Sunday, December 31, 2006


December 2006

59. Dec. 30: Life is Good. Now is Grand. We are...

58. Dec. 28: Posture and Acture. (Say What?)

57. Dec. 24: Christ-mas, Now Mass

56. Dec. 21: Nature's Flexibility and the Joys of Variation

55. Dec. 21 Sostice, Rain, December, Love...Ah

54. Dec. 18: Yoga as if We Had a Brain, Lesson 2, More Fun Forward Fold.

53. Dec. 15: The Delight of Life

52. Dec. 12: Yoga as if We Had A Brain, Lesson 1, Forward Fold

51. Dec. 9: Moving and Learning, the Miracle Continues

50. Dec. 8: When You Can't Do Any Old Lesson in Life, Options Useful and Less So

49. Dec. 6: Math as a Chance to Use our Brain in a New Way, the way it likes to work

48. Dec. 1: Feet, 2

Novemeber 2006

47. Nov. 22: Feet

46. Nov. 20: Feldie Fun, #5 Eyes and Tongue

45. Nov. 18: Raw Foods and Waking up

44. Nov. 16: Is it Right Yet?

43. Nov.13: Back and Shoulder and Neck Pain

42. Nov. 4: Undo Deficits, Enhance Excellence, Wake Up to the Present

October 2006
41. Oct. 31. Feldenkrais and Breathing and Grape Arbors

40.Oct. 30: Opening Two Habits: Side of Bed, Reading a Novel

39. Oct 25: Tai Chi And Feldenkrais:Two Goods make a Better.

38. Oct 24: Healing by Learning

37. Oct 22: Habits, Compulsions, Addictions

36. Oct 20: Oh shit, I'm alive

35. Oct 18. Feldenkrais and the Big Self in us All

34. Oct 17. Special Needs Children and the Joys of Transformation

33. Oct 14: Slave or Free??

32. Oct 12: Marlie, Yoga Teacher, Wonderful Person and so on

31. Oct 11: Awareness and Saving our Souls and the Earth (Is that all?)

30. Oct 9: Awareness and Unawareness

29. Oct 6: Awareness 3; Thich Nhat Hahn Meditation

28. Oct 5: The Morning Gurdjieff Meditation, Awareness, 2

27. Oct 4: Awareness, Part 1 (and Gurdjieff's "fantastic" idea)

26. Oct 3: The Big Picture, Pain and Beyond

25. Oct. 2: What is the Feldenkrais Method?

September 2006
24. Sept 30: Who's In Charge Here, (20 breaths: can we be aware that long?)

23. Sept 29: Byron Katie, WakeUp Feldenkrais and Happiness.

22. Sept 28: What is WakeUp Feldenkrais?

21. Sept 26: Presence is the End, Presence is the Means

20. Sept 21: Happiness, Slow and Fast

19. Sept 20: Slow Down, Lie Down and Learn

18. Sept 18: Feldenkrais and Happiness

17. Sept 16: Sitting to Standing, Again

16. Sept 14: Sitting to Standing and the Obvious, the Elusive

15. Sept 14: Feldie #3, a hard lesson, sort of

14. Sept 12: Waking Up

13. Sept 11: WakeUp Feldie Thts on 9-11

12. Sept 9: Let's Talk about Babies

11. Sept 8: Feldie Fun #2

10. Sept. 7: Change's Weird Requirement: We Have to Change (OhmyGod)

9. Sept 6: Awareness, Feldenkrais® and WakeUp Feldenkrais

8.5. Oldie but Goodie: Movement, Children, Living a Full Life.

8. Sept 4: Options and Habits

7.5. Another Oldie: Between the Ears, is where the "Problem" is.

7. Sept 1: Little Miss Sunshine and How We Learn from Crisis (sometimes)

August 2006
6. Aug 31: An Amazing Experiment: Happy Face, Happy Thoughts

5. Aug 30: Feldenkrais to Enhance and Deepen Yoga and Pilates

4. Aug. 29: Feldie Fun #1

3. Aug 29: Who was Moshe Feldenkrais?

2. Aug 28: Feldenkrais and Learning

1. Aug 27: The Joy of Feldenkrais

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Life is Good

fun tree bark
Life is good.

