Sunday, August 06, 2006

How Long Does It Take?

How open are you to change? How much change can you accept before you get overwhelmed and put on the brakes? How long it takes to experience significant change depends, in part, on your ability to absorb and adapt. Posted by Picasa


People new to the FELDENKRAIS Method often want to know how long it will take to see significant change. The short answer is that you may experience adequate improvement in one session. However, what is 'adequate'? My question to you, is to ask if you are willing to experience more than just doing okay. What if you could see your way clear to allowing that perhaps, just maybe, there might be a possibility that you could feel better than you remember feeling in a long while?

The more extensive answer is that it would be good to try at least five live ATM classes, supplemented with two to three Functional Integration sessions to have a basic idea of what the work is about. Then you get a little more than 'adequate' improvement, you get a glimpse into what is possible - qualities of improvement that may otherwise not even occur to you.

The really long answer to this question is that it depends. It depends, in part, on you and

a.) your ability to learn
b.) your ability to notice small differences and
c.) your ability to stay open to new experiences.
As a practitioner working with you, my job is to give you a sense of new possibilities.

Your ability to learn is, in fact improved by doing FELDENKRAIS, because movement is the basis of all learning. Improving our ability to track movement is a newly forged link between you and the innate intelligence of your nervous system.

Your ability to notice small differences allows you to integrate change. First you are given the opportunity to feel yourself from a completely different perspective: one of relaxed attention without strain. From this point of view, you may experience life very differently than you do now. Then, when you go out into the world, you can choose to either go back to ignoring what you have become aware of, or, you can notice how some of the small differences you noticed in class or in your session can create a domino effect in your daily life. Utilizing theses changes is up to you. We all have free will. When you make the connections, spontaneous improvements can occur.

Your ability to stay open to new experiences determines how much benefit you will experience. This is because the fundamental premise of the work is to show you parts of yourself, both habits, postures, attitudes, and ways of relating that you have hitherto been unable to see, feel or notice. You see, our habits are like old clothing, so comfortable we hardly feel them. Yet, when scrutinized, you may find that they are pretty ratty and that you may want to change them out for something new.

If all you want, is to get rid of the pain you came in with, that may be a project or it may happen very quickly, depending on how old the issue is. But you may discover that more than that is possible and find yourself engaged in a process that takes the rest of your life.

This, certainly, was my experience. I have always been interested in lifelong learning, as a means of fending off boredom, but this is different. This is like a voyage into the unknown where things are possible that I would never have thought to ask for. What kinds of things? Like having the ability to sit upright with the ease of a toddler. Like being taller than I was before instead of growing shorter as I age. Like feeling a sense of having more space inside my body. Like finding my two 'left feet' on the dance floor have disappeared! Like seeing old mental thought patterns and emotional reruns fall away effortlessly. Like the sense that colors are more vibrant, the earth under my feet more welcoming and the world I live in infinitely intriguing. May I invite you to share this journey with me? Would you like your life to be more fulfilling?


Thanks to Feldenkrais Practitioner Ralph Strauch of Pacific Palisades CA for his comments on this subject. Check out some of his ideas - careful - it may change your reality: http://somatic.com/create.exp.html

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Comments & questions are always welcome. What are your biggest challenges? Have you had similar experiences? Where do you want to go with your own practice? Share your insights, don't practice in a void of isolation. Consciousness is everywhere!