Al Pelowski – He was the best of us.

Alan Pelowski Open Source Cranio

Today I lost a dear friend and college.
Al Pelowski died this morning in Johannesburg.

If you know who Al was you will know the great hole his passing has left in the cranio sacral world, particularly in South Africa.

Al was the main tutor in my cranio sacral training.
That’s how I met him.  He was a fantastic teacher.

His energetic passion and enthusiasm made anatomy and physiology, which I had difficulty with, come to life.  That is a rare gift that few teachers have.  As my training progressed I got to know Al the man.


At times irreverent and provocative he was always warm and immensely personable.  But above all Al was one of life’s live-ers.

He exuded a vitality that took it as read that I was a better man than I realised.  That is who he talked to, the better man he could see, and because of it I became that better man.   I suspect most people had that experience with him.

He also had titanium confidence and would take on the most difficult of cases without batting an eyelid.  I traded on that confidence a lot in my fledgling days as a therapist.  Whenever I felt scared I knew that Al wouldn’t be and that somehow gave me courage.

Over the years we stayed in touch.  I went to live in Australia and founded The Australian Institute of Cranio Sacral Therapy and he went to South Africa and founded the schools there.

In time he came and delivered post graduate seminars to my students in Brisbane and I went to South Africa and I did the same for his students.

Regardless of which country we were in the times I remember most were the evenings after the teaching was done.

We would sit on a deck or a veranda and drink too much wine, smoke too many cigars, and have the best of times.

Al’s legacy is huge.  The therapists he trained, the teachers he cultivated, the outreach programs he championed.  No one will ever know the full extent of the number of lives that were positively affected by his having lived.

I spoke to Kitya in Cape Town today.  She told me that the news of Al’s death traveled through the local cranio community fast and in a very short space of time he was surrounded and ‘held’ by the therapists he had trained.

They held him for a long time.

I was struck by the beauty of the image of him being held in this way, cocooned in love, womb-like almost.

Then something came back to me from a post-grad Al delivered in Brisbane years ago.  He was trying to get across the continual unfoldment that goes on in a life both physically and in every other way.

He said, “It’s not a case of you are born, you live and you die.  It is more a case of you are born and you are born and you are born and you are born until your life is over.

Goodbye Al, you have gone right back into the mystery now.
You are missed by many.
You were my teacher, my mentor, and my college.
I will miss these aspects of you but mostly I miss my friend.


43 responses to “Al Pelowski – He was the best of us.”

  1. I met you only once Al, so many years ago, but over those few days in Brisbane, where I experienced your presence and support of John in his teaching, I developed a huge respect for your presence and passion, inspiration and commitment for the work. Your humour and quirkiness were delicious. You and John inspired me to teach this work. I will miss knowing that you are there and wish I had known you more. Till we meet again ….. Terry

    1. John Dalton Avatar
      John Dalton

      Dear John

      I am wanting to share with you the events of Al’s passing.

      Al had not been well on his return to Johannesburg from Malawi. In fact even prior to his Malawi trip he had a knowing. He had mentioned the importance of getting his affairs in order.

      On Thursday night Morgan du Preez who is a graduate and friend of Al’s had gone to be with Al. Carol Green had also gone round to see that Al was comfortable. Morgan stayed over the night to make sure that all was well. Al was experiencing digestive upsets.

      Al had had a good evening – having good conversations and telling Morgan that whenever he closed his eyes he had a startling clear visual of the stars and galaxies – of the bigger picture. And that this gave him a perspective of how he fitted in to the greater cosmos. Whenever he closed his eyes he saw stars.

      On waking in the morning and going to the bathroom, Al collapsed. He had stopped breathing and had a weak pulse. Morgan was with Al throughout. Mouth to mouth and CPR was administed and the paramedics on their arrival also did what they could, but you see Al had decided on a new adventure. At 08h05 South African time on Friday the 17th July 2009 our friend and fellow traveller took his next rite of passage.

      The essence of what I would like to share with you is that at approximately 12 noon, before the mortuary van came to take Al’s body, we administered the last rites. There were 6 of us who sat around him to hold space. We thanked and honoured Al’s body for the perfect way it had served him in this life, and commended it back to the Great Mother. We cried and grieved and spoke to him. We held his beautiful hands that had been the tools of his work. And then we said to Al’s Spirit that we offered him our highst love to use as he chose as he journeyed to the Far Shore. In this there was great gratitude, an abiding joy that was so light and so free, and a pure love that held us all. In a strange way it was like a craniosacral treatment, it was a collective giving. It included everyone he had touched in his lifes work.

