I continue to marvel at how quickly my new office is being built! I also love being able to document the process and to share it with you. I guess it brings the concept of a “virtual office” to a whole new level. There’s still no move in date, but considering the remarkable progress that the crew has made in the past seven days, I don’t think it will be long now. What do you think?
What a difference a few days make! Just last Friday construction began on my new suite. On Monday morning there were a team of five men working on it all at the same time. This is what it looked like yesterday at the end of the day. When you make a decision and it works out this well, you just know you’ve made a good choice. Sweet (or suite), isn’t it?
I have a beautiful office, and I have been there for the past eight years. I love the space, and I love the location. But, for some reason, over the past few months the walls seemed to be closing in on me. I felt distracted, disquieted, and uncomfortable in my own surroundings. I couldn’t figure out what was wrong, but I knew I wasn’t functioning at my full capacity. Until last week, when I had an epiphany.
Something (actually someone) hit me right in the face. Figuratively speaking, of course. After all, I am a martial artist, and I certainly know how to evade and deflect an attack. My training automatically kicked in as I silently stepped out of the way and watched the negative energy being unleashed fly past me. Yikes! Good thing I got out of the way.
Finally, I realized what had been bothering me. There was an insidious negative force contaminating my space, and draining my energy. It was time to move. I needed a new space. That symbolic slap in the face was the catalyst I needed to open my eyes and move forward.
Ten minutes later, I was in the building manager’s office negotiating a new contract. Two hours later, I had a new space. Twenty four hours later, maintenance was tearing down the walls to build my new suite.
I’m glad I had that slap in the face, and I am especially grateful that my training kicked in (so to speak) right when I needed it. I did not get sucked into the vortex of anger and rage. Life is simply too short for that, and I’d rather play in the light than work in the darkness.
Anyway, here’s my new office. Isn’t it beautiful? You may see a construction site, but I see a lovely room, full of light, love, space, and opportunities to grow. If you can imagine it, you can create it. I hope I can remember that next time I feel the walls closing in on me!
I managed to survive the first week of my Feldenkrais(R) Training. It was Friday, and I was spent. The week had been full of wonderful experiences and opportunities to learn, but it was also full of many trials and challenges as well.
One of the challenges was that the beautiful dance hall that provided our training venue was having boiler issues. It wasn’t working. Most of the time we had no heat at all. On a good day we could hear the painful groans coming up from the bowels of the basement as the old boiler went through what could only be described as a mechanical death rattle.
February in Colorado is cold. But during that first training segment we were greeted with an arctic blast that would cause a polar bear to roll around in blissful ecstasy. Unfortunately, we weren’t polar bears, and we rolled around the frigid floor wrapped in multiple layers of clothing.
I wore so many layers that there were times I couldn’t sense my contact with the floor. On the other hand, I was getting pretty good at sensing my contact with my long underwear. I also developed a strategy of following the sun around the room as it came through the huge windows in an attempt to avoid hypothermia.
By Friday afternoon, the sun had gone down, the boiler had given it’s last gasp for the week, and we began our last lesson of the day. However, I was done. I had enough. I settled back on my mat wearing every layer of clothing I had with me, but I was still freezing. And very cranky. Suddenly, I remembered I had my ski parka hanging near the door.
I grabbed my parka and put it on. But, for some reason, I turned it upside down and thrust my legs into the sleeves and wrapped the body of the jacket around my hips and pelvis. Wow, why had I never thought of that before? Maybe the Feldenkrais principle of reversibility piqued my curiosity and my imagination.
I sat on my mat, ignoring the lesson and admiring my handiwork. I began moving my legs around and giggled as I saw my legs performing activities usually reserved for my arms. I remembered a silly joke from childhood. Q: Where do countries keep their armies? A: In their sleevies. That really tickled my funny bone and my giggles turned into guffaws and snorts as I tried to be quiet. I glanced up and saw a few of my litter mates grinning at me.
I flashed them a smile and waved at them with my legs. Snickers all around. Encouraged, I played with different waves and even tried a salute. Good thing I’m flexible, otherwise I might have torn a muscle. With a sudden burst of inspiration, one of my litter mates grabbed her gloves and placed them on my feet. Ooooo, that made the waving so much more interesting!
