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Wiping the Slate Clean (and the Magic Roller Class)

November 16, 2015

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.

Friday, Dec 12: 3-hour intensiveIt 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.

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