Sunday, April 06, 2008

Are You Response-Able?

On the surface, FELDENKRAIS seems to be about mobility. Fundamentally, it's about stability. The misconception is that stability is static, like a rock. This may be so for buildings, yet the architecture of a living structure is completely different in it's requirements than an inanimate object. The foundation of stability in living beings is mobility that is free enough to allow for constant, immediate responsiveness to the surrounding environment.

To make this idea more concrete, imagine being a little grey sports car riding down a country road. If your driver does not constantly adjust the steering to the twists and turns as they arise, the car will run off the road. As we age, over time, we become numb to our experience, we tune out our own bodies, we let go of our ability to move by discounting it's importance. Gradually we loose the ability to respond readily to the road. We start responding by rote, without really perceiving the road. Our vehicle, that was once amazingly fine-tuned, gradually turns into this Stephen King version of the same sports car, a vehicle out of control, veering dangerously close to missing the curves and seemingly responding only to it's own agenda.

Like a car whose shocks are defunct, we move through space and time in a lurching manner, reacting ever more slowly to our own reflexes. The impulse is still there, but the ability to be present is dull and the body's ability to respond is slow and limited. Then we retire.

Note to myself: if I want to retire in a state of restriction, ignore the warning lights on the dashboard. If I want to retire in a state of mobility that is so responsive that my reflexes are as sharp, both physically and in terms of mental acuity as they ever were, then FELDENKRAIS is like the nectar of the Gods, a delicious elixir of longevity. Especially if I am interested in being more than I was when I was young and agile by default. FELDENKRAIS is a magic carpet ride towards being more able, more intelligent, more accomplished and - what? you say this sounds like an ego trip? - I am merely referring to being more than I was, not more than you are! Try it, and then you'll know what I'm talking about! These lessons are like a primer in how to expand who you are, not to mention becoming more readily maneuverable - often in the most unexpected ways. It's perfect for me. I get bored easily. Why limit myself to linear learning, when in fact, I am a dynamic, multidimensional being existing on several planes of experience at once? Hello, friends, I'm baaaaaaack!

Warm virtual hugs and thanks to all of you who have emailed and encouraged and cajoled and requested more of my nimble fingers (after all these years of working with my hands!) on the keyboard - as a means of providing the stability of concrete words to stimulate further expansive adventures in experience a la FELDENRKAIS.


  1. This is a wonderful post. I can really see both in my own body and in my work with people that this slow loss of sensory perception is the real reason that people lose function later in life. Such a huge loss.

    Thanks for the helpful metaphor.

  2. Bryce, thanks for your feedback. Gabrielle


Comments and questions are always welcome.