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.