Discovering the Gifts Inside Pain

A note from Erin October 27 2023
Hello, beloved Earthling,
Would you like to join me for 30 minutes of spacious, unburdened intimacy with yourself and this precious, temporary body?
I’m offering a free class today, 11 am MT, on the theme of Finding the Gifts Inside Pain. If you can’t join me live, feel free to sign up for the recording. 
The universe wanted to make sure I’m not full of shit as I talk about this topic so dear to my heart – finding the gifts inside pain. As such, I’m recovering from the worst low back injury of my life and after 10 days of intense pain – the kind that had me making gruesome faces during the 3 minute process it took to navigate rolling over in bed… that kind of pain… blessedly I’ve been recovering and now I’m feeling well and even yesterday went on my first walk in ten days. Hallelujah. What a gift to be able to walk!
Gratefully, I’ve had decades of experience both in teaching and practicing yoga therapy (specializing in back pain) and then 2 decades in Feldenkrais by which to understand my process and meet myself with care. Let me not bullshit you – pain sucks. It takes humility, patience, and a whole lot of letting go. It can also evoke great compassion and empathetic connection with myself and others navigating pain.
Many of us are willing to try many things. Relatable! Meds. Repetitive and sometimes aggressive exercise. Painful treatments. One thing the Feldenkrais approach offers that is quite unique is a majorly slowed down approach, full of respect for your unique process and your capacity to learn, at whatever age, and offers generous, repeated invitations to deepen intimacy with yourself – to get to know your unique today-body, listening closely to its cues and clues, and finding a way of moving, however micro (especially when in pain) that feels aesthetically pleasing from the inside. The harvest of this approach is so rich in so many ways!
Here’s a little excerpt from a favorite book, Mindful Spontaneity, by the late great Ruthy Alon, beloved Feldenkrais teacher who one colleague has called “the poet laureate of the Feldenkrais Method”
She writes:
Like many others, you may find it difficult to see that the manner in which you treat your body – your most actual asset and the temple of your soul – is inseparable from the manner in which you cope with other aspects of your life.
Are you aware of your approach toward your wellbeing?
How committed are you to enhancing your life in accordance with your taste?
How much efficiency and satisfaction do you dare to wish for in what you do?
Do you feel you need to exert and sacrifice yourself to keep up with the demands of living? Or do you enthusiastically run ahead of life following the challenges beyond the hardships, not allowing any setback to deter you from seeking competence and joy? 
What is the manner in which you treat your body? Your life? The world? Aggressive? Compassionate? Rushing? Pushing? Caring? Gentle? Respectful? Curious?
When you change how you treat and inhabit your body, it changes how you show up in the world. I remember one client reporting she was surprised at how her creativity at work was growing and she was even taking fresh routes when walking to and from work. New neural pathways in one area open up many possibilities for a more beautiful life.
May your own embodied presence be an ever-open doorway to feeling at home, to experiencing deep belonging and the felt beauty of this precious, temporary aliveness. Hope to see you on the floor!
From my heart,
p.s. The photo above is from my friend Tiffany Sankary who is hosting Why Feldenkrais through her beautiful online classroom at Movement & Creativity. (Thanks Tiffany!)
p.p.s. A blessing and a vision from Thich Nhat Hanh, lifelong peace activist:
Take my hand.
We will walk.
We will only walk.
We will enjoy our walk
without thinking of arriving anywhere.
Walk peacefully.
Walk happily.
Our walk is a peace walk.
Our walk is a happiness walk.
Then we learn
that there is no peace walk;
that peace is the walk;
that there is no happiness walk;
that happiness is the walk.
We walk for ourselves.
We walk for everyone
always hand in hand.
Walk and touch peace every moment.
Walk and touch happiness every moment.
Each step brings a fresh breeze.
Each step makes a flower bloom under our feet.
Kiss the Earth with your feet.
Print on Earth your love and happiness.
Earth will be safe
when we feel in us enough safety.
(from “Call me by My True Names  – The Collected Poems of Thich Nhat Hanh”, Parallax Press, 2005.)
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By training and profession, I am a somatic educator. Over the past 25+ years I have trained in and taught modern dance, tai chi, Indian and Tibetan yoga, yoga therapy (specializing in back pain). I completed a 4-year professional Feldenkrais training in 2007 and a 3-year Embodied Life training in 2014. I also study and work with somatic meditation and the profound practice of embodied inner listening known as Focusing.