I met Eli Eichenauer a little over 9 years ago, not long after I moved into my house. He and his wife moved in next door several weeks later. It’s incredible how life can connect you randomly with people who are doing such amazing things for the community and its health. Eli Eichenauer is an advanced Rolfer and the Executive Director of the nonprofit Revive Community Commons. His Rolfing practice and Revive are reflections of each other that are also connected together at a common core. Both vocations aim to heal mind and body by revitalizing the connections that bind us together.
Eli’s Rolfing practice, Rolfing PDX, is an holistic healing practice. Eli explains that Rolfing is hands-on work that focuses on the body’s connective tissue. From what I understand, Rolfing starts with a belief that the body is only as free from tension and as healthy as what connects it together. A Rolfing practitioner examines how the body functions and aligns with gravity, and works to realign and re-energize the body. Eli showed me a Tensegrity Model to demonstrate the symmetry between our connective tissue and structure. Tension in one area can affect the functionality and form of other areas of the body.
Eli’s wants to bring about long lasting change in the body, so you will move more efficiently and without pain. But, he emphasizes this change can happen with a gentle practice. In addition to completing advanced training in Rolfing, Eli also is a licensed massage therapist and is trained in craniosacral therapy. He blends these practices to help his clients open up their bodies and to move more freely without tension and pain.
The Power of Community
Eli also believes we live better and more fulfilling lives when we are connected through community. Eli says he started his Rolfing practice in Portland at a wellness center in SE Portland. He enjoyed having his practice there, connected to other holistic practitioners in an integrated health environment. Around the time of the Great Recession, Eli decided to give more back to the community and the professionals in it. He helped found a group of professionals, Community Inspired Professionals, to create new and meaningful relationships among like-minded professionals. This group was more than a business leads group, but also a group dedicated to giving back to the community together through volunteer work and other support.
This group of professionals ultimately led Eli to TaborSpace. If you haven’t been there, TaborSpace is the transformation of the Mt. Tabor Presbyterian Church into an amazing community and gathering place. One of the members of the group was at TaborSpace from the beginning. The professional group met there, and Eli bonded with the community and the space. He appreciated the sense of the sacred and the stillness that was part of the space open to the community. He connected with the spirit and energy moving through the people who gathered there. Eli moved his practice to TaborSpace in 2013, where his practice remains.
Spaces for Community and Healing
Eli was a natural fit for TaborSpace. It seemed the spirit of the community and his Rolfing practice reflected each other. That spirit led to his work with Revive Community Commons. Soon, Eli and Lauren Moomaw became good friends. Lauren was the first Program Director of Taborspace. She ran the organization for many years and turned it into a financially successful program and a vibrant community resource. Lauren also started the nonprofit Revive Community Commons to create more communities like TaborSpace in Portland. Eli joined as its Executive Director.
Using TaborSpace as the model, Revive Community Commons envisions a future with a community hub in every neighborhood. These hubs will be be gathering places for the community, where connections and relationships can grow.
Revive hopes to rejuvenate and transform other historical sacred buildings throughout Portland into these community hubs. Eli and I remarked that in a way, the plan is bringing these churches and buildings back to their original purpose. Our historical churches and sacred places were gathering places for the neighborhood. They provided support and healing to those who came. Not only will Revive help Portland retain some of its historical buildings, it will also create more beautiful spaces for us to gather and connect.
Eli’s Rolfing practice and Revive Community Commons are intertwined in purpose and practice. They each support the other while creating a path for healing and better living through connection and community. Eli is engaged with our community in a way that gives hope and energy to a more connected future.
I actually can’t believe it took me this long to sit down and talk with Eli. When we met by chance in front of his house awhile ago and started catching up, I couldn’t wait to share his story. In a way, it’s a reminder to pay attention to that which connects us, whether neighbors, colleagues, or even chance encounters. When we stop and listen to the spirit that moves among us, we discover all sorts of inspiration and wonderful stories. I wonder what other stories I have missed?
Learn more about Eli Eichenauer and what he’s up to: