“To be sanguine about the future, however, requires a plausible basis for constructive action: you cannot describe possibilities for that future unless the present problem is accurately defined.”
Paul Hawken, Blessed Unrest.
It’s time for Irene to do some hypothesizing.
(as well as share with you what I’ve been up to the past 8 weeks)
For the past 12 months, ever since my main teacher in Somatic Experiencing said the sentence,
“The somatic practices need to be refined” – thanks Steve, I think? – I cannot let it rest.
It’s been nit-picking my brain in a fierce way.
I’ve repeated that sentence over and over in my thoughts (Somatic practices must be refined. somatic practices must be refined, refined. must refine somatic practices), and I’ve pointed this sentence rather fervently to my chosen mode of practice, the work of the late Dr. Moshe Feldenkrais, and have posed some questions towards its completeness as a practice and how it is historically and/or traditionally taught.
Does the Feldenkrais work that I cherish and value so much need some tender loving refinement?
Does it need an upgrade of its soft-ware?
As opposed to its hardware which I’ll define as the incredible content he crafted diligently over his life time, as well as the solid foundations of the martial arts, human development and refinement of the human self-image, and of course the principles, the tried and tested principles (proportional distribution of muscle tone & muscular effort, efficiency, skeletal support, reversibility, etc.) are solid and should not be meddled with….
but the software;
Specifically, how it is presented and assembled for teaching purposes, and most importantly, to borrow from Gladwell’s The Tipping Point, what is its ‘stickyness factor’ ?
With all the above questions in tow, over the past 8 weeks I’ve:
- Strategically changed how I practice in private sessions
- Switched completely how I teach a group Feldenkrais classes
- Have gone against the grain of what my colleagues (have traditionally) done across the board
- Have deliberately ask my clients outright, “HOW IS THIS DIFFERENT FOR YOU?“, and most importantly “WHY?”
I’ve listened to them. Like really listened. I’ve considered how unique each one of them is, and how the heck can we create a group learning space that addresses each unique nervous system, all the intricacies within each person, how each person learns differently, and most importantly how to make the learning stick and be fun.
Eight weeks of consistent classes and private sessions have come to a close. The anecdotal results are in.
The results are pretty convincing. And I’d dare say significant.
And it makes me wonder if I’m the only one who has stopped to question if certain distinct pieces that we ‘traditionally’ teach in a Feldenkrais setting are actually doing a serious disservice to people and stunting their ability to truly change and grow. Evolve really.
(I often wonder why the Feldenkrais Method has struggled to grow and gain more numbers of people teaching this work, as well as attending classes, and I’m quite certain some of my anecdotal findings are the reason behind this “slow go” to get more people interested in this wonderful work. It also may lend an answer to why many people struggle to get private practices going after they finish their professional training.)
This might really piss some people off. But I’m willing to stick my neck out.
Especially if it means more people will actually gain better accessibility (in the future) to truly changing and improving their nervous systems, their habits, and their ‘far-from-potent’ movement abilities.
A girl can only hope can’t she?
SPECIALLY FOR MY FELDENKRAIS COLLEAGUES: If you are a Feldenkrais colleague reading this, and you are new to me, Irene, please don’t think I’m stirring the pot with ill intentions, after all, I’ve dedicated a massive load of time to helping turn Feldenkrais a little more “pro”, (check out this site if you have yet to), and get more people understanding what this wonderful work is all about. I’ve been taught by some of the best trainers and have been taught to be inquisitive and QUESTION everything. SO I AM. And these are but some of the pieces I’m very interested in exploring. I want to find others who are interested in the same things so we can propel and evolve this work as Moshe probably would’ve wanted it to if he had eternal life.
Stay tuned for more on this topic. And if you want to get updates and not miss future posts, then definitely subscribe to this blog, be sure to sign up to the right of your screen!