. John had brought the stool from his home and we rolled it to the first patient. He was a guy of probably 40ish who had been sleeping in the passenger seat when the car had gotten in a wreck. His body slid forward in the seat and the seat belt had choked him and broke his back spinal cord. Here I was about to play for a guy with a great sense of humor and a very Kentuckian accent who had never heard the cello before. In just the knowledge of a glance and a twinkle of the eye, Dr. John and I knew our good old’ stand by, the open G, would be our starting note. All at once, all the therapist faces and voices beamed with excitement as the open G filled the air. A thrill went through me as well as I felt the power of energy being sent from my hands to my cello and out to the therapist hands. I knew instantly that this was bigger than us or just a mere experiment.
Dr. John went around the room to ask what the response was on each patient to each tone I played. I would stay on one tone at a time for sometimes 2 or 3 minutes. We found that each patient responded differently to each tone. For example, a low open C might vibrate one patient’s spleen while another’s kidney would vibrate. It didn’t take long for us to see that each patient would have to be played to individually to receive the best treatment.
We moved into Dr. John’s office and one by one each patient came into the office with their own therapist. There were at least five therapists in the office. This included Dr. John, the head therapist of the intensive care program, and myself. They spent about 45 minutes on each patient. I started by playing one note, for what seemed like forever, without stopping. Slowly I would change to another note without a break between the note changes or without much of a playing break at all. But, as I took my breaks to relax my hand we found the hidden power in the silence. Patient’s tissues started to change with the sound and without: releasing, relaxing and finding a balance. In a sense, the ying and the yang of tones and silence, movement and stillness, was the approach to take.
It was during these sessions that I felt re-acknowledgment and reinforcement of the power of the individual. There is unquestionable power in the effects tones have on the mind and body, but we must also listen to the strength and patience that silence gives us, in order to find a balance to fully heal our souls.
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Cellist playing outside the box
Cello Centric Mindful Soundscapes, Meditations, Breathing with the Cello, and Mindful Sounds with Intentions. A classically-trained improviser