An Interview with Ida Rolf

Pages: 1-4
Year: 1977
Rolfing collection and memory

Undated Rolfers’ Notes – Rolfing history and memory

Editor's note: the following is an edited version of an interview that comes to us anonymously. It is dated November 26, 1977.


IPR: What would you like to know about aging? How vou do it?

Q: Do you say, “I’m an old woman?” “I’m an older person?” How do you talk about it?

IPR: I am an old woman. But I don’t talk about it. I just go on putting one foot before the other, so to speak. Because I’ve done that all my life and I haven’t gotten any new pattern.

Q: How long have you been an old woman?

IPR: I made the transition when I was able to look in the mirror and see myself as an old woman.

Q: You don’t sound like an old woman.

IPR: I know. I don’t sound like it now. You ask. “When did you make the transition?” I haven’t made the transition. All you have to do is close your eyes and you don’t have the sense of an old woman.

Q: That’s true.

IPR: You see, so many people in your general tort do such a lot of looking at themselves. In my generation we just plain didn’t do it. We rolled up our sleeves and went to work. And we were busy with what we were working on. I really feel this very strongly. If I were growing up and growing older now I’d probably be looking at myself every step of the way trying to find out what’s changed and how it’s changed and whether I like It. We didn’t do that. We kept working. I personally recommend that as a personal philosophy, that you keep on working on something outside yourself.

Q: Can you describe how it’s different now for you, being an older woman? Are there emotional differences?

IPR: Not particularly. I’m still accepted by my group. I’m not
only accepted. I’m very much valued by my group.

Q: Are you content?

IPR: Again. you’re asking me a question that isn’t mine. You’re trying to get me to be emotional over this thing and I refuse to do it. Because it’s contrary to my philosophy of well-being. I think the problem with this generation Is that they pay too much attention to what’s going on inside their skins and not enough attention to what’s going on outside their skins.

Q: Except that you say you don’t see well.

IPR: I do not see well. I am a legally blind citizen of the state of New Jersey.

Q: So there are some ways that (being old] is different,

IPR: Oh. of course It’s different. There no question about it. When you ask a question about how it’s different, you’re asking a question about attitude. My attitude is still that I’ve got Work to do. And let’s get on with the job.

Q: Do you find that your age brings you any advantages?

IPR: No. I wouldn’t say so. Unless you consider being wheeled around in a wheelchair an advantage. When you go through the airport it’s a great help.

Q: Are there things you’ve learned to do without?

IPR: Oh yeah, there’s no doubt about that. And there’s no doubt that as you grow older you learn not to value certain things so much. Like certain emotional responses. I think they’re pretty nearly covered in that song from… “I’m so glad I’m not young anymore,”…. if you remember that song. Maurice Chevalier. Oh. it was a wonderful song. From “Gigi.”

Q: Do you wish you were younger?

IPR: Not particularly. I’m willing to quit, more than willing to quit.

Q: Is your day any different than it was, say, forty years ago?

IPR: Yes, it’s a lot less. I have to put less things in it. And there are more demands made on me.

Q: So you have more to do, and are trying to do less at the same time.

IPR: Yes. If you can pull it off, it’s a neat trick.

Q: Are there things that you miss’?

IPR: Of course. I miss my little kids growing up and all the things that went with a family. I miss being the head of the Thanksgiving parade. I miss many of the responsibilities that have been taken off my hands.

Q: Does your dying interest you?

IPR: My dying. Oh, casually, yes. I have no horror about it. I wouldn’t cross the street to keep from dying. Naturally, at the end of the line it Interests you. There are a lot of people amusing themselves trying to look at the whole dying question. I’m not one of them. I know that they are there and I know that they are talking. I don’t know what conclusion they came from and I don’t care what conclusion they come to. As far as i’m concerned I’m a good old Victorian. When the Reaper comes. I’m right there, and that’s all.


Q: Well, are there things I should have asked you about what It’s like to be older?

IPR: I think the whole secret of how it is to be older depends on how much energy you have within that skin, and how much energy is controlled by this thing you call your personality. I realize that there aren’t many people who will give you that answer, but as far as I’m concerned no other answer has any meaning.

Q: It sounds tome like you have a great deal of energy within that skin.

IPR: Most people think so.

Q: Do you?

IPR: Not enough. Aren’t you going to ask me how I got that way, having a lot of energy, and still having a lot of energy? That was the question I was listening for.

Q: Do you have an answer?

IPR: Sure. I have a lot of answers for it. I’ve spent my life preparing people to have more energy-showing people how to live so t hat they have more energy. I’ve spent my life doing it. And if you know anything about Rolfing, you know that that’s so. I would have been in a wheel chair twenty years ago. and really in a wheel chair. Now I’m in and out of a wheel chair. But I would have really been in a wheel chair twenty years ago if I hadn’t had some of those answers.

Q: How long have those answers been part of your life?

IPR: Forty, fifty, sixty years, probably.

Q: So you’ve lived by what you’ve been teaching of tier people to do… Just the energy from your work must keep everything else high also.

IPR: Certainly. Certainly. And keeping your interest occupied. Not scattered. I think this is part of the story. Scattering your interest, you see, lets the level of interest drop.

Q: I find it hard not to scatter myself sometimes.

IPR: Well, perhaps you haven’t had as promising a goal. This maybe part of the answer. I’m fortunate in many respects. It’s very rare that a pioneer lives to see her work accepted to the extent that mine is. Very rare.

Q: And to know it’s going to go on for a long time.

IPR: Well, yes, undoubtedly it will go on I-or a long time. It might not always go on as Rolfing. Somebody might grab the hall arid run with it and call it something else. But the work, the principles themselves, will be going for several hundred years, no doubt about that.

Q: That must give you a good deal of satisfaction.

IPR: Well. If I sit down and try to find it I guess I could have it. But there again you have the “roll up your sleeves and get to work” philosophy, you know, interfering.

Q: Do you spend much time on your work In terms of its own development? Are you looking for innovations?

IPR: Well these innovations stilt keep coining, but they come spontaneously. You don’t go looking for them. All of a sudden they are there and you see them. Just by keeping at work and keeping your eyes open and seeing what’s going on, you see them.

Q: Are you still trying to increase your strength?

IPR: No, I don’t think so. All I’m trying to do is not lose it.

Q: Like Alice in Wonderland?

IPR: Yeah.

Q: You don’t have a sense of increase?

IPR: No I think I would reject the notion that I’m going to be any higher than I have been. And I’m well content with that.

Q: So finally, you attribute your longevity to your work?

IPR: Yes, to my work and what has been done for me. I’ve had a great number of people taking a lot of trouble keeping me going through the years. They keep track of me. They call me up several times a day to see if things are going well and so on arid so forth. A great many people. So I think this is probably a different pattern of growing old. Margaret Mead might have something of the same story. I don’t know.

<img src=’https://novo.pedroprado.com.br/imgs/1979/188-1.jpg’>An Interview with Ida Rolf

To have full access to the content of this article you need to be registered on the site. Sign up or Register. 

Log In