Wiping the Slate Clean
The other day, I was honored when the person on my Feldenkrais table was another practitioner, Jacqueline Rubinstein of SomaSpace, studio of movement arts in the Hollywood District of Portland. Jacqueline was hurt unexpectedly when the weight and speed of a closing trunk lid caught her on the forehead, exacerbating an even older injury.
As she lay on the table and we worked to ease her reaction to the jolting experience, I held Jacqueline’s eyebrows, then her cheekbones and then on to trace the complete outline of the skeleton of her face. As I traced, the tension left her face and her muscles softened. I had the impression of a slate being wiped clean.
It occurred to me that wiping the slate clean is as good a description as any to what is happening in a Feldenkrais lesson. In fact, it may be that it’s best to wipe it clean before we go on to learn something new, so one pattern of behavior isn’t overlaid on top of another and then another until we’re bundles of what we call parasitic movements, movements unnecessary for the intended action.
And, what if, in the middle of a coffee date, when something is said that doesn’t sit well, what if we could use the jolt of incongruence as our cue to clear the slate. What if we said so out loud. “Hey, I am not sure what to make of this, do you want to talk about it more, maybe I misunderstood.”
What if we didn’t carry old patterns of thinking about one another and we listened to what was happening in the moment? What if we could wipe the slate clean each time we entered a new situation? Would we be able to access our full range of reactions and responses if we weren’t anticipating or holding ourselves in old, familiar ways?
I leave you with this idea, food for thought as we near the holidays with the increased chance you’ll be across the table from someone you’ve clenched up with in the past. Who knows what will happen if you sit down with friends and family with a blank slate.
A Special Roller Class
This week, I’ll be teaching a lesson that I couldn’t live without. I know, I know, it seems there are so many. The eye lesson, the pelvic clock, twiddling with the toes which I just taught last week. But this lesson, this lesson is special.
You will learn how to use a small roller, in this case a pool noodle but it could even be a rolled up towel, to ease your spine and increase your comfort and flexibility. If you’ve ever worked too long in the garden, driven across the state without stopping, or moved your best friend after her divorce, this is the class for you. I’ve seen people hobble into the room and leave with a spring in their step.
Whether you need it this week or will need it six months from now, the Magic Roller is a classic lesson not to be missed. If you can’t make it to class, this lesson is described in Ruthy Alon’s book, Mindful Spontaneity. I learned the lesson from Ruthy back in the winter of 1993 when she was still teaching in Feldenkrais trainings in the United States.
You have two options to join in…
Friday, November 20, Magic Roller class, 10:45am, Regents Center, 3185 NE Regents Dr, Portland, OR 97212. Bring a blanket or mat and dress in layers for warmth. $15 drop in.
Monday, November 23, Magic Roller class, 11:00am, Linnton Community Center, 10614 NW St Helens Rd, Portland, OR 97231. Bring a blanket or mat and dress in layers for warmth. $12 drop in.
Greetings Feldenkrais Enthusiasts,
I hope you’ll find time to lie on the floor these next two weeks. Or, hold your knees and roll, or sit side-saddle and turn even more, or practice 4-part breathing.
Whatever the next couple of weeks hold for you, I hope you’ll spend some of it inside the sanctuary that is your self.
Classes beginning Fridays 10:45 am at the Subud Portland, 3185 NE Regents Drive.
$120 for the Session. $15 drop-in.
The Fall schedule looks like this:
September 11 Dead Bird
September 18 Rolling to Sit
September 25 Long Arm Lesson
October 2 Hip Oiling/Hamstring Lengthening
October 9 no class
October 16 no class
October 23 Standing Tilting
October 30 Ping Pong Ball
November 6 Sitting to Stand to Sit
November 13 Differentiating Toes
November 20 Magic Roller
November 27 Thanksgiving Break
December 4 4-part breathing
December 11 Lengthening the spine
December 18 Surgeon’s Hands
I’m looking forward to the fall and coolness in the air. Bring your questions, bring your self, bring your curiosity to make the quality of your life as rich as it can possibly be.
See you soon,
Dear Feldenkrais Enthusiasts,
We’ll have three more classes this summer before we take a couple of weeks off for vacation.
In the spirit of moving slower in this heat and finding ways to improve the quality of our lives, we’ll slow the class down a bit. You can look forward to a breathing lesson, a turning lesson, and a lesson about looking up, all designed to distribute the effort of moving through your day with lightness and finesse. The things you learn will likely be relevant for learning to distribute other kinds of work such as sensing work, thinking work, and feeling work. Let’s find out, shall we?
As usual, we’re at 3185 NE Regents Drive, Portland, 97212
$15 drop in, all experience levels welcome.
Bring a mat or blanket.
I’m sharing a post with you that I wrote for The Broad Side, a contemplation on sanctuary.