In the present.

And if that's so,
we might ask:
How can we be more present?

Ah? To wake up to our being asleep,
that's the first step.

And then:
not to fall into beating
ourselves up
with the "Oh, damn. I feel asleep again."

And then:
to really
the sensations
of being right now.

There is a lot
in the now
and it's fine
and great
to be in a mode
of pleasure
and joy
and gratitude
when we come here.


(Note. The essays are rotating through the three blogs, more or less one per day.
So you might want to check:

Tai Chi Yoga Health Weight Loss Joy
Life on Earth ::: Slow Sonoma
for the last two essays.)

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Posture and Acture

Up to the tree
Northern California sort of has seasons.

Posture and what? Well, good old Moshe Feldenkrais didn’t think posture was all that it was cracked up to be. He thought that what mattered was function, and the best state to be in was one in which you could easily act in all six directions: right, left, back, forward, up and down. That would be good acture, being in that state.

Stand at a military salute kind of posture leaves you severely limited for anything but falling backwards.

So, how would you stand to move easily and quickly in all directions?

Well, it wouldn’t be the slumpy over stuff that caused all our mothers to nag us to “stand up straight.” So the moms were kind of right. Stand up straighter anyway, but not stiff, not tight, not tense.


That’s what Moshe used to say. Or, if you want to be a movie star and stand in front of a crowd looking regal, have a regal posture. Posture is for posts and for impressing people.

And acture is a word that never really took off, but still: let’s keep the idea. Sitting now, how can we be in a position to move in all directions easily? If we were to stand and just think about moving six directions, what would that do to our organization?

Almost any Feldenkrais lesson, either of the group Awareness Through Movement type, or the one to one Functional Integration type, is great for “posture,” in that you stand taller and lighter after the lesson, and the lessons can be about just about anything, and are almost never about “standing up tall.” Most are in the lying or sitting position and still, after they are over we stand taller.

Why is that?

Because we are wired up in our brain with more of us connected to more of us, and when we use our legs and our pelvis and our feet and our spine and our ribs and our eyes we are going to, without “trying,” end up coming to a useful and more graceful standing pose than we usually do. Awareness is the key, and not awareness of “how to stand,” but this sweet awareness of how amazing it is to be in a human body and how great it feels to be pushing down into the ground and feeling that force transmitted through our skeleton, holding us up, almost as if weightless.

We can feel like that?


Come get a lesson, or put on one you’ve got at home on a CD, or purchase some lessons, or just spend some time getting the various parts of you happier and more connected with the other parts, preferably in an on the ground, variation and experimentation and discovery way.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Christmas Now Mass

The Christmas come along, the mass dedicated to Christ. A good old guy, or a magical man, or a god, or a God. Take your pick, or ignore the guy and go for the season, a season of expectation almost beyond reason, and that's been said, the shopping, the planning, the eating, the finagling of schedules.

One (A) comes once a year, and then fades, and what of this moment.

The other (B) is all those little sweeties, those moments, those now, now, nows
keep coming and coming.

Which are the substance of our life? (A or B?)

Which is the Time of Year to make up for all the times we weren't present with the present of our presence for another person? (A or B?)

Rhetorical questions, obvious answers in the brain, the mind, and then there is this now and this now and this now. Does the heart remember how precious this being alive thing is?

We experience it, and we are awake.

We don't experience it, and we are asleep.

The ongoing celebration of now mass.

One possibility.

The ongoing sleep of missing the moment. Another possibility, and this:
A stark thief of our very lives.

Scary, or funny, or infuriating, or ridiculous and then again: we are always free to wake back up into this moment.

And this one.

And this.

