A backward look from Corfu … to LA and the Bodhi Tree… and what flowed from that…
BELOW: The Bodhi Tree ABOVE: Craig Liebenson with a rehab. client COVERS: The one on the left hasn’t changes in 25 years! The Muscle Energy cover is the latest incarnation (2007) of this book (3rd edition), a subject that I first discussed in detail in Soft Tissue Manipulation, in 1983.
It’s a damp pre-Xmas Sunday in our countryside home in Corfu, and for no particular reason my mind has tracked back exactly 25 years to 1983, when we had just moved from Worthing, in Sussex, to live in this same house.
We had started building it some 5 years earlier, as a holiday home, on a hillside looking across the Corfu Straits, to Albania, a few short miles away.
The reasons for our decision to move to Greece, at that time were complex, but one immediate result was the opportunity it offered to take a sabbatical from the grind of clinical work, which was beginning to impact my health.
I had sold my well-established practice to my late uncle, Boris Chaitow ND DC, and therefore had an adequate cushion on which to coast along for some months…after which…well something would turn up.
In other words, at that time, I had no solid plan as to just how I would provide for the family’s needs, but was confident that with writing and editing and clinical work, we would muddle along.
One of our immediate thoughts was to take Sasha (then four and a half) to Disneyland, before she started her primary schooling.
Our plans were well advanced, tickets had been bought, hotels reserved. And around that time a letter arrived, sent on by my (then) publishers.
It was from a young student at Los Angeles College of Chiropractic, who said that he had found a copy of my 1982 book, NeuroMuscular Technique (later updated and expanded to Soft Tissue Manipulation – and still in print).
The young man spotted the book (see cover above–it hasn’t changed in 26 years) in a locked glass display case, reserved for more arcane tomes, in the Bodhi Tree book store in LA – and had bought it. A quick search on the Bodhi Tree website today shows that Soft Tissue Manipulation is still on sale there, at a special sale price of $44.95 (reduced from $49.95!)
The letter explained that he was interested in the ideas it expressed, and wondered if, at any stage, I had plans to be in the US, where he said he’d like to follow-up on the subject matter, and possibly arrange for me to address his classmates at LACC (which has since morphed into the Southern California University of Health Science).
Well, as we were heading for LA just a few weeks later, I wrote back and arranged for him to visit us at the Disneyland hotel.
We went to LA, loved it, thoroughly enjoyed the nonsense of the Disney fantasy, and met up with Craig, who drove us to LACC to meet tutors and classmates, and then on to Santa Monica beach and pier.
We had a great time in LA…met other people who have remained friends ever since – about whom, more another time …..and agreed to return to the college to teach periodically – an arrangement that went on for some years.
Since then Craig Liebenson has gone on to become a world leader in the chiropractic field, with his rehabilitation methods taught at most chiropractic colleges, and his phenomenal book Rehabilitation of the Spine, that incorporates a few of the ideas and methods that he first stumbled across at the Bodhi Tree.
Craig is now one of my most valued Associate Editors on the journal I edit (JBMT), for which he writes a regular series on rehabilitation methods.
Craig has also contributed a chapter to my book on Muscle Energy Techniques.
What do these rambling backward glances all signify?
I really don’t know, but it’s clear that the links and threads that connect now with then, and the synchronicity of it all, defined my life in many ways.
If we had not had the time and funds, at that particular time, to take the extended excursion to the USA, at just the same time that this particular young man had found himself at a mystical bookshop, which carried that book and ideas he wanted to pursue, which led him to write to me just before our trip …. his life and mine, and therefore those closest to me, might very well have taken different directions.
Of such coincidences – if that’s what they are – are life’s elements comprised…..much as they were when I mistook Morocco for Greece (or vice versa) some years before….see my earlier posting on this for what that led to!