I was asked by client recently about how one can be comfortable in a state of change.
For her, one facet of this was about being more aware of people looking at her as she walked around, now that she was more upright and open in her posture, and not finding it easy. She wasn’t used to being looked at, and couldn’t immediately place an intention as to why she was being of interest.
Other clients I have had, have talked about feeling vulnerable in discovering postures that are more open or freer, and although they liked it, it felt foreign. It took time before they could own the sensation of having more space across the chest, or no longer rounding their shoulders. And that’s certainly something that resonates with my own experience.
With all of these clients the way they held themselves has changed and their posture has improved markedly as a result of our sessions together. But even if one feels better physically, sometimes we have to take time for the rest of us to catch up.
I think any change of awareness or in self-perception means the recognition of a habit, and with that can come temporary discomfort, or frustration. Once we are aware of what we’re doing then we can shift up a gear, but that phase of learning can begin with a period of dis-ease whilst we’re becoming clearer about something, which can be confronting.
Our lives are uncertain, and many of us like to create an aura of stability by staying stuck in our ways, imagining that habit and definitiveness creates security. But if our habits don’t allow for evolution then staying stuck can become more and more uncomfortable.
Perhaps for my clients it’s what brought them to my lessons…for myself that was certainly why I came to Feldenkrais.
There’s a great video online where Abraham Twerski talks about lobsters. How as they grow, their shell doesn’t, and slowly becomes too small. At a certain point they have to go underneath a rock for a while to get rid of their old shell, and wait for a new one to grow. Not the nicest of experience, until that moment where the new shell is grown and they can come out from underneath the rock again. This feeling of discomfort is the signaller that change is necessary. I think its a little the same for us.
Learning and seeing ourselves in entirety can be uncomfortable in the beginning, as we have to accept both good and bad. And in Feldenkrais lessons we spend lots of the time thinking about how we can rewire the brain to feel more as one entity, and accept ourselves as we are in all our glorious asymmetry. It is at the moment of self acceptance where change is able to take place. In that space of self-acceptance we can be open to and more comfortable with change, and kinder about noticing habits/things about ourselves we would like to alter in some way.
Feldenkrais, for me, is not only about learning how we can be more physically flexible, but also how can we mentally find greater resilience and adaptability, whilst staying
grounded and ourselves? How can we choose new physical and mental habits that serve us better in our needs and desire, and be kind to ourselves in the process.
One of my favourite Moshe Feldenkrais quotes is “Movement is life. Life is a process. Improve the quality of the process and you improve the quality of life itself.”
I look forward to your feedback.