(Note. The essays are rotating through the three blogs, more or less one per day.
So you might want to check:

Tai Chi Yoga Health Weight Loss Joy
Life on Earth ::: Slow Sonoma
for the last two essays.)

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Nature's Flexibility --Sweet

tiger mom

Here's a tiger/ lion mother, who was depressed. Her babies had died. Someone thought
she needed to mother, so they dressed up pigs
and let the two try a variation
on the usual reality.

The variation worked.

and our brain is very flexible.
And amazing.

Look on:
tiger mom

So without the 'story' of who she is supposed to take care of

(maybe have some refresher fun via
the Byron Katie work

the mother just did
what nature wants us to do:
took care
of those who need care.

Be it a flower, a garden, a town, a child
a piglet
it's the doing and living
and loving that
seems to count.

tiger mom

So far, so fun. Let's see what the last picture is:

tiger mom


Good year, good cheer, this is what we are like,
a sunny day behind the clouds,
a joyous generous being
behind the fear and clutching,
a natural and real human
behind the nonsense and conditioning.

Life is good. We are good.


Later note:
this story
apparently is fictional
oh well
stories are true
even if they aren't "true."
These come from a kind of special
where pigs nurse tigers
and tigers nurse pigs
and the zoo
is just a little sleazy,
myth busters, alas

And then again,
in a Thailand paper, here's
the cheery side to the "real"
(again: taking pause to realize
how much of any story
is in our mind
and our reaction to the story:
see again
our friend and way out, Byron Katie

Here's the weird and wild "true" non-sleazy bit. Though there is a sleazy side.

Although the Sriracha Tiger Zoo is off the beaten track, it is nonetheless quite a famous zoo, with one of the world’s most successful breeding programs for tigers. But breeding tigers is not its only agenda. Entertaining and fascinating shows are what really bring in the crowds of visitors to this unique zoo.

Visitors recently witnessed some bizarre feeding habits of the zoo’s most famous inhabitants. A two-year-old female pig named Benjamaj is a blended pedigree of parents, Land-Less and Las-White, that were imported from Norway. Benjamaj is a kind and maternal porky. She has taken 4 baby tigers under her care and along with 3 tiny piglets is nursing the tigers as though she were their mum. She loves those cats and they love her back.

In the wild, pigs would ordinarily be easy prey for tigers. But the Sriracha Tiger Zoo has a reputation for accomplishing the impossible, and creating successful relationships with animals of different species is right up their alley.

Oh, well:
let's think of
the story
as variations
and flexibility
of how
we think about reality
and it will work
that way,
at least

( Note: I'm back on a one a day essay/ thought/ contemplation/ posting per day,
am rotating them through,
then wakeup-feldenkrais,
then taichiyoghealthweightloss,
if that interests you.)

Solstice, Rain, December, Love.... Ah

There we go, that's a nice list to think about and weave around, isn't it?

Words, they can keep us so captive and miserable, and then, if we use them as pointers, and not the thing at which we are pointing, they can be sweet and pleasant reminders.

The glory, well one of the glories, of the Feldenkrais Way is that it brings us deeper into ourselves, into a level of sensing and immediate awareness of our embodied self. Funny, having a body, but it's the main game going on, and walking out to the kitchen, or up into the hills, or picking up a ball and throwing it around with our kids are all still of the essence of what a life is all about.

And so; solstice: the Earth moves, rotates around itself each day, and rotates around the sun each year. Here we go, those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, having rotated around to the shortest day of the year. Shortest day, longest night, the ebb and flow. What if the night were like soil, and cultivating the glories of the night were like a plant sending down roots? And if day were like the sunlight, and cultivating the glories of the day paralleled the plants love of and growth to the sunlight?

