My Path to Feldenkrais
“We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time”
― T. S. Eliot, Selected Essays
Hello and welcome. I am a Feldenkrais practitioner in Boulder, Colorado. When I started practicing Feldenkrais in October of 1996, it took me on a journey of thinking, growing, and learning. When I started meditating and studying Buddhism in 2000 it took me on a similar journey. I'm still on that journey, but there's something compelling and urgent about pulling (gently) the rest of the world along with me.
I moved to Boulder from the UK, where I lived for four years. Prior to that I was in NYC for about 16 years, with a stint in DC for grad school, as well as a few stints in Morocco and Tunisia. My whole life I wanted to be an editor. I put push-pins in a map of Manhattan where the editing houses were. For fun I read Maxwell Perkins, E.B. White, Fowler, and Bernstein. After a peripatetic start via an international political consultant and a hedge fund, I began work in the editorial department of the New Yorker, the icon of all icons.
I remark on this because as it was my lifelong dream, it must have taken something strong and compelling for me to jump ship. It's true, Feldenkrais offered me enough hope and vision that after several years I left publishing and opened a Feldenkrais practice in Union Square in New York City. Later, I started the Tribeca Feldenkrais Center.
I've been studying Feldenkrais and sensorimotor development for over twenty years now. In my twenties I used to trek every Thursday night from my job at a hedge fund to the Feldenkrais Learning Institute on the Upper West Side, which I found in the yellow pages, that's how long ago it was. After the class with Scott Fraser, my first Feldenkrais teacher, I would get on the subway and trek another hour-plus home to Brooklyn. My curiosity soon outgrew theclass and Scott told me, "Go see Dennis." So I went to Boston to see Dennis Leri and joined the four-year training and never looked back.
Why did I never look back? What was it that hooked me into this bizarre, unpronounceable, profound process of moving things around with awareness and sensing the differences?
Moshe once said he wanted the misfits, those people who think out of the box, and also those people who couldn't even see the box if you showed it to them. I think to be open to learning you have to admit the box you're in is not very comfortable. You have to want to get out of it, and I desperately wanted a way out of my painful experience. It's true, we are all going to fall apart eventually, and if we do nothing to improve our circumstances, our movement becomes narrower and more limited. We stop doing the things we love to do. We feel less our self as basic functions diminish or, in my case, I felt less my self because I wasn't allowing myself to live an authentic life.
What I started learning and what I ended up learning were two very different things, and in my experience this is everyone's path through Feldenkrais. What I learned eventually (actually it was a single memorable moment of insight that could not have had more internal fireworks) was that my self-image was malleable. At that moment I knew I could not go back to my old life, and even though this knowledge left me confused and uncertain, it also propelled me forward in unexpected ways.
The first line of Moshe's book, Awareness Through Movement is, "We act in accordance with our self-image. This self-image, which governs our every act, is determined in varying degree by three factors: heritage, education, and self-education." We have choice over the last one of those. The rest is chosen for us.
I like to choose how I move--and how I am in the world--instead of be trapped in old, repetitive patterns and habits, or new habits that emerge as I age that I don't want to keep. I would love to build a like-minded community of folks interested in awareness, self-inquiry, elegance, and choice. I am keen to share this process so you can see where you end up, too.