Discussion #2585

Mary Bowen

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Learn more about the wonderful Mary Bowen from two people who have known her for over forty years. Gordon Thorne and Anne Woodhull are clients and friends of Mary and they share their thoughts on Mary and her practice and how much she has impacted their lives. They also discuss how her teaching has evolved and what they believe will be her legacy in the future.
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Apr 18, 2016
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Chapter 1

First Impressions of Mary

Hi everyone, it's Christy here and Elsa Gundo at our [inaudible] anytime main office. And I'm down here today because I have the wonderful opportunity to explore the wonderful Mary bone a little further and who better to do that then to people who have worked with her for 40 plus years, both in analytical and [inaudible] dimensions. Um, this is Gordon Thorn and Annie Woodhall. So welcome. Thank you. Thank you for being here. Happy to be here. Um, this all came about very quickly and as I was driving down here today, meaning in the last couple of days, I found out they were here. We tried to do this a year ago and, and it's very spontaneous in a way. And I thought how perfect because isn't that how Mary is?

And she did send a message to say, make sure to have fun and these are the right people to, to do that with and to feel free with. So I do. And um, I'll start. I want to know everything about her having 40 plus years. We got to get going. But I want to know everything that you're willing to share about your experience with her. And, um, mine is limited. Much of the [inaudible] community is limited, which is where we come from. I know there's much more to marry than PyLadies.

And I'm interested in hearing about that because it is obviously part of her work. Um, my personal experience with her has been profound. She's imprinted on me in just a few years. Um, a great influence. And I don't know that I could put it towards yet. I Bet I can. More so after speaking to you today. But, but it, there is this spontaneity, there's this realness to her. There's this depth, there's this humor and um, there's something in that that I believe from the Pilati side of things really does perfectly match the philosophy.

I don't know much about, uh, union union analysis. And I know that you've both worked with her in both capacities. I think. So I'll, I'll start with that. And also to tell you what she says about you. Cause I said, Mary, who are these, what do I do? What do I ask them? Um, and, and among other things, this was the first thing she said.

These are old souls, Christie. And yet as you meet them, you will meet too easygoing, unassuming, lovely people. A little bit later on in the email, she said that they are the journey that we've all been on together and she included herself for the last 40 or so years, um, has been a great adventure. And then she said you were both in it for the whole, I want to say the whole ride or the whole thing, you're in it for the whole thing. So I do want to know what that means. What do you think she means by that? That let's start there and then I'll take, I'll, we'll go way back the beginning. But what do you think Mary meant by they're in, they're on this journey for the whole thing or the whole ride? That's a good question. Yeah. Well, she also said you would try to pass it off.

I'll pass it back. But um, so it just, in many traditions, everybody's headed towards wholeness. So I think that's probably what she means. And so in, in Union and union analysis, you're trying to find out what is your strength, what is your weakness? And you're having to go deep down into whatever your weaknesses and uh, mess around in their suffering there, make mistakes there. And the, the work with the dream really makes sure you're completely honest about that. So it's years and years of that deep work where you're going down into the unknown and coming up with all kinds of things.

And you know, for instance, I didn't know, I wasn't looking for a Mary Bowen, I wasn't looking for plays. I wasn't looking for anything that I'm actually doing now. It really feels like it's all come from that, um, journey into myself. And so I think she means when you do that work, you, you, you're not skipping over things. Your, you're really having to grapple with the deepest, darkest things. To what end, I guess, your, your, your wholeness.

So I would say none of server finished. It's not as though at a certain moment I'm going to say, okay, now, now I'm hall now. But just if I think about my own life, there's a kind of authenticity to the things that I've done, which I'm only, I am the judge of that really. But, um, I was never really trained for anything in a formal way that I'm actually doing just, yeah. It's just all been a kind of discovery and I study along the way like [inaudible] or the body or poetry or, and I work with children, but um, it's really kind of all come from inside. And so the end for me is what is the quality of my life? What's the quality of my interactions?

How do I feel satisfaction about what I'm doing and, and how I express myself. Yeah. Is that, that's wonderful. Yeah. I, it's leading to more questions, but I want to hear what Gordon would say too, if you have anything to add. Yeah, I mean, I, I think for it life, you know, evolution doesn't stop. And I think it, it, it doesn't stop with the individual that you, I think if you're in it for the long run, you're not looking for a quick cure to something or a quick answer to something. You're, you're, you're engaged in the process of unfolding, which is constantly going on for the whole, however long it is till you check out. And, um, I think that's been one of the, you know, as Annie said, that we're, we're not the people we thought we would be, um, when we started this. I mean, you know, just because, I mean, I always think of it as following my life rather than trying to, uh, um, you know, live a program. Um, it, it just, one thing would, we've led each other, I think all of us in into new territory. I mean, Mary's led us into new territory. I think we've, um, you know, we've dragged her up to North Hampton from Connecticut and, and, um, and it's opened up people and opportunities for her. And you mean inside too, don't you? Absolutely. I mean they're all just all part of the same thing. I mean really, and, and most, most of the outer things open up because of inner things. And so, yeah, but it's just constantly unfolding and, and I think that's where, why it isn't life just gets more interesting. Um, as you unfold, I'm very interested in the subject, so I'm, I'm going to come back, but I, this is a great umbrella for some of the basic questions I have. Um, can you take me back 40 years or if you know the year, what year was it? How did you meet Mary and what took you to her?

