Monday, March 28, 2011

A Different Sense of Self - Every Day!

"My training in physics has taught me that there is no such thing as coincidence."       - Madeleine L'Engle, A Swiftly Tilting Planet


After nursing my sick horse for three days, I lay down on the floor to do a movement lesson. The horse, by this time, was fine. Myself? I was trashed. In the body scan, I noted how crooked I was. My neck was kinked off to the side. My hips were completely externally rotated, my right shoulder was up off the ground. 

It was not a version of me I recognized; at least not from my shape. I recognized the sense of exhaustion. I recognized the sense of relief that the emergency was over. But I knew it was important to do an AWARENESS THROUGH MOVEMENT lesson now more than ever to regain my sense of comfort which had been disturbed by the worry of it all. It was an opportunity to 'unkink myself.' And that's the continuous magic of the FELDENKRAIS METHOD. 

Now you might think that, as a practitioner, I'm perfectly aligned and never get out of synch. Nope. Sorry. Life's not like that. It sends you curve balls. With stress we all regress. All those late nights, checking up on my 17 hand patient, with his hard belly, administering homeopathics in the pitch darkness by flashlight. 

At least he was used to it now. Last year, he had never seen a flashlight before and it sent him to the other side of his paddock in a heartbeat. My sense of safety was disturbed enough with the wind and the rain whipping sideways without spooking the horse to boot. All that carting heavy buckets of hot water and hot bran mashes up the hill in a mental state of abject anxiety and concern got me returning to older, more dysfunctional movement patterns. The questions is, can I get out of them now? Do I know how?

With each passing lesson, it gets easier to 'unkink myself' at will. This morning, I was reconnected with my more organized self within minutes of doing the lesson I had chosen. What does it feel like? It just feels more comfortable to be in my body, and my mind eases and finds it easier to remain in the present moment without having to police my thoughts, or 'try' to stop thinking (well nigh impossible anyway!). I didn't even have to finish the lesson, although I did, because it's relaxing. My muscles released their unconsciously held unequal tonus: that disjointed feeling of tension that is a result of having some muscles short, and some long - even at rest. My skeleton settled into an alignment that supports me in space both on the floor and in standing. When I stood up, I was more myself.

This is very different from training myself to the shape of some idealized concept of perfection. I was restored to a sense of my own individual strength in body and spirit. The experience is completely unique and each time it becomes more quickly accessible. I don't have to do an exercise for an hour each time to get the same result. Each time I can reconnect with less and less effort. And this is my goal for you as your teacher. To get you connected - to yourself, to what matters to YOU, and to what makes you see, sense, hear and feel. This is embodied presence; consciousness expanded to include both internal and external environment in one big whole sensation of spirit living in a dynamic, changeable, self-aware body.

Besides, it's spring time: it's time to embody the life force that is about to pop out of every living creature on the face of this earth who is not stuck in some sort of artificial with-holding of self or holding back of joy! It feels like watching that big bay buck as he ran across the field in the sunshine when he finally felt better, mane and tail flying in the wind...Yahoo! Sometimes joy is simply a good romp in the pasture with all systems go.

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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!