In the night we see less well and hear better. It's the time for cuddling around a fire, or a warm naked friend, or a good book, or bowl of soup (even raw soup can be very tasty and warm enough to make it just a delight). Time for music, to sing, to play, to listen, to hum to ourselves by the fire, or gazing up into the bright cold winter's night. Time to go to bed early, or meditate, or go to be early and cuddle with our naked friend, and even more, maybe, and then wake up before it's time to get up and stay warm and peaceful, meditating in our warm winter's bed.

Do less in the winter, spend more time cultivating the slow and the peaceful. Save up for summer the running around, the perky, the blasting off into the light.

And then there are the celebratory folk, lights on the tree, ho, ho, ho, lots of presents and visiting and feasting. And some folks, bless them, really like this, and if they can do it without losing themselves to automatic behavior, what an accomplishment.

And it's raining today. The wetness, in this climate, a Mediterranean climate, which means two main segments of the year; wet in the late fall, the winter and the early spring, and dry the rest of the time.

Now is the time of wet.

Now is the time of rain.

The front of the body and the back, the top and the bottom, the left side and the right. There are all these useful ways of temporarily dividing up our internal sensory attention. This is good.

The rain is good. It is wet and I'll get out my umbrella and take a walk in it, just to make sure that my 'be comfortable' conditioning doesn't have too strong and grip on me.

December is now. December 21 is today. The end of the year. The year has rolled through. The Earth has survived. Those of us reading this have survived.

What have we loved this year? Who have we loved? What little steps have we taken in the continuing transformation of ourselves toward our dreams and image of a sweet and complete life? What moments of pleasure and satisfaction and usefulness have we given ourselves? What have we learned? What are we enjoying learning?

Are we learning more about love?

Are we loving what we are learning?

Are we loving the people around us?

Are we loving ourselves?

Ah, the possibilities, the options; this is life isn't it? This is life.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Yoga as if we had a Brain, Lesson 2

More forward fold.


Because it's fun.

1) Bend forward and see how it goes. This is for starting first off in the morning, not a continuation of the other lesson, but a variation, another way of going about it. Anyway, lean forward and see where it is easy and where it is creaky.

2) Stand and push your feet easily into the earth, and breathe easily into the air and look easily into the distance. Feel the joy of being alive. Notice the creaky and easy areas in this position.

3) Play with your feet. Rotate forward and back on your feet and side to side on your feet until it is easy. Then make circles, one way and then the other until it is easy.

4) Interlace your fingers and put them behind your head. Lean forward and again notice the easy and the creaky areas. See if you can rotate in those creaky areas. For example, if your neck seems the creakiest area, rotate around your neck. If it's somewhere in the mid-back, see if you can rotate there. Same with lower back, though just do little movement there.

5) Stand. Let down your arms beside you. Sense your feet and your spine and add a smile. Breathe and enjoy breathing.

6) Put your arms straight out to the sides from your shoulders at shoulder height. As if you are flying. Start with your arms open and palms up toward the sky. In this position, start to fold forward as a slump, so your head and pelvis both come toward each other. In this slump / fold, let your arms rotate around the shoulder, so that the palms rotate from toward the sky, to forward, to down, and perhaps even toward behind you and even back up again. Then uncurl, unslump and go to the opposite, an arching where the butt is lifted toward your stomach comes forward and our back arches and your head arches back a bit and your arms rotate around your shoulders so the hands point forward, then up, and then back. Have some fun with this.

7) Stand. Rest. Breathe. Smile. Enjoy. Wait. Watch. Then do the slump and arch thing, but move your arms in the opposite rotation. This is too hard to describe on paper, no not really too hard, it just takes too long. You figure it out, it's the opposite of what easy seems. Do it this opposite way awhile and then go back to the easy way. Smile and breathe while you do this.

8) Come up. Stand. Visualize folding simply forward, hands down toward the ground. Then do this. And then come up and little and let your butt / pelvis do a little tucking and arching, without anything else, or without much else being involved. Have fun. Butt tuck, butt up into the air. Then fold forward, push your feet into the ground and your butt up into the air. If you have any creaky areas still, do little rotations in them and soften and release to the extend that is delightful and easy. Don't strain. Don't pain. Let the brain heart and joy bring the gain.

