Monday, July 11, 2011

From Anat's book, Essential One: Movement with Attention, for parents of special needs children, and ALL of us

Harper learning about gravity,

I'm going to do a series, writing about the Nine Essentials from
Anat's book.
Move Into Life

If you don't have it yet, it's certainly a fine addition to your life,
whether a parent of a special needs child,
a practitioner of Feldenkrais or the Anat Baniel Method,
or "just"
one more of that amazing group of human beings who realize:
hey, I'm alive,
and when I know I'm alive I can transform almost anything.

Actually, when we are alive,
and aware of the present moment, we can transform
the quality of our experience,
though we may or may not be able to transform the effects
of our actions.

What's that mean?
You are trying to improve your tennis serve.
You become aware of the tightness of your grip,
and you try tighter, and less tight.
You place awareness on your feet, and add extra awareness
sometimes to your big toes, sometimes the baby toe,
sometimes the inside of your feet,
sometimes the outside.

As you do these variations,
which is another Essential down the line,
you have a better chance of being aware of just
how the whole swing,
the whole serve
the whole action takes place.

So: your experience of your serve will change.
Maybe more relaxed.
Maybe more powerful.
Maybe both.

Certainly, by shifting awareness in your fingers
and then in your toes, you will get a more global sense
of what this "serve the ball" action is about.

For you.

And this could be done without variation.
We could just keep serving the ball,
and shifting awareness from our toes,
to our ankles,
to our knees,
to our pelvis,
all the way up,
and with this awareness in the moment again
get a clearer picture, feel, sensory understanding
of how we do something that might have
been habitual.

And we don't have to be "into" sports.
We can walk to the next room, and pay attention to
that movement.

We can move our spine gently right,
up and down,
forward and back,
and see how that "feels," where feeling can mean
both emotional (feels good, feels happy) and sensory:
the actual "feel" of the muscles and bones and movement
as it happens.

This is obvious when we do it,
and yet so often our movement is just
"getting it done,"
and we have wasted a chance to be present
and to give attention to ourselves in the moments of our life.

Think how rich making a meal,
or even washing the dishes could be,
if we took it as a meditation, a chance to be present
to the movement of our arms and spine, and the shifting
positions of weight bearing through our feet,
and our use of our spine and ribs and shoulders.

There is a reason for the famous Zen phrase about:
before enlightenment: chop wood and carry water.
After enlightenment: chop wood and carry water.

It's the everyday living attended to,
in the moment that is the path to

Good, I hope, so far.

And what about our children,
if you are a parent?

The usual, and the usual is so amazing as to be the miraculous
if you think and or realize about it,
that we aren't a tree, aren't a chair, aren't a fragment of star dust
drifting in the Universe.

The usual is that you can lift and hold and touch
and talk to your child.

In any of those movements,
see what happens,
become your own laboratory,
if you are sensing and awaring of your movements
as you lift, hold, touch or talk to your child.

And then, sometimes you will want to play
with them,
to caress them,
to move them gently and sweetly.

Then the slow and the gentle essentials
come in,
One: for the sake of the child's experience
of enjoying it
Two, for the sake of your child's being able
to pay attention as you are moving them,
Three, for the sake of your ability to feel the different
places your touch is transmitting through their

It's like you are doing a dance,
the fox trot,
the tango,
something slow and sensual with your child.
This is a form of love,
and with awareness from you,
will help be one more of the learning moments
that they use to build their increasingly
proficient future.

Even the smallest amount of awareness
on their part
is a wonderful addition to the thousands
and perhaps millions of bits of information
that they are using and will continue to use
to move and thrive and learn and transform themselves.

So, it's a good, good, good situation.

You bring yourself more toward the state of enlightenment in action,
which will be relaxing and pleasurable in and of itself.

You increase the quality of your interaction with your child.

The child's experience of herself or himself as loved and nourished
continues and flourishes.

And your child's learning keeps going and growing.

Okay, that's enough for now.
I'll read the chapter, and maybe tomorrow add on an additional thoughts.

Happy attentive moving.


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