Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Doing it right, vs. Doing it better

To "do it right" puts the pressure on,
don't you think?

Either we've got it, or we don't.

Sometimes when people do the movement lessons,
at first they pay attention,
and figure out what the new configuration of action
and then,
once they "get it,"
they just go into automatic and "crank it out."

And I tell them:
hey, you've figured it out,
you all get an A plus,
now how can you slow and discover
something new and pleasurable and interesing
and a connection
you didn't know about before.

So: it isn't getting it right,
it's creating a pattern and then using that pattern
to be present
and to slow and learn
and to increase pleasure and ease
and discover connections we didn't realize before.

So: instead of "doing it right,"
we play in the movement with
"doing it better" in the sense of ease
efficiency in the sense of less effort
using of the whole self

this can be applied to learning music:
doing it right
or finding all sorts of delightful ways
of a process of ongoing improvement.

This can be applied to
learning golf, or tennis:
"doing it right" means
once you've reached "right"
you don't get to improve anymore.

You're stuck.

This is the human delimma:
to stay at good, or stuck in trying to go for good,
or to be at ease and pleasure and curiosity
in the ongoing discovery of ways to


Tuesday, June 29, 2010

thinking without words, eyes and head, oldie but goodie

Creating a garden bed by 'sheet mulching"

Not the usual type of “thinking”

What often passes as “thinking” is the spilling over of words in our head, the “chatter” as some call it, “monkey mind” others say, the “yap, yap.” Another way to put it, is “auditory hallucinations.”

Thinking can be very different than this sort of inner talking.

So far, each day, with a noticing of differences, we have been using our brains for real thinking. Today, we’ll notice some more differences, and get more clarity about and feel for thinking without words.

Turn your head easily right four or five times, and then left four or five times. Can you notice a difference one way and the other?

Now turn just to the left with your head, but keep your eyes focused on something in front of you. Notice a difference in how you turn, and in your neck. Go very slowly.

Rest after seven or eight times, and then turn to the left with your eyes and nose together and feel what you feel.

Now turn your nose to the left and back to the center a number of times while turning your eyes in the opposite direction. Go very slowly and clearly notice eyes and neck and breathing and spine. Rest. Turn both left and right in the “normal” way and notice what you notice.

Spend today awaring eyes and neck and right left differences. See what difference rotating your ribs might make. Go slowly, rest a lot, learn.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Everyday awaring, every day awaring

We have a spine.

This is good. And how often are we aware of this amazing piece of our architecture?

Think about the two ends to this flexible stick of ours: the head at the top, up high to see things and hear better, and at the base the pelvis, rooted in our legs, with Seitz bones on which to sit. Either way, standing or sitting, the pelvis is there, here now, at the bottom of 24 vertebrae, holding up our head by giving the base to our back.

The back is a collection of muscles and ribs and our spine.

Can we play today with noticing whether our spine is more in the rounding position, or the arching?

Can we feel the shape of our spine, and feel how it is holding up the head. In sitting, is the push from pelvis up through the spine, or is a back of a chair propping up part of our back, so the weight is somewhat down into our pelvis, and somehow down and back into the chair?

No right or wrong. Just notice: spine more as if stomach in, or spine more as if stomach out? Spine somewhat upright, way upright, curled in, or arched deeply?

This is a big part of being human, the pelvis spine head thing. Let’s notice it, sense it, aware it as much as we can enjoy today.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Music and Feldenkrais/ Anat Baniel Method

It's like this:

how to teach a rat to get dystonia:
have it do the same thing over and over and over again.
Zap, there goes the old nervous system,
twang comes to stiffness, pain, restriction,
probably nature's way of curtailing
insane self-usage.

And hey,
what do musicians do:
the same thing over and over and over again
It's called practice.

And what if the practice,
the practice of staying present
and seeing how much ease
they could create as they "played,"
and how
"playing" could be part of their playing.

What little differences
could make a big difference.

Hey, that's what our work is about:
the little differences that make
a big difference.

I love working with musicians.

They often really thrive on discovery.

What a cool group of people.

I've added a musicians' page to my website,
and on it are links to two great articles
two people who are Feldies and musicians,
one of whom was in my training with me.

Check the page and the articles out,
if you wish:

Music and Singing page (almost typed sining page. hmm)


Monday, June 14, 2010

a baby lesson sent to a disbelieve: try, notice and ye shall learn

Cactus doesn't have to "learn" to live and move in gravity.
We do.
Good for and God for
us both.

These lessons are about learning almost each minute as we go along. All that is required is being present and attentive to your body and sensations in the moment.

