Thursday, February 15, 2007

Improvement for the Joy of It

Improvement can be fun. Improvement can be torture. A lot depends on what we are up to, what our motivation is.

Are we disliking who we are and wanting to improve to dispel our self dislike? This seems like a cruel sort of internalization of a parent who is always telling a child they are not good enough, and to "try harder." Alas, in this situation, the harder the child tries, the more the parent, consciously or unconsciously knowing they have a sucker on their hands, raises the stakes and demands more efforts, always lifting the hurdle to approval just out of the child's hands.

This, as an aside, what was happened to me when I got to Caltech, which with MIT, is the premier science and brain college in the country. After busting myself to get perfect grades, that true to the above scenario, were never quite good enough for my parents, I arrived at Caltech only to realize that the ante had been upped hugely. It was a school full of people who'd busted tail to be tops in their high schools, all now busting tail to top each other.

No thanks, I said after a couple of years and went to an easier school.

Back to improvement: there is another kinds besides the striving to be better because we or the internal parent or the real parent or all three don't think we are good enough.

This is improvement because it's fun to learn, fun to learn a handstand or a headstand, or to skip again, or a new language, or a little bit or a lot of playing some instrument, or how to move ourselves more gracefully, or think through problems that baffled us before. It's fun to have new skills and new abilities and new challenges, that we want to rise to for the pure joy of figuring it out and mastering it ourselves.

This is the sort of person I'm looking for as clients. Those who not only want to transform their hurting shoulder or back or neck, but can get excited about improving their whole state of being and moving and relating to themselves and the world.

Those interested in transformation for the joy of being more in touch with and skilled at living and moving and thinking and feeling in life. This is the people I welcome and wish for in my work.

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