9) Stand and smile and breathe and delight in yourself. Yes.

Friday, December 15, 2006

The Delight of Life

This is what it is, right? We are alive, it's a miracle, so yippee, let's delight in this life while the gift is ours. Of course, if we see others being kept from delight in life, say because of racial prejudice or economic injustice, we can do what we can do. Sometimes finding something effective can be crazy making, but that's a long story, and I'm trying to keep these short.

So: we are in delight, or we aren't.

We are present or we aren't.

It's possible to be happy and stone total unaware, but it can only last as long as everything is going our way.

So now we can wind our way back to waking up and Feldenkrais, because unlike many other healing systems (though not all, see an earlier essay on Body Electronics and Little Miss Sunshine), we aren't after "balancing" people. We are after helping people achieve radically better balance, the kind of balance that would make one a superb judo player, but we are not about balancing them.

We are about unstabilizing a stuck way of being and from that unstability, which we could call the New, or the Not Knowing state, people can learn to be and connect and sense themselves and be aware of themselves and have an expanded and clearer "self image."

They can begin to move and breathe and sense and think in more clear and efficient ways.

And delightful ways.

Think of the images of delight: a child laughing, young people dancing, puppies playing in the mud, kittens with each other, a butterfly lifting off, children jumping and skipping and twirling, and people hugging and spinning and skiing and swimming and skateboarding and surfing and running with ease. The world is full of delight and delight is often full of movement and to enhance movement and self knowledge and self love, this is a wonderful life, this wake up Feldenkrais life.

I hope you can increase your life and joy and delight with these ideas, or coming on around and getting some lessons. Don't be shy, don't be afraid, the changes will unbalance you yes, but it's just what the child delight seeker in you wants, to knock the old cobwebs out so you can start to be even more wonderful than you already are.


Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Yoga as if we had a Brain, Lesson 1

Again a yoga class and again the joy of moving , and of being in a room with others paying attention to themselves, and of having various shapes and configurations to enter and leave. A chance to move and be present and pay attention.

Again a yoga class and the dreariness of the This is The Way style of teaching. If you can do the pose, fine, then do it and enjoy, or do it and show off, or both. If you can't, it's sort of tough luck, except you are given, again, and again, the rules of whatever the system: 'more weight into this leg', 'inner rotate this part', 'roll back that', 'let X go forward/back.' And so on.

Never learning, never an appeal to the brain and to exploration. Never the phrase: try it this way and try it that and see if you notice the difference. Never the idea: notice where in you is stopping this movement and instead of "stretching" or trying to surmount that limiting point (by all the Rules of "this back" and "that rotated" and whatnot), notice how you could stop this movement even more voluntarily.

Never this option: instead of pushing more or harder or further, how about a change of direction and emphasis?

Anyway. As the book progresses, I'll be slipping in some yoga for those who are willing to slow down and connect with the real core to movement: the brain.

Here's the first one:


1) Lean with your hands toward the floor and see what that is like. Avoid pushing, straining, and "trying." Notice where this is easy and pleasant for you and notice where this seems stopped or unpleasant or both. Notice how you are breathing. Notice any inner war-statements, the "I can't do this," or "I'm too…," and so on. Notice what it's like to notice instead of "trying."

2) Stand tall, or tallish and notice your feet on the ground, notice how high your eyes are in the sky, notice your breathing.

3) Come up on to your toes and become even taller and flop down on your heels. Do this a number of times with ease, pleasure and experimentation, noticing your breathing and your spine and your pleasure.

4) Stand tall, close your eyes, sense your entire self and rest.

5) Open your eyes and lean forward, but make sure it is no more than 80% of what you are capable of doing. In this position, shift weight from the front of your feet to the back and back to front enough times to enjoy it. Then shift weight from left foot to your right foot, again, enough times to enjoy it and maybe learn a little. Learn what? It doesn't need to be in words, it's better not in words, just a feeling/ sensation of learning "something."

