My Feldenkrais training was held in a beautiful old dance hall, complete with hardwood floors, huge windows, gorgeous chandeliers, and small mirrors strategically placed around the room. It was a beautiful room, and the perfect venue for our training.
We often had visitors who would come to spend a day or even an entire week with us. Sometimes we only had one or two strangers in the room; other times we had a full house. Each morning the visitors were invited to stand up and introduce themselves before we proceeded with our first lesson of the day.
In the middle of my third year of training, I arrived at the dance hall to an unusually crowded room. I wondered who all those people were and what they were doing there. I felt annoyed and irritated to see so many interlopers in my training. In all the chaos there was no time for the customary introductions, and I took my bad mood with me as I looked for a spot on the floor to set up my personal little campsite for the day.
We began our first ATM: Lie on your back, spiral to sit, reverse the pattern, and return to lie on your back again. Ahhhhh, the sensation of spiraling up to sitting and back down felt so lovely, and luxurious! I felt my irritation melting away as I became lost in the sensation of moving. We stopped to rest on our backs while I marveled at the magic of Feldenkrais, and how just a few minutes of movement could change my mood so quickly.
The lesson progressed: Continue your spiral, and allow the movement to bring you to standing. Keep turning until you complete a full circle. Then reverse the pattern to lie on your back. Repeat the pattern to make it faster, quicker, and lighter.
I was so absorbed in my own process that I was oblivious to everyone and everything around me. I felt like I was the only one in the room, until I spiraled around myself one last time. That’s when it happened; that’s when I saw her. I will never forget that moment.
She was standing quite a distance behind me, and I only caught a quick glimpse of her, but that was enough. She was stunning! She was so graceful, alluring, and even seductive in the way she moved. But, she was also very casual in her movements, as if she didn’t know or care if anyone was watching. Her carriage, her confidence, and even the curves of her body were incredibly appealing and attractive. “Wow, ” I thought, “Who in the world is she?”
She certainly made an impression on me in that one moment I saw her. I desperately wanted to know her, and I hoped we could become friends. At least, if she could lower herself to be friends with a clod such as myself. Ooops, here comes that habit of negative self-talk again. I really should do something about that.
The lesson was over, and I was determined to introduce myself to this remarkable woman. I simply had to meet her. I searched everywhere for her, but she was nowhere to be found. Deeply disappointed, I gave up and made my way back to my mat. And there she was, standing directly in front of me! My face lit up and I gave her a big smile, which she immediately returned. Perhaps she was as anxious to meet me as I was to meet her. My smile quickly faded as my pleasure in finding her turned into disbelief.
That woman was me. I was looking at my own reflection, and it was my own image from one of the small mirrors that caught my attention during the lesson. A tsunami of emotions swept over me as I stared in the mirror and saw myself as I had never seen myself before; without judgement, preconceived ideas, expectations, or negative self-talk. I saw myself through someone else’s eyes. And, I liked what I saw.
Feldenkrais….it’s full of surprises. You never know how it will change your life. But, you’ll never know until you try it.