Not Ultimately, but in that instance. So it was 1971 and I was newly in new haven, Connecticut. And um, I just, I didn't have enough to do and I was kind of like, were you married yet? No, we weren't. We were both with other people with other people don't, how much are we going to get? Go into that however you, but anyway, if it matters, talk about it. If it doesn't. So I was, they're newly married and quite kind of lost. And I looked in this local little paper. And so yoga call, six, six, three, two one, one one I think snow that year. And so I called it and there's this incredible voice, Mary's voice, you know, gigantic voice. It's kind of terrifying. And, but I went, had you done yoga before? I'd never done yoga. Yeah. So, um, she had an amazing house with incredible lots of cats and is very formal, rigorous yoga. And um, I went once and this one to one? Yeah, one to one. Okay. I didn't know if I ever wanted to go back. It was really, she's so large. Pretty. It was scary.

Yeah. Lovely way. Yeah. If you're up it. Yep. And then little by little I'm, you know, she really, if I would call and say, well, I don't think I'm going to come, you know, she said, well, why don't you come? Anyway. So I really kept going and it quickly developed into, you know, I was devoted to it and then I started having difficulties with different things and then, you know, we'd talk about that. And then she said at one point, we, you should really bring in a dream. But she wasn't an analyst. She wasn't, I think this was, I ha we have to check this out, but thought she went into practice in her sixties or later. No, no. Yeah, I got that wrong. So, um, so then she said, bring in a dreams that I'm taking in a dream. And it was really amazing and I, I kind of took to that cause I'm very intuitive and so I just sort of lapped it up. And then, um, and so then sometimes I bring a dream and sometimes we just do yoga and then sometimes we would just chat. And then, um, one day I went and I was crying and I said, well, what are you, are you, are you a therapist? Are you a yoga teacher? You my friend? And she said, I'm all three. And so that was a big beginning.

And then I started telling friends about it and then my friends started going. And then, um, Gordy's first wife was a friend of mine, so they started coming and then she got Gordy to come. And so I'm pretty sure that was the beginning of, you know, of her practice. I should have asked her, but I think now that I'm thinking maybe she started practicing, um, she was already doing her [inaudible] but in 65 that might be where you have that number in my head. But what was your first impression of her? Outside of the voice? Yeah. Um, her body. I really remember her body and her stance and her carriage and her authority and then along with it was this incredible sense of humor.

So I think that was what I first felt the authority and the, the, you know, if I'm sort of picturing it right now, like tall authority and confidence and, and it was a, it was a quality that I'd never seen before. There was something else going on that I really did not know what it was and a lot of power. It sounds that I would've been a good match to what you were. Yeah, exactly. Exactly. And then, um, more of the humor, more of the sides came in, more of the silliness, more of the, um, so that it, it became not terrifying. But, um, I guess that's my beginning way of seeing her. Yeah. Thank you, sir. Your wife taught yoga to no, and, um, um, and, but very shortly after that, it was, I, I, I w I'm a painter basically in a working in the studio and working with images a lot and, and, um, uh, was in a, in a time in my own work where I was struggling with things and, and, um, so the, having somebody that, that, that would, could look at dream images, um, without, uh, with, uh, could understand the context of a dream in terms of where it fits in, in, in the individual, but also in the larger context of, of, of imagery. And mythology was just fascinating to me. I mean, it was, I was, I was curious, fascinated by it. And so began to see Mary, um, analytically basically. And, and I didn't know anything about analysis or what that was about. Um, and, um, didn't know about young, um, but was fascinated by the work, which was, um, most mostly learning to understand what some of these images were that I was having and, and seen. And, um, and you know, I hadn't even remembered dreams, although I knew I was dreaming. But the minute I started work with Mary that I, you know, I would remember that I was just keeping a steady stream of images and, and so that was really the beginning of, of, of, uh, an increasingly deeper involvement in that imagery and, and, and, uh, where it was leading me.

Did you continue with the physical practice of Yoga with her? Yes, I did. They were, they were separate, but there were, I'd always been, I'd always been very lucky in my body that I hadn't, I, I was coordinated. I could do things I never had a problem with, with, uh, with sports or any kinds of things like that. So I just took my body for advice for granted, basically. And, and, um, but, um, I realized I flexibility was something that I, that I was, I just felt like I'd see dancers. I was working with some dancers and stuff at that time and I'd see the flexibility that dancers had. And I thought, you know, I wonder if I can do that. And, um, so the, I was really amazed by just the beginning of some of the yoga things, just how, how the body could actually find itself able to move into some of these things. So, so I was fascinated by that too, but it was, um, um, sort of a parallel stream.

They weren't, they weren't too, was she doing Pele's here in Connecticut yet? So she had, um, she had, uh, the Cadillac is the back and forth, the, that's the reformer. The reformer. Okay. The Cadillac with just the skywalk as the, yeah, so she had one of those in her basement. So she and I would go down in the basement and do things, hang upside down and you know, and then she got a couple of other things. She working in New York. So while she was still working in New York. Yeah, absolutely. She was going to the, once she go into Sydney, studied yoga and then from there it went to pilates.

And so pretty soon on after Yoga I was augmenting it with bodies. Yeah, that was the question. Yes. Okay. I was, and it was down in the basement and spiderwebs. And you went down these rickety stairs and, and use that machine. Yeah, it was really, what did you think of that? I mean now in now you've had, had you done some analysis with her at this point? We'll, it was kind of all mushed in my mind about what's which, which came, which, but um, but it was different from yoga. It was different from Yoga, but um, but it was, it was great. It was amazing. Yeah. Did she talk much about why she was doing that as opposed to yoga on a certain, any given day or did she explain? I think that as, as, I don't remember exactly, but I do remember her saying that [inaudible] was much better.

