Elsie Hess- May Your Love and Light Shine Forever



Opening the black wrought iron gate into your front yard was like walking into a little bit of heaven.  The first thing I’d see was a small pond on the left that was covered with lily pads and lush green broad leafed plants surrounding the entrance that led up to your one-bedroom cottage used for clients.  Even though your home was in the heart of the Fair Oaks suburbs in Sacramento, it always felt like country.   Often, I’d wait my turn and enjoy rocking gently on your wooden porch swing.   Listening and watching quietly as the water gently fell down the brown and round rocks into the clear pond.  Sometimes a glimpse of a small frog jumping would appear.  This little bit of serenity enveloped me as I waited for your cue that it was my turn.

You always greeted me with such kindness, a warm smile and let me go with a loving hug. You wore your soft curly brown hair short, with loose fitting colorful clothes for work attire.  I felt your genuineness and became close to you rather quickly.  You held no pretenses, I never felt you were a fake.  You were my mentor and inspiration, even though I don’t think you ever really knew that.  I  admired you for your generosity in giving of your time of Jin Shin Jyutsu to disabled children.  Because of your selflessness, for over 5 years, I was inspired to offer Jin Shin to hospice patients.

You also taught me to how to listen.  I know I was quite the talker in my sessions with you, because living in Sacramento left me so anxious that sleep didn’t come easy most nights.   Life in downtown Sacramento was too confusing, yet you always comforted me. A lot of times at the end of a treatment, after checking my pulses,  you would laugh and say, “Now don’t go out and build a garage.”   The pulses on my wrists registered that I was still very revved up.  But, I always felt so much better and knew I could go on coping with the life I had created for myself in California.

Many days I arrived full of concern because I had a mile long do-to list.   However, after an hour with you, that to-do list didn’t seem so important.   Sessions with you helped me leave my cares behind.  Even if only for a little while. The American River park was across the street from your home and depending on the time of day, I’d take a walk along the river trail, enjoying the quiet.

The both of us had moved from Denver, so that created another kinship.  You had been in the Sacramento area already four years and it had taken that long to reestablish your Jin Shin business. You  had decided not to advertise Jin Shin Jyutsu, which I always thought was amazing.  Since I was fairly new to this art,  I did try various forms of marketing and found out you were right, media advertising didn’t work.  The one thing that did work for me, was offering Jin Shin Jyutsu demonstrations to groups.  I spoke to several different organizations and offered 15 minute sessions.  That way everyone attending, actually sees what happens in a session.  I acquired clients that way and one client even became a practitioner because she also loved this wonderful healing art.

It was because of you that I became totally convinced of Jin Shin Jyutsu’s value. When we first met, I was beginning to suffer with tendinitis in both wrists.  I worked on a computer all day as a Customer Service Rep and it was taking its toll.  Some mornings I wasn’t able to button my shirt.  It scared me.  But you showed me the self help method of holding my 15’s and 11’s. One hand lays on the shoulder and the other hand lays on the same side and on the groin.  Within a few months, my symptoms cleared!  Today, I still work on a computer for several hours a day and I continue to hold my 11 and 15’s almost every night.  This method has been shared with many people over the years and appreciated because it does work!!

We were able to attend a couple of Jin Shin Jyutsu seminars together in San Francisco in 1991.  My journey was just beginning while you had been following this wonderful healing art for 15 years.  Yet, you treated me equally.   I’ve attended quite a few seminars since then and feel there is much left to learn as this is a lifelong art of getting to know myself.

A couple of years later, I migrated to Tahoe.  Establishing myself was a struggle in a smaller community and I always had to subsidize my income with another job.  I didn’t get down to Sacramento as often, but we stayed in touch.

When David Burmeister told me you died just before the millennium dawned in 1999,  I was crushed, disappointed, angry.  I had just lost both my own folks a year earlier and here was one more death. He told me the cancer had spread from your colon into your liver.

What happened?
You were only in your 50’s.
Why did you get so sick and die?

Sometimes you shared your feelings about family issues.  Anger and unrest surfaced regarding your mother. Cancer is repressed anger.

I thought this art saved us, kept us well and happy.  But, it was an illusion.   With this discouraging news, all of sudden, I lost faith in Jin Shin.  I began to wonder if what I had learned was all a myth.  I went into a state of depression and it almost became the death of my Jin Shin business.

My business was suffering a slow death anyway because I kept constantly moving.  First to another county, then another state, then to another county, all within a few years.  I know that bodywork is only one aspect of taking care of ourselves.   Nutrition, exercise, time alone, doing something fun everyday (even if its only five minutes), getting adequate rest, having friends, family or pets are all part of a keeping our mind, body and spirit healthy.

Then finally I got it.  Jin Shin Jyutsu is a way of being, not doing.  Jin Shin Jyutsu changed my life forever and so did knowing you.   You brought to my life a sense of solidness in a time of non-tangibles. I learned to cope with my insane life in Sacramento by applying self help methods while getting regular treatments.

As I’ve gone from student to practitioner, back to student and now writing about Jin Shin Jyutsu, the calling is as strong as ever.  Going with the Main Central Vertical Flow was my first attempt and was published in The Aquarian Journal.  I now have a blog, Dancing on the Winds of Heaven  , The Power of Our Touch that shares Jin Shin Jyutsu stories and its philosophy.
As Mary Burmeister says,” It is not a technique.  It is the art of knowing thyself.”

I just wish we talked more as your transition drew near.  Working with Hospice helped me understand the dying process so much better and actually enhanced my life tremendously.   Perhaps I could have helped you in some way as you traveled to the other side of the veil.  All I know is that I will miss you a lot. The peacefulness that emerged from your lily covered pond and trickling waterfall will forever be etched in my memories.  Along with your kindness and engaging smile that got me through some very strange times while living in Sacramento.

With Gratitude,

There is a scholarship fund set up in Elsie’s name through the Jin Shin Jyutsu site,  please check it out if you are interested in learning more about this wonderful healing art.  

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