The key to feeling better


The key to feeling better is not in finding answers but in asking questions. Holding onto one answer, such as, "this is exactly where my ribs belong," won't get you there because we are dynamic, active beings. If we are still we are dead, quite literally.

I have been doing Feldenkrais for over 23 years and I still have patterns and tensions that crop up. The difference between me and someone who's never done Feldenkrais is that I can ask my nervous system questions like, "What happens if..." and get a relatively intelligent, fast answer. For example, what happens if I move my ribs over here, what happens if I put my attention on my right toes, what happens if I sense the orientation of my sternum, what happens if I flex my hip joints...

If you don't move your attention around, you will be limited to feeling one thing. It's like seeing someone through colored glasses: you only see one side of them and not the whole person. We do that to ourselves all the time. The use of the attention is what changes your experience of yourself. It is so simple, and yet so hard to master.

How do I keep this feeling? 

New clients always wonder how to keep the lovely feeling of being connected through the skeleton, that "Feldenkrais drunk" feeling. You keep it by doing lots of Feldenkrais and constantly asking non-judgmental questions about your sensations. You must keep changing to feel better and get unstuck, and the way to keep changing is to ask questions. Plus, the second you become judgmental you tense. The second you believe there is a right and wrong you tense.

We absorb information like a sponge

Unfortunately, there is no correct way to move and certainly no pill to pop. There is only a more and more intelligent response to this moment, which is along a continuum toward being better organized. But what stops us from choosing the better response right away is paradoxically our wonderful ability to learn, adapt, and adjust. Human beings absorb new information like a sponge, both good and bad.

We absorb all kinds of stuff from the environment, like judgments about ourselves, ideas of right and wrong posture, fear, anxiety, needing to please, wanting to prove ourselves, and so on. Not a single one us is without past, history, socialization, or training in some form or another. This means that our sponge-like ability to learn can go either way, and for all of us the "correct" movement will simply be one step further along a continuum toward perfection.

Keep moving...

The key to feeling better is to keep moving along that continuum, to say that this week is better than last week, today is better than yesterday. Why? Because you asked a new question, made a new connection, and felt something let go. The nice thing about the human nervous system is that we can always do that, it is always accessible.

Moshe Feldenkrais said once that we don't answer every question with the same words, so why would we respond to every situation with the same movement?

So ask the next question, "In this moment, what happens if I put my attention on the neck? The head? The back?" If you do that today with your best non-judgmental listening tomorrow will be better than yesterday.