You know that it really, that it, it helped you stay in alignment better. That there was a structure to it, which was better. You could overstretch. I remember that cause I, I'm pretty flexible and she would say, you can't, you can overstretch with Yoga. So it felt like the, um, I'll never forget that beginning with yoga and I still do yoga, but um, there's something that [inaudible] that um, has saved me in so many ways, many times and her way of teaching. It was a nice blend. It went into there. Yeah. Did you ever, so I guess wanting to know Mary Mary has worked with so many key people in Pele's for long periods of time and I'm just curious if, if she herself in teaching or in an analysis, you're saying a little bit of a blend and it sounds like yours were parallel tracks and separate. Did you get a sense of, um, her, I got [inaudible] the word I'm coming up with this itemizing, but I, I mean, was it yoga if you're doing yoga a lot is if you're doing philosophies analysis, if you're doing analysis or did she have a stance on that?

Um, I don't think she had a stance on it. I think she's all same for me. I mean, I don't feel like, um, she was making that separation at all and, and, but yeah, I mean I, I would sort of differently cause I didn't really get in engaged with per se until, um, until I actually injured myself and, and, um, uh, was, um, uh, had a back injury that was kind of mysterious, but it really laid me low and started working in the gym that was in the, that she created in the building. We were, we were in and, um, worked for two years in there with a series of people and, and, and got to really fully appreciate what that form of work can do in terms of, of really building up the strength, the core strength again. And so yeah, I was scared to do a lot of things for a year and a half until, and I, I completely credit [inaudible] for that. Both of you sound, um, I may be projecting here, but both of you sound like you went, you found Marriott vulnerable times or tough times on some level, um, and your case then you had the injury. Um, why did you trust her? Why, what made you stay with her? You know, I mean that's sounds like big life changes were in the midst or maybe, um, why her? Sure.

Why do we trust you? I have no idea because Mary's had, so there's certain people you just feel that you know, you and, and to a greater or lesser degree. But I mean, I think, um, uh, yeah, you just, I think we each in our own way, it's just felt that we felt she felt this is the real thing. Yes. Well also, um, it's, it's something about the soul have to say and intuition. So I think you're, you're recognizing something and yeah. Not to go for into past lives or whatever, but it cause that sort of has so many cheap associations I think. But I do feel like there's a recognition there was a recognition. Is that the same thing as saying, knowing yes. Okay. Yeah. Yeah.

Like knowing something about that person. And I found that I had that feeling about other people too in my life. You probably have as well. Um, and this was one of those, okay. Mary was totally, significantly one of those. Did either of you or both of you know that you were going to journey to the inward or was that always a goal? Never. Yeah. I mean I had no, I was thinking of it, but the, you know, what I was interested sort of in the occult or in Magic.

I remember that. And then, um, and then the Mary thing came along and then there was so much to it. I mean I was reading, Oh and I was interested in native American, um, you know, mystical teachings and everything. And then getting from, from from magic a cult, two native Americans, two young, young, his writing was so clear. So you started meeting it. Yes, yes. About these things that I was thinking about or intuiting and um, when I would have a dream I would do and Gordon and I both would do this. A lot of research. If you have a dream about an elephant, you know, I go, there was a time in our life, we had time, more time for doing things like that.

And you just sort of go down the path of well, what is an elephant and what is an elephant in lore or what's an elephant somewhere. So, um, it became part study too. Well it's one of the things that brought us together. I mean it was, I mean there is a sort of magical moment when that happened because we were both married, we were living in the same community. We knew each other. And there was nothing in my thinking that said, I'm going to fall in love with this person and I'm going to get divorced in a year. And um, and yeah, that's what happened. And, and, um, there was, uh, there were just so many threads between us that we, that that became apparent. And, and, and, and I think it was then that we were both free to kind of really live the lives we were in a sense destined to live, you know, individually and, and all but also together. And, uh, and it would have an, I mean, I don't think that would have been, we were talking about that I don't think it would've happened without Mary in our lives. And, and, and she, she did not orchestrate that process and did not, um, um, you know, take sides in it. Uh, but it, it was because of the vocabulary and the understanding we were, we both were getting of ourselves and what our life meant that I think made that have made that happen. Certainly made that happen from a, sounds like she facilitated a bit of a wake up to what you were meant to do anyway. Yeah. Yeah. It's more than that. I mean, you know, and so it was her interpreting the dreams, helping us understand and interpret. I'll give you a quick example, which is, I just sort of love this, but, um, eh, and, and, and I was, it was teaching at a school where my kids were and, and, um, I would, um, walk my kids out to school in the morning and drop them off and I'd see and we'd talk and stuff like that. And one morning, and he gave me an envelope that had an al feather in it and a note, and she'd had a dream about that had to do with me, but this al feather. And I just, it just, it's like some door opened in me and I went, walked into town into my studio and the minute I walked in the door in the studio on the phone rang and my wife was on the line. She said, the furnish just blew up. And, um, and I said, of course, and I w and I walked home, you know, and, and turn off the furnace, turn it off.

