A new online lesson and a dance of shadows at the door
Our bodies are a constellation of possible lives unfolding in time. We are a living history of the choices made at sliding doors.
Do we choose the same doors over and over again or is it possible to be more adventurous? Do we feel alive? Is this really our life or the life of someone else?
What are the triggers that make us choose particular doors? Perhaps more importantly what are the triggers that make us choose the same doors over and over again, particularly when they’re not in our interest?
Feldenkrais speaks of health as ‘living fully your avowed and unavowed dreams free from compulsive habit or coercive reaction’. He also argues in the preface to his book ‘The Potent Self’, that many people behave as if their future has been entirely forfeited by their past.
He suggests that despite this feeling we actually have the capacity to meet every situation afresh. If we develop more self-awareness we also develop the capacity to make better choices.
There is another statement of his that speaks of the triggers we face. He said –
‘Find your true weakness and surrender to it. Therein lies the path to genius. Most people spend their lives using their strengths to overcome or cover up their weaknesses. Those few who use their strengths to incorporate their weaknesses, who don’t divide themselves, those people are very rare. In any generation there are few of them and they lead their generation.’
The process of covering weaknesses is often unconscious and can play havoc with our relationships. We pretend to ourselves that if we are covering our weaknesses then no-one else can see them. The reverse is often the truth. It’s just like a toddler who hides by covering their face with their hands.
Those weaknesses or the things we don’t want to see are usually found in our shadow. As you can see, it's rather like the roots of a tree.
We all have a shadow, unless of course you’re a vampire. Being with a vampire is possibly how it feels when you’re in a relationship with someone who’d like you to do for them what fear of their shadow or weakness prevents.
Sometimes it can drain the lifeblood out of you. It’s usually unconscious and well, we all know you can’t negotiate with the undead. The thing is that having a shadow makes us human. It’s an embodiment of our need to learn and grow. It’s an embodiment of our potential.
Our shadow is a thing of beauty. It’s an expression of our vulnerability and in the full light of day it is something we can dance with and share.
The idea of moving in a way that incorporates your weaknesses to add to your strength is fundamental to the method. Rather than copy someone else’s ideal we listen quietly for a way of moving ourselves that is harmonious and where the effort is spread evenly through our whole structure.
In this way we find a way of moving that is effortless and contains the presence of self-acceptance. It’s allowing ourselves to really be as we are that enables a more realistic appraisal of any situation and can lead to a better choice of doors.
I believe it also makes for good relationships and good community. If we accept difference in ourselves it’s easier to accept it in others.
We explored a simple exercise in our class last Thursday that made me think of this.
We moved the surface of our body in order to feel the inside and we moved the inside to feel the surface. It was a lesson that fits within the ‘Golden Suit’ series. It gives you an experience of your whole body by tuning into the sensations felt though the envelope of skin, muscle and connective tissue.
I made a recording of it which is now available as a download from the online lessons page of my website. It’s called “Sliding Within the Suit”
It’s a great lesson to do if you need to slow down and chill out. It’s easy to do and the effect is lovely. You can find it by clicking here. Scroll down to the bottom of the page to find it.
One of the nice things about simple lessons is that you can forget about your identity in the rest periods. It’s often a process of forgetting that allows a new discovery.
The important factor in this lesson is doing less.
You begin by sliding the layers of fascia and skin over your skull and sacrum. As the lesson progresses it becomes easier to feel your head and neck lengthening. It feels lovely but you don’t want to push that!
It has more to do with how the layers move over each other and how they influence each other. You’ll listen for how each of the layers are perforated by nerves, blood and lymphatic vessels and how your entire organism has a sense of itself if you take the time to listen.
It’s the slow movements that give you time to spread your attention and it’s making yourself quiet that enables you to feel those subtle connections.
Tomorrow morning I will be doing a variation of that lesson and this time it will include the shadow. You may be surprised by just how good it feels. The problem with shadows is usually that we misinterpret them. It’s not the shadow - It’s our reaction to it that is scary. If you have a calm look in the sunlight tomorrow you may find another perspective.
So my friends, see you in the morning.