Any time differences are noticed in the present, learning takes place. and when the small learnings are savored, and really enjoyed, and the pleasure of learning and nowing is felt, you change.

and try this:

lie on the floor.
work with the easy arm.
raise the foot on that side so the sole is standing on the floor.
raise the easy arm toward the ceiling.
in a relaxed way, lift the arm a little more toward the ceiling and gently bring the shoulder blade back to the floor.
feel the ribs rotating.
feel the shoulder blade lifting.

put the arm and leg down and feel even that little bit wakens to now and eases that arm.

now, come to the same position:
raise the arm and look to the left a number of times
and then raise the arm and look to the right
go slow enough to feel pleasure in each way.
go slow enough to feel the differences when your head goes one way and the other.

rest and notice the differences, the learning, in this much movement

put the foot standing and the arm toward the ceiling again
push the foot into the ground/ floor as you lift the arm toward the ceiling
notice, pelvis rotating, ribs rotating, shoulder blade lifting, back arching and ...
do this many times slowly and easily and feel pleasure
being present
learning about how an arm works with all of you

get up and have a good day

Sunday, June 13, 2010

What is the Feldenkrais Method®?

If you move slowly
you can wake
up to yourself.

If your movements begin to
follow a function,
like reaching forward with your arm,
or rolling to your side,
or rolling to your belly,
or coming to crawling,

you can begin to understand how you
have learned to move in this world
and 2 arms
2 legs
a spine
a head
a pelvis

and so on.

Feldenkrais Lessons help you uncover these delightful
that aren't mysteries
just outside of our usual awareness.

By slowing down
paying attention
using less effort
varying things around
taking lots of rests
treating the lesson as a lesson
i.e a place to learn
rather than to "Get it Right"
people can, you can, I can
realize options we might
never have realized before.

These lessons can be
self generated,
guided by a teacher in a group,
guided by a teacher in one on one sessions
of gentle touch and guidance
and moving.

I wrote an essay twice in here
building up Feldenkrais one word at a time
and then one sentence at a time.

The last time I went through that
was in March of 2007:

It started like this:

What is Feldenkrais:

One word:

Two words: Neural rewiring

Three words: Refining Our Awareness

Four words: Learning how to Learn

Four words: Increasing Our Self Connection

Five words: Transformation thru Undoing Stuck Habits

Six words: Expanding horizons thru Learning and Awareness

You can reread the whole thing here: MARCH 2007 WHAT IS FELDIE ESSAY/ EXPLORATION

But, hey.
life is new
now is now

what might I say today,
tired and in a library
and excited to try all sorts of new things,
including writing a novel,
and writing an essay or two a week,
and .....


What is the Feldenkrais Method:

One word: Learning

2: Slowing Down

3: Awareness Through Movement

4: Coming Home to Ourselves

5: Explorations in Gravity and Pleasure

6: Group and private lessons for transformation

7: Discovering Again how to Learn to Learn


1: Awakening

2: Sensing Now

3. Judo + Physics

4. Learning how to Learn

5. Slowing to Now, and Discovering

6. Gifting ourselves with slowing, nowing, learning

7. Happiness from returning to life in the Now (that's 8, oh well)

Okay, friends
Next: What is a lesson?
How to create a functional integration lesson.


p.s. email me, if you'd like. I'd enjoy it.

Monday, June 07, 2010

Tango, Dance, Walking, Learning and Love

Most of us learned to walk along the way.

It was hard, easy, fun, amazing.

Mainly, if you think about, or really feel how small the feet are
under such a tall, large thing this body of ours,
you'll see that standing (harder than walking)
and walking (harder than being three or four legged)
both almost miracles.

And then, we grow up and want to dance,
and sometimes have fun and then we go to dance classes.

And the teacher, good old teacher, shows the "right way."
Once: we get it or don't.
Okay, the teacher shows it again: we get it or don't.
Then the show the "other" (usually follower) part, once, twice.
People get it or don't.
Put on music and you're on your own.

But every move is right foot, left foot, or some pause with the weight on
one foot or the other.

What if we learned dance as a fancied up walking,
where we get to try by ourselves as the pretend "leader"
a bunch of walking to music variations.
Then we explore, by ourselves, as the pretend "follower",
a bunch of walking to music variations.

Then we pal up, guy and a gal, gal and a gal, guy and a guy, father and a daughter,
mother and a daughter, or son, and so on.

Play around.
Invent some steps.
Learn to float around the floor with the music.

Would this be nice?

I think so.

Come and find out.

Here's the word part of a flyer I have around town on Orcas Island in Washington.

Feldenkrais® &
Learning how to Learn
A 4 class series at Odd Fellows Hall
Thursday, 6:15-7:15 PM, June 17- July 8
What if we went about learning Dance (anything)
as a process of discovery,
rather than a determination to “Get it Right?”

Chris Elms is a beginning Tango student and an advanced Practitioner
in the Feldenkrais Method®.

He teaches private lessons to Undo Pain, Relieve Stress,
and Increase Mobility & Skills.

by experimenting with hundreds of movements, many of them “mistakes,” then one
day, she puts 30 of them together and crawls, not so show off or accomplish anything,
but to get the toy across the room.

Listening to the music, listening to your own body, and listening to your partner’s
ease and movement.


IF YOU DON’T LIKE DANCE: come and learn as if walking to music.

IF YOU DO LIKE DANCE: come and treat yourself to a way of learning that
can improve & relax many areas of your life.

That's it.
Let me know, if you are a practitioner,
and want to collaborate on teaching any form of dancing
this way,

or collaborate working with and getting mentored working with,
special needs children.