But it, those kinds of things are a part of the process too. Acknowledging them or relating them. In other words, I just made a big leap by the internal furnace blew up is what I messed. Okay. Okay. Just making sure. And, and the, you know, the, the, that's one of the things that makes life more and more interesting as you uncover those processes that sometimes pop up. Are they processes are truths. Well, they're, they happen.

There are truths in that sense, you know, I mean, but you, you know, you, some people, I mean, if you accept them as truth, life is much more interesting than if you don't accept them. And, and so I often wonder why people want to not accept those things. Uh, or you know, a lot had to happen after that. It sounds like, you know, marriages while you know, there's one mean put, it all happened. Very hard stuff. Yeah. It was not easy, but it was, um, but it, um, it's, we, yeah, yeah. It's just where life went.

Chapter 2

How Mary's Teaching Has Changed

This is going to be a, it's not a non-sequitur, I don't think, but I'm imagining Mary at the PMA 2015, you know, and it's, it's a very different experience that other people are having of her.

So I'm s now I'm going back to where we were just at, but I'm trying to see, did first of all, did she relate with everyone the way she was relating with you or were you too just relating back so that she could take you all three further into that? Does that make sense? Okay. So that's the first part. Yeah. I would, I think she completely takes each client person where they are and responds with everything she's got to them. So I really feel that I do not, no matter what, no matter what it is, no matter what. Yeah. That's, I don't think we were singled out by her and I don't think, yeah. Do you think everyone, the people that we're working with are worse in similar, um, response? No. Okay. I don't think, I don't think a lot of people [inaudible] that would make more sense, but I don't know. Yeah. Yeah. I don't, I don't know about that cause I can't, I think I still think she responds to person with everything. But I just mean that the risk-free protect client, do they, are there is everyone journeying inward or some people getting the yoga and some people getting the plotting? Oh yes, I see. Um, at that time I'm wanting to know how if she, if her teaching has changed and that, that is the next question is how has she changed and because you're still seeing her. Yes. Yeah. You still live in the same area. Yup. Okay.

So it's a big jump, but can you say, has she changed her teaching and I am sure she herself has to some degree, but her teaching, has it changed since 1971 or two two now for you? Or have you seen it change just in general? She knows so much more now. She just, I mean, I, it, it absolutely, I mean, I don't know, you know, firsthand because I haven't worked directly with her. Um, um, really the way you have and, and uh, but, but she's, there's a lot of mileage between 71 and now. Okay. So tell me about the physical part, like if you can, if there is a difference, if she teaches the actual exercises any differently.

Does she incorporate more of the dream type scenarios into her teaching? Um, probably with you, but can you tell if she's changed? Yeah. Yes. I think she's probably more efficient. She gets to the heart of it like yes. Right. And she, I think she's very intuitive. Yeah.

So she can figure, you know, she senses what is up with you and on both levels, the physical and the inner, I think. And so I feel like she's just like spot on and she's, why waste any time at 86 does tell the person I think she's probably, you know, much more, much more confident to be the outrageous person that she is. And so, so many things come to bear on a session, you know, I think there's probably, um, yes, I'm sure there's change. I, I never felt dissatisfied in those early years and I completely feel satisfied now. But yes, I think there's, there's just more of her more available. She's not shrinking. [inaudible] and a lot of it's about, yeah, a lot of it for her is about unlocking the things that are locked, you know, and that she's struggled with a series of things in her life that are just won't let go. And, and I'm breathing certain things and, and, uh, a lot of her work now it feels to me is, is she's finding ways still to go deeper inside herself to find the things that, that unlock those places that are Stockstill. What do you think motivates her for that? Do you have any sense, why wouldn't you want to do that? I know. Give me, you know, what makes us or her, why are you for that matter? But you know, it's, it's been a lifelong process for her, including her younger years. If you look at her biography. Um, but what I say is, why wouldn't people do that? I mean, and, and, and, and it's not easy. I mean, it doesn't make life easier necessarily, but it makes life so much more interesting that, that that's, I mean in Moran I talk about that sometimes is how do, how do people get up in the morning if they don't see these connections?

You know, why would you get up? Why not just check out, you know? Yeah. Do you, do either of you have a sense of that you can share of what she has is still locked on or her body's just clamp down. You know, it's jaw is, that's the normal state of her body is to be in, in contraction. And so every day and every, you know, every minute she's trying to open and open and open. And when earlier you said, why does she do it? I think she really thinks it's a creative journey. You know, she goes in herself and she'll be in a machine and she'll go and she just finds more and more and more and it opens more and more and more. And then, I don't know, I don't think it stays permanently open. You Chair, we have used Romex and again, experience of what it's like when it does. Yeah. You know, and so, you know, it's possible.

And then, but I think she does it. I think there's a tremendous reward. Not only is that part of the buddy open, but it's more conscious. She's more conscious of that place in there. That's, and then also it's creative. It's pleasurable to get down there and find that place. And she, what I, I was thinking that I, you know, I've had lots of body issues and, um, sometimes Mary's not around or something.

So I go to a physical therapist and it doesn't work and, or I go do something else and it doesn't work or it partly works. But I realizing I, I'd come back to Mary because she has spent so much time doing this deep investigation of so many parts of her body that I can ask her about the knee and she'll have all these ideas because she's, she's kind of done it herself. She's done a lot of healing of different issues for herself. So she has her own authority. That's just coming from a creative adventure.

