Artichokes, Feldenkrais, & Peeling Produce

I love Feldenkrais, and I love being a Feldenkrais practitioner. I also love artichokes, although I never even knew they existed until I was a young adult. I certainly had my doubts about artichokes, because they were so different from anything I had ever experienced up until that point in my life. 

Then I met a guy who was absolutely crazy about artichokes. Not only did he order them as an appetizer every time we went out to dinner, he insisted on preparing them for me whenever we made dinner together. I could easily have done without them, because they just seemed like a lot of trouble for very little reward.

However, I was fascinated by his excitement and almost childlike enthusiasm as he boiled the artichokes, made the sauces for dipping, and then meticulously peeled back the tough outer layers. The further he got into the artichoke, the more excited and animated he became. He would say, “Look! See how the leaves are getting softer and more delicate the closer we get to the center?” Then the magic moment would finally arrive–with reverence in his voice he would declare, “Here it is, the heart! It’s the best part, because it’s so tender.” 

He was right about that. I certainly learned to appreciate artichokes along the way, but it wasn’t until I went through my Feldenkrais training that I realized how similar we are to artichokes. We develop thick, protective outer layers as we mature. These layers are hard to get through, and often have sharp, pointed edges as an additional line of defense to protect us. Feldenkrais gently and carefully peels away these outer layers, just one layer at a time, gently coaxing us to bring us back to our true self, to find our center, and to open our heart.

I have heard some people say that Feldenkrais is like peeling an onion, but I disagree. Because when you peel an onion, each layer is just more of the same, you never quite get to the end, and every layer makes you cry. But when you peel an artichoke, the layers become softer, more tender, and more flexible. Until you get to the best part, the heart.

That’s what Feldenkrais does for you. It peels back the protective layers created by self-doubt and untruths about ourselves. It brings us back to our true self and teaches us the art of self-compassion and self-respect. It brings us back to the best and most tender part or ourselves–our heart. It is a process that awakens a sense of excitement and childlike enthusiasm as we get rid of each layer to discover the tenderness inside ourselves.

And that is only just a small part of the magic of Feldenkrais and what it can do for you. It truly is a gift, a gift of the heart, and the gift that keeps on giving. Feldenkrais helped me in more ways I could possibly explain, but the best thing it did was open my heart. I would like nothing more than to share it with you.