6) Come back to upright. Rest again, eyes closed and sensing.

7) Lean forward, as usual 80%, and bend and straighten just your right knee. See what that does in your pelvis. See what that does in your foot. See if you can feel a push from the floor to your pelvis as you do this. Rest (you chose how). The repeat with the other knee and leg and foot.

Notice how your spine and ribs rotate as you bend and straighten your knees. Notice how your breath co-ordinates with this, or does not. Notice how you could make it easier and more delightful.

8) Come to stand and rest and sense and see in your feel as if learning is going on.

9) Lean forward easily and now bend and straighten both knees at the same time, noticing breathing and pushing into the ground and movement in your pelvis and pleasure and connection in your spine and brain.

10) Rest. And then lean down just enough so that you can rest your hands on your knees. Breath easily. Now breathe so you fill your belly as you breathe in and pull in your belly as you breathe out. Now as you breathe in and push out your belly, arch your back inward and bring your head back and your butt higher in the air. And when you breathe out, fold so that your back is arched up like a cat and your head is looking at your sex and your sex is folding up toward your head. Go back and forth, arched and folded, noticing your spine and your pelvis and the whole shape of you and your weight on your feet.

11) Stand and rest.

12) Now fold forward at the waist and stick your butt up and let your arms hang down easily and try a different trajectory. Instead of all this up and down stuff, allow your spine to twist, as you are folded forward like this, to the right and to the left. Have some fun, seeing how this makes the world look.

13) Stand and rest.

14) Now, simply fold forward and see how this is different than in the beginning of the lesson. Enjoy your life and your spine and your learning and your awareness.

15) Yes.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Moving and Learning, the Miracle Continues

When we are very young the world is simple and wonderful. The miracle continues. (Yesterday's essay, "You are Alive, the Miracle of it All," at Life on Earth/Slow Sonoma started this series). We eat, nursing if we are lucky. We sleep. We are held and cooed over. We wiggle around and discover who and what we are.

At first we have no direction, really, to our movements. They are less even than exploratory, they are more like thrashing around. But this thrashing around is our life, and we have a brain that is noticing and learning from this thrashing and we begin to pick up patterns that seem to get the same results.

A certain movement will bring this hand thing to our mouth. We like our mouth, this is where pleasure centers in our young world, and this hand thing, which seems a pretty interesting and wiggly part as well, can touch and make friends with our mouth. This is nice. This is interesting. Who really knows what it is to a baby, except it seems from the outside to be compelling enough to try again and again.

Sucking on the hand, wiggling the fingers, this is the stuff of young scientists, young geniuses, the explorer is set in motion.

We are learning. This is what human life is. Eating, sleeping, eliminating, being held and hugged and coed over, moving around and learning and exploring. Life is near and close and entirely sensual. No concepts, no words, just learning, and, if things are going right, wanting food and getting food when we want it, wanting release and sleep and getting it when we want it.


Think of falling in love as a brief chance to return to this close and sensual cooing and touching and exploring and eating and sleeping a lot place. The stories aren't yet up and between us, the words are in our way, this other person is brand new and the glories of the flesh are once again ours for the feasting.

Anyway, back to babies, and being a young genius.

Life is good and it's new and we have a lot more, we discover, than hands and mouths. This back can curl up forward, can arch us back. This combines pleasantly and usefully with things we can do with our arms and legs. Suddenly, by accident the first one or two times, we have reached and arched in a combination that sends us rolling onto our stomachs.

The world is radically expanded in possibilities. We can bring our head upright. We can look in all sorts of directions. We can flap our arms and legs around in pleasantly coordinated fashion.

We are on the way. Reaching is clearer. Seeing what we want is clearer. There is a lot out there we want to touch, or bring to our mouths, or simply (simply!) explore. Scooting or crawling is discovered. The miracle continues. We are alive and learning by moving. Yes!

