Knowing more of what you're
doing to do more of what you want
A workshop for the 2016 FGNA Conference
Sunday, July 10, 10am-12:30pm
Refocusing is a tool for exploring our interactions with the world around us. It is closely related to the Feldenkrais Method, and to Moshe's admonitions that
then you can't do what you want.
This workshop will be fun! The non-ordinary experiences around which it is built always generate excitement and laughter in those who experience them,. You will find them freeing and mind-blowing, and they will give insights into the nature of human functioning that can take your work to new levels.
We'll start with a conceptual framework describing what Moshe's admonitations mean in practice, for us as Feldies, then expand that framework to encompass the broader range of non-ordinary phenomena that come into play in Refocusing, and finally look at how you can apply insights drawn from Refocusing in your Feldenkrais practice.
The "self-image" that Moshe refers to is your internal model of yourself, through which you perceive, organize, and direct your actions in and interactions with the world around you. The admonition that If you don't know what you're doing, you can't do what you want warns that gaps or inaccuracies in your self-image will create limitations in your life.
Your self-image limits the subset of your potential capabilities to which you have functional access, cutting you off from other potential capabilities. The Feldenkrais Method pushes out the boundaries of that subset, enhancing your self-image and allowing you to achieve more of your potential.
Refocusing takes these ideas further, extending them to experiences such as being held down and restraining your arm, that are "non-ordinary" in the sense that they seem to violate our ordinary beliefs and expectations about physical cause and effect. You will experience the dissolution of apparent physical constraints simply by refocusing your perception of those constraints. These non-ordinary examples will give new meaning to the idea of not knowing what you are doing, and offer new possibilities for doing what you want.
Your self-image, as we ordinarily think of it, can be thought of as a component of a more extensive internal world-model which encompasses your understandings and beliefs about the larger reality in which you live, in the same way that the self-image encompasses your understandings and beliefs about yourself. We ordinarily don't think explicitly about this larger world-model, because we habitually accept it as given and don't really consider alternatives.
Refocusing addresses limitations imposed by your world-model in ways similar to how Feldenkrais addresses limitations imposed by your self-image. Each provides experiential tools to expand and refine the relevant model (self-image or world-model). The Feldenkrais Method does this primarily through variations in movement, while Refocusing explicitly brings in conscious perceptual deconstruction and reconstruction of experience. You can find examples of this reconstruction in the discussion of restraining your arm, cited above.
These experiences will give you a new perspective on what you already know and do as a Feldenkrais Practitioner, and offer ways of enhancing your work and taking it to new levels. In particular, you will discover practical new possibilities for non-physical communication through touch, and for connecting to and working within the conjoined system of yourself and your client.
Refocusing will take you into new and unfamiliar territory, giving you a chance to see if that is territory you would like to know better, but it won't give you a finished set of maps. It is not a polished technique, but a loose form of exploration and inquiry. I'm less concerned with teaching you the content of what I've learned from Refocusing than I am in sharing the process of how I learned it, and giving you tools to use in your own explorations.