By this time the entire quadrant of the room was bubbling with laughter. We simply could not control ourselves. I laughed so hard that tears ran down my face and I thought I was going to rupture something. When we finally settled down a bit, another litter mate reached out and shook my “hand.” Boy, that did it! We completely lost all control.
I was relieved when the lesson was over and the day had ended, because I was afraid if I kept laughing that hard I would hurt myself. Or at least wet my pants. I giggled and snickered the entire way home as I maneuvered my way through Friday evening rush hour traffic. I was still giggling when I went to bed.
The point is that you have to do whatever it takes to stay warm. And sometimes you just have to celebrate your silly side. It’s good to play and frolic with your litter mates. Most of all, if this is what Feldenkrais does for a person, I was all in, and I was ready for more. After a week of ups and downs, I sure ended on a high note. However, what happened the next day was even more interesting.
By the third day of my Feldenkrais Training, I was exhausted. I wasn’t sure I would make it through the day, let alone the rest of the week. But, true to form, my incomparable stubbornness kicked into high gear. I’d push forward, even if it killed me. It’s who I am and how I do things. I guess you could say it’s part of my belief system.
That morning I set up my personal little camp site for the day and waited for my favorite phrase, “Lie on your back.” Instead I heard, “Roll to your front side.” Uh-oh… I wasn’t prepared for that. I hate lying on my stomach. It hurts my back, kinks my neck, and makes my entire body ache. To make matters worse, I was lying on a thin mat over an ice-cold hardwood floor. Yikes!
The lesson began. We were guided through the experience of imagining a small but heavy ball slowly and firmly rolling from the back of one hand, across our arm and eventually to our shoulder. I tried to follow the ball, but all of my attention centered on my discomfort. I held my breath, wiggled, squirmed, and tried to get comfortable.
“Roll onto your back and rest.” Thank goodness! While we rested, our teacher began to read excerpts from a lecture on self-image from Moshe Feldenkrais. There they go again, talking about self-image. I didn’t want to hear about image of self, I wanted to hear about Feldenkrais. I gave a mental eye roll as I rested on my back.
“Roll onto your front again.” I groaned silently. Okay, maybe I groaned out loud. The ball continued to roll, and suddenly I felt the weight and the pressure of my imaginary ball gently making an imprint of my arms and legs, shoulders and hips into the floor. I forgot about my discomfort. I even forgot that I was lying on my front. Were my shoulders really that soft? Were my legs really that long?
“Now rest on your front side.” Uh-oh, I can’t possibly rest on my front. I started to squirm, but then I noticed something strange. The floor didn’t feel nearly as hard and cold as it did just a few minutes earlier. Instead, it felt warm and yielding. I wondered who changed the floor, and how did they do that without me noticing? I listened as the words from the lecture continued to flow over me. Deep sigh. I felt myself sink deeper and more comfortably into the floor.
Tears of relief filled my eyes as I rested on the floor and listened to the words of the lecture continue to flow and roll over me, much like the ball had during the lesson. By the time the lesson was over, I had pulled myself together so no one would ever know that I had been brought to tears. After all, I had an image to uphold.
After the lesson, I mingled with my classmates and eventually made my way to the bathroom. I looked in the mirror and saw the mascara streaks around my eyes. So much for keeping my emotions to myself. That’s when I realized that perhaps my belief system had been keeping me from finding a way to be comfortable lying on my front in the first place. I wondered what else my belief system had been keeping from me over the years. And that’s when my self-image began to change. Slowly, slowly, one lesson at a time.
“Keep your face to the sunshine and you will not see the shadows.”
We all know the power of positive thinking, but sometimes it’s a little difficult to stay positive when we’re confronted with life’s challenges. I especially love this quote by Helen Keller, who certainly faced a lot of challenges in her life, but kept her face to the sun and her back to the shadows. What a powerful lesson from a remarkable woman!
It’s a lovely reminder that positive outlook can make even a difficult situation easier, and a lot less stressful. Keep facing the sunlight….it’s good for your health!