Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Tues. Oct 24: Healing by Learning

What's your definition of healing? To get better? To get rid of the pain, or the sickness? To get back on track toward wholeness? To increase well-being?

It's an interesting thing to think about, especially when we've got something bothering us, and , being normal human beings, we just want the bother to go away.

Here is one of the wonders of the Feldenkrais Method®. That we don't go after "fixing" and we get better results than anyone who goes after fixing.

How can that be?

A friend who came to me to "fix" his shoulder, asked this. He was amazed at the results, how in three days his S (more on that later) and his life were amazingly improved. He couldn't unerstand how could we get such fine results, when we didn't seem to be trying to get results.

We seemed to be working with his brain and his spine and his ribs and his neck and his pelvis and his fingers and his elbows, and every once in awhile, we'd move this "stuff" up at the left side edge of his torso. This "stuff" was what I called all the ribs and shoulder blade and left upper arm and left collar bone, to keep away from the S word, since he "knew" his Shoulder was a huge mess. Moving the S was impossible, but he discovered this "stuff" could be moved quite easily, especially if he initiated the moving from his back and his sternum.

Hmm. We did a little of this and a little of that and the S would get more and more free and not only did we refrain from mentioning its name, we refrained from any movement that was what he traditionally thought of as moving of the S, though he got a nice laugh when I pointed out that there really is no such thing as the "shoulder."

Anyway: we were after improving the whole self, and the understanding of all sorts of moving and almost as a byproduct of that, his S got more and more dramatically "better."

And he asked why. And what came to mind was: think about a relationship that's in trouble. And you decide to fix it by telling each of the warring couple to say, "Please," when they wanted something. Surely that would help, but there's a lot going on in a relationship.

And there's a lot going on in a human mind/body, and to improve any aspect is to improve the whole.

And to improve the whole is to improve any aspect.

Which is to say, the S not only doesn't exist that way the thumb does, but is itself a functional conglomerate. Therefore, to heal the S means to heal all sorts of areas in the body and the mind. (And even to "heal" the thumb in the Feldenkrais way, would be to connect this "part" of ourselves back to as much of us as possible, from toes to nose to brain to breath to ribs. Herein lies the "solution" to all the "carpal tunnel" stuff.)

So, this is it: REAL HEALING IS ABOUT LEARNING, not about adjusting back to some previously unsatisfying and ignored status quo. This man had forgotten how to use his ribs and his neck and his pelvis and his spine and his eyes and his awareness in ways that could make his left S experience a pleasant and efficient one. We set out to learn how to use himself in new and interesting and easy and delightful and useful ways. The more we discovered, the more options he had, and his possibilities for change and improvement increased almost exponentially each new possibility we added.

So in three days, he was "fixed" as much as a friend of his had been fixed with three months of physical therapy.

And with this difference: he is on the way to having two S's that function better than they ever have in his life since he was a young and frisky lad. The other sort of "fix," the get 'em back to normal fix, and he'd have a left S that could function at a sort of get by mediocre level that was what he had in his "good" right S.

So by slowing down and taking lots of apparent detours, we get faster "fixing," because we aren't fixing, we are learning, learning to function and learning to learn.

Cool, eh?

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