Sunday, October 22, 2006

Sun. Oct 22: Habits, Compulsions, Addictions

What a cheery topic, eh? And actually people like to dwell on that. I’m stuck. I can’t get out of this hole. Can’t stop doing this or that. It’s a whole industry.

And hidden under that somewhere is a deeper set of addictions that don’t have to be looked at while we are busy thinking that sugar or overeating or television watching or drugs or work or alcohol is our addiction.

Oh, well.

People are great and people are fools, and me, too, you, too, what can we do?

The effort to be present brings up almost everything, sooner or later, so that’s one thing we can do. And then, sometimes we just get out of our routine enough to realize that we live in some cultural addictions that we might never ever have thought about.

Like squares and right angles. What a world we live in dominated by that.

Or, worrying whether people approve of us or not. This, according to Gurdjieff, is the number one slavery of humanity, or at least according to one man's (John Bennett’s) version of Gurdjieff.

What other people think about us?Do we fit in/ What if they disapproved of us for being imperfect, which they must right, since we disapprove of ourselves for being imperfect and where did we learn that? From Mom and Pa, who learned it from their Ma and Pa and so on.

But is it true? Is perfection what we want out of life?

Is the approval of others?

What does this have to do with the Feldenkrais Method?

Lots, I think.

The whole Method, to my mind, is about turning our habits inside out and discovering who we might be and who we might become if we began to learn and discover new ways of moving and thinking and learning. Pain, unfortunately, rather than the wish to transform, is the initiator to most people’s excitement with this work, but then again, that’s humanity in a rut.

And the rut-ness of the rut, is not knowing we are in it. Alas!

We don’t know we’re in a rut until divorce or sickness or someone’s death, or a near death, or losing our job, or physical breakdown shocks us into realizing that things aren’t so great as we thought they were.

It’s possible to come to this work as an exciting path of exploration and usefulness to others and ourselves.

And what does that have to do with addiction?

Well. In the Feldie Forum, this Yahoo group thing for Feldenkrais Practitioners and students in training programs, I raised this issue of Habit, Compulsion, Addiction, partly because someone was coming to town with a book about the drug and alcohol trap (Broken, the book, William Cope Moyers the author). And partly because I’m really interested in my own inner freedom and in the Gurdjieff notion of the imprisonment of humanity in something like an ongoing “sleep.”

Hence the title WakeUp Feldenkrais. This is not a clarion call for dead Moshe to wake, but for me and you and anyone to use the Feldenkrais Method to wake up to our lives in the present.

So habit, compulsion, addiction, define them however you want, are all ways of staying the same. Sometimes that’s good. Nice to know how to stand and tie our shoe. Sometimes it awful. To always think yuk when so and so’s name comes up, or the always tighten our jaw when we are wanting to lift something with our legs, or to always rush when we are given a chance to learn something new or to always stop breathing when someone says something that we haven’t thought of before.

So where is this ramble going today?

A little here and little there, a little everywhere. I’m just about done for today. I could get into food and cooked foods as an addiction, but that’s a big one, and all I’ll say for now is: eat only uncooked foods for two weeks, use lots of soaked seeds and nuts and avocados to get your fat and protein, lots of greens, too, have fun, eat all you want, and see what happens when you step outside of the cooked food thing. The social pressures. The inner compulsions. The straight ahead unconscious habits. The addiction to that rush that the cooked food gives, a certain blandness and heaviness after the initial buzz of food without enzymes that has to be disguised with lots of salt and seasoning.

But step outside that habit, social requirement, whatever you want to call it, try something quite interesting, at the least, for two weeks, and then see what kind of choice you have in a decision like that.

Oh, well. This is too scary.

Let’s talk about something safe.

Sugar. Well, not too safe for some. But still.... sugar

Is nonsense. Eat an apple or a peach or a banana instead.

Ice cream is just what all deserts want to be : fat and sweet. Make the raw version: an apple and some walnuts, raisins and almonds, some sunflower seeds and banana and strawberries in a blender, a date with some tahini on it. This list could be huge. What the body wants for health and what the mind wants for habit can be different, but all the suggested combos, plus zillions more taste GREAT, so that's a help, eh?

This is an addiction that’s not that hard to beat, to the vast benefit of your health.

And what’s that got to do with Feldenkrais? Well, this is a WakeUp Feldenkrais site, so anything that gets us free of any rut is fair play.

And Feldenkrais itself?

If you don’t know what you are doing, you don’t know what you are doing.If you've never gone a day or two without talking, you don't know your habit, addiction, compulsion. For example.

If you have no alternatives, you don’t know what you are doing, no matter how many other people are doing the same thing. Indeed, maybe most likely we are to be blind if almost “everybody is doing it.”

Ciao for now.


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