Stories

I have written these stories, memoirs really, about my life for my children. (They asked.)

If you're considering working with me, these stories will help you discover who I am. You will find it easier to decide whether you want to work with me after reading these.

Have fun.

william sig

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My Story - Why I Help People

My life is one of recovering from childhood soul wounds that left me believing I was not good enough. This is the story of shame.

The pain of not feeling good enough led me to ineffective behaviors in my futile attempt to be good enough. I became a pleaser, a perfectionist, and to a lesser degree a performer.

I am still working to replace these behaviors with authentic actions from the heart. The nature of this healing is that it is a process. Like many, I am a work in progress. To stop the pain of not feeling good enough and therefore not worthy of love and belonging, I employed many of the classic numbing and distracting behaviors. Certainly, you know the list. I am recovering from them all, still.
 

William Wittmann on Quest

A Classic Quest

In the classic quest, the hero travels the world looking for the remedy that will heal the village, break the curse, restore the kingdom. On the way he meets insurmountable obstacles until he is helped by the intervention of the sacred.

My shame wounds led me on just such a lifelong quest to heal my wounds of shame. I have a profound and persistent drive to find answers for myself and others so that no-one ever need suffer.

I read voraciously, pilgrimage to sacred places of the world, and receive mentoring from masters in my quest to find those answers.

I learned and now I employ many spiritual practices to hone my skills and polish my gifts. And to continue my healing.

I have found that every person has gifts and talents. And that when a person employs their gifts, the village prospers and blossoms, their family flourishes.

And when the person employs her gifts, she lives a life she loves wholeheartedly - body and soul.

Obviously, when a person engages in such a quest, I have found that anyone, can live a life they love.

You ask, "William, are you doing that? Do you live a life you love?"

 

Lastly, I'm OK. My life works.

I am married to Suzanne, a woman I love (40+ years).

My daughters still like me and choose to spend time with me.

William Wittmann Seattle Office

I do work I love that fully utilizes my gifts and native talents. I work with people I love in an space with a lovely view of Lake Washington and a sweet park where children play.

I live on the shore of the Salish Sea and looking across Elliot Bay I can see the world class skyline of Seattle. I live in a corner of Heaven.

I have sufficient money saved.

I engage in strength training six days a week and walk or bike seven days a week through paradise.

I have a collection of wonderful healers that I work with who help me stay on course with my quest.

I stay in balance by eating well, resting, and working a cycle of eight weeks followed by two weeks connecting deeply with the Sacred via solitude and pilgrimages.

Certainly, this might not be the life for you. But obviously, it works for me.

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A Genuine American Alchemist, Dominic Labino

Once upon a time, when I was a lad back in the days of the Apollo space missions, I used to drive out in the country to visit Dominic Labino in his dark medieval workshop/studio with glowing glass furnaces along that wall and monster metal working lathes spread around the shop floor that he picked up from shops going out of business.

Nick looked like the archetype of the Grandfather. He could have sold healthy hot cereal on TV wearing his signature plaid, red flannel shirt, suspenders, pipe (was it corncob), and over his intelligent twinkling eyes arose amazingly untamed eyebrows crowned by a full head of wavy gray hair. I loved him.

labino artNick was a genius. He created many of the patents for Johns-Mansville Fiberglass. He knew everything about glass, and at 54 years old, he retired from J-M and became the father of the studio art glass movement in the U.S.

Rarely have I known anyone as intelligent or creative. He was a genuine wizard, a modern alchemist, and kind to me.

Over a previous summer, I worked for Owens-Illinois, one of the giant glass manufacturing companies in my hometown of Toledo, OH as an engineering intern. I was majoring in Engineering & Applied Physics at Harvard and would visit Nick on holidays.

Two stories: First, the academics had figured out how the ancient Egyptians had made their glass, only it wasn't correct.

"That's not how they did it. I'll show you how they did it," Nick said.

He then proceeded to create ancient Egyptian artifacts. Naturally, his theory stands.

My favorite story: I was home for Christmas the summer after working for O-I and Nick wanted to show me the new kiln he had fabricated. Naturally, I was eager to see it.

Glass is magical stuff. You melt sand, (Sand! How weird is that!) and you throw in some stuff for color etc. Then you have to cool it very slowly or it will crack. You put your object in a kiln at 2000 degrees F and let it come to room temperature over a 24 hours period.

Here's the set up. We're standing looking at this simple, cobbled together miracle of engineering, smaller than a TV set.

"It runs on 15 amps at 2000 degrees," He says puffing his pipe. He pauses for me to respond to his implied question…

"Hmmm," I said, "good insulation, right?"

He beamed at my correct answer. I beamed.

It's coming …

"Yep, it's the same insulation they use in the heat shields of the Apollo space craft."

I step into his trap.

"Wow! Where did you get that?!"

If possible his eyebrows got bigger and his eyes twinkled like the summer sun off of moving water, "Oh, I invented it."

So, who mentors you?

You can have a life you love wholeheartedly. Really.

I can help.

