Category Archives: blog admin

What does Refocusing teach?

This entry is part 10 of 11 in the series Refocusing.

I received a question by email yesterday, and thought my response was relevant enough to the general discussion that I should include it here.

On Jul 21, 2013, at 6:21 AM, Adam Cole  wrote:

Hi, Ralph,

A good start.  I’ve definitely experienced this in work with a high-level Tai Chi teacher.  He moved his arm in an arc and I couldn’t stop it.

What I’d like to see next are some steps for a process for learning how not to inhibit the movement.  (I didn’t want to say, “Steps for learning how to inhibit the inhibit!”)


That’s a great questions, Adam, one that I find harder to address satisfactorily than you might think. It goes to the core of my dilemma about what I want to communicate about Refocusing, and about how to do that. It forces me to think about that dilemma, and try to articulate it, and that’s good!  Continue reading What does Refocusing teach?


Earlier this year I got distracted by other interests and pretty much abandoned this blog. I’m restarting it, and intend to post more frequently.

I’m also restructuring the way material is presented. Last year I set it up as an ongoing manuscript that should be read in logical order, rather than in reverse chronological order as a blog. That was part of what got me off track and away from writing, because I felt like I had to plan several chapters ahead and make it all coherent. I’m going to give up the goal of that kind of continuity and let myself write in a more spontaneous way, with the posts appearing as they are written. When several deal with the same or closely allied subjects I’ll then pull then together into series and provide alternative links to access that series in the appropriate order.

The material I wrote last year constitutes the first such series, now titled Perception. In terms of my overall thinking it constitutes a fairly self-contained piece, describing the nature of perception and the basic processes we use to construct our experience. Future series will deal with things like the nature of action, of emotional experience, and whatever other patterns emerge as I write.

Back on track

In my last post I noted that I’d realized that the reverse chronological order in which blogs present material was not appropriate to what I’m writing, and that my material needed to be presented in its logical order instead. After a long and circuitous trip I’ve found a way to do that and am back on track. You can now read Composing Experience from the beginning by clicking on the link in upper right corner of this page. You can navigate through it by using the Table of Contents at the top of each section. Posts like this one that are not part of that overall development are not included.

The solution I finally adopted was simple and direct, but my path to getting it in place took me through some interesting though seemingly irrelevant territory. After deciding that a conventional WordPress blog wasn’t what I wanted, I began to investigate Content Management Systems (CMS). Drupal looked like a good candidate, because it offered a specific layout for presenting material in book format. Learning Drupal and converting to it, though, would have been a major task. I found some blogs about using WordPress as a CMS and began to think about that as a possibility. Some described customizing the way WordPress displays static pages, and I considered presenting Composing Experience as static pages separate from the blog itself. I then realized that it might be easier to continue to write in the blog and construct an alternative navigational structure to present the material in a more logical order. I was working out ways of implementing this when I came across In Series, a WordPress plugin that comes pretty close to what I wanted. It provides the Table of Contents and navigational structure I’m now using, and saved me from reinventing the wheel and building my own. Through all this, my understanding of WordPress, PHP, and the Apache web server has grown — though I’m still far from competent in any of these technologies.

Thinking about the time I “wasted” looking at stuff that wasn’t “really needed” to implement my eventual solution, I realized how much my process had in common with a Feldenkrais Awareness Through Movement (ATM) lesson. I spent time exploring variations on a problem I didn’t understand very well at first — “mucking around” as Moshe Feldenkrais sometimes described it — and eventually I found a solution. Once found, the solution looks like I could have achieved it much more directly, but that may not be true. The “mucking around” is what led me to it, after all. It also gave me a broader awareness of the “universe” in which the problem and solution lay — the inner workings of my computer system — in the same way that ATM lessons give me a broader awareness of the inner workings of my sensory-motor system. That broader awareness may help my future dealing with my computer in ways I can’t now predict, just as what I learn from ATM helps my future movements and actions in ways I can’t predict when I do the lesson.

This may be an example of what Moshe was talking about when he described his Method as being about “learning how to learn,” and about producing “flexible minds more than flexible bodies.”

I’ll try to get another substantive posting up this weekend. I’m working on one about composing very different experiences from what initially looks like a straightforward situation amenable to only one, and will include video of workshop participants exploring that.