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Poetry and Mathematics of the Human Form

Amy Burke, D.C.

I saw a friend yesterday who I haven’t seen in over a year. We caught up quickly. Her daughter studies poetry and literature in England. It is her second year and she has just shaved half of her head to indicate to the world her new status: she is suddenly single. Her beau of many years is a mathematician. “How can I love a man who doesn’t understand poetry?” she wailed with big tears rolling down her perfectly rosy cheeks.


I had just returned from attending and assisting with a chiropractic seminar entitled Bio Geometric Integration II: The Anterior and Sagittal Planes. After this weekend I must wonder instead, how a mathematician could love a poetry major who failed to see the exquisite poetry in mathematics. Oh Sophia!

What could be more poetic than a human body remembering its own geometry, its sacred beginnings, its holy structure and letting go of pieces of experiences, unincorporated images, flashes, events which have hindered, covered, and in some cases, physically collapsed the human structure itself?

I remember that naive sense that the someone I would love would be like me, just different. In adolescence we are so busy creating our new self, separate from our parents, that it is easy to fall in love with people who are similar to what we think we are or who we purport to be. It confirms that we have chosen our version of our self well if we find it lovable in others.

Back to the math. Math was never my preferred subject. It was fine when all that required was to memorize a series of tables which I could spit back on quizzes. I began to struggle with word problems, the practical application of those memorized tables in theory. Once I had cars, airplanes, and trains heading in the same direction at different speeds, I was done. My brain shut down.

I did okay until I made it to geometry. I completely lost interest. I couldn’t fathom the relevance. It didn’t help that the teacher, a round faced man who smiled only at the people who already knew and understood what he was about to explain. They were already in the math wormhole all together. I had no rapport and no desire to find it. I struggled that year until we came, interestingly, to trigonometry. Alas, that was only one chapter of a long text, so my confidence eroded again rapidly.

The students that excelled in math went on to a course called Advanced Topics, taught by a man who loved teaching, who made math fun. I never got there. Until now.

My father was determined to prove that girls didn’t have to be poor at math. He hired a tutor, a woman, who he hoped would teach me something different, something that I wasn’t getting in school. I stared blankly as she walked me through each step of the increasingly complex problems. There was no feminine mystique. There was no secret beauty or interconnectedness exposed that might have inspired me to want to learn what, to her, was simply basic math, and to me, simply torture.

When we teach the basic and fundamental steps of Bio Geometric Integration it sometimes feels like a basic times table, and it is. It is pedantic and so small in view of the ultimate goal of connecting into the mathematical music, the geometric complexity of the body.

The BGI teaching staff does a tremendous job of introducing the beauty, the complexity, the intrigue of what is possible in the future should one allow themselves permission to see, feel, touch, hear and connect to a complex living system in the lectures which precede each of the hands on courses. The lectures give a detailed look into both from whence we have come as chiropractors to a sense of the amazingly complex map of where we are headed. The mathematics come alive.

Had I asked my tutor why she had fallen in love with math enough to make it the subject of her life’s work, I wonder if she would have said “I can see myself” or, “in seeing the patterns and equations I can see how connected we all are.” Had it been the latter, I think I would have taken the bait. But as a 15 year old, I was too interested in finding my chosen beloved to bother asking what fed and inspired her.

As a staff instructor for BGI EU, I have a new chance to not only see and feel and know the beauty and poetry that I am, that you are and what we are, separately and together, but also to take you on the journey with me, to show you the poetry in the math, and to witness you fall in love with the possibilities. It is daunting, but so exciting to think that the basic geometry of the living system as presented in BGI I, II and III allows us to delve into the language and depth of the body without having to pull out our fingers, toes, abacus and compass in order to comprehend where we are going with the person we are working with and how to get there.

Poets are wordsmiths, weavers of tale, of truth and myth, lifters of the veils, they express unhindered by traditional grammar. Those who apply the concepts of BGI step into the poetry of the living system, the patterns, the stories, free of technique and limitations prescribed by others. Those whose lives are changed by the work we do are liberated, too, from their past and its constraints. Suddenly we are living in a world without limitations, where poets and mathematicians can not only fall in love, but finish each others senten…

Amy Burke, D.C. is a seasoned health professional. She is a chiropractor with over 15 years experience in clinical practice and has taught Bio Geometric Integration to chiropractors and students in the United States and Europe since 2000. An honors graduate of the University of California at Berkeley, she graduated with Doctor of Chiropractic from Life Chiropractic College West. Before becoming a chiropractor she worked as a massage therapist for ten years. Her practice has shifted from working predominantly with pregnant women and infants include a large base of seniors. Her clients have benefited greatly from the gentle care she provides based on the principles of Bio Geometric Integration. She currently resides and practices on the island of Pantelleria, Italy

* originally written in 2012, edited and updated March 2016. 

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