Eons ago, I began a journey of awareness. My trip started when I enrolled in a four-year Feldenkrais Method® training for, dare I say it, purely selfish reasons. At the time, I had the very limited sense that the Method’s power lay in it’s ability to unlock movement potential in those who had physical limitations. My daughter has Cerebral Palsy so anything that offered hope of freer, easier movement for her was fair game. Like many who stumble into the method, I was captivated by the stories of physical transformation. I wanted that – for my daughter and for myself.
Through the training and beyond, I did indeed find my own movements becoming lighter, less strained. Pains and aches diminished and often disappeared. My body became more flexible, more supple. More importantly, so did my mind. The focus on attending, noticing and awareness became an overarching theme. So much so that I now view all those hours on the floor, the lessons of rolling to sit, sitting to stand, differentiating head and shoulders, etc., as metaphors for how I could approach life.
When I’m stuck, can I find ease within the constraints of my situation?
Is there another possibility? Possibilities? Could I choose another way instead of the one I habitually choose?
And, my daughter? Like mother, like daughter, the method also gave her a keen sense of self-awareness and an acceptance of herself and her different abilities. She takes pride in learning and never tires of experimenting. I’ve never heard her say, “I can’t”, even though her physical limitations are significant. She tries, and in time, using small, slow movements achieves what is most important to her. Not what’s important to me. Not what anyone else expects her to do. No. She brings her awareness to what is important to her. Beginning with what she can do, she slowly expands her possibilities, step by step by step until she can easily do what it is she wants to do. She has learned how to learn. No parent can ask more of their child (or themselves for that matter).
To the untrained eye, my daughter’s physical being is still very challenged. To those who know her, she has accomplished much and still continues to experiment and learn. Her spirit soars. Movement aside, she is incredibly aware of herself and her world.
So what is this marvelous method? At it’s core, the Feldenkrais Method is a physical metaphor for the processes of learning and self-awareness. It uses movement and body awareness as tools to self-discovery and expanded possibilities for being in the world.
Most of the people who come to me do so out of a desire to “get out of pain” or “learn to move better”. That may happen. More often than not it does. From my point of view, their questions and desires all boil down to learning to trust, to letting go of self-imposed restrictions, to opening possibilities. I see my role as empowering people to live authentic lives.
As I re-read Dr. Moshe Feldenkrais’ work, I am finding anew how his ideas, written decades ago, continue to be relevant and apropos. So I’ve decided to pull quotes from his writings and interviews and offer them here, sometimes alone, sometimes along with my personal reflections, as a step to helping you (and myself) increase awareness. I hope you’ll join me on the journey.