      John I need you to know that Al had a smile on his face.

      On Friday the 24th July at 12 noon South African time, communities will be gathing together simultanously in Johannesburg, Cape Town, KwaZulu Natal, and Mauritius to hounour and celebrate Al’s life and work. If you could please post this information on your website it would be much appreciated.

      With love
      Michele Wolhuter
      +27 11 672 8746

  2. Anastasia Gonzalez Avatar
    Anastasia Gonzalez

    I am so saddened to hear of Al’s death. I was part of the initial Cranial course in SA. Wow! what a positive impact Al made in my life. It was the greatest course I ever took, to this day I will never forget your kind and encouraging words. I will miss you. With love Anastasia

  3. I did not know Al personally but I heard a lot about him through John and I was always looking forward to read him in John’s newsletters. His comments in these newsletters were full of knowledge and huge experience. He is a big lost for all the Craniosacral community.

  4. Peta Dukes Avatar
    Peta Dukes

    My daughter, Rebecca, turns 7 today. This morning I remembered that the first time I met Al was when I was pregnant with Rebecca. I went to a talk he was giving about vaccinations. Through that talk Scott and I decided not to vaccinate our children and eventually 3 years later I decided to train as a Craniosacral therapist. For the last 4 years I have worked closely with Al, co-ordinating the diploma in Durban. He was an incredible man, a true visionary. He taught something he called “the cranial way” – an approach to life that left everyone that he encountered with more of themselves. There is absolutely no telling how many lives he touched in Africa. He was in the habit of finding the place where help was most needed and working there for as long as was necessary.
    He has left a huge imprint in my life. I think that I will often wonder “What would Al do?” Al was in the business of planting seeds. Rebecca says “kind seeds”. My children loved him and would always ask to come and say hello to Al when he was here. The happiest I ever saw Al was when he was connecting with children and this reflects in all the outreach work that he inspired.
    There is a hole in our lives where Al was and I don’t think that it will ever go away.

  5. Mike Hill Avatar
    Mike Hill

    It brings much joy to read about the memories of Al. I was in the Peace Corps with Al working in TB in Malawi, traveling on safari with him through East Africa and even played as novice rugby teammates. We communicated occasionally with email, but got together for the first time in over 40 years last year in Mangochi, on Lake Malawi. Two weeks ago I saw Al, as he was recovering–well it seemed when I left him on 6 July–from a lightning strike. It was with deepest regret that I was told of his death last night. There are many here that knew him briefly, but grieve with you on his loss. I know how greatly his loss affects you all, not only through your comments on this page, but because he spoke so lovingly of both his work and the people he had taught–all of you. He felt a team of players was in place that were carrying his work to many new sectors of health care. That would be his favorite and most enduring legacy.

  6. Rene Geldenhuys Avatar
    Rene Geldenhuys

    I am sad but I feel joy to have had the priviledge and honor of having Al Pelowski touch my life. He was the best tutor I had ever come accross and he made sure everyone of his students got a good dose of the passion he lived, worked and taught with.
    He had the rare quality where just one gentle touch or inter-lock of the eye from him could bring change to the other person.

    You touched lives, Al – that is what you did best.

    With Infinite Love and Gratitude, Rene

  7. The serenity and love I feel at Al’s passing is a wonder…. it is the wonder of this Great Universe- the sun and the moon and the stars and beyond – and all of our connection.
    We will all gather in Spirit with you on Friday, July 24th, 12 noon South African time – to celebrate this wondrous being and the sparkling energy he has spread around the world. It is our work, our lives that carry his legacy and that share and connect us together – we are all a part of each other….
    My gratitude to you Al – With love – into forever and always ~
    Jayne Persch

