Yesterday, I met a new friend at a coffee shop that is off of my beaten path. In searching online for an interesting location for our meeting, I found a convenient place for both of us that was quite close to both my home and my office — simply on a different route than I usually take.
My senses were keen. Even though I knew generally where I was headed, I had to pay attention so I didn’t go speeding past the address and have to go around the long block. I felt happy to find parking close to the door. The place was charming, the staff friendly, the coffee bracing, and the conversation lively and warm. In the quiet curiosity of different and new, I remembered that the human brain thrives on novelty. I enjoy the experience when all circuits are firing.
As we were leaving, we didn’t know whether we were supposed to just leave our cups on the table, or tidy up after ourselves. So I took them up to the counter, and said, “Do you folks want us to bring up our coffee cups?” They smiled. “YES, thank you!” One then said, “It’s OK if you leave them on the table, but we like you better when you bring them up.”
It was a very Feldenkrais-y. Moment.
I thought about how we all have our habitual ways of doing pretty much everything. Which sock we put on first. Which hand we use to brush our teeth. The way we squint at the computer screen, or turn our head to back the car out of the parking spot. Your habitual way might work just fine. And, chances are, there’s at least one other way to do it so that your body will “like you better.” In every Feldenkrais lesson, you can discover new ways of moving (and thinking and feeling and sensing) that you would never have thought of, because they are not on your well-beaten neural pathways. I frequently tell my students that I am merely a tour guide. As such, sometimes a Feldenkrais teacher will take you “out of your way” or on a seemingly indirect “movement route” to find something delightful and surprising. Life seems more in focus, more juicy and joyful, when new possibilities are on the menu. Thanks, Pura Coffee. We’ll be back for more “new.”
(Image of latte by Ev on unsplash.com)