(Continues, in a fashion, at Food is Good on the Taichiyog... channel.)

Friday, December 08, 2006

When You Can't Do the Lesson: A study in options

In Feldenkrais and WakeUp Feld and the Anat Baniel Method and in good old curious healthy wonderful life,
we give ourselves the chance to look at things in lots of ways.

Sometimes lessons go awry and we "can't" do them. Or do WE (not the lessons) go awry? Or is there any awry going anywhere?

Awry is such a fun word I think I'll write it again: awry, alas, awry.


On an online forum for Feldy junkies, someone was disconsolate for awhile in not being able to "do"
an Awareness Through Movement Lesson, disgustingly abbreviated as ATM.

When bored in a yoga class, I began to have fun with the real and fanciful answers. Enjoy

WHEN YOU CAN'T DO THE LESSON ( A STUDY IN OPTIONS) (any lesson, not just Feldenkrais)
Extreme responses:
• Kill the teacher
• Scream
• Cry
• Rush out of room (options: pouting, screaming, crying)
• Kill yourself

Extreme plus imagination:
• Visualize killing the teacher
• Visualize killing Moshe
• Visualize: screaming, crying etc

Normal ( sad but true)
• Look at the clock a lot
• Feel bad without words in head
• Feel bad with words in head

Options for words in head when feeling bad:
• I'm no good
• I'm bad
• I suck
• This sucks
• Life sucks
• The teaching of this lesson sucks
• This lesson sucks
• I'm too …..dumb, old, wrecked, damaged, tired, sleep deprived, distracted, fragile, f…..d up, confused, stressed, individualistic……

Should variations:
• I should have started this when I was younger
• I should have practiced my…..
• I should have stuck with….
• I should have learned how to do this by now
• I should be more…..(flexible, healthy, young, ….)

Shouldn't variations:
• I shouldn't have come
• I shouldn't be so…..
• This lesson shouldn't be so….
• This room, my body, life ….. shouldn't be so……

Perhaps useful options:
• Watch all the above going on.
• Be curious as to where the lesson can't be done.
• Be curious as to what it would be like to visualize the lesson
• Be curious as to where the mental pain is when visualizing,
• Be curious as to words in head during visualizing
• Be curious what would happen if didn't do anything, not even visualize
• Follow breathing and do nothing
• Watch the others and do nothing
• Check out the body shapes of the opposite sex and do ?????
• Take a nap

More options:
• Think about what you will eat when lesson is over.
• Think about what you will tell other people about your troubles in this lesson.
• Think about writing a list like this. ( I started in a yoga class that was boring me out of my skull.)
• Think about what you will say to teacher.
• Think about what you will write in blog, on internet and so on….

What a rich world, eh?

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Math isn't "hard." It's a chance to learn how to think.

One nice thing about the Feldenkrais way, is that it's a way. A way of looking at and thinking about "problems," which is another way of saying, "things we don't know how to do yet."

(As an aside: the state of "Not Knowing," is the state of being Here and Now, since in the Now, each moment is clear and here and complete and the next moment we don't know because we aren't getting ahead of ourselves.)

Okay, fine, now what about math?

Last summer I was staying with my sister, who tutors grade school kids in schoolwork "problems," and her husband, Jack, who tutors high school kids in math.

I was back East with them in New Jersey, since I was taking the Anat Baniel Mastery Training for working with Special Needs Children. (See, for your own delight: Anat on Children). And in Anat's training, this idea of "problems" as opportunities for variation, and discovering the essential, and finding new possibilities in function and success, was very much a part of our work.

So my brother-in-law came up with a client who was having all sorts of "problems" with the idea of percentages. My training with Anat inspired this approach: let's get off of the Right Answer thing and start to think about the meaning of what we are doing.

So, instead of being committed to 30% of 80 being 24, I was suggesting to Jack that he get across the idea that a percentage is a part of the whole, or is a relationship to one hundred, and so go about it like this: is 30% of 80 going to be more or less than 80?

