We had such a wonderful time at our weekend workshop on walking & posture through a Feldenkrais-lens. I’m inspired to share some basics with you because this work, while in some ways deceptively simple, is, in fact, radical, transformative, profound.
How can I make this less effortful and more pleasurable?
In a culture where we confuse trying our hardest (and the accompanying sense of struggle and effort) with “doing our best” – it’s a huge learning opportunity. What if being a good person and being of benefit in the world could be disentangled from a bodily sense of struggle, pain, and huge effort? This doesn’t mean to use no effort. It means pay attention so you can reduce unnecessary effort. And then making that ongoing reduction in unnecessary effort a habit so that we are able to continually weed out what Feldenkrais called “parasitic actions.” You know, those that suck our energy without supporting our intentions? (Have you got any of those in your life? Your bodily habits?)
I think of it like having an energy auditor come to your home to let you know where you’re wasting energy and precious natural resources. Leaky old windows, an ancient refrigerator…. when we reduce unnecessary waste of energy the whole system becomes more sustainable and works better. You can do this in your own body moment to moment. It requires curiosity and mindfulness that includes your own embodied self.
One of my favorite quotes from Moshe Feldenkrais is something like this:
You can’t do what you want unless you know what you’re doing. And fortunately or unfortunately, it’s far easier to do what someone else tells you to do than it is to know what you’re doing.
Many people choose that path…. asking someone else what to do.
But reclaiming our own wise inner authority is a journey SO worth taking.
Slowing down, not only with regards to our movement habits but also in so many realms of life…
Can we slow down enough to know and feel and sense what we’re actually doing?
(Don’t you wish, as I do, the whole entire world could slow down and live in this question?!?)
So much of this orientation to life that I’m describing was natural and uncontrived for us in childhood. Babies don’t repeat movements that hurt. They’re smarter than that! If something doesn’t feel good, they get creative, try new things, learn, evolve. That’s how we learned to walk! We can reclaim our curiosity and self-presence so that we can do likewise, at any age.
When things aren’t going very well, maybe it’s the universe’s way of conspiring to get us to be creative and experiment.
What if “self-care” doesn’t need to be a big life-reorganizing project, but could be as simple and direct as choosing to feel yourself in this very moment, to reduce effort and prioritize pleasure, along with whatever else you’re up to today?
I’d love to hear how it goes.
Thanks for being a part of our world, and allowing us the honor to be a part of yours!
Wishing you less effort and much more pleasure.