Habits of Gratitude

Today is Yom Kippur, the Jewish day of Atonement. It’s a day on which we fast and and repent, and symbolically hope we behaved well enough to be inscribed in the Book of Life this year.


Actually, the first service of Yom Kippur starts the evening before, and ends just before sunset, called Kol Nidrei. It’s famous for its beautiful plaintive sung melody that creates the structure for the service- outside Jewish circles, probably better known by the arrangement written by Max Bruch for cello (or viola) and piano. 
(Here’s Jacqueline du Pre performing it: 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i91RX2LhY8s ) 

The melody Kol Nidrei is recited or sung in the synagogue just prior to sunset on the eve of Yom Kippur. It’s not a prayer, but an early medieval, formulaic legal proclamation in Aramaic that absolves Jews all promise made to themselves or God in the year.  (It only refers to promises or vows that do not affect others: more a recognition and and forgiveness of our humanity, our mistakes, our failures to live up to our own standards.)

Yom Kippur is a day of fasting, which when you enjoy food as I do, can be challenging, but it is only a day, and serves to remind me of how much I have, that the rest of the year I have no need to go hungry, my life is plentiful. Which in turn reminds to be thankful for what and who I do have in my life. It’s so easy to be negative, especially when our brain is hotwired to encourage it in order to keep us safe. A little like we desire salty and sweet food, and yet it’s not a good idea to eat them all the time. That wiring in has kept the human race alive, but we live very different lives to those of 200,000 years ago, even if the way we’re wired hasn’t caught up with the speed of societal change. 


Concentrating on the problems or the difficulties is a choice that doesn’t bring much contentment, or make it easier to deal with problems or difficulties. It doesn’t really add any value. And as those of you know who come to my classes, I aim to be more productive by doing less, being more efficient, more effective. (Not that that always happens of course).

Whilst I spend much time working with people on movement habits, so much of it ends up being about reassessing thinking habits, to change the ones that don’t serve us, aren’t useful. I have worked on this for a long time, I have had to do a lot of re-adjusting my thinking over the years, and it’s an ongoing process. 

So, my online classes are back on Sunday at 8pm with a class on freeing up the back, by thinking of the connection through your whole self. In our Feldenkrais way, finding a gentle way back to a healthier dynamic posture through gently working on our habits, sorting through to keep those that we find useful, and leaving those that aren’t behind.

(Want to join us? Go here)

If you discover something, have an opinion, or would simply like to share your thoughts on the matter: drop me an email, or comment below, I’d be pleased to hear from you.


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