  8. Wendy Nell Avatar
    Wendy Nell

    Yesterday, after hearing about Al’s death, I held him in my heart and mind, sensing his clear being and the vastness of his life’s impact and felt clearly too that there were people all around the world doing this same thing: grieving, giving thanks, wishing Al Godspeed.
    It is difficult to put into words the influence Al has had on my life or the profound gratitude that I feel for having studied under him,having had him as a tutor, inspiration and friend. His trust, patience, understanding gave me the courage to move unfaltering into a new direction, a new way of working, seeing, caring.
    Al had numerous extraordinary gifts as a teacher:
    He trusted that each of his students would find their own way to integrate, internalise and personalise the skills and knowledge he shared with us.
    His brilliant mind with its wide sweeping integrative grasp of so much information was stimulating and challenging. He never talked down to any of his students, regardless of their backgrounds, and consequently we rose to meet him.
    He was humble, truthful, unpretentious, never setting himself up as the expert, although his knowledge and experience were huge. Nor did he try to conceal his humanness and vulnerability; he shared himself as he was.
    Al was one of the few true philanthropists that I have met: compassionate, sensitive and kind, moved by human suffering and by his innate connection to what is profound and indescribable to serve, educate and inspire.
    He leaves a beautiful legacy and how we will miss him!

  9. Simone Draai Avatar
    Simone Draai

    Passion and compassion are words that cross my mind when i think of Al. I am grateful to have Al touch my life. He inspired me in so many ways – especially when he went on a story telling adventure. I didn’t want to miss a single word he said on my first weekend with him. The way he made anatomy and physiology a fascinating story will be unforgetable to me. Al was someone i knew i would be grateful to learn from. I felt honoured in his presence and always wanting to learn MORE. THANK YOU AL. I will miss you as my teacher and greatest story-teller.

    Simone Draai

  10. Jacob Nell Avatar
    Jacob Nell

    My heart is filled with so much love for this wonderful being. He touched me deeply and has forever shifted something in me. I will miss the deep love in his wise beautiful hands. I will miss his gentle and powerful nature. Al has etched a wider, deeper, more connected way of being and seeing into my life. Al is so dearly loved.

  11. Alan Pelowski Blessed be the work of your hands,
    O Holy One,
    Blessed be these hands that have touched life,
    Blessed be these hands that have nurtured creativity.
    Blessed be these hands that have held pain.
    Blessed be these hands that have embraced with passion.
    Blessed be these hands that have tended gardens.
    Blessed be these hands that have closed in anger.
    Blessed be these hands that have planted new seeds.
    Blessed be these hands that have harvested ripe fields.
    Blessed be these hands that have cleaned, washed, mopped, scrubbed.
    Blessed be these hands that have become knotty with age.
    Blessed be these hands that are wrinkled and scarred from doing justice.
    Blessed be these hands that have reached out and been received.
    Blessed be these hands that hold the promise of the future.
    Blessed be the works of your hands,
    O Holy One.

    [Diann Neu from Earth Prayers from around the World.]

    May your freed Spirit fly, Al.

    Deepest sympathy to your family, friends and colleagues.

  12. Susanna Molinaro Avatar
    Susanna Molinaro

    I met Al in Brisbane at a post graduate weekend with John. But because he was very passionate, generous and open with his knowledge and person, I felt like I had known him longer . Many people may have this kind of knowledge but it is rare for someone to give out in such a way. If I think of him I have a smile on my face. May he journey well…. Susanna Molinaro

  13. Izette Kennedy Avatar
    Izette Kennedy

    My heart is sad at the news of Al’s death. As one of his first group of students in Joburg, I was awed by his brilliant mind and vast knowledge in all spheres, and his wonderful intuition and insight. As he did with many students, he had a way of making me feel special.
    It was a privilege and an enrichment to my life to have known you, Al. I think of you with love.

  14. kitya nowicki Avatar
    kitya nowicki

    kindness, oysters, whales, possibility, research, boullaise, books, trauma, sensitivity,
    …… words that spring to mind when i think of my Mentor – Al
    12 years ago, Al came SA carrying his experience of growing up in the wilderness in Northern USA, Travelling as a Medicine man through Africa and working as an intern at a pshychiatric hospital… where he and his friend who worked with the experiment animals, took the monkeys to Hyde park to protest against Vietnam,… He fathered and mentored two boys- Joe and Cuan, and thought of Anna as a surrogate daughter . He loved animals and people and social concepts. With a special interest in epidemiology his UK based Craniosacral training took on a profound significance and framed what he already new and then went on to discover.
    He was in Sough Africa to spread the word of craniosacral therapy… and boy.. he has done it! Today there are strong cranial communities and therapists in all 3 major centres in SA.

