Mistakes….Making Them and Moving Along

I hate making mistakes. Unfortunately, I make a lot of them. The good news is, I also learn a lot from each and every mistake I make. It took a long time for me to fully accept and understand that making mistakes are an important part of the learning process. It’s bad enough to make a mistake in private, but none of us want to look silly in public. And I’ve done it more times than I care to admit.

For example, I was late to embrace modern technology. Six years ago the only thing I could do on a computer was to send and receive email. I certainly have come a long way since then, and I am proud to report that I am completely self-taught. Which means I have made a lot of mistakes along the way.

I have unknowingly breached online etiquette, unwittingly looked like a nit wit, and sometimes appeared downright ridiculous as well as unsophisticated. But, I learned a lot. Even when I occasionally fell flat on my face, I always was able to get back up, shake it off (eventually), and move along.

At this point in time, I find myself at a major fork in the road of life, with several outstanding opportunities looming in front of me. All I have to do is step forward and receive them. All I have to do is say “yes.”  But, there’s still that nagging little voice in the back of mind, whispering those dreadful words, “But, what if you fail? What if you make a mistake, or fall flat on your face?” 

I’m tempted to give in to that voice, and to throw in the towel before I even begin. After all, what if I do make a mistake or fall flat on my face? Then I realized that it wouldn’t matter. Of course I will make mistakes–a lot of them. I’m not perfect, and could never hope to be. Nor would I want to be. Because it is through trial and error that we learn. It is through our mistakes that we build character. And it is through falling on our face that we learn how to get up again.

So, I think I’ll just tell that voice in my head to shut up and mind her own business. I have better things to do with my time, and so do you. So, go ahead–make some mistakes, take a few chances, and fall on your face. Remember that every obstacle is an opportunity to learn and grow. And do remember to stay positive, and tell the negative voices to mind their own business.

Unlock Your Jaw and Heal Your Pain

A lot of people develop jaw pain, tooth pain, headaches and TMJ dysfunction. However, often times our aches and pains are a result of unnecessary tension in our muscles, or from faulty movement patterns. After a period of time, these habitual patterns can cause excruciating pain, joint dysfunction and joint destruction. Yikes!

However, we can interrupt these harmful patterns by simply improving our attention and awareness. Try this simple but highly effective movement lesson based on the magic of The Feldenkrais Method®.

1) Lie on the floor on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. You may need to support your head with a folded towel. Don’t use a pillow–a pillow is too soft to provide your nervous system with the appropriate feedback (proprioception).

Take a few minutes to relax, take a few deep breaths, and feel your weight gently sink into the floor.
Bring your attention to your face, neck and jaw. Does your neck feel tight? Does your mouth or the muscles of your face feel tense? Are your teeth touching?
Don’t try to change or “fix” anything, and don’t place any judgement on what you are sensing. Instead, be aware of what you are feeling and sensing in your face, jaw and neck.
Stop and rest your attention for a few moments.
It may sound strange to “rest” when you might feel like you haven’t really done anything,  but it’s important to rest your attention, and to slow yourself down.

2) Once again bring your attention to your face, neck and jaw.

Slowly begin to open and close your mouth in a very small and easy range of motion. Do not open your mouth all the way, and do not let your teeth touch as you close it. Stop and rest.
Continue to open and close your mouth by making the movement even smaller and slower. Make it small, smooth, soft and easy. Stop and rest with your mouth gently closed without your teeth touching.
Continue the gentle movement of opening and closing your mouth in a smooth, continuous, rhythmical way. Stop and rest.

3) Gently open your mouth in an easy range of motion, and in a position where you feel no sense of stress, strain, or discomfort.

Gently take your lower jaw a little to the left in a comfortable position. Again, slowly and rhythmically  open and close your mouth while leaving your jaw to the left. Do not allow your teeth to come together. Pay attention to the joint of your jaw, which is located just in front of the opening of your ear. If you hear a clicking of your jaw, or you experience and pain or discomfort, make smaller and smaller movements until you find a range of movement that is comfortable for you.  Stop and rest.

4)  Again, open your mouth in an easy and comfortable range of motion and gently take your lower jaw a little to the right.

Open and close your mouth in a comfortable range of motion while leaving your jaw to the right. You may want to take a moment to compare the 2 sides of your jaw and how they move. Often times, one side moves easier than the other. If you hear a clicking of your jaw, or you experience and pain or discomfort, make smaller and smaller movements until you find a range of movement that is comfortable for you. Stop and rest.

5) One last time, return to just opening and closing your jaw as you did at the beginning of this movement exploration.

Notice the sensations in your face, neck and jaw now. Notice the quality of the movement as compared to when you first began this movement exploration? Stop and rest. Give yourself a few moments before you slowly bring yourself to sitting and eventually to standing. Take a brief walk around the room before you continue with your day.

This simple movement lesson will help you identify when you are holding excess tension in your face and jaw, allowing you to interrupt these patterns and heal your pain. Feldenkrais….you simply have to try it to believe it!