A note from Carl:
As we are so excited today to open registration for our home study series “Fifteen Favorite Feldy Lessons,” I wanted to share a great story we heard from one of our early Feldenkrais teachers. During the last training Moshe Feldenkrais taught in Amherst, MA, in the early 1980s, he had a stroke. Afterward, some of his students went to see him in Israel, and some stayed in the US to complete their training with his senior students. At one point, for the ones who stayed in the States, they received a cassette tape with, essentially, Moshe’s final instructions to them before he passed. With great anticipation, they all gathered to listen to the tape. “Develop ease and grace in your movement, it’s more important than you think.”
That was all it said.
Isn’t that an awesome last, pith instruction?
Find ease and grace in your movement – it’s more important than you think.
Grace, to me, is not floating like a ballerina, but rather, it is moving naturally as who you are, in your life, as it is, without adding unnecessary struggle.
In one of my most treasured dharma books, Its Up To You by Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche, he describes grace as an absence of the clumsiness of self-importance. In referring to some of the great meditation teachers, he writes, “There is no clumsiness of body, speech, and mind, because there is no self-importance or attachment to some self-image. Such a person might accidentally spill tea while pouring it into a cup. But there is no clumsiness in their world, because there is no clumsiness in their mind.”
As I was reflecting on this topic, a recent poem I read from our friend, the gifted poet, Brooke McNamara came to mind as a beautiful example of grace in the perfect beauty of our everyday messy lives:
I read recently that when the great Russian ballet impresario
Sergei Diaghilev commissioned a new text from Jean Cocteau
in 1917, and the poet asked for direction on what to create,
Diaghilev simply said: “Astonish me.”
tiptoeing to the coffee through the layers
This morning I’m up early with baby Orion, dark
and hungry as usual to start the day with a little poetry.
But I’m groggy, and the baby wants to be held,
and I have to pee, so I imagine my two arms multiplied,
like those glorious images of Kwan Yin,
and then I wield them like so —
holding baby, coffee, and Billy Collins’ “Horoscopes for the Dead,”
I somehow get my pants down and the toilet seat up,
descend and open the book,
and now we’re really cooking —
our own little poetry date is rollicking along
in the dawn light of the bathroom,
and everyone is happy —
a bladder relieved, the coffee awakening,
baby and mama both joyful because we’re touching
and he’s trying to eat the book,
and I’m reading out loud on the pot
that one about purpose,
and it’s ending with:
“my true vocation —
keeping an eye on things
whether they existed or not…”
When the doorbell rings
my pants are around my ankles
and my hands are full
of being astonished, the way
you’re supposed to feel
after reading a good poem,
the way this baby feels about just about everything,
the way we both look in the mirror
when I stand
and smooch him all over
and turn around
and really look.
Doorbell ringing, pants around the ankles, fully astonished grace (If you are looking for a truly exquisite collection of poems, her book Feed Your Vow is gem.)
May you embody ease and grace as you move through your day today.
It might be more important than you think.