I would have never guessed that this is how things would be in 2020. The 4th of July was gentle and slow. There were some fireworks. It was a hot summer day. It was nice to just sense myself as I moved around without the rush of preparing for some event. It’s weird to have this kind of time. I am grateful that I am not under pressure at this moment. I send my heartfelt gratitude to those who are taking care of people and providing the services that we all need to continue. I also send my deepest respect to those suffering in this time. May we all find just a little more space and kindness.
Well, we made it to 2020. Time keeps passing and eventually it shows up……………..Or………….Eventually we show up. Russell Delman of The Embodied Life School says, “Presence is the door and embodiment is the key.” Have you ever noticed how sometimes, “time gets away from you.” Or maybe sometimes you feel like you are having an, “out of body experience.” In both of these cases there is no presence with embodiment. But to feel your physical self as fully as possible in any given moment is such a gift. Even when we are in pain, there is usually part of ourselves that is not in pain. Can I notice that place?? And….. funny enough……….if I can allow myself to notice that place that is not in pain when I have a big pain somewhere somehow if I stick with it long enough the rest of my non-painful self comes on line too. And maybe the non-painful bits can actually start to include the old painful places. That’s one example of presence with embodiment. It’s really quite extraordinary. And we all can do it. We just need to practice. Sometimes it’s not a pain we’re trying to ease but a nice quality we want to find and grow. Feldenkrais is a great way to do it. Join us for a class! Happy New Year!
Here in the mid-western United States we find the cold air, shorter days and the slowing of nature to cue us to do the same if we are able to notice those cues. However, the holidays are upon us as well. Just as in the body, there are multiple cues from multiple angles with multiple trajectories and different levels of emphasis. Nature outside signals a time of slowing, retreat, regeneration, and recovery for us here in the central US. But, just the word “holidays,” can signal “get up and go,” quite loudly for many. How do we allow both of these seemingly opposite things to occur together???
Balance, I believe, is in order. Nature is so smart!! We, humans, are part of nature. But, the natural world is much quieter than, “the holidays.” Allow yourself to notice what a gift from nature can do for you and have a nice pause.
This is article is truly a wonderful expression of what is going on in a Feldenkrais Lesson in words, 11 pages seems like a lot. This is part of why it’s so hard for me to explain what I do. But it is quite illustrative. The great theoretical physicist David Bohm and Moshe Feldenkrais were totally on the same page when addressing our humanity. It is described by Ilana Neville about her lessons with one of her young clients. We exist with each other. We connect and make the other whole. The Dialogue Model is another form of how we gain awareness of ourselves and how thought becomes conscious of itself. The world is an amazing place. Something is happening. It’s great to be a part of it all! Enjoy some Mind Body Science reading! https://www.feldenkraisnow.org/davidbohm’sdialo.html
As I prepare for teaching a Feldenkrais Awareness Through Movement Lesson I first come into myself. I quiet my thoughts and come into my senses. Next, I engage my curiosity and extinguish my “plans”. In doing so, I prepare myself to learn something new about myself and how I encounter the environment around me. This is how any athlete, performer, or human of any kind enters into the most exquisite moments of their lives. It’s a moment of engaged non-judgmental learning. The kind of learning your brain used before you had language. A time when you were feeling your way into growth and development.
This method has something for any person ready to learn something new about themselves. Cynthia Allen describes it so well in her Huffington Post article: Extreme Sports Meets Feldenkrais. When we learn something new about ourselves we grow in all aspects of our lives. We feel better! We do better! We are better! Check it out! See you in class!
This is a method that attempts to bring us all closer to more wholeness. I believe that as we progress through our lives it is often a case that allows us all to fragment or compartmentalize ourselves more and more. On the other side of that, occasionally we see people that really flower in their age. Interestingly, I am beginning to have a feeling that movement away from wholeness is why we often see greater physical and mental ailments as folks age. But, I believe that age is not necessarily a creator of ailments! Ailments can be presented to humans before during and after birth and throughout the lifespan. Ailments themselves can be creators of opportunity and blossoming into life with more wholeness. Finding that wholeness is what I believe creates a happier and more physically comfortable life.
Moshe Feldenkrais created a method for observing the human process and finding distinctions and connections between what he sees as four main categories of real-time existence: feelings (emotions), senses, movement, and thought. In his book, Awareness Through Movement. He speaks of an old parable where, “a man without awareness is like a carriage whose passengers are the desires, with the muscles for horses, while the carriage itself is the skeleton. Awareness is the sleeping coachman. As long as the coachman remains asleep the carriage will be dragged aimlessly here and there. Each passenger seeks a different destination and the horses pull different ways. But when the coachman is wide awake and holds the reins the horses will pull the carriage and bring every passenger to his proper destination. In those moments when awareness succeeds in being at one with feeling(emotion), senses, movement, and thought, the carriage will speed along on the right road. The man can make discoveries, invent, create, innovate, and “know.” He grasps that his small world and the great world around are but one and that in this unity he is no longer alone.” “
So, we have not quite reached the winter solstice here in St. Louis, Missouri. But, I had to laugh at myself this morning while scraping my windshield. The ice is relatively thick and pesky today from the weekend weather.
