If you are visiting this blog for the first time, it will probably be more accessible if you start at the beginning of the Refocusing series.
What you experience as a single action is often a cascade — a rapid sequence of choices and actions that you perceptually collapse into that single action. Let’s explore that cascade to see how its components fit together, and what consequences they can have for the result of your action. Not noticing the cascade as it happens can lead you to do things quite different from what you think you are doing, without realizing it. We’ll examine the simple action of bending your elbow to lift your arm, and see what can happen when an external impediment gets in the way. This discussion will make more sense if you actually do it as you follow along, rather than just reading about it. Continue reading Exploring the cascade
In this post, I’ll talk about why I find Refocusing to be a valuable experience. I’ll also share a video exploring how we make ourselves solid in preparation for interaction with another person, and what can happen when we inhibit that solidity.
A colleague at the Rand Corporation once remarked about a paper he was working on that “When I get this written, I’ll know what I really think about this stuff.” I thought that was a profound observation at the time, but I’m really appreciating it now. Bob and I evolved a rich intuitive familiarity with the experiential territory we were exploring, with no need to articulate it in any formalized way. But to share it, as I’m now attempting to do, requires a semantic framework. I have to clean it up and regularize it, at least somewhat, but I don’t want to clean it up too much. I’m using raw video from our practice sessions rather than a more polished presentation of the same ideas because I want to convey the chaotic and irregular adventure that it was for us. I want to encourage you to wander along similar paths of discovery, rather than just to show you what we discovered. Continue reading Making Yourself Solid
I find it challenging to write about Refocusing. The explorations that Bob and I engaged in were free-flowing and somewhat inscrutable. We understood what we were about, but had no need to describe or explain it coherently to anyone who wasn’t participating. We developed ways of languaging our experience with each other that were more akin to the private languages young identical twins sometimes create than to coherent adult conversation. You can see some of this in the videos, which also give you an opportunity to at least vicariously experience our process. I’m hoping to make that process more comprehensible, which I find difficult to do without imposing a degree of form and structure. My challenge is to find ways to do that without losing touch with the essentially arcane nature of the activity. I’m struggling with the issue of whether or not I can actually write about the Refocusing process in a way that will make it understandable and interesting to people who have not experienced it directly. I would appreciate comments, pro and con, on whether or not I’m accomplishing that goal. Continue reading Refocusing and Feldenkrais
My previous post on Empowering Autonomy has generated interesting and worthwhile comments, pointing out areas where my meaning and sometimes my thinking were less clear than they could have been, or where I could usefully expand on something. These comments seem to bear out my earlier observation that we each understand the world through our personal perceptual lens, shaped by our own interests and past experiences, and to support the truism that the meaning of a communication is in the mind of the receiver.
The commenters focused on different aspects of what I had said, sometimes inferring meaning different from what I had intended. They raised additional questions about the ideas themselves, and expressed varying levels of agreement and disagreement with me. In this post I’ll attempt to respond to those comments, hopefully clarifying my position as well as acknowledging some of the areas of disagreement that I see.
Continue reading More thoughts on Autonomy
The Feldenkrais Method serves many purposes. It can help you learn to move more easily and fluidly, to lessen chronic pain and discomfort, to moderate limitations created by neurological damage, to perform better at many different tasks, to heal old emotional traumas, and to understand yourself and your ways of being in the world more clearly. As a student of the Method it has served me personally, and as a practitioner I have used it to serve my students, in all these ways and others. The wide variety of perspectives and ways of understanding Feldenkrais that I described earlier come in part from the many different ways in which different practitioners spread their interest and attention across these purposes.
For me the real core of the Method, though, is none of these, but the potential it offers for empowering autonomy. I’ll try to explain what I mean by that. I’ve written elsewhere that I see life as made up of choices — big conscious choices like the choice of a mate or a career, small unconscious choices like whether or not to tense your belly and hold your breath when someone asks you a question, and myriad others. Autonomy has to do with the influences that control the way you make those choices, and with how well they serve you. It is the ability to make informed and uncoerced choices that serve your needs, based on your deep internal sense of what is right. It is not so much about the particular choices you make as it is about the way in which you make them, and the sources of authority on which they rest.
Continue reading Empowering Autonomy