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“It’s not happiness that makes us grateful but gratefulness that makes us happy.” – Br. David Steindl Rast

From Chronic Pain To Parkour and A Free Lesson

A note from Carl:

Greetings. Before I begin, I wanted to remind you that Erin has recently created two free offerings that are incredibly valuable and beneficial. “Some Things to Do When You Can’t Sleep” (here), and “Women Embodied Free Taster Course.” (Access here for a limited time.)  Feel free to share them with anyone who might benefit from them.

And for today’s writing…

As you begin reading, could you pause for a moment and feel the ground?
Can you sense the external support of the ground meeting the internal support of your bones?
And then, perhaps, let the experience of the support of the ground remain in your awareness as you read?
I’m continuing to feel my feet and sit bones as I type. I’ll probably lose it, or it will dim in a few minutes, and I’ll refresh it. Probably I’ll refresh it 75 times or so over the course of writing this newsletter.  Like so many things, its not about staying in some place or state, but returning, remembering over and over and over, I am right here, in this body, on this spot.

Last week The New York Times featured an article on Trying The Feldenkrais Method for Chronic Pain.  You can read it here.  It is a beautiful article on why Feldenkrais can be so effective in with working with pain, often after many other treatment options have failed. I love it when the brilliance of this work can shine through mainstream media. Even though people have had miraculous results from this method for over 40 years, Feldenkrais still remains on the outskirts. Why is that?

Well, one reason is that the name “Feldenkrais” is a bit clumsy, it sounds like Christ, and often, when people hear the word, there is a temporary spell of confusion, like the confundus charm in Harry Potter. 

Another reason is that the work is hard to explain. One might read the Times article and think “Oh, Feldenkrais is an effective chronic pain treatment.” Well, yes it is and…

A colleague of ours recently wrote an article on Feldenkrais and Parkour. One might read that piece and think  “Feldenkrais is great method for conditioning and coordination and jumping from rooftops.”Yes it is, and…

Norman Doidge’s “The Brain’s Way of Healing” shows how effective Feldenkrais can be for strokes, brain injuries, and keeping our neuro-plasticity as we age. Yes, and…

Last year I wrote a piece on “The Shared Regret of Dr. Ida Rolf and Dr. Moshe Feldenkrais.” Toward the end of their lives, each of these somatic pioneers had deep regret that their work would be held as an advanced form of physiotherapy, an effective means to reduce pain and improve function. (Doesn’t sound so bad as a last regret, right?) But each of them saw their methods as gateways to human freedom and transformation, and the unfolding of our full potential, and not just tools for getting out of pain and improving movement.

In our Feldenkrais workshop last weekend, we were doing introductions and people were sharing what they were wanting to learn around the theme of Dynamic Transitions. One participant said he didn’t even remember what the theme was, but he knew he could trust the process of embodied learning. From there we thought it would be a great idea to have a “Bring Your Own Theme” (BYOT) workshop. You want to work with intimacy with your spouse?  Do you want to ski with more ease? Training for the Wasatch 100? Working with chronic pain? Looking for clarity on the next step on a decision in life? Having writer’s block? Wanting to deepen meditation? 20 people could come with 20 different themes and intentions and gain fresh insights and freedom through the alchemical process of moving slowly with embodied presence, curiosity and self-friendliness.

Though it can be hard to pin down in an elevator speech, this work is so brilliant for learning how to learn, for deepening our freedom, growing our inner authority, and, as Feldenkrais often said, for realizing our vowed and unavowed dreams.

Here is a movement lesson for you to explore, “Intimacy with your spine.” May you bring whatever theme you like to it, and may it support you in your freedom, learning and unfolding of your potential.

And as we are in the days of Dia de los Muertos, Samhain, and All Soul’s Day,  I wanted to end with a beautiful piece from Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes that Erin shared with me last night.


“Dear Brave Souls: Dia de los Muertos is here.

DIA DE LOS MUERTOS

Has been here each day, the time to honor and speak with los ancianos, the ancient ones.

But now is a special set aside to pause and reflect at this time of late harvest season.

Each year is different, some years the ofrenda has filled the whole room, sometimes just an ofrendacita in my praying place, and at my desk, and near my bed, and in my truck.

There are many rituals depending on where one lives, as the biosphere we live in influences what we offer of fruits, foods, flowers, mementos.

But/ and this: regardless of regalia, velas, candles, The Prayer telling of our love and respect for our ancestors remains.

Even if the fire was not present, nor the flowers, nor the food.

Even if we did not go to the cementario,

even if we did not bring the equivalent of a small army of relatives with us,

even if we did not make and bake the pan, the bread of day of the dead,

even if we did not enjoin procession past iglesia, the churchyard,

even if we did not sing the songs,

even if we did not say the names of those who have passed,

even if you did not wrap the rebozo just so,

even if we did not take off our sandals,

even if we did not sweet sweep the grave,

even if we did not wash with a quickly turning-gray rag, the headstones,

Even if we did not cut the grasas with the scissors,

Even if we did not peck the dirt out of the names engraved in the stone, on the wood,

The Prayer would still remain.

Our prayer to our loved ones?

No. Their prayers over us.

Their blessings onto us.

And from where will come that Prayer

that depends on nothing,

other than that we stop

and listen?

El viento.

The wind.

Go out to where there is no one,

or

Go out to where there is everyone,

It matters not.

The Wind, El Viento

stands, moves,

dances Everywhere.

Listen.

Listen

under, above, into

The Wind

And you will hear

The Prayer…

The Prayer of goodness

and decency

and blessing

and healing Prayer,

the one meant

just for you

from your precious

farback people.

The Prayer carried

on the Breath

that never runs out.

There,

ever there

for those

who have

the ears

to hear.

May you listen.

May you hear

how you are

a Blessed one

yourself,

YOU

are The Prayer given

as a gift

into this, our Earth.

This comes with love,

dr.e”
Shared by Clarissa Pinkola Estes on her Facebook page at this time in 2016.

 

With best wishes,
Carl

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