My name is Juan Pablo Fernández García and this is why I became a Rolfer.
In 2015, I suffered a massive health crisis and then, an ensuing major surgery that changed my life. While living in Canada, somehow my bowel became twisted. The pain was agonizing - To further complicate things for some unknown bureaucratic reasons‘ doctors were unable to immediately perform the necessary surgery. As a result, I ended up in agonizing pain with a 10% chance of survival.
I was never able to fully understand why this happened – and all the doctors would and could tell me was that certain animals with cases of twisted bowels experience them as a result of improperly chewed food, which impinges the digestive process. It wasn't enough information to calm me, but it certainly begged my curiosity - I felt so drawn to understand the somatic meaning and implications of this.
During this time my stay in the hospital was terrifying. I was literally crippled in intense pain for days on end, but the doctors refused to proceed with surgery. Fortunately my uncle, an eminent internist Doctor in Mexico accompanied my parents and the three of them traveled to Canada to intervene.
My uncle quickly diagnosed me, and informed the doctors I was suffering from peritonitis – a severe inflammation of the membrane that lines the inner abdominal wall and covers the organs. The doctors who had not come up with this diagnosis, were still reluctant despite my failing health and intense pain, to operate. My family pleaded with them and my uncle reiterated that due to the severity of my symptoms I could die if not treated surgically. After much tense negotiating, it was only after my family threatened to take legal action for negligence that the doctors agreed to perform surgery.
In surgery, they had to remove 80 cm of my intestines due to the necrosis that had set in, due to the doctors not acting quickly enough. They had to literally remove my intestines clean them and then replace them. during this process and in recovery my digestive system stopped functioning numerous times and I was placed back in the hospital with extreme digestive sickness.
Whether it was a miracle or simply not my time, after various stays in the hospital totaling 8 months - I survived. In the midst of all of the pain and suffering, there was one thing that kept me emotionally and physically, alive: the unconditional love and support from the nurses. I came away knowing that if I survived, I would only want to live with one purpose: to serve with love, the same way the nursing staff loved me, unconditionally.
It took me 2 years to recover before I was introduced to Rolfing – and I have no doubt, it was a connection that was meant to be. As I was finding my way back to life mentally, physically, and emotionally, my Aunt encouraged me to begin yoga. Not only to gently heal my body, but to help me recover from the trauma, pain and sadness of the experience. After just my first class, I experienced a moment of absolute peace. It was truly liberating and beautiful to feel such inner calm again after almost a year of constant pain and living in fear.
I immediately decided to immerse fully into this new path, and committed to a 700 hrs., certified teacher training. I realized through my own experience that it was not enough to just support someone in pain, so I wanted to study physical therapy. A PT friend told me that if she could do all her studies again, she would study Rolfing in Boulder Colorado as a full-time career.
After a couple of weeks, I decided to investigate, and called the school. Everyone was extremely helpful and supportive. I was shocked by how welcoming they were with me and how nice they treated me over the phone – like the care from my nurses, I felt unconditionally accepted.
I attended my first Rolfing session with Fred Nehring, to whom I remain grateful to this day. Fred was able to connect with me on such a personal level and free something deep inside of me. During the session, for the first time in years I was able to stand up straight without rounding my shoulders and collapsing forward from years of patterning.
This was such an amazing crossroads for me to come to after all I had been through with my sickness, surgery and recovery. Then finding my strength and compassion again through yoga – and now, I felt like I was delivered to the one path that brought all my experiences and aspirations together – to become a Rolfer.
I enrolled for the training one week before the beginning of the program and was accepted by the institute. Like destiny something very unlikely also occurred: I got my student visa as a Mexican the weekend before the start date. I was thrilled and excited to begin my new experience.
As I planned to attend the program, COVID hit the world. I was disappointed because I believed my studies would be cancelled. However, the Dr. Ida Rolf institute Found creative ways for us to stay engaged in our studies, so we were able to continue learning and blossoming throughout all the worldwide chaos and interruption. The program required a disciplined mind, body and stillness from one´s self. More often than not we were challenged to create an inner space to hold for ourselves and others.
My classmates and I went through an intense change that shaped our abilities and skills in order to be ready to connect in a holistic way to and for other people. To practice Rolfing connects me with the love that once I was given by the nurses and it feels like I am honoring them every time I give a session. The thing that I like the most about Rolfing is the connection that I make with another human, a connection based on the space that we share together. A space and feeling that cannot be captured in words, but is the same space that allows healing to occur in the truest, most holistic way. Rolfing allows and encourages us to trust this space, and in the process, become who we truly are.
I live and practice now in Oaxaca, Mexico - And I'm grateful every day for the life and path, that Rolfing has provided me. I truly feel connected to Rolfing as more than a vocation, it has become a way for me to grow learn and heal, and to pay back with love, to others.