The other day I bought some nail varnish, (in a sparkly purple, for those interested in the details). Obviously not such a notable event, except I don’t wear nail varnish. Well very rarely.
In my childhood, nail varnish wasn’t something we did at home. My mother came from the generation where “nice girls” didn’t paint their nails, so it wasn’t something she introduced us to. And the few times I have worn it in my life, usually encouraged on by friends, I have always had the feeling my fingertips are suffocating, so it never lasts long.
Anyway, the point: I’m getting there: having colour at the ends of your fingers affected my perception in ways I didn’t realise: how long the fingers feel, how wide they look, how much they dominate one’s visual field, how I carry my hands, and how I think of them: they look more ornamental (something I have never associated my hands with). It’s fascinating (albeit in a navel gazing kind of way), novel, and yet deeply discomforting at the same time.
That such a small change in self-image can change our self-perception of an important part of ourselves is part of what I love about Feldenkrais. In looking together with a client at how they function, by altering their perception of that part through movement and awareness we can build new pictures of possibilites.
And once we have proved that one area of oneself is able to shift in an easy way in a relatively short space of time, then it’s not a giant leap to realising other self-perceptions are changeable, that we are more adaptable and therefore more open, resilient and stronger than many of us think.