Both the creativity. I think that seems very important. I haven't really thought of that before, but now that you're saying it I, I can see that. But I'm wondering if you, um, is, is, she's very funny. She's hysterical and quick. Just like you said, she can get right to the heart of it where you actually can't believe she just said what she did and it almost cuts to the bone in like a, and then it's hysterical when you realize what's actually happening. And I'm wondering if the humor is part of the creativity or if it allows her to be, what is the humor part? Cause I feel like in the biography when she talked to me, it was a defense on some level and she was, she's definitely outgoing and act two and act and sing and all that. But I wonder if that helps her get go deeper inward if is it or helps us all be okay with it. I'm not sure. It's just something, she's so funny and so smart and I don't know if it's a defense or if it's just letting us all focus on that. So then she can really show you more.

I don't think it's a defense. Okay. Yeah, no, it's a bit, I think you're right. I think it is, it's a pathway in for her to that. I mean, it's like a yawning for her. I mean, she's really big on the yarns now and it's, it's a way to, to let something go that then, you know, make something else possible. I think for her it's a nice thing. I will go back to the yawning thing. Not thing, but the, that she's focused a lot on it at big conferences and like in Yawn just by looking at Mary. No, it's a reaction to it. Well, just, I can, she's made it so accessible. Um, tell me why it's important that, because I think sometimes people go and take this workshop and they're thinking they're going to do polarities and they're yawning. Yeah. And you know, and so I'm wanting to bridge some of her actual power. So why is that? You can now you're on easily and you're happy if you can bring your, if you can bring yourself to a yawn, you, you, you can only do that if something's relaxed in you. You have to, you have to, and then when you young, the next thing you're going to say is gonna just come out of you.

You know, it, it, it, I, I don't know why, but she's, I mean, I, but now if we're in a session or something, she'll sit there and she'll say, you know, and then I was in and I was kind of young and the minute she says that, I just yawn. I mean, I just, I find it just amazing. She says that to me and I completely cramp up. Yeah. That's what that stuff means. I have to admit I need it or something. It's like, don't cough, you know, on the minute, like what John? Well, it's worth, it's worth, I believe it. I think it's, yeah, it's, it's what you say, it's gotta be a version of letting go. Even to be able to, I guess, say the next thing or actually relax.

I think it's probably like a core, it's it if you're, if lot is, is, you know, you're thinking about the core when you're doing everything or you're thinking about everything when you're doing everything, which is a tall order. Yes. And, um, but what a discipline, what an incredible thing to at least attempt to, to do in your daily life. But I think the yawn really accompanies that if, if out people need to think about it, cause I'm a real young convert and I go deeper into positions, I, you know, you can go deeper and deeper into whatever you're trying to accomplish physically by yawning and that's really incorporated into her. How does sessions, how did you learn to do it? I would, I, in the beginning, I, um, selfishly she asks, I clamped up to, okay, yeah, I really did. You know, she would be there yawning and it would make me just not young. So one time I had the courage, the same America do not yawn because I can't, I can't find it. I can't find it. So I, I had to kind of go into the dark room and start trying to yawn by myself. Yeah. Breathing gets you there. Yeah. But then she has all these tricks now, like inhaling through a straw and, and she's got some things to try that help bring on the on.

Yeah. So that's a very specific [inaudible] yeah. I loved it, but I didn't, I wouldn't have been able to explain it that way. Yeah. Certainly. Cause I couldn't even feel it. Yeah. At the time I took it and I, I understand that intellectually, but not, that was really nice thing. I mean, that's one of the, that's one of the things about [inaudible] Mary's endless research on herself is finding these places like that, something as simple as a yawn and, um, and then staying with it, you know, just say, well, let's see what this will do. What if I do it this way? What if I do it that way? And just constantly explore and all the time and then, you know, so now trying to figure out, so how do you, how do you bring that exploration into this? You know, that's, I mean, she, I think she's doing a good job, but it's, I know it can't be easy because just the business, you know, just because people want to know when to inhale and when to exhale and yes, why this and why that. And did Joe ever do that? Yeah.

So she's up against a lot too to bring in the whole person into teaching I think. And um, and our culture is very much that way. I agree. You know, it's not, it's not, um, it's not going to let go that easily. And, and that's again, I think that's why these things like humor and, and just, uh, you know, the outrageous behavior in a way, you know, can break through some of that. And I think, I mean she was saying, I think from when she was in Japan that she was concerned about that because knowing that the Japanese often are very held back from, from those kinds of, you know, physical engagements and, and that she just went right in there apparently and just said she found it, you know, one of her, I think most amazing experiences was working in these, you know,

Chapter 3

Bringing Jungian Psychoanalysis to Pilates

has she ever expressed frustration for, um, I don't know any version of teaching, sort of in the [inaudible] community has it ever, I've never heard her say anything, but I'm always on the receiving end of a workshop in the [inaudible] community. So I'm just curious if she's ever, is it a, is this fight for her too, to make sure she stays herself? I mean within and shows everyone or, or do you have any sense of that? I think that's pretty natural to her. Okay. I really do. I don't, I haven't heard [inaudible]. I think she just probably wouldn't do it if she didn't feel free. Okay.

You know, she had some freedom and that she was engaged by something, but she, she's really described it. Sometimes she gets engaged by each individual. Yeah. She really does. Um, that part that's really ocracy of the whole thing that gets hard for her. It's just in the infighting and the different stuff, you know, just, it just, yeah. But I mean that comes with the process. I guess that when she, the first time she came, well, the only time she actually came to [inaudible] anytime. Um, yeah, w she, she was very hardworking. Right. And so, well for one, the four suitcases that, that was, um, effortful just for the two of us for three days. But that's not the story.