As I moved with curiosity while approaching the icy windshield I realized Moshe Feldenkrais was working in my head to clean the window. First, find where it is easiest to start with. There are thinner spots that have had more sun on them or less precipitation or any other number of conditions that make the surface easier to penetrate. Second, make it small and slow. I could jump right in and attack the ice like I see so many folks doing. I have done that in the past. But, if I give myself more time and make it slower and smaller it actually feels a bit easier. Third, stay in your physical body. So, it’s cold and I have a lot of layers on and nice boots to stand on the icy sloped surface of the driveway. I feel where I am warmest, maybe my chest. I feel the vibrations in my arms as the scraper meets the ice. I feel the tension in my shoulders and ask myself the question of how it can be easier. I then drop my shoulders a bit, feel my natural breaths, and step one foot back and feel how the pressure from my toes in my boots up through my foot and heel, ankle, shin, thigh, pelvis, spine, shoulder blade, collar bone, upper arm bone, forearm, wrist, and hand make a nice line to push the scraper. The weight of my head and face and neck and other arm can actually help push the scraper. Of course…………..it’s an entirely different story on the other side of the windshield but an equally fun investigation. How now do I configure myself for each movement of the scraper? Where do I meet resistance? Can I find ease in a different angle of the scraper, which takes bigger bites in the ice with a little less effort? Through it all, I have respect for my own comfort and ease and rest at times. Occasionally, I stop to pull my fingers into the palms of my gloves to warm them up and feel my skeleton stacked up as I stand and find ease in my arms, chest and back. I look at the amazing scenery around me. It was way more fun than it can be!!! Give it a try! Join us in class where the heater is working and there is no ice! Be curious about yourself and how you meet your environment and you will find something special that creates a shift in you.
Cheers, Sandy :-)
So, I know on my home page I say, “Make brain plasticity a part of your everyday experience.” But, the fact of the matter is that you already are. In this TED talk Dr. Laura Boyd explains:
This is so cool!! My favorite part is the comment about how you are making plastic changes in your brain by what you are doing and what you aren’t doing. You can choose how you want to shape your brain!! Those little flashes of light in the photo above are the connections between the neurons that feed them to grow them the way you want too!! Open up, feel some ease. You don’t need to push. Just let it go!! Have some fun! Join me for a Feldenkrais Lesson!
Cheers! Sandy :-)
That’s funny isn’t it. In this time of the Olympics and the heavy influence of things like CrossFit we are quite inspired and competitive. But those 2 words can actually be combined into something that is not so helpful. So often we set our goals based on something outside of ourselves….5K, 10K, 26.2M 140.6M, 24H, 7D……. Those goals are EVERYWHERE!!! How can you not! It takes a strong heart and a mindful body and a bodyful mind to not!!! So what does that mean? I have a history of participation in endurance events. Those events shaped me. But, I learned the most when I didn’t finish one I set out to finish. It was odd though. I didn’t make a firm choice not to finish. I just sort of meandered into not finishing. Truthfully l had hypothermia and was not mindful or bodyful but my heart was strong. I was strangely joyful. So, was it divine intervention??? Hmmmm?? I don’t know.
Our bodies and minds are intimately connected. When one isn’t working well neither is the other in many cases. Stephen Hawking is one example of an extremely superior mind that keeps a weak body going. It can also go the other way which is why physical exercises is so important in diseases like Alzheimer’s.
To my friends who participate in endurance events of all kinds; be mindful of your body and bodyful of your mind. The mind and the body live on a 2 way street. Each sends and receives messages from the other if we listen. Know when you are able to notice your body and when you are able to notice your thoughts during your training and your events. Because, when you check out of one or the other or both the only thing that can save you is divine intervention. When we check out of one or both we are likely injuring one or both. We can get in the habit of checking out of one or both or get in the habit of producing our own progressive discomfort because of a willful mind and strong body. If you assume goals set by others, someone you see, or an event organizer you adjust what your goal would have been if it were uniquely inspired. Those uniquely inspired ones are the most important and the most valuable. And be careful not to judge yourself by the goals set by others. And maybe even if you don’t achieve one of the goals set by someone else that you are trying to meet you will achieve the most amazing moment you could ever imagine. Set your own goal. It can occur within an outside goal. But don’t forget to allow your own goal to have more meaning. Maybe you can have a goal to try something new and find something new about yourself. Don’t let it come at the price of a versatile mind and healthy body. It’s easy to develop habits in training. Some are useful. Some are not. Habits can outgrow usefulness. Following a habit is not necessarily being mindful or bodyful. Notice when you are in a habit. Nuns got rid of them for a reason!
Soooooooo, that’s a funny title isn’t it?? One of my clients said to me the other day, “Feldenkrais is like the Quantum Physics of body work.” I thought that was pretty cool to hear as we were wrapping up our Functional Integration lesson. On my way home I was chuckling to myself about it. Then just a few days ago I cracked open a book I bought some years back about how we bring our hands to folks in a lesson and there it was…………
This is the strength duration curve I have been teaching Physical Therapy students about probably for the last 10 years or more. I used it in the context of how different nerve fibers are stimulated in response to electrical pulses. The vertical axis is the strength of the electrical pulse and the horizontal axis represents the duration of the pulse. The function of the nerve is represented by the curve. The nerves could be sensory, motor, sharp pain, or dull pain. Interestingly the labeling was different in the book by Yochanan Rywerant about The Feldenkrais Method. His graph was to represent Energy Exchange and Learning. He labeled the vertical axis as “energy exchanged” and the horizontal axis as “information transmitted.” The area indicated by the blue rectangle in Rywerant’s book is the upper limit of what can be conveyed in a Feldenkrais Lesson. He called it a “quantum of manipulation.” I taught my students that the area in the blue rectangle was the most efficient delivery of an electrical pulse that would stimulate the fiber you are interested in approaching. Rywerant pointed out the analogy to Heisenberg’s Principle of Uncertainty in atomic physics concerning the position of particles and momentum. So there you have it!!
But, a touche, not to be taken out by the physics of the matter or those who may not choose to view the world that way! This work just works!! It’s just the right amount of what you need to feel better, be better, do better. And that my friends makes the world a better place for everyone!! Who needs a graph for that?Cheers!! Sandy