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Ohio landscape by William Wittmann

 The First Painting of Mine Dad Liked

My father was an art museum director. He was known for having one of the best 'eyes' in the field. That means, he could pick a gem out of a pile of junk and he collected only the best for himself and for the museum. Dad acquired 90% of the collection at the Toledo Museum of Art. And the museum is one of the most highly regarded museums in the world. Surprising, I know, but true.

I was surrounded by great art at home and the museum was a second home for me. I knew great art. And my stuff wasn't great.

Making art was a challenge for me. It took me years to finally get to the point of not judging my work and comparing it to masterpieces. My yardstick became something else.

I asked - Do I like it? That's all. Do I like it?

We have framed art in our home that I created that I would have thrown away because I didn't like it. I eventually learned to ask Suzanne if she liked it before I tossed it or turned it over to paint on the other side.

When I went back to Toledo for my mother's memorial service, I arrived early so I could spend some time in the parks and enjoy the landscape of the region. (As my parents had moved to California, I hadn't been back to my hometown in 14 years.)

I spent time in the woods and meadows that my mother had introduced me to and that had become such a fundamental joy in my life - a place for flow for me.

I found an archetypal soybean field and stood by the road and painted it. I completed the painting with my limited travel pallet at the kitchen table and by the day of the service all that love and grief found a place in the painting. Flow heals grief by the way.

So, why tell you the story?

Here's why. Two things.

One, Dad liked the painting. He genuinely liked it. It had captured the landscape of Ohio that he loved and the season of fall, the season he enjoyed the most in Ohio.

This was the first acknowledgement and approval for my art that I had ever received from him and it came at a good time. I was 50 years old.

Two, painting kept me in flow for hours. It kept me in the present. It allowed me to hold all the losses more easily and to be present for others, including my father.

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Wisdom from My Auto Mechanic

When you're putting your personal village together, you will enjoy having a master mechanic. Scott Wands of Champagne Service (206.367.3804) fills the bill for our family.

One day when I talking with Scott he said, "After all these years working with cars, I have finally figured out the cars I like to work on. So, I only work on those cars."

I don't know how many years have passed since that conversation but I do know I only work with people that I like in my practice. I don't think my practice has changed much, but I find joy now in recognizing that I love all my patients.

Is that great or what?

You'll also read that I work the morning hours I love and I take regular sabbaticals that insure I stay fresh and eager to see patients. In short, I love my work.

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My Encounter with the Force

Before I worked on my daughter Sasha's horse Willie yesterday, I watched him walk and discerned his left hip and right shoulder weren't right.

willie the horse

Willie is big. BIG. For most humans, he's as big a being as you're likely to ever encounter at close range. A force of nature, a being of great beauty and charm, Willie is a beautiful, 17-hand thoroughbred chestnut.

CranialSacral Therapy demands that one be present, absolutely present. You can't even feel the cranial rhythms in the patient's body unless you're completely present. The rhythms are too small, too delicate.

The first time I worked on a horse, I was shocked. Their energy fields are HUGE. The horse weighs 1000 lbs. and a human 150 lbs. say. That's seven times as much life energy.

This life energy goes by many names. Life force, Life energy, Chi, Qi, Spirit, the Force. And as Obi Wan tells us - it surrounds and permeates all living things. (Everything is alive.) What's more, this life force connects everything. The recent film, Avatar, has shown this beautifully.

(Sasha, my daughter, and I used to work on horses together doing an exotic BodyTherapy I named Neural Awareness Integration. Contact me if you want a session for your horse. Greater Seattle area only.)

 

Back to Willie

When I work on a horse, I stand inside his field, with my heart at the level of his heart. All of me is inside him if you will. OK? Still with me?

Now, there comes a time in therapy session, when I link with the energy of the patient. I hook up.

At that time, we're connected. Imagine feeling everything. I can feel his whole body -- my eyes open or closed, my hands on or off his body. Like I said, "We're connected."

Imagine running seven times as much life force through your body. Can you imagine this heightened awareness? "Feel the Force, Luke."

After completing a release of his shoulder, I felt full of a tranquil joy. It's been so long since I have worked on a horse, it was a bit overwhelming. Call it blissed out.

I recall reading about the Hindu saint Rama Krishna, I think, being transported in the same way with his connection to the Sacred. His disciples had to carry him around.

Obviously, I find this joyful work.

And is there anything that smells as good as horse?

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Are You an Artist?

The CEO of Hallmark Cards used to speak to school classes. And as a practice when he addressed the classes, he would ask, "How many of you are artists."

When addressing the first graders, every hand shot up with wiggling bodies and big smiles.

When addressing the sixth graders, no one raised a hand. They looked around furtively to see who would be stupid or daring enough to raise their hand.

This tells us much about the US schools. Yikes!

Even though my art museum director father liked one or two of my pieces… Even though I have sold numerous works… Even though I have had two gallery shows and sold pieces in each - an accomplishment Van Gogh never managed… Even though Friends and family own pieces they cherish…

The message of the American culture delivered by the schools and media stuck so strongly with me that I still can't call myself an artist after decades of creating.

But if I use the obvious notion that art is ill defined, let alone "good" art, and if I think of art as something you engage in

"the use of skill and imagination in the creation of aesthetic objects, environments, or experiences that can be shared with others" (Britannica Online)

Then I can heartily say that I make art and I am an artist. Process not product …

 

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