The story is she'd worked very hard and we, we wanted to be together just outside of work and both of us were exhausted, but I was not going to let her know because I'm her host and it's her first and she's married Bowen and, and I'm walking up the flight of stairs to our hotel room to we're gonna, we decided we're going to eat in the room. We're not going to go out. So we've gone that far and I walk in and she says, let's just take a nap. And we did. I got on the bed with her, we took a nap and that was it. And then I went home. It was so wonderful because I can't yawn. I was not going to let her know. And she said, we need a nap.

And I was like, okay. And within minutes we were asleep on her bed. It was for me. That was like, she just taught me a huge lesson. It exactly what I needed. It was what she needed. She wasn't afraid to say it like Iowa and, and it was awesome.

That's one of my, yeah. Yeah. I'm not sure if Joseph believed Joseph. A lot is believe this, but I, if it's close and it's certainly something I've believed that the body is a physical manifestation of consciousness or of, um, what is going on inside. And that's about the extent that I can take it. But I'm curious if that it plays a role in those sessions with Mary. If Union analysis comes into play, if I hurt my shoulder, for example, um, is there any aspect I can personally analyze, you know, oh, well I'm carrying too much, you know, psychologically where does the psyche come in, in the physical aspect of, in your opinion, but also in your sessions. So for me, um, it to talk about type, should I talk about that? Okay. So, um, I'm an intuitive type that means then I'm an introvert. Yes. Union analysis.

Yep. So I'm an, I'm an intuitive and an introverted person and so the opposite for me is to be extroverted and to go into the body or to become more sensate. Intuition is sort of boundless and not, um, you know, you can go any which way into the future of the past or, or, um, sort of go into other people and have a sense of things. Um, you might not balance your checkbook very well, you know, um, and you're not kind of in your body. I mean, I didn't know what my body was for the longest time. It's the idea that you balance it with yes. Yeah. You really balanced it with the opposite. So for me as an intuitive, I have to go into my body all the time and find it. And so, oh, I've found it so much more now. So I do know I have a body now, but, um, but it's, it's always a journey. So there's that assumption when I'm doing a plays a session with Mary and you know, there will be, oh my gosh, there's another part of the body that you don't know about, you know, you haven't connected with, so you can yawn and Yada Yada and kind of get to the ankle or the little toe.

Um, you know, the yawning is quite a tool for the intuitive that can't quite figure it out. And, um, and, and, and there's, again, there's that assumption that this is what I, this is the most important work for me to really find out what's going on for my body and really go on the journey of it. And it sort of connects with that other Mary's, that same type. She's just an extrovert to start with. And so, you know, we, we can share a lot about the difficulty of, of doing it, but I feel like all the injuries or problems I've had, just my, just my psyche saying you have to learn about every part of the body. And I think the only, you know, maybe the only way for me is to have it hurt or something.

Otherwise I'm just happy to ignore the whole thing. But the hurt you think still relates to the part of the body, not necessarily something else. Yes. Yeah. Yeah. And it makes me have to go in there. It makes me have to understand more. And, and basically this sort of push towards wholeness is how do you make it, it's interesting with Joseph Pilati said, but for me, I think my task is how to make my entire body conscious of itself and for me to be conscious of it. Okay. Does that make any sense? I mean, it does. I don't know that I can verbalize it back, but I want to try one piece. Okay. When you say you've got a, so your foot or your ankles injured and you've got to, the psyche is telling you you need to learn more about that part of your body.

Do you mean tendons, muscle, bone? When you say that or do you mean you do, okay. You're making yourself conscious of it and how to move it and how to um, wait, how to take action, how to wait, how to pause, how to have the, the right alignment, you know, what do I need to know about that whole area? Do you even how it looks or how it's functional. I can go there. Yeah, I can let it go there. Well, you can, right, exactly. But if you don't, I guess what I'm wondering is is the point then to transfer it outside to the rest of the world or is it just simply not simply, but is it just to become conscious of how it works, how it is, what it is or are you using that as a metaphor for living in other word? Does that make sense? Yeah. So, so for me, I'll just do an example. So if I, if I have an injury, um, in my ankle, I don't, and I discover something and I fix it, heal it, or it gets better.

It's not as though I feel that's my job to teach the world about that. No. You know, it's that, that, that means I'm more integrated in my mind. I'm more integrated in my body and probably that integration for me to be more integrated in my body makes me more intact. And maybe I'm better at doing the things that I do. And in that way, maybe I am better at relating to you or Gordy, but it's not child I'm working with. Sorry. You know? Yeah. It's not necessarily, oh, I'm leaning to the right so much and I really should find more balance in my life, or I'm, or I'm, you know what I'm saying?

Okay. That's a, the storytelling. Yeah. I mean, and that's a, it's, it's, uh, it's, it's, what is it? Is it, it's subtler than that somewhere. You know? It's, it's on more unspoken. Okay. That relationship, you know, where they're, those things or whether you, I mean, whether you're conscious of it or not, those things are happening, you know. How conscious do you think you have to be for it to make a difference in your life? It's a good question. Yeah.

