My visitors today

Sunday 30 March 2008

Back to my roots.

Discovering Truli the Trumpeter

Having experienced the wonderful homecoming at the Petö Institute I didn’t only spend my time at the computer posting blogs!

I was also welcomed into the adults' department and after the hellos were out of the way no one took much notice of my being there, it was like I had never left. Carrying on where I left off 15 years ago, I got up on to a plinth amongst the Parkinson patients, just as I had done as a student, and joined in for two very strenuous two-hour work outs!

I initially wanted to brush up for my future groups in Germany, but I ended up face to face with the conductive Seele, the one that I had experienced between 1989 and 93. and gradually discovered at that time that I also had. This is where I had lived and worked with it for many hours during my training, letting it soak through my skin like a plant in a process of osmosis.

The conductor whose group I was in beamed when I mentioned this at the end of her session. I had no need to explain, I know she had sensed my pleasure during the whole four hours. I realised I had been grinning from ear to ear while being motivated by her wonderful personality to stretch myself to my limits.

I somehow had the feeling I was watching one of my own groups working at its best in Germany and I realised this is where it comes from. This is where I learnt to communicate through my Seele.

After the session we talked for at least an hour about it, in Hungarian of course. She could have spoken to me in her perfect English just as easily, but a Seele discussion just had to be in Magyarúl. With the time too short for all our thoughts to be shared we thanked goodness for cyberspace. We will continue the discussion per email in whichever language we find runs most easily from our fingertips.

András Petö's plays

Feeling fit from the CE and refreshed by the discussions I went eagerly to my next port of call, the Hári Mária Könyvtár. a newly converted area of the institute where the entrance hall, the porter and the offices used to be. Bright and airy, what a difference to the old library.

Here my main missions were to purchase some books and, more importantly, to read more of András Petö's work.

I couldn’t believe it when I actually had one of Petö’s original typed manuscripts put on a table in front of me and I could read it to my heart's content. These were some of his plays, which I believe are the only original works of his in the library, much having “disappeared” over the years.

Being an avid theatre-goer I couldn’t help but wonder if any of these plays which Petö had written had actually been performed. From what I could tell from delving between the fragile pages these plays mostly describe family situations – scenes with girls trying to convince their fathers of the suitability of their chosen partners! In four of these plays I was thrilled to find characters bearing my name, once even with the English spelling.

I regret not having had the time to read them in more detail, but I translated passages from three of them chosen at random. I now know where they are when I want to read some more.

“Truli was a very individual person, hardly more than 30 years old, broad shoulders, tall (grown high), very gifted, very handsome, but with a beauty which one usually sees in women. His hands were distinctly meaty (meat-bashing hands). He was a trumpeter, he had a jazz band. The “TRULLISTEN” were widely known, he was trumpeter and conductor, and he was aware how ugly his meaty hands were.”

“Eduard met Susie there (at an orphanage). She was a noticeably pretty, well developed girl, with short hair, with sparkly, more distant than friendly eyes, and she had a wonderful spring to her step.”

“In a salon room in an out-of-town brothel in Middle Europe, between the two world wars. Nine girls , the so-called girls, some slept on a bench, some played cards, a fat blond read and the owner knitted. The blind piano player sat at a small piano and set off like a drummer on a drum. A dreadful noise. The girls didn’t speak, they wouldn’t be understood over the noise if they did.
One girl went over to the piano player and asked him to stop.”

Mária Hári's lectures
A book that I looked at, which I had not seen before, is Conductive Education for Adult Hemiplegia, written by Esther Cotton and Rowena Kinsman. While reading I was transported back to Dr Hári’s office where we British students enjoyed our classes with her. I could almost hear her voice as I mouthed the words I was reading. I could visualise her stepping amongst us as she recalled the people who may or may not have had varying influences on Dr. Petö and his work, Descartes, Bernstein, Pavlov, Sherrington, Bobath, Kabal, Rood and many others.

Mária Hári rarely sat down as she spoke, even in my last exam we both stood while trying to demonstrate some specific movements related to spastic diplegia.