    For me Al expressed life force personified, and it seems he carried that light even in his dying. Life had challenged him … i have never known anyone to have had so many ‘narrow escapes’ from falling into an ice hole to surviving the cold by climbing into an dead antelope to keep warm when lost in the cold once.. could that be true?
    Anecdotes were one of Al’s fortes and those of us who were lucky enough to listen to him download his encyclopeadic and eclectic knowledge in class will be forever grateful for his brilliance and inspiration. As he learned more, he was able to weave the pieces into pure conceptual understanding making it all so simple and magical and above all… relevant. His dream for his book ‘Free Range’ children is written in our hearts and minds.
    Through his dedication and committment Al gave each person he came into contact with a sense of place and value. He was always available and in every exchange mentioned an aspect of living life rhythms.
    I am certain that Al’s visionary influences will be following in his wake … a wave of care, compassion and a quest for understanding.

  15. Georgette Avatar

    As everyone said, Al touched our life, guided us, tough us in many different ways. I won’t never forget him and thank him so much to share his Huge knowledge.

  16. i felt punched when I heard from kitya about al’s death. he has been in the periphery of my life for 9 years and always someone that i knew i could call upon at any time. i loved working with him, learning from him and laughing with him. al you touched me and held me when no-one else could or had the courage to. thank you dear friend and i wish you much love on your new journey.

  17. annette davis Avatar
    annette davis

    the first time i heard al speak i got tears in my eyes and a strong sense in my gut that this was what i had waited for and wanted to hear my whole life – i knew that my life would be forever different. and it was – al put me on a path of self discovery and helped me see the body and my patients in a way that made me a better person and therapist. he was the first person i would ask for advice on tricky clients as well as my own family`s health issues.
    his answers were always truthful, insightful and invaluable. he spent time in our home and we would hang onto his every word.he was a mentor for me, an incredible mind.. his passing is a huge loss for us all and we all have a little of al in us all.
    i carry your heart with me al
    i carry it in my heart

  18. kathy pelowski Avatar
    kathy pelowski

    I first want to say how thankful i am for all the beautiful and loving friends, colleagues, students, etc that Al had in his life. I am his sister and even though i have been living in Colorado in the USA, much too far away from Al, he has been the only person and health practitioner that i completely trusted whenever any health issues(and various other issues) arose for either my son or myself…and every single time he was spot on with all advice, from the birth of my son almost 14 years ago to the present. It is very difficult to imagine planet Earth without Al, my big brother, my friend, my mentor, my genius advice-giver on every and any topic. I still feel him very close, and especially yesterday, July 18, in the wee hours of the morning, i felt an incredible sense of peace and light all around. Thank you Al for always being there for me, for my son, Troy…no words can possibly express how much we will miss you. We love you.

  19. rita vermeulen Avatar
    rita vermeulen

    it was a privilege to know Al . he changed the direction of my path . thanks Al

  20. Al was more than a teacher to me, he was an inspiration. I think I drove him crazy with my insights and Aha’s as he unfolded the development of life and the cranial system. Al’s knowledge and insights into life gave me the spurt that I needed to fully appreciate what my work is about. Al was a man of vision and a man of courage.
    Al, may your return to the Other Side be blessed and joyful.
    Sending you love and light on your journey,
    I will always be grateful to him for allowing me to continue with his training when he felt that I just didn’t get it. Now I do! To Al life was more than just about living – it was about living in the Flow.

  21. Nellian Bekker Avatar
    Nellian Bekker

    Al was busy doing the first Naturopathic Bodywork Course in Cape town. We have done the first session in June, and we were all looking forward to the next session in August. Al did not feel well when we started the session, but as he got going, there just seemed to be no end to his energy…….

    As always he gave his all plus another 200%.

    There is such a sadness hanging over the Cranio- world for the loss of our Master teacher. All that knowledge is now lost to us……

    I will always remember you, and forever miss your whole beingness Al.

