Last Saturday was an amazing day at Houston’s Jung Center. Over fifty people came out on a cold morning, the day after an historic ice storm in the city, to learn about ways to handle the daily stresses of life. I was honored to be on the program with other Jung Center faculty during a three-hour demo of tai chi, Feldenkrais, Continuum, yoga, and active imagination. Gratifying, to say the least, to be with such a curious and receptive audience. And the program left me with some thoughts about an overall theme for upcoming classes and workshops this spring. It might even be a theme for Feldenkrais work in general.
I’ve been thinking how sad it is that we limit ourselves and our potential based on our beliefs about ourselves. Whether those beliefs come from our families (my sister is the artist, not me; I’m just like my father), skewed interpretations of religions to emphasize judgment and destruction (I’m being punished for the bad things I did), or valuable situational learning from our pursuit of the arts or athletics (I am not flexible; my psoas is tight; I have bad posture). Helpful tools for personal growth, such as the Enneagram or Jungian typology, can be used as a weapon or label (“He’s an INFJ — what do you expect?” Or, “I can’t do this, this way. I’m a Three.”) Some of these statements might contain information worth considering, but they are certainly limiting if they are taken as “this is how I am, forever and always.” No wonder people are stressed and depressed. Faced with situations where one feels hopeless and helpless, all one can do is cling, ever tighter, to “the way it’s always been.” We become frozen into our habitual ways of thinking, feeling, sensing, and moving — even if those habits began as useful learning.
From time to time, it’s valuable to take a new inventory, have a thaw, or upgrade your system, so to speak. When you have current information, you have a more accurate starting point from which to chart your next actions. The Feldenkrais Method is the best tool I know of for creating a better situation. There is no demand that you totally and fundamentally change who and how you are in the world! And, at the same time, you just might benefit from “enlarging your menu” of choices, to include more perspective and experiences and expand your current beliefs about yourself. Sometimes, the news is surprisingly good. There doesn’t especially need to be a problem, for even when things are going well, there are ways to make your experience even more delightful and juicy. The Feldenkrais Method holds open the possibility of improvement, for everyone.
A worthy theme for inquiry is: How do I limit myself? What parts of myself could I include, that are presently excluded? How can I live more fully, more vitally, more enjoyably? The possibility of improvement is as near as your next breath.