Feldenkrais Training: The transformation begins….

When I finally completed my first two weeks of Feldenkrais training, I was exhausted. However, there were no life-altering changes, no magical “AHA” moments, no epiphanies, no enlightenment, and certainly no transformation. I was pretty much exactly the same as I was the first day I walked in to the training two weeks earlier. Where was all this change I was supposed to experience?

Nope, I hadn’t changed at all. Except, of course, for the love affair I had with the floor during the first week. I absolutely could not get enough of that floor! The tips of my fingers still tingle just thinking about it. Then there was that little incident where I was moved to tears simply by the image of a ball rolling across my arm. What was up with that? Then I had that melt down at the end of the first week, where I successfully distracted half of the room with my armies in my sleevies. But, that was nothing unusual. After all, I’ve always had a sense of humor.

The Saturday after the segment ended, I was sitting on my couch, holding a cup of tea with a goofy smile on my face, staring dreamily into space. I was thoroughly enjoying the somatosensory experience of the steam floating up to warm my face while it delivered the delicious scent to my olfactory receptors. Why had I never noticed how fragrant my tea was before now? I sat there, simply taking it all in, when the phone rang and interrupted my reverie. Damn. I picked up the phone in my habitual way and was alarmed to hear a friend of mine crying on the other end.

Through her sobs, she told me that a mutual friend of ours was going through a crisis. That was nothing unusual….our friend had a long history of one crisis after another. And I had an equally long history of running to her side to rescue her. With my help, she always recovered with minimal damage. However, I was always left physically, mentally and emotionally depleted, exhausted, and even sick.

I listened quietly while the voice on the other end gave me my marching orders what to do to help our “poor little friend.” I felt a familiar pattern begin to emerge as my nervous system shifted into high gear. My head started to pound and my chest began to tighten as I envisioned my peaceful weekend turning into an emotional train wreck so I could run to help my “poor little friend.”

But, when I finally hung up the phone, something very strange happened. I looked across the room and saw my cup of tea sitting exactly where I had left it. The steam was still gently rising, and I swear it was calling my name. Just in case I wasn’t paying enough attention, the fragrant steam floated right under my nose, once again to the delight of my olfactory receptors. And all of a sudden I felt the word “no” come up from a place deep in the core of my being. Nope. Not this time. Maybe not ever again.

My poor little friend was a grown woman. It was time for her to start finding her own way. It was time for me to stop taking care of her. Most of all, it was time for me to start taking care of myself. I picked up my tea, got back on my couch, and started staring dreamily off into space again. After I unplugged the phone, that is. That’s when I first realized the transformation had begun.  It was a beautiful moment, and one I will never forget.

Ahhh, Feldenkrais! You got to love it, and you just have to try it!

Feldenkrais(R) and the wardrobe malfunction….

I had minor surgery on my right shoulder last week, which reminds me of an old joke. Q: What is the definition of minor surgery? A: Something they do to someone else. In other words, it’s still surgery and a pretty big deal, no matter which way you cut it, so to speak.

Anyway, I had my marching orders to take it easy, don’t use my arm, don’t lift anything, etc. However, no one said that I had to stay home, so the day after surgery I decided to treat myself to a manicure and pedicure. The soft lights and classical music at the salon was a far cry from the sharp needles and bright lights of the surgical suite. Besides, I figured a mani/pedi was just what the doctor ordered.

Having made up my mind, I started to get dressed. I grabbed a camisole and mindlessly pulled it over my head in my habitual way. Or, at least I tried to. Apparently I didn’t think this through, and halfway through the process I got stuck. My camisole was half on and half off. It was the half off part that was really interesting. I tried to pull it in place, but every time I moved my right arm the pain stopped me in my tracks. I tried wiggling my shoulders, but the vise-like grip around my chest got even tighter.

The more I squirmed, the worse it got. There I was, caught unaware in my own underwear. There was nothing I could do to free myself. I had visions on either calling 911 or waiting for my husband to eventually come home and free me from the confines of my own undergarment. However, the thought of anyone finding me in this compromising and embarrassing position made me consider additional options.

I thought about grabbing a pair of scissors and cutting my way out. However, wielding a pair of scissors with my non-dominant hand so close to a new incision didn’t seem like a good idea. I could walk across the street and have my neighbor cut me out, but I decided against it. No need to get arrested for indecent exposure. After trying a few more maneuvers, I gave up. I would have to call my husband to come home, but I wasn’t sure I could manage a phone.

Finally, a phrase from my Feldenkrais training came back to me. “If you can’t take your hand to your head, take your head to your hand.” Mental head smack. Slowly I began to move my head toward my right shoulder instead of my shoulder to my head. Ahh, that was easier. I added a lifting of my left shoulder as I tilted my head toward the right. Oooo, now we were getting somewhere! Finally, I added a gentle folding of my ribs in side bending with the movement, and viola! I effortlessly pulled my undergarment securely in place with my dignity intact.

Feldenkrais has been getting people out of sticky situations and restoring each person to their human dignity for generations. You just have to love it….and you really have to try it!