Freedom from Compulsion


Compulsive action is the loop we all get stuck in, whether mentally, physically, or emotionally. For me, one of the most valuable aspects of the Feldenkrais Method is this possibility of reducing compulsive action. It's funny how we have ideas about how we "have" to be. I still remember the moment I felt I was more malleable than I thought!

Often compulsion has to do with the conditions in which we first learned something. For example, if you were criticized a lot when you first learned to cook, cooking might hold anxiety for you. That feeling is compulsive, an ingrained, un-chosen response to an early learning.

Likewise, you might have gotten a lot of praise when you performed some skill, even learning to walk! That "need to please" can also be compulsive, leading one to think that to get approval from others, you have to push yourself to do things before you're truly ready.

Neither response, anxiety or the need to please, is necessary. In Feldenkrais, the focus is on your own interest in developing in a natural direction.

What is a natural direction? It's the direction without compulsion! It's becoming the ultimate auto-didact, which means allowing yourself the freedom to evolve in your own way without anyone fussing, correcting, or telling you off, even yourself.

It's such an unthinkable, disallowed concept in our culture that it takes most of us years to inhabit it. I mean really, who evolves naturally?

As we go through life, we adopt other people's restrictions and make them our own. We all do it. But again, it's not necessary. In Feldenkrais, we call this "self-imposed limitations." Through the awareness practice of Feldenkrais, we (1) become aware of limitations we put on ourselves, (2) take responsibility for them, and (3) create choice.

Who would you be if you were allowed to develop in any direction? What's not allowing you?