What would you like to learn?

This past weekend, I spent a glorious rainy three days in Austin with other Feldenkrais teachers from around the country. We had gathered for the opportunity to step out of our habitual teacher roles and once again to assume the role of student. The Feldenkrais Method® is about life-long learning, so we take our own personal and professional development very seriously. It is always a joy to lie on the floor as a class member, and enter the intriguing kinesthetic puzzle of Awareness Through Movement®.

The workshop had an advertised topic which was of interest to me, and the teachers were friends whom I don’t often get to see. I was “all in” for a great experience, and that experience was that I learned things I didn’t know were important for me to know. The element of surprise made the weekend learning exciting and profound. If you are coming for classes, lessons, or workshops in the near future, you’ll be the direct beneficiary.

It was after class that I had an opportunity to reflect upon what I was learning. It was fun and specific in the moment, but later I could appreciate the deeper levels, the broader applications, the wider implications for other aspects of my life. I thought about my students, what they say they want to learn, and what else they might learn. Are the deeper, unadvertised lessons a side-effect of the Method, or are they the true essence?

Moshe Feldenkrais sometimes spoke of assisting people “to live their vowed and unavowed dreams.” I think of a person who came to me for voice lessons because her dream was to learn to sing. What she learned along the way was how to find her voice, how to speak up for herself, and how to express her true self. That is an unavowed dream. When I work with someone, I think of the possible unavowed dream: to walk tall, to be resilient, to feel comfortable in one’s own skin, to feel a sense of power and agency in one’s life, to feel free.

What would you like to learn?

When Everything Is New

2001-2002 Mitsubishi Montero photographed in USA.
Image via Wikipedia

It has been a week of many changes.

My first blog, in 2005, was called “Embracing Change.”  The past week has been so full, I wonder if my arms can encircle all of it!

Three weeks after a wreck which totaled my car (but thankfully resulted in no serious injuries), I purchased a new vehicle.  My Mitsubishi Montero captures the essence of what I wanted — to have good visibility, safety, reasonable fuel economy, plenty of cargo space, lower mileage, and a little something unexpected.  The unexpected is that I came in “on time and under budget,” with four-wheel drive and a sun roof!  The Feldenkrais bumper sticker (purple and white, “movement is life”) looks good, and “Mitsi” already knows the way home.  A new car marks the beginning of a new era.

Some of my most powerful and transformational dreams have featured transportation.  As I type, it seems obvious:  the prefix “trans,” meaning “across,” coupled with “Formation;”  that which is the essence of a building character; and “Portation,”  the way one carries oneself from Point A to Point B.  Dreams of travel on a train, chugging down the track with countless faceless others, brought to awareness my desire to be an individual and go my own way.  Dreams of cars, or an “auto-mobile” or “Self- mover,” always focused my attention on where I was going in life, and how I was going about getting there.  When dreams and reality converge, new possibilities emerge.

Our cats have been different this week.  Perhaps it has been the unpredictable weather and big temperature swings:  the cats have wanted full-body contact and companionship.  Most cats are “cool,” aloof, and disinterested.  Not ours! Serving cheerfully as our courteous and professional staff, they thrive on attention, just as humans do.  Companion animals are so delightful, and time spent with them can lower your blood pressure and stress levels.  There’s a special sweetness and resonance to inter-species bonding.  Bean and Yoda’s behaviors are an endless source of amusement and novelty, not to mention sheer silliness.  Silliness is the great equalizer, and adjuster of perspective.  It’s hard to be self-absorbed, serious, and self important when a pet is trying to sit on your head.  Deal with it.  It will make you a better person.

Spring comes to Houston.  New ideas and new energy abound.  From community initiatives like the “#SLGT Support Local, Grow Together” movement, to the SXSW conference in Austin, to the new Feldenkrais training which will begin here in May, there is much that is new.  New ideas come from imagination.  Your imagination is your greatest asset.  It’s working all the time, so put it to use!  Focus your energies and attention on imagining what you want, rather than what you don’t want.  YOU control your imagination, so it can function as a compass to point you in the direction of accomplishment and achievement.

Unfortunately, many people don’t define themselves as “imaginative.”  What they don’t know is that imagination always has roots in reality.  Feldenkrais lessons help you to develop this resource by re-connecting you to your innate abilities to move, sense, think, and feel.  You’ll be surprised at how much feels brand new.  Seems appropriate for Spring, doesn’t it?

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