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More to Feldenkrais Than Moving

July 28, 2013

Beyond a doubt, the Feldenkrais Method® offers each of us the way to slow a bit, pause a moment, and consider the patterns with which we move and how those movements are beneficial or harmful to our well-being. Much more than a do-this, be-that strategy, the Feldenkrais Method gives you learning tools to apply to any situation you find yourself in.

Yes, learning tools.

It used to be unsexy to talk about learning tools. It was thought if we mentioned that the Feldenkrais Method is a learning methodology, no one would attend the classes. Somehow learning was thought to be blasé. Then the baby boomers began to feel their age and now, suddenly, learning and memory and thinking skills are all the rage, if nothing other than a strategy to beat the specter of Alzheimer’s disease.

English: Diagram of how microtubules desintegr...

English: Diagram of how microtubules desintegrate with Alzheimer’s disease Français : La protéine Tau dans un neurone sain et dans un neurone malade Español: Esquema que muestra cómo se desintegran los microtúbulos en la enfermedad de Alzheimer (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

For me, the power and thrill of the Feldenkrais Method lies in the power to undo the compulsions that came with growing up in my family. You have your reasons it thrills you too, and maybe you have ways your family dealt with a crisis, how they coped on family vacation, what happened around the dinner table, or who was in trouble when the dog wasn’t fed.

The bonus of all the moving and slithering and turning and reaching that we do in a Feldenkrais class boils down to this, we are undoing all the habits that got us stuck in a painful place in the first place, including those of thinking and feeling.

For reals.

I signed up for my Feldenkrais training because I had pain. I was stubborn and it took me a long time to do what I was hearing and not what I thought I heard. But, my pain went away and that got my attention. I gradually learned to wait and listen, again, and again, and then again. Finally, the instructions in the lessons began to make sense the first time I heard them. I could hear what was being said and I could do that thing instead of what I thought I heard or thought I should be doing.

One year, I realized I’d stopped fighting myself. I’d let go of the reactive response to things that didn’t make sense. I found myself able to demonstrate patience and resilience. All this came about from moving. Going to the classes and moving. No one fixing me. No one telling me what to do or that I wasn’t doing it right.

I kept moving, I kept learning new ways to be more comfortable and move more fluidly. I grew grace and posture that I’d never known. Eventually, the lessons led me to wonder more about the non-verbal and gestural and memory and thinking skills. By then, I knew I didn’t need to worry about training my brain with drill lessons or pop quizzes. I knew I could keep listening and seeing how to do an activity in a fluid way, each time coming back to letting go of the old patterns that wanted to encroach and creep back into my daily repertoire. My pains stayed at an ebb. When they did begin to flow, I watched and listened and they went away again.

Patience.

Waiting.

Noticing.

Poise.

Readiness.

Resilience.

All those lessons are coming in really handy now that I’m the caregiver for my father (post-stroke 6 months) and my family and I are navigating yet another new set of circumstances in the life process involved in being human.

Some days my dad and I share an easy laugh about the bloopers and blunders that come after a stroke. Other days, we struggle to shed the old patterns of expecting things to be just-so and just-so-perfect. I have my real-life laboratory right here in my house, living with me, the man I learned half my patterns from. Once in a while, I’m able to share with him a new strategy for doing something and he’s always happy when it feels less encumbered.

For you, what now? I say, no matter what your issue . . . get thyself to the floor. Listen. Move. When you don’t know what to do next, wait and see what you want to do. Watch how you fight yourself or push yourself or get in your own way. Wait and listen more. Do this many times. Weekly, monthly, daily. As often as you can. The results of the study will come in a cumulative effect. One day you will find the grace carries over to your walking, standing, sitting, and talking. You will find smoothness of thinking and feeling. You will feel whole.

Welcome . . . wholeness is a bed worth lying in.

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5 Comments
  1. Allison permalink

    yummy — one of my favorites from you 🙂

    • Thanks, Allison. Yummy sounds good to me, especially when I feel how much juicier life is now that I’ve shed the anxiety and worries of being just-so and just-so-perfect. Hope all is well with you!

  2. Reblogged this on Feldenkrais in Klamath and commented:
    And here are some wise words from Kim Cottrell!

  3. Hi, Kim, that really hits home or a lot of buttons…and I noticed a ‘reblog’ option and did something new! Now I have re-blogged! Thinking of you on life’s journey! Linda

    • Linda, had no idea of reblogging….I’ll have to pay some attention to that. Haha, always up for learning new things, right? Thanks for chiming in, I always love knowing that my peeps on the other side of the mountains are sharing in the journey. We have come a long way since our training, you, me, Allison, the whole bunch of us. Thanks again!!

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