  22. Despite the evidence to the contrary, we often expect those who have touched our lives most deeply to be around forever. As they move on, they pass the torch on to those of us coming up behind, however unready we feel ourselves to be. Like John, I did my training in Dublin with Al. He made it all seem so easy, and he was always so encouraging. Despite his vast experience and understanding he was completely without pretence, and perfectly happy to admit to his own foibles. His irreverence and good humour brought me through some dark times of doubt, and gave me a standard of humanity in practice to aspire to. I can imagine the joy he’s bringing to the other side of the veil. Bless you Al, as you’re born again to new wonders.

  23. Michele Constantinides Avatar
    Michele Constantinides

    I saw Al the day before he left for Malawi.We had a lovely lunch and he had some shopping to do for Malawi.
    He was not only my teacher, mentor and friend, but the most interesting and knowledgeable man I knew.
    When I close my eyes and think of Al, I see him smiling and nodding his head slowly, just as he did whilst teaching.
    He will forever be in my heart.
    My sincerest and warmest wishes to his family and loved ones.
    Michele Constantinides

  24. Kim Collinet Avatar
    Kim Collinet

    For our Beloved teacher Al. You showed us the music in Life. May you hear the echoes of our songs.


    Between the cell and the sky
    The DNA and God
    The quark and the milky way
    The bacteria and the galaxy

    Between now and the eon
    The ion and Orion
    The moon and the magneton
    Between the star and the electron
    Between the globule and the blue globe

    You, a cosmos within you
    An instant of dust
    Like this: from yang to yin

    You and nothing, not nothing
    The vastness, vain vastness
    From space to the spin

    To the endless beyond you
    To the endless beneath you
    Inside you

    (Translation of lyrics of ‘Atimo de po’ by Giberto Gil and Carlos Renno)

    Love, in joy and sorrow

  25. Nickey Hauptfleisch Avatar
    Nickey Hauptfleisch

    It was indeed such a priviledge to be a student of such a special gifted tutor. I often used to sit during his lectures and almost felt overwelmed by this endless fountain of knowledge just pouring from his lips. His knowledge of Anatomy and Physiology,and the ability to share it with us, was amazing.
    Being from a physoitherapy background and wanted to fix everything,he taught me to listen and allow the inner wisdom of the body to guid me.And what a valuable tool he gave me!
    Thank you for positively influencing my outlook on life,my approach to my patients and apprecation and respect for that inner wisdom of the body.
    I am sure that by now you would have managed to find “something tart to start” your new Eternal Journey……..

  26. Dee Nangle Avatar
    Dee Nangle

    Words cannot express my deepest gratitude for the value that Al brought to our lives. It has been an honour and a privilege knowing a being of Al’s magnitude and beauty. He was truly a force for good in this world and the world is a lesser place without him doing the work he did and continually calling out the best in each of us. He inspired us to be the best human beings we could and to love and embrace the gifts each of us has to offer. He changed so many lives just knowing him, and I express deep gratitude for his gifts of wisdom, insight, joy, gentleness and quiet strength.

    Words that come to mind when I think of Al are:
    Teacher, mentor, friend, light, serene, beautiful, laughter, storyteller, giver, unconditionally loving, accepting, strong, leader, confident, independent, adventurous, courageous, fearless, tactful, kind, generous, tireless, gentle.

    Truly, one of the most amazing people I have ever know. As Naomi says ” I will feel you in my heart” forever.

    To his family, you are in our thoughts and hearts.

    To Al, I love and support you in your journey, thank you for being part of mine.

    Dee Nangle
    Durban, SA

  27. Joanna Lagesse Avatar
    Joanna Lagesse

    I am one of the ten students who have started a CST training in Mauritius with the South African Institute of Cranial Studies.
    We were really looking forward to working with Al for our 5th module at the beginning of August and I am very sad to hear of his untimely passing.
    I am very thankful to Al and Michele Wolhuter who had made this training possible as there are no cranio sacral therapists on our island yet.
    After the first time I meet Al (it was during a workshop organized by Michele who was living in Mauritius at that time) I felt really empowered and more confident to look after my family’s health.
    Al has been an inspiration for me in his enthusiasm to share. He kept on giving and shared his knowledge to guide us towards wellness and happiness.
    Like many, I wish I could have learned more from him and his departure reminds me that it is essential to leave this world having filled the lives and hearts of others. And wow, it sounds like he has been touching so many people!
    In our training, Al has been sincerely respecting and trusting each and every one of us, acknowledging the beauty of our different personalities that have managed so well through the challenges of our life journey.
    We are half the way through our training in Mauritius and already, we have had the opportunity to meet some fantastic teachers and practitioners from South Africa.
    Even though I am certain the institute will be sending some other amazing tutors who learned from and were inspired by Al; and who are also rich in their own experience, we are all definitely going to miss his captivating presence.
    “Bon voyage” Al and all the best wherever you are.

