February 28, 2022
Alice prefaced a recent group session by remarking on the way our minds interact with our bodily self-images. The next day, while sitting at my desk trying to quiet my anxious mind, I had a Eureka moment. As far back as I can remember, my physical body has felt like a shameful part of me that made me anxious to think about. But what if the reverse is true? What if my body’s “on my side” and not just some clumsy hindrance? What if it’s my ally in the effort to calm my mind? Fearful I would lose this comforting insight overnight, the next morning I did a few small Feldenkrais moves and was reassured. I also understood for the first time why the poses don’t push us to our limits. Pushing now feels like dominating—exerting mental “will” over one’s body. Instead, it feels good to invite my body to be a full participant in my daily activities. Rather than be annoyed when I have to reach for a cooking pot in a bottom drawer or perform some other awkward movement, it’s fun to stop and ask my “new friend”: How would you do this, body? I then relax into the motion, give up anxious mental control, and follow along. I wish I’d discovered this helpful partnership decades ago. Self-condemnation is muted now, replaced by a much nicer state of being!