Simultaneity


I’ve always enjoyed images of the Roman god, Janus, for whom the month of January is named. The end of one year, and the beginning of another, occur simultaneously. We’re looking forward to the future and back at the past at the same time.

Moshe Feldenkrais probably would have seen this as a classic case of “cross motivation:” attempting to accomplish two contradictory actions in the same moment, resulting in anxiety, muscular tension, overall inefficiency in accomplishing either, and possible breakdown. Now THAT explains a lot about why the holidays are as they are for many of us!

If you try to move in two directions at once, you’ll find that you have come to a stop. Trying to move in both means that you can move in neither. The failure to see this, and to struggle against it, results in frustration, anxiety, and everything else that goes with it. However, you could stop, look both ways, and then choose how to proceed.

We don’t like to stop, we like to go. Yet, pausing to stop can be seen as a dynamic action, if chosen freely. You stop at crossroads.

All religious traditions point to the same truth, providing the opportunity to reflect on natural and personal change, of moving from darkness into light. All of them advise: watch where you’re going!

This looking forward and backwards can be a lovely, poised place. Not a place of struggle or of static “balance,” but of neutrality. The neutral place, sought by martial artists, is the place from which movement in any direction is possible. The neutral place is the place from which effortless and effective action springs.

This kind of neutrality will help me to move through my occasional holiday “funks.” I can navigate emotional swells without capsizing. I envision the fun that lies ahead, in my personal life, in my relationships, and in my work. To leave the old year behind requires a shift, a gear shift, into neutral and through it. I’ll clear off the desk, straighten up the files, weed out the email folders, and clean the house. My work in the Feldenkrais Method helps me to find neutral. I’ve had lots of practice, exploring through movement, how the actions I take and the choices I make can move me into what’s next.

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