  28. Julia Unwin Avatar
    Julia Unwin

    I heard of Al’s “passing on” starkly through an email and was left feeling devastated.
    Luckily through a search on the web I came across the accounts of his last weeks and moments, your memories and writings and poems. It has helped me so much come to terms with the loss of an old friend.
    I’ve known Al from his time in the UK and last saw him in Scotland a few years back when he was over to visit his son.
    He wasn’t so well when I arrived but when he started feeling a little better we had a great visit to Laurieston Hall, seeing old friends. It was like old times.

    Last night, where I live in Italy at Villa Malvezzi, by chance the local choir and orchestra sang Mozart’s Requiem Mass – the stars were shining, the place was beautifully lit, the owls and bats were zooming around, so many voices were singing together, not perfectly, but I’d like to think that some of the beauty of it reached up to Al, in some way soothed and comforted and helped him along his way.

    It has been such an inspiration to read what a profound impact he has continued to have on so many people. What fun and energy and playfulness and support he gave us all.

  29. Anna Saurma-Jeltsch Avatar
    Anna Saurma-Jeltsch

    My memory of Al is filled with gratitude.

    He and his cranio tuition changed my life in a most amazing way.

    He satisfied my quest for knowledge and gave me confidence

    and understanding to live consciously and in harmony with the Breath of Life.

    Thank you Al for having been there in a time of need.

    Anna Saurma-Jeltsch

  30. Reading through everything written about this wonderful man Al – our friend, teacher, healer, inspiration – it seems incredible that one man could have been so much to so many people…….and yet he was – without any pretence. Somehow he managed to be all things, almost like a creature from a fairy tale – he was exactly what you needed at the moment you needed it.

    He healed my body when it was smashed and I never doubted or feared for one moment that Al could not completely fix me. And of course fixed I was without any “old injury” aches and pains!

    Not only that, he healed my mind and soul! He made the world a calm and serene place. I always felt that I was completely safe in the world when Al – kind, calm Al was in it.

    I was lucky enough to meet Al when I was living at Laurieston Hall in Scotland. He had so many friends there and I have heard many more tales of adventures, wonderful experiences, and inspiration in the last few days that are not written here.

    Talking to people a common thread is that so many of us wanted to do Craniosacral training – perhaps in the hope of learning from the great master, sharing time with him, and to have the chance to really do something good in this world.

    And Al was good – a good man, a great man!

    I guess right about now Al would laugh at me and suggest as he did in his last email that we are both”…weepy sentimentalist pisceans who ought to admit our guilt and go drown ourselves..”

    Al – I will miss your smile, humour, wisdom, serenity and your heart to heart hugs.

    Well met fellow traveller – I hope to be lucky enough to meet you again on the other side xxx

  31. Séverine Gamsonré-Thouvenot Avatar
    Séverine Gamsonré-Thouvenot

    Dear Al,

    Your hands were Love made visible: you could listen, see, speak, embrace, understand and heal a body with a single physical touch…..

    And how many lives did you ‘touch’ for the best, how many babies, how many individuals were healed, transformed, through this love in action!

    I will never forget the therapeutic ‘virtuoso’, the inspired teacher, the man of passion, who had such a powerful presence in our lives.

    I am sure the Universe is celebrating the sacred mission you have accomplished in this life and there surely must be a banquet to celebrate your return behind the veil, together with the stars and galaxies….

    With love and gratitude to a “spiritual father”.


  32. Mary Hegarty Avatar
    Mary Hegarty

    Kwansaba for Al Pelowski (2 March 1942- 17 July 2009)

    A king of sorts, he was that!
    Rebel leader, a great mentor and friend…
    he climbed to a humble castle above
    sunrise, whales and tides, with a view
    of Danger and chaos to craft lessons
    for hungry folk with open minds whose
    gentle hands lift his spirit in thanks.

