Erin's Feldenkrais Commitments

If circumstances lead me, I will find
Where truth is hid, though it were hid indeed
Within the centre."

--William Shakespeare, Hamlet, Act II, Scene 2

Many people think the Feldenkrais Method is about movement. In part, they are right. But anyone who has attempted it quickly realizes that its primary effect is on the interior landscape. It literally changes your relationship with yourself. How is that?

Because how you move is a reflection of your inner world. Our lives are a composition in movement: Gestures, head tilts, facial expressions, vocal tones, shifts in weight, laughing in joy, freezing in tension, leaning into conversation, retreating from an abrasive experience...all is movement.

When I first explored Feldenkrais I was numb, shut down, and extremely hard on myself. Of course, my movements reflected this rigid, fearful attitude. To learn anything different, I first had to stop judging myself. I had to change from, "You are not moving your arm correctly! Do it this way!" to, "What happens if you move your arm like this?" I began to associate these two approaches with quantifiable sensations: one of painful muscle contraction, the other of less contraction and more ease.

This observation confirmed that my inner attitude had a direct link to the quality of my movement, and to the quality of my learning. Thinking about what I most care about in Feldenkrais, I concluded it was this simultaneously profound and obvious realization that letting go of judgment and rigidity affected my movement and learning.

Meaning, if I were less contracted deep inside myself, I had both more choice and more power. More choice because I could move and breathe and respond in new ways, and more power because my muscles weren't engaged in the strenuous contraction required to maintain a particular stance toward the world. So, while thinking about how important this inner attitude was, I evolved these commitments as more optimal ways to engage with learning than what I did at the beginning:

1. Commitment to non-judgmental observation and openness to my true experience
2. Commitment to compassion for myself by seeking ease and effortlessness
3. Commitment to discovering the process over achieving the goal
4. Commitment to learning about possibilities over perpetuating conditioned patterns
5. Commitment to connection and spontaneity over denial and tension

One of my teachers says "the truth has a wrathful force." Sometimes we want to avoid it. But if we listen to that tiny whisper of our own aliveness and don't ignore it, we can find connection and spontaneity in ourselves, with ourselves, and through ourselves, no matter where or when we start.