Self Improvement Paradox

There’s only one thing that I know for sure to be true…

PARADOX EXISTS

Everything else is influenced by what we believe to be true. 

My work reflects the essence of

paradox and metaphor

in all we do.

Carol Lessinger

Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing, there is a field.
I will meet you there.

Rumi

Many people come to my office and say that they would like to change their posture from rounded shoulders to an upright expansiveness.  They then throw their shoulders back, smile, and say, “Like this!”.  However, it’s impossible to maintain that position because the “correction” is coming from an idea of what “good” is supposed to look like and has no internal means of support. Moreover, the person is frozen in one position and cannot move. Does this ring a bell for you?

An early pioneer in the field of movement potential, Irene Dowd, says in her book, Taking Roots to Fly: “The solution to a functional problem is to balance half way between the extremes.”  Loosely quoting, she goes on to say that this is easier said than done.  Most of us think that one extreme in posture is “bad” and on the opposite pole there is “good” posture. If one extreme is judged bad and the other is good, we can hardly feel balanced halfway between these two. Being somewhere between good and bad sounds very unappealing.  Not something that I would personally wish for. 

Throughout my years of studying the Feldenkrias Method and Cortical Field Re-education, there’s been a paradox for me. How do I to stay true to the architectural design of our body that lends itself to elegant support and freedom of motion; and simulataeously stay off the right/wrong axis?  Moreover, how do I assist my students to step aside from their internalization of right/wrong or good/bad into a place of curious presence that will lead them to discover the principles that guide them to elegance and freedom? 

It’s the how we do more than the what we do that brings improvement.  We can begin with an easy movement that we already know how to do; then gently, in small increments, discover an ah-ha moment that feels new or is so old that we forgot that we had forgotten it. By staying in a perpetual state of childlike curiousity, we are open to new possibilities. When I’m curious about how I connect one part of me to another, I follow a stream of learning that invites change. However, when I’m in self-judgement, I know I’m in my own way and on the right/wrong axis. At this point, it’s time for a big breath.

Then I take a giant step in the direction of self-kindness. Being kind to my self invites my curiousity. It’s impossible to be self-judgmental and kindly curious at the same time. Cultivating curiosity and self-kindness is rewarding on many levels. Perhaps elegance and freedom will take root from that seed.

That is how I enter into the paradox!  I invite you to join me.

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