    I wrote this Kwansaba to share on Danger Beach
    24 July 2009 at Al’s Cape Town memorial gathering

    *KwanSaba is a cross-cultural poetic form dedicated to Kwanzaa. Each poem addresses one of the seven principles of Kwanzaa: Umoja (unity); Kujichagulia (self-determination); Ujima (collective responsibility); Ujamaa (cooperative economics); Nia (purpose); Kuumba (creativity); and Imani (faith), and consists of seven lines of seven words, with each word containing no more than seven letters.

  33. Paul Pelowski Avatar
    Paul Pelowski

    I’m Paul, a nephew of Al’s back in the States. I probably saw “Uncle Alan” only a handful of times in my life. So, as someone who greatly respected this man, but did not know him very well, I’d like to say thank you, on behalf of myself as well as other family members, to all who have written and shared what an amazing person Al was. I always knew he was an incredible human being, I just didn’t know to what extent. Now I do.

  34. Madeleine Lewis Avatar
    Madeleine Lewis

    Al was a tutor at the CCST in the UK when I trained there over fifteen years ago, he really helped me make sense of the A & P that I struggled with, constantly assuring me that the only really important piece of anatomy would be my own hands at the end of all the training! Al
    was so generous with his time and he came frequently to my home to give additional tuition to a small group of us who were hungry for more of his deep knowledge and passion, those days were always enlightening and entertaining and left me feeling more confident about my own abilities. It was a loss when he went to S.A. knowing that there would be no more of those wonderful gatherings. Since that time I met him in London when he visited, and he always said ‘you must come to J’berg’ – I regret I never did. I am grateful to have been held in his sensitive hands and honoured to have held his space too. I like to think that a tiny speck of his magic stardust infiltrates into my work, I couldn’t have done it without him.
    Bon Voyage Al, I hope our paths cross again.

  35. When I heard about Al’s passing, it felt like all the life had left my body. What an immense shock. Al was my teacher, my friend, my mentor and such an inspiration. He was a guiding light in my life and he played a huge role in helping me on my journey. He was wise, compassionate and passionate about his purpose. He always worked and gave with unconditional love. Through his teachings and his desire to serve, he shared so much of himself. He dedicated his life to helping others in whatever way he could and created the space for all to come into their own. I remember when I first met Al. I was still starting to discover myself and it was as though Al could see the magnificence of my being before I could. He just allowed and created the space for me to come into my own, with complete faith that I would.

    He had an amazing way of gently supporting, teaching and guiding. He will be terribly missed. Thank you for being in my life Al. It is a huge honour and privilege to have known you. May your magnificent light shine always, wherever you go, and may the light always be with you.

  36. Julia Unwin Avatar
    Julia Unwin

    For any of Al’s friends and acquaintances from “before SA” I’ve created a space to share thoughts and memories.
    This was Tom Cahill’s idea, who on reading these pages said, what a shame his old friends didn’t have a way of sharing their grief and some happy memories and reflections too.
    I’ve created a rather “work-in progress” blog, at
    I’ve added a link to this site because the writings here show just how much Al meant to many people over the last few years. It helps a little bit in coming to terms with his death.

  37. I first met Al in Edinburgh, probably in 1997 or 1998. His teaching was compelling and inspiring, and what I learned from him then has become increasingly more relevant today. In fact today I had come across a baffling situation during a session with an infant and immediately thought of Al.” Al would know what to do about this!” I said inwardly and made a note to myself to e-mail him. This is exactly what I was about to do until something strange caught my eye that spoke of his death. I could not believe it. I remember, a few years ago, telling Al that I had emigrated to USA from Scotland, to which he replied ” Ah…so you’ve ventured into the heart of the beast then!”
    Al, you will be missed so much by so many people. May your spirit know peace and rest in that great infinite breath.

  38. Rose Meintjes Avatar
    Rose Meintjes

    I feel a profound sense of loss at Al’s passing. It is a loss to humanity at large and to all CranioSacral students, past, present and future.

    What a wonderful teacher Al was. We were constantly inspired by his wealth of knowledge and experience which he always imparted so generously; so keenly. We didn’t only learn about CranioSacral therapy and Al’s amazing passion for it. No, we learned much more, as Al knew so much about life and had done research and studies in so many fields.

