For each of us, there are people who have influenced our life so deeply that there’s no question life would be different if they had never been part of it. I’m talking about those people whose level of impact on you is so big, that there’s literally no way to imagine your life without them.
For me, John and Anna Chitty are two such people. They have been my mentors for decades. They have shown up for me in countless personal and professional ways and have always been generously open to sharing their deep knowledge and wisdom. Their support of my decision to take on the School of Inner Health and teach Craniosacral Therapy Foundation Trainings has been steadfast and invaluable.
It is with deep sadness, immense gratitude and a great reservoir of respect that I share the news of John Chitty’s passing on February 28th, just over a month shy of his 70th birthday, after a more than eight-year journey with cancer. John approached his cancer as he did the rest of his life — with courage, curiosity, discipline and grace. Upon learning of his diagnosis, John researched everything he could about his type of cancer. He knew that in order to chart a course of action, he needed to first know the territory.
Discovering everything he could about a new idea, interest or expansion in our field was quintessential John. In the classroom, his excitement about each new discovery was infectious, and his ability to convey what he knew about relevant and complex scientific research clearly and directly was consistent and astounding. When his cancer entered the picture, John expanded this innate ability into new regions. As John’s illness taught him, he in turn taught us all, both about what he learned and about how to help others. He also turned his illness into a catalyst to expand his legacy, writing two important, thoughtful and accessible books in the last eight years. The impact of Dancing with Yin and Yang and Working with Babies in our field is significant and will be long-lasting.
I’ve said for years that if John hadn’t taken the path he did, he would have been a successful comedian. John was hysterical. His wit was dry and spot on. Laughing hard was a reliable perk of being in his classroom. In addition to his humor, I will always remember his kindness, thoughtfulness and care. I’ve had conversations with several people in recent days about how deeply he touched them and how thoroughly he made a difference in their lives. John mentored and supported thousands of people over the course of his life. John loved to be of service, and he served all who came into his orbit with humility and grace.
My relationship with John has been built through our common work and focus, but I find in these days of mourning that the memories I am revisiting are those times where we talked about other things. Just this past September at the Biodynamic Craniosacral conference in Maryland, we shared stories about our childhoods and our children, and we learned new things about each other. At that conference, John was given an award, and the award ceremony included an opportunity for anyone who wanted to honor him directly. I am grateful for the chance I had to thank John in the presence of the rest of the participants for the impact he and Anna have had on my life.
Travel well, John. I take comfort in knowing that you are discovering all sorts of answers to questions you have long asked about energy and matter and motion. You will be thoroughly missed and are absolutely loved.