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What do women want? Grounding.

April 25, 2011

If what women want is grounding, then I want to know what it’s all about.

In early April, to investigate grounding — top to bottom and inside out — I went to Chicago to meet Everett Ogawa.

Everett is a masterful bodyworker. He’s been defining and developing the practice of Integral Bodywork for more than 20 years. He enables his clients, both women and men, to ground. How? By unlocking the power of hara.

Hara?

As Belly Queen — my professional designation — I’m on a mission to explore, celebrate, and share the mysteries of the body’s center, publicly praising this one-point as our umbilical connection to all creation. In the process, I’ve learned that hara is the Japanese word naming both the belly as the body’s center and the soul-qualities that have their source there. Qualities such as courage, integrity, endurance, maturity, effortless mastery, equanimity, compassion, intuition, creativity, presence.

The Japanese word hara is kin to English words such as gut and gutsy. Your “gut” is your body’s mid-section, yes. You show up as “gutsy” when you take a stand, speak your truth, keep going through struggle and uncertainty, sustain calm in the midst of chaos.

Japanese by DNA, Hawaiian by birth, and Naropa graduate by advanced degree, Everett has developed Integral Bodywork as he’s drawn upon his intensive training with, in particular, two teachers. One is William “Dub” Leigh, who himself trained directly with Ida Rolf and Moshe Feldenkrais. The other is Tanouye Tenshin Rotaishi, an eminent Zen teacher, a master of the art and science of cultivating hara. Everett acknowledges his eight months of incisive instruction and rigorous hara training with this Zen master as the most profound influence upon his life and work.

New World Library published my all-about-hara book, The Women’s Belly Book: Finding Your True Center for More Energy, Confidence, and Pleasure, in the spring of 2006. In July of that year, the Chicago Tribune printed a review of the book. A woman read the review and tossed the paper to her husband: “Here’s something that might interest you.” The man read the review, read the book, recommended the book to all his female clients. Then he emailed the author. That’s how Everett Ogawa and I connected.

Fast forward nearly five years and I’m in Chicago, on Everett’s bodywork table, receiving the first of three sessions in the ten-session series that constitutes Integral Bodywork.

Grounding, here I come.

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