Carol's Writing

Irish Hospitality and Feldenkrais

I recently returned from a long wished for trip to Ireland. It was magnificent. Irish hospitality and open hearts are soooooo expansive; music, and humor so grand. Their often repeated famine story made me deeply aware of the ancestral trauma that was present there. It sat so closely side by side with the beauty of the culture and place. I'm grateful to my Embodied Life Studies which helped me hold both....to feel my heart ache and still be immersed in the loveliness of the land and people. Many times, I paused to feel my feet on the ground to remind me to embody where I was and take it in even deeper. I was over the top with gratitude that I even got to be there. 

 

The juxtaposition of the Irish sense of loss along with the Irish warmhearted caring brought me to thinking about how we are when we do Awareness Through Movement Lessons.  (I have this really good habit of my mind meandering to metaphors about the Feldenkrais Way with whatever is in the forefront of my experience.) There is such richness in the relevance of the seemingly simple movements we do on the floor and how life presents itself. How we can hold the opposites of being in the learning process and still feel what displeases us. How we can be in joy and recognize loss simultaneously.

 

When I’m in my Feldenkrais practice there is often something that I want to improve because I have a sense of discomfort or pain or a sense of disappointment because I wish I could be better..…Better range, better flexibility, better alignment, better strength, better ease, better person, better teacher. However, the magic happens when I remind myself to hold warm-hearted caring toward what feels unskillful or painful. At the same time I am  consciously, deeply attracted to what is connecting in my body through gentle movement. That is when I gain greater skill and comfort. Often it is accompanied with an ah-ha moment of discovering something that has been there all along, but it’s the first time that I noticed it! Gratitude sets in. The new learning is joyful and life giving!

 

However, being more curious than critical isn’t easy for adults because the inner critic is so bossy. Evolutionarily our nervous systems are biased to pay attention to the negative. Ancient ones who did not look out for danger, failed to contribute to the gene pool.  However, we have the gift of continuing to evolve. There is a growing cultural movement toward acceptance and community. It’s my opinion that we as individuals can strengthen the larger community by supporting the neural networks that nurture loving kindness and inner healing. That doesn't mean to ignore the yet to be healed parts of ourselves that are asking to be heard. To be able listen with curiosity rather than worry is a skill that is learnable. 

 

Very young children, who live in a safe environment, are more curious and more spontaneous. Perhaps the younger we feel, the more available we are to this state. Practice is needed to get off the critical thought train and return to a caring curiosity about what we are noticing. Aware movement nurtures this potential that our cellular memory also knows, its just not as readily available. Courage is needed to stop the habitual thought loop, notice the now, and return to present time awareness. One of the best ways to do this is through a clearer body sense. That is the at the  heart of what we do in Awareness Through Movement.

 

In Ireland, people were genuinely curious about others and about what was needed to make my journey easier. Caring acceptance and helpfulness flowed toward me everyday. There, the culture of caring was as natural as breathing.  I’m hoping to make that feeling contagious within me and to share it with you.

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