Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Humans and Learning: Our Core Activity, Maybe

leaning in Ruthie
Adults learning in a Bones for Life class.

Human beings start out as babies. You and I started out as a baby. We knew hardly anything. We didn't know A, didn't know B, didn't know language, didn't know how to touch our nose, didn't know how to deliberately move our toes. We were more or less a blob.

We lay there. We knew how to curl up, the famous "fetal position," having, as that time in our just born lives, spend most of our "life" inside the dark, warm tropical waters of Mom. We knew sounds, but light was new. We knew movement, but gravity was new. We knew ????, who knows what we knew, and breathing, ah that too was new.




Learning all about those. Learning how to bring our hands deliberately to our mouths, how to grasp something, how to move our eyes and focus and find where the voice and sound is coming from. Explorations in gravity, lifting this part of us and that, learning to roll over, which always means pushing off against the floor or Earth. Learning to lift our head as we lie on our belly, which means getting muscles in our back (and pushing the belly into the ground), which means learning to bring our head to vertical, which means beginning to shift our gaze right and left from an upright head.

Rolling around.

Messing around.


All sorts of learning. Somehow we are fed. Learning who does that, and when and how it comes about. Being held, hopefully, picked up for feeding, picked up for love, cuddled for the joy of it, carried for the usefulness of it. As we are carried we feel our body moving, we feel the big body moving, we learn things, about our spine, about the Earth and the force through the spine of the one holding or carrying us, we learn our edges, we learn to be in contact. We are always exploring.

Always learning, and sleeping. And playing.

It's a wonderful life, but someone has to do it. The babies, the babies we were, this is how our life starts.

We learn a lot. Each little bit helps us learn more complicated things. We push down into the floor or the Earth with our hands, with our feet, with our elbows, with our chests, with our backs.

Learning, learning, hundred of things we are learning about how to move the fingers and toes, and arms and legs and neck and chest and spine and pelvis. We don't have many muscles in our arms. Our pelvis has the big muscles, so we use them the most. We are "centered." We are "grounded," and then one day, we put together 30 of the several hundred things we know, and we are crawling, zipping across the room.

Why do we crawl?

To meet in inner "developmental stage?" No.

To be like the other people? No. They are walking or sitting around.

To please the Big People? No. Later, walking will be an ego trip for some of them when we Achieve that, but crawling, nah, that's our game.

We don't copy. We don't know we are going to crawl, and then we do. Why? To get across the room or the yard or the dirt quicker. We've got important sticks to pick up, or cats to grab, or fallen cherries to put in our mouths. We crawl to expand our living.

This is why we keep learning. To expand our horizons. And for the pure joy of it. Learning is what we were designed to do.

This is why a life without learning is a life on the way to dying.

This is why the explorations and small movements and new configurations and delight in awareness and discovery of the Feldenkrais Method® are so good for keeping us young and vital and able to expand in all sorts of areas in our life.


No comments: