Prompt: Community. Where have you discovered community, online or otherwise, in 2010? What community would you like to join, create or more deeply connect with in 2011?
Five years ago, when I began in earnest to develop my Feldenkrais practice, I wondered how there would ever be a “community” of us in Houston. The Feldenkrais Method is a personal improvement practice (as one practices yoga, swimming, or the piano) with broad applications and “tentacles” in physical therapy and rehabilitation, exercise, sport, and physical well-being, as well as skill development or performance improvement for peak performers in the arts or athletics. The Method has not yet captured wide public attention, despite a 50-year history of amazing results, so I wondered how to reach a “tipping point” of awareness and financial viability in a city of 4.5 million people. I was one of only three full-time Feldenkrais teachers in Houston, and the newest graduate. As I watched one dear colleague move out of state, and the other retire to the next phase of her life, I was the last full-timer standing, so to speak. The need to build community was even more pressing. I figured, it looks like if I’m going to have colleagues here, I’m going to have to grow them myself. I began to dream and plan to host a professional training program in Houston, leading to Feldenkrais teacher certification.
In May, 2010, my dream became a reality. It was a long process: first to find a trusted and compatible training organization to handle the curriculum, instruction, and compliance with international training standards. I also found a venue that would meet our needs, recruited students, and took care of local arrangements and “customer service” for the new venture. We are currently finishing the first year of the program (40 training days a year for four years — that’s right, 160 days distributed over four years — it’s BIG), and I feel very proud to see the beginnings of a wonderful community of Feldenkrais enthusiasts and future colleagues. We are united by common interest and love of the learning process, as well as by humor, food, social activities, and spending lots of time together. The students are extraordinarily accomplished people, many with doctorates and masters degrees in a variety of fields. We have created a safe and harmonious environment that is also challenging, secure, and supportive — no small achievement. I have fallen in love with these wonderful people from Houston and beyond, and am so fortunate to be able to share in what will be a transformational process for each of them as they study the Feldenkrais Method.
In the past year, I’ve also had wonderful opportunities to participate in local and global communities which have formed with the assistance of social media. This project, #reverb10, has put me in contact with other writers who are reflecting on the past year and planning — no, actively creating — the year to come. It’s been exciting to meet people in Houston in real life whom I’ve met on Twitter at the Caroline Collective, TEDxHouston, the Social Media Breakfast, and numerous social events, TweetUps, and fundraisers. I feel great personal satisfaction to be able to put my ideals into action, support my new friends in their projects and endeavors, and nurture these social relationships into mutually beneficial friendships and business connections.
In 2011, I want to continue to learn more about leveraging the strengths of social media to build and mobilize community. I am passionate about sharing this knowledge with other Feldenkrais teachers around the world, who have successful practices under their noses, if they will connect within their local contacts. I am also passionate about self-expression, women’s health, the Houston AIDS Walk, the #SLGT “Support Local, Grow Together” initiative, and the myriad projects through which my friends, clients, and colleagues are making a difference in their own ways. I want to learn more about community and collaboration to build a better life, and a better world, for everyone.
learn more about #reverb10.