Each Feldenkrais lesson begins with an invitation to notice something. This noticing is gradually directed toward the observation of curious details about the way you move, rest, and solve minor problems. A movement that feels isolated, strange, and difficult quickly reveals itself to be easy, graceful, and that your whole self is involved. You learn a process of learning and exploration that can be applied in any setting. After awhile, most people report that the effects of the lessons have begun to generalize — to “show up” as improvements in unexpected places, like their relationships, their work, their outlook. What began exclusively as a personal exploration of a specific issue eventually affects the world around you.
This ability to change your viewpoint, from local to global, or self to environment, and back again, is a crucial skill. Without it, you literally cannot move. A changing perspective gives a more complete view, and yields the opportunity to take intelligent action. Individual actions make a difference. Last week, I saw several examples of this, “on the ground.”
One client, a zippy octegenarian, has a new lease on life. After two surgeries on the same shoulder and a slow recovery, she was discouraged with her lack of progress. After 14 months and several courses of frustrating and painful therapy, she still could not drive without pain, lift her arm overhead, or dress herself normally. After a little more than a month of Feldenkrais lessons, she has regained most of her range of motion, and can now drive and do household tasks without pain. She learned that her shoulder is connected to the rest of HER, and that when her whole self is involved in movement, her shoulder moves more easily. She has regained her independence and is now eager to get back to her social life. Another client, having survived a brain aneurism, still walks haltingly and has difficulties with balance. Our first lesson helped her to sense her ankles as she walked. She reported that later in the day, a friend told her she seemed to be moving better and with more stability. She was thrilled! One solution involved viewing the problem in a larger context; the other solution involved a seemingly minor detail that was an essential part of the whole. Both perspectives are needed for a fresh outlook and a new beginning. As Moshe Feldenkrais said, “The possibility of improvement is limitless.” The cumulative effect of many small actions can lead to a big result.
Here’s another story. Houstonians Ernie and Sheryl Rapp thought that our city should host its own version of the TED Conference, bringing the top creative minds to Houston to speak from their unique perspectives. They founded and launched The UP Experience (“Like TED, Only Hotter) in 2008. A second event is planned for October 15, 2009. Home-grown initiative and actions have resulted in an event of international caliber and influence. Through Ernie and Sheryl’s creativity and dedication, locals will get a global perspective we wouldn’t have had otherwise.
In another example, some Houston entrepreneurs, artists, and musicians have begun an initiative called “Support Local/Grow Together.” It’s a simple idea, really, do to business in your own community, with people you know, like, and trust. SLGT adds a personal, word-of-mouth, nice-to-know-you dimension to the buying decisions you make every day. Hang out at your local coffee shop, independent book store, or neighborhood mom-and-pop restaurant. Recommend your hairdresser, doctor, computer genius, or designer to your friends. You could purchase some fabulous vegetables at a farmer’s market, get your printing done at a local shop, collect pieces by a Houston artist, seek out Houston musicians and performers for your next party. Attend a local conference, sample a new wine, follow your curiosity into new plans for self-development! (I recommend the Feldenkrais Method.) Again, the cumulative effect of many small actions can lead to a big result.
If you live elsewhere, you can begin to promote SLGT wherever you are. The “top down,” big solutions to our economic woes are only part of the picture. SLGT is grass-roots, right in your own backyard. Global and local perspectives are points on a spectrum, and we must continually navigate between them. Individual actions, chosen with awareness and intelligence, will always make a difference.
You can become a fan of SLGT: Support Local/Grow Together on Facebook.
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