“Save it for a shark attack” is a phrase that that Erin and I have been offering each other lately as a humorous reminder.
This summer when we went to visit my mom who lives on Cape Cod, there was a good amount of Great White Shark presence in everyone’s consciousness. Our shark-obsessed 2 year old was fascinated with all of the stories of shark sightings, beach closings, and the first Great White attack in almost 100 years off the coast of Cape Cod. A man in his 50s was swimming with his son (in his 20s) four hundred yards off shore trying to reach some breakers for body surfing. The man got pulled underwater by a Great White and somehow managed to free one of his legs from the mouth, and kick the shark off, and then, with mangled legs, the man and his son were able to swim four hundred yards back to shore to safety. When interviewed from the hospital he said “I didn’t feel any pain until I was in the ambulance.” When I heard this I thought, “Now that is an appropriate use of our sympathetic (fight or flight) nervous system arousal!”
A man can swim to safety with legs mangled by a shark without the experience of pain? What a brilliant manifestation of the wisdom of the body and the useful function of a huge adrenaline rush!
Do you know when it is not so brilliant to activate that arousal, and flood the system with stress hormones?
Well, like last night when I was driving around a very crowded Park City looking for a parking spot so our little shark could go to the Main Street Halloween extravaganza. My jaw tense, my breath shallow, shoulders drawn up, digestive activity on hold, eyes darting – my body was getting ready for something akin to fleeing from a Great White, but I was just entering yet another full parking garage.
So often we can live in a kind of chronic startle response – driving in traffic, having a difficult conversation, looking at the to-do list, or the email inbox…
One of the places where Feldenkrais work can be so valuable in life is in practicing the ability to be aware of ourselves as we move: “How is my jaw? How is my breathing? Are my eyes more tense than they need to be? Am I connected with the ground?” and perhaps, to notice, when it might be best to save it for a shark attack. ;)
And speaking of Jaws, Erin will be teaching a wonderful lesson for freeing your jaw tonight at Pinnacle at 6:30.
And speaking of that…. Are you aware of the connection between your jaw and your pelvis? Yep. This Saturday we are teaching a wonderful and highly functional workshop – “Liberate Your Hips.“