    Al’s death is a reminder never to take anything for granted. I didn’t envisage a time when Al wouldn’t be there to answer all my questions. What a shock it was, learning of his death. It has left a massive void and highlighted how much he did for so many people, whether patients, students, colleagues or friends.

    I was enormously privileged to have had the opportunity to study CranioSacral Therapy under Al and will be eternally grateful for this. Thank you, Al.

    To all Al’s family, I send my sincere condolences. He spoke about you often, and fondly, and clearly loved you all very dearly.

    Al you are a legend.

  39. Mary Nolan Avatar
    Mary Nolan

    Shock, Alarm, Sidebending, Low tide, Long tide, Stillpoint, Entrainment, Waves, Unwinding, RTM, Processing, Flexion, Extension were some of the new vocabulary Al introduced to me, my head spun after some of Al’s workshops, but I kept coming back for more and more. Al you truly were the most wonderful teacher, mentor. Doing the Cranio course with Al completely changed my life, Big Thanks and huge respect and what a loss for us Cranio’s. I feel you near and I hear your voice, posture, breath, fulcrum ahhh now wait.
    Love you Al

  40. Manuela Diener Avatar
    Manuela Diener

    Even after so long after Al’s Death I still find myself at a loss for words.Al helped me bring my Optometry to a level that I used to only Dream about.I’m Honoured to carry on Optometry in a completely new train of thinking,one which is about Seeing and not the lack of.
    Al you were a wonderful Mentor,a great Man.It was a privaledge to have met you and I wish you well on your on going journey.

    You will be forever in Heart.Thank you.

  41. Glenn Young Avatar
    Glenn Young

    I knew Al in Seattle about 40 years ago … we did community organizing together … the people I know from back then all remembered him and have felt so bad at his passing … I wrote this in more or less a dreaming state … losing a night sleep when I first heard …

    He can be remembered well for so many things he did …

    Learning of the Passing of a Comrade

    He was there for a while
    In that place, in that time, for a while
    Where we all felt connected
    Where we all felt that we did things and
    It is that place and that time we still always seem to keep
    Warm in our hearts, forever.

    He was there and I was there for a while
    And we did things that seemed to be important
    We talked of things that seemed important
    And we did things with people that made us
    All feel connected, that made us all feel like
    Well … comrades

    It was that place and time, like no other
    That always seems to be remembered as that time, that place
    Where for a while we were connected and no matter what happened later
    No matter all the new places and new connections
    It was that time and place that was always binding for ever
    The place where we all felt like
    Well … comrades.

    He was there in that place for a while and then well he was gone
    We were all soon gone from that place, that time
    Either by ourselves or in pairs, soon in other lives
    Away from that place and time and that connectivity
    Where we all felt like we did things, important things
    Where we all were
    Well … Comrades

    I saw him so much later far away from there, that place
    In his new place far away from me
    I went there to that new place not to see him but for me
    I was there involved in a new connectivity but
    I saw him in that new place, far from that other place
    Where we had been, for a while
    Well … Comrades

    We talked at each other
    About our new places, our new connections
    And then we talked with each other
    About that place, that time and all the people
    About all the connectivity and then it was like it was
    For a while like that other place where we were for a while
    Well … comrades

    Then I was gone from his new place
    Gone to so many other places
    Looking for a means to feel that feeling again
    That feeling I had for such a short time with him, with others
    That feeling of connectivity of doing things important
    And talking about things that seemed important with
    Well … comrades

    Now I learn that his is gone, from his new place
    In fact he is gone from all places
    No longer is there hope of regaining that connectivity with him
    That promise of doing things that seem important with him
    No longer will we talk with understanding that can only be understood
    By those who had been in that place in that time where we did things
    And talked of things that seemed to have meaning and importance
    And where we all were for a while
    Well … comrades.

  42. I have just learned that Al passed away, and I have great washes of sadness. I last saw him in 1970, in Chicago at Northwestern University. I remember asking him what “Al” was short for…he said Alan, not Allen, and not Alfred! Al was then in political science, radical, but it was always about healing, about a necessary future. When he talked on a subject, I got the feeling that I was taken among the stars. To get “over” him, I went to Club Mediterranee in Switzerland, a most un-Al-ish thing to do.
    It strikes me that he talked about seeing stars in his last moments on earth. I was only a witness, I could not follow him there. Blessings and joy on your present journey

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