I'm not sure I know how to answer for anybody, but, um, um, I mean, it's happening anyway. Well that, you know, it, it, I, I, it's interesting, I had an experience with my father that way that I thought he, he, he had these very magical things happen to them and, and you know, and he had no awareness that of these things he had. He had an amazing moment that happened when he was up in Greenland, sailing with a friend and they came into this harbor and the fog and this fishermen rode out of the fog holding up a Norwell Tusk, like a Unicorn Horn. Like this, just out of the fog, this incredible image came up. And my f my father's first thing when he got to the boat was how much is that, you know? And, and that, you know, asking him about that story, he, he could not see further than the idea that this was a Norwell trust and he was able to buy it. And we actually have that now. Wow. For me, that, that was one of those mythic moments in life that if that if he'd allowed himself to just even just talk about what that experience was like, it would've changed his life in some ways. But he was somebody who would not go there and he, and because he couldn't go there, I think it, it severely limited his fascination with life on some level, you know? So it goes back to how you started by saying the more you dig deeper, you go the more like Christine. Yeah.

And so it, it, you know, I, yeah, it was hard because there were, there were sort of fewer and it limited the conversations and, and later life. What part does Mary have in you recognizing this? Or is it just wisdom that you allowed out or did what? Did Mary have anything to do with you finding your own way to appreciate things like that? Well, I think the working with Mary and working with a dream certainly fed into that, but my, I was born with that somewhere, that curiosity and that, uh, and my painting comes very much from that. And, and um, so she understood understanding that it was a, that was just one of the, um, she really understands working with creative people.

I think she understands where people's imagery is coming from. And that's, for me, that was a big plus. And so I, I was fascinated in what she knew and, and she was interested in some of the things I was doing. So that was just something we could really share. It was great. Yeah. She said something, I'm not quoting her directly, but it's close, was creative. Creativity is everything in that same email that she sent was, was everything for her. And, um, I read something recently just about how creativity is directly related to satisfaction of life. So I don't know if it's fascination with life, but yeah. Um, I, it makes sense to me.

Yeah. And she, you know, she, she sees it in the broadest sense. I mean, she sees it in everybody. She, I mean, it's not, it's not artist. It's not, it's not the, it's not the, the, you know, it's, it's everybody's got it and it's, I think that's what she's looking for. Uh, and getting, getting people in touch with that part of themselves too, to be able to imagine something beyond where they are at the moment. You know, [inaudible] you may have just answered this,

Chapter 4

Mary's Legacy

but I'm going to push you a little further with it. Um, for people out, what do you think Mary would want people to know about her now? She's got a pretty big stage in the [inaudible] community, but just in general, if anybody can, what do you, what do you, knowing her so well, what do you think she would want people to know about her now? And the next part of that of course, will be when she's, it's, it's her legacy, but what do you think she wishes her legacy would be if they're different? I'd say the, you know, the importance of the relationship between the body and the psyche.

And maybe just, maybe, I wonder if you take a poll, and I would imagine the psyche is not as known as the body, you know? And so I would think she would want the psyche to be involved in how people view the body or, or, or how people view themselves and what existence is. We have a body and we're hanging around here, but um, there's another level to our existence. Do you think she'd want to be known for trying to express that throughout her life or I wants to be known for being herself. Hm. I don't. Yeah. And I, and, and I feel like she wants you to be yourself.

So maybe she'd want to be known for that encouragement. You know, I want you to be yourself. I want you to do the hard work of knowing how to be yourself. Um, and here are some things. Yeah. Yeah. But I think at this point she, you know, she is particularly interested in the legacy part. I mean, because she knows she's getting to the end of her life. And, and I think that's one of the reasons we're here, I think is, is, and we've talked about that and I'm curious about it with Mary. So what does it, what, how do you, how do you leave this? Right? You know, and do you, do you think about that?

And I mean, is there a book? Is there a, you know, and, and it's, it's hard because so much of I think who Mary is is really left with the people she's worked with. You know, they carry that on. And, and maybe that's the way it really is. And, um, how will you carry her on? How do I, how will you, um, well I would not be who I am and without, without her. So I mean, I think it's this thing of [inaudible], you know, it's, it's, I think ideally what you want to be able to do, what I would want to be able to do is, is speak from Mary, not about her. You know, that it's, it's, it's that I carry, I carry so much that I've learned from, from her, but I mean, it's fun to sit here and talk about her, but it's also, um, uh, I mean the way I see the world, um, it is very much framed by 40 years of having her in my life. No question. Yeah. That's a pretty good legacy. Yeah. So, you know, you think young had all had to do, he had, he had an inner demon and he had to write all that out, all that experience, all that inner experience he had and the books are, are extraordinary.

And then there's his red book where he had to paint and do all his visions and he had to make sense of so much because there wasn't language for it. Yeah. It's not as though he made that stuff up, that those forces and those elements existed and he had to figure out how to describe it to people. And so that was his legacy. You know, he, and there's all these other layers to his legacy. But, so now this generation for Mary, so influenced by young and, and his teaching and how that formulated her, it, it's so interesting to think of, well, what is the legacy of that? How does that get passed on? She's not, I do think it's individual by individual and then some of her talks to large bodies of people. Um, it's, it's, and then that fans out in it's way. So I don't, I don't know the form. I feel, I, I feel like, I don't know if there's another thing to do and if this will do it, you know, or whatever, or, or be a part. But, um, I, I feel like there's been a lot of power in and gift in, in the individual work and who knows, knows how much we're supposed to. Yeah. I mean, it's, it's, you know, these things are so interesting where it really is when saw the frank Gary, um, exhibited at LACMA and, and there's a, a film made of him interviewing him and talking about projects and [inaudible] and it was riveting. It was, it was, it was amazing. And you think, well, yeah, yeah, that's, you know, you get a real sense of something from, from, from that film. And it was just the way it was made. It was made with handheld cameras and, and um, but uh, it, it just, it's interesting just having seen that thinking, yeah, this is a vehicle. It really, this is a vehicle for passing on something.