I am not sure if people in the conductive world still talk about how Mária Hári would lie down on a table during her lectures to demonstrate her point. She actually did this often and I am apt to occasionally do it myself.

So while reading in her library I got transported back with a live film running through my head of memories, many long forgotten. One memory that returned was when as a group of fourth year students we all sat outside Mária Hári’s office, waiting our turn to be examined by her. I had my juggling balls with me, bought from the “More Balls Than Most Juggling Company” in Covent Garden. This was important because inside the box were instructions straight out of the “Petö Book”........

A Short Course in Life Enhancement!

“There are two, with money, time appointments, etc and this one.

At More Balls than Most Ltd we have found that one helps the other.

If you think you are clumsy, uncoordinated or generally inept don’t be put off - these pages contain a totally fool-proof and (almost) guaranteed method for learning the three-ball cascade.

In fact we have noticed that it’s the people who think they’ll never juggle that have the most fun with it.

What’s more, having learnt to juggle, there’s even more pleasure to follow - teaching others. It’s like offering people a wonderful gift that’ll last a lifetime.

Juggling is noted for its combination of mental and physical activity. From the start, juggling never ceases to stimulate the mind and body. It relieves stress and promotes agility, physique and plenty of laughter.

It taps into an innate and often forgotten quality.

We call it Physical Intelligence.

This booklet is about enjoying juggling.

More Balls Than Most Ltd is about enjoying life."

The booklet goes on to teach juggling through verbal, rhythmical intending combined with movement!

We all relaxed while trying to juggle outside the office!

It never mattered which question came out of the hat, she was always open to discuss anything and everything, even the art of juggling!

Professor Franz Schaffhauser, the new Rector

Mária Hári is no longer the Director of the Petö Institute. Many changes have taken place over the past 15 years. There have been many comings and goings in the management, stability being maintained through the work of the conductors and their groups.

I had read in the Internet and in the Magyar newspapers about the appointment of a new director, Professor Franz Schaffhauser. I wrote to him prior to my visit to Budapest and secured a meeting with him.

I found Prof. Schaffhauser as welcoming as the institute itself, so I am wondering if the generally more relaxed atmosphere I experienced has more than a little to do with him.

I actually only spent 45 minutes with Professor Schaffhauser , but it felt like hours. It seemed to me that we covered every subject under the sun and we found many common themes. We began our conversation in Hungarian but somewhere along the way, neither of us noticing when, we changed to English with a smattering of German.

I am very happy to have made this contact and am hopeful that Prof. Schaffhauser will be able to help in bringing “CE GERMANY” back on to the rails again, away from the very medical path that it now follows and back to the more enveloping, psychological, body-and-soul path which Dr Petö intended for it.

I came away from the meeting my head buzzing with thoughts and these words of his ringing in my ears…”You are an orthodox conductor”. I first understood from this that he meant a Mária Hári-trained conductor but he elaborated by telling me he thinks I am an orthodox conductor because I learnt about Conductive Education with the words and sounds of Hungarian songs all around me. This certainly was the first sound that I heard in 1989 and again in 2008 on entering the institute, as the children climbed the stairs, singing. It is these same songs that I teach to my very young, and my not-so-young.clients.

"Soul" again

I asked both my conductor friend and Prof. Schaffhauser about the word lélek (in German Seele, in English "soul") in the Hungarian language. Do they think it is as useful as in German and is it in such common use? It appears that of the three languages I speak it is in my mother tongue, English, that soul is such a “foreign” word, especially within the profession I work in, where it is needed most.


Conductive Education for Adult Hemiplegia, written by Esther Cotton and Rowena Kinsman,
Churchill Livingstone, 1983.

More Balls Than Most Juggling Company”, 11 Marshalsea Road, London SE1 1EP

One of my blogs on Seele and "soul"

1 comment:

LeticiaBTK said...

I felt excited imagining you reading Peto notes. Must be lovely trying to find out what he wrote that enlove all of us. Tell us more!
And thanks for that.