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How To Achieve Enduring Health and Vitality
John W. Travis, M.D. & Regina Sara Ryan
 
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  Home  > Personal Wellness  > Rosemary's Teaching

Rosemary's Teaching

Rosemary was a student of mine for several courses, a remarkably talented woman - a counselor, a fine cook, and a weaver. Rosemary was born with a degenerative spinal condition that left her body twisted and hampered normal development.

One day in class we were working at the front of the room. One at a time, the students left their seats and came forward to take part. Rosemary remained at her place. When I asked her, Shall I bring the equipment down to you, or clear some space so that you can get your wheelchair up to the front? Or," I hesitated, not sure that I really wanted to make the offer, "shall I carry you?"

"I want you to carry me," she replied immediately. And so I did.

My reaction startled me. I was really afraid to touch her. Her body was no larger than that of a five-year-old child. I love to pick up children. But here was an adult. Here was a twisted body. Old voices filled my head. For one split second I was repulsed as if I might catch something. Catch her paralysis, her deformity? No, catch my own. . . . What was happening was that I was touching deep within myself - to the hidden, ugly places, which I don't usually let people see. I was reminded of my own weakness, my vulnerability, my mortality. Tears streamed down my cheeks. Rosemary was crying too. I looked up and saw the entire class, as one pair of eyes, connected with us. Many others were crying too.

"I asked you to carry me," Rosemary reported, "because I needed to be touched."

As we left class that day, everybody touched. Hugs went all around - to me, to Rosemary. Men hugged men. Women hugged women. We had all learned an invaluable lesson. - Regina




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Child/Family Wellness
Honoring the heart, soul, and spirit of our children, our families, and our future. After more than three decades of pioneering work in adult wellness, and giving birth to a daughter, Siena, in 1993, Meryn and John realized that the  more...
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Helping Professionals
This area consists of text from Wellness for Helping Professionals, by John W. Travis, MD, and Meryn Callander. more...
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An Introduction
Meryn and John candidly share how they came to the field of child/family wellness from their background in adult wellness. more...
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