Yeah, I hope so. Um, it's, it's, it's, that's what we're trying for, but I think, I think she's a great vehicle for passing it on. And just by example, um, some of us may never go deeper into union analysis or, or even have the desire to, but um, too, there's something about Mary, you know, is sort of a yes, there's something about Mary, you know, and it's of course a movie title that, um, which this instantly works perfectly because it's so perfect, right? Yes. But, but there is something about Mary and you know, you can, you can easily, not easily, but you can first go, what? Cause it doesn't quite fit the mold for the community that this may reach first. Right. And then, and then you find yourself going further and going further. And, or I hope they hope people do and cause I think she, she herself is, um, a vehicle for handing down what it is to be as whole as one can be. Um, or maybe not as one can be, but the act of trying the act of continually becoming more of who you are at 86 standing up on tables, you know, showing off for cat knee socks, um, in Korea, um, I mean that alone, but, but it's more than that.

It's the way she can have the conversation with you and go straight to the heart of you and, and there's, there's not a sense of needing to back up. Um, but all of a sudden you're being yourself by being with her, I think. And so for me, if you'd never get to meet her, find everything you can about her in visual form and, or people that she worked with. So for me, that's the best I can do. I think, uh, for now, for anyone thinks of something else, let's do it because it's, it's, I think it's part of overall point, you know, including Palabra is, and that's where I have to, I come from as my container, right. It's not necessarily where I stay, but it's my container. Yeah. It's, and it makes sense to me that if you can get in your body and you can explore yourself, you can become more of yourself however it happens.

But she's doing that with a really, really powerful way, certainly by testimonial and, and just if you get the chance to be with her, you can feel that. And so I, I hope that for everyone and I hope that somehow we can all carry that on for her just or continue to become more of our own selves, like you said. [inaudible] yeah. Yeah. I mean, I think that the f the, just the way she teaches and the way she interacts with, you know, people, elderly people and young people. And um, it's back when the studio was in, um, over main street, no, I, and, and so there was a memory there. And then when it was in the building, but there was a man that was quite, um, miss shapen misshapen. Misshapen. Yeah. And if you would see him walk, you would have a hard time figuring, well, how is he walking? Okay. How could he sit? So somehow, I don't know how Mary got him into the, into the studio, but she didn't something I, my lesson overlapped with his, and I think he didn't want to be there at all. I don't think he may have, I would have to ask Mary, but I, it didn't appear to me that he wanted to be there somehow.

She got him there every, every week and got him on the machines. She wasn't intimidated one teeny bit by his limitations. Uh, I mean I would've just, when I looked at him I thought, oh, how could, how, where would you, where would he be comfortable for me to touch him if I was an instructor? So that it was, it was so amazing to think she just had him on every machine doing whatever he could do. She was with him, with him and it, I just think her force of will got him out of his house, into his car. They're doing maybe what he didn't want to be doing, but he really changed. Yeah. Certain things changed.

I was there long enough to see that happen. It was really extraordinary. So that's just that fearlessness, the, um, and, and the doing the kind of impossible. That seems like it's such a huge part of her too. And taking each person exactly where they are. You know, making it more, there's more we can get here. Yeah. Really something.

So I want to thank both of you. Uh, Gordon. Annie, I know you mean very much to marry you now mean a lot to the police community and I hope that all of you will explore this remarkable woman whose really been instrumental in preserving pilates, but also taking people, individuals, and [inaudible] much further than, um, I think some of us ever knew we could. So please check out more on Mary Bowen in a biography and other interviews. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

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Comments

1 person likes this.
Thank you Kristi for this insightful piece on Mary Bowen! I had the pleasure of meeting her at the 2015 PMA convention of which she gave me 3 hours of her time! It was an experience I will always treasure!!
1 person likes this.
Thank you so much. I am a huge fan of Mary Bowen and would love to have the ability to spend time with her. I have been with her at conferences, but what I wouldn't give to have the chance to be with her more. Thank you for sharing your experiences with her. One of Mary's biggest fans...Robyn ..and thank you Mary for being you...and sharing yourself with us. And of course, thank you, Kristi, for recognizing our needs.and wants once again OX!
1 person likes this.
I was so excited to see this added info on Mary Bowen!! Thank you so much. I've been a huge fan of Mary Bowen, after viewing your #2014 Documentary, which I've watched several times over and over and each time I get a little more out of it...so fascinating. She has a wonderful sense of humour. I've never had the pleasure of meeting her...maybe one day...soon I hope!! I would love to see her again on Pilates Anytime....perhaps even attend a clinic!
Thank you Kristi for asking all the right questions and connecting with all these wonderful people! Hugs to you!
1 person likes this.
Thank you Kristi, Anne & Gordon. What a total inspiration Mary is! I loved hearing about how she has influenced you both. The way she incorporates psyche with Pilates and works with each person individually is such an inspiration for me as a Pilates teacher wanting to go deeper with my clients. I'm feeling very blessed to be able to meet her this September when she comes to Australia. Cant wait!
Thank you for watching Tina!

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