And then, getting advanced, is 120% of 80 going to be more or less than 80?

Once the student understood this, the problems where just working out the details.

Same with smaller kids and addition, subtraction and so on.
Is 3+8 going to be bigger or smaller than 3? Bigger or smaller than 8?

Is 12-7 going to be bigger or smaller than 12?

Is 55 times 3 going to be bigger smaller than 3?

Is 3 times 55 going to be bigger or smaller than 55?

..... The game of showing that they are the same, (3 times 5) being the same amount as (5 times 3) calls for a bunch of marbles or oranges, I imagine......)

And to finish things off, is 44 divided by 4 going to be bigger or smaller than 44? Is it going to be around 40? Around 30? Around 20? Around 10?

This idea of approximating things, and getting a rough answer I think calls on deeper and more visceral parts of our mind. I've heard that aborigines, while they aren't that fond of knowing that there are 238 birds flying by, can look at a flock of birds and have a pretty clear idea that it's somewhere in the 220 to 250 range.

And, for our own use as grown ups?

Try this with your check book: just round everything to the nearest ten dollars. Spend 212.35 and subtract 210. If you spend 17.22, subtract 20. If you put in 336, add 340. It all works out pretty close and makes it easy to keep up with it all.

And the underlying concept: freeing the kids and our own minds from this slavery to the Right Answer and going for a deeper and clearer understanding of what these various functions (adding, doing a percentage, dividing, and so on) are all about.

Interestingly enough, Moshe Feldenkrais got his huge results by looking at human beings as totalities and working on improving functions like walking, or coming up to sit from lying, or rolling over, or bending sideways.

Improving them where? In the brain and total understanding / organization of the whole person.

Fancy that.

And fun, too.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Feet, 2

There is a certain set of movements in Tai Chi where you keep one leg fixed, and rotate the other leg inward, so the toes point inward and even a little bit back.

Hands on Elbows

( An Awareness Through Movement® lesson. Photo by Rosalie O'Conner.
How are they using their feet? What is the connection through the whole self?

Try this if you like. It will be easier for most right handed people, to keep the left leg fixed, to transfer the weight to your left foot and then rotate your right foot and leg inward.

You can try this two ways, one rotating around the heel, and then rotating around your toes. Actually, let's go for three options: you can have the left foot hovering above the ground and rotate your toes and heel at the same time.

Then, in the tai chi progression, you shift your weight to this vastly pigeon toed foot. And then you spin the original fixed leg way around, but that's too complicated to explain on paper/ screen.

For fun, and to keep the wonderful practice of creating variety and experimentation and delight for ourselves, try the whole process with outward rotation.

Shift your weight to your left foot and rotate your right foot to the outside, once on the heel, once on the toes, and once rotating around the middle of the foot.

If you haven't done one of these Feldie mini lessons, remember to take lots of rests for your brain to integrate learnings and to set yourself free from the do, do, do way of living. Time to integrate and to sense oneself and to be present.

Remember to go slowly and to notice as much of where else this movement is taking place ( Spine? Pelvis? Ribs? Neck? Head? Eyes? And what exactly is the hip joint feeling like and doing?). Let this be a whole self experiment, a meditation on moving, which is to say, a meditation on one of the cores of being alive.

And since awareness is another core, this simple footsie in, footsie out, can be a meditation on how you are and how you move and how you are put together and what the possibilities are and what it's like to be present and what it's like to move and what it's like to be aware and what it's like to be you.


And now, for fun, try a rotation that goes from pointing inward to pointing outward. Notice where in you might be tensing, if you can keep your breathing steady and in awareness, if your jaw and neck are easy and free, if your eyes are enjoying what they are seeing while you are sensing and noticing inside.

This is good for the mind and soul, to be aware, to be slowly learning about ourselves as we stay in contact with our breathing and the world around us.