I haven’t written anything in a long time. When I joined this project, I had expectations. I wanted to share my thoughts on movement, be part of a community.I love movement. I teach different forms of it. I like how it’s part of my daily life. Every time I sit to write I think I should/must write something smart, profound, scientific. I should quote papers, research. It should … I don’t know, somehow be perfect, objective. But then I always end up writing something personal, about my experience, about the questions I have, what emerges in life.
In the past weeks I’ve lost my grandma, I turned 46, and it’s become intensely real that I’m nearing the end of four years of Feldenkrais training. I’m scared, sad, confused, excited, proud, changed. I’m scared I might repeat the same stories. Stories of studying and going to school but not work in that domain, stories of being paralyzed by fear, by pressure to correspond to a certain image. Stories of not believing what I want is legitimate therefore not even acknowledging it. I feel vulnerable.
It’s not the first time I’ve felt that after ten days of Feldenkrais. It’s not the first time I’m at a crossroads. This past segment we did our First Functional Integration practicum. At the training they always stipulate and encourage us to view these as opportunities to learn. And there are no risk of failures, no questions of passing and conditions we might absolutely meet to succeed. Instead we have guidelines and hopefully a space safe enough is created for us to grow and learn and enjoy.
This said, it is still stressful. It was for me. What emerged though, was interesting. With no risk of not passing, why was I stressed? What was the story I was telling myself ? About my stress, about how to manage it?
One of the things that started happening was I started devaluing the process. I don’t care, I thought. If we are not objectively graded, what is this worth? I heard others ponder too. Trying to convince oneself it’s not that important, lessening the value as a strategy to cope. But there was value, the febrility in the air made it evident. The febrility and restlessness in me too.
And this time I did not want it to be my story because it was important. I wanted to learn, I wanted to be present, to be good. I wanted people/ trainers to see me. To be seen. I wanted to belong. I had chosen to not teach many lessons, taking care of myself, knowing I’d be emotional, that I’ve been tired lately and mostly not knowing. I wanted to give myself space. But I got scared. If I’m not doing as many as others, does that mean I’m not passionate? That I’m going to fail, that there isn’t a place for me. That I’m not a good student. That maybe I’m not interested. What if I’m not practicing during lunch break. What does that mean? All those questions, judgments rushing. But by who’s standards was I judging, who’s voice was I hearing?
For a long time I thought it was telling the truth. Now a new awareness as formed, inviting doubt, recognizing it is not mine. My voice is more compassionate, differentiated, nuanced. My voice wants to believe that who I am is enough. I want to believe it is possible.
So this process, a test not being an exam in the usual sense, is exactly what gives it worth. It leaves you facing yourself. To give the meaning you want, the importance you want, the experience you want. Aware.
I’m scared because I now face some similar challenges as before. In two months my training will be done. But this is different, I’m not disillusioned. I have a dream. And I want to own my story. I’m interested now in that movement, the one happening in my body, my mind, my soul. That these four years of Feldenkrais, of learning to move differently, to search for ease, to enjoy a state of exploration can transfer into this new part of my life.
Can this work be fully potent? Now that I’ve learned and I’m still learning to move differently in my body, may I move differently in life. Be present. May I embrace my vulnerability and believe in my dream, maybe in fear but looking forward and in movement.
I’m a mess. I can only hope a beautiful and truthful one. I haven’t figured things out quite yet, but today may be different. Today, at the very least, I made the choice to speak.
The present is the time in which we live, and what we do with our present selves is the most important thing. For the past is carried into the future through our present selves ; what we do now is the most important factor for tomorrow. — Moshe Feldenkrais, The Potent Self.
Editor’s response from an email exchange:
I think it’s beautiful and real and raw and honest. This is what lurks behind the pretty photos and curated IG posts. People. Trying things they think will be the answer. Along their own journey they try out someone else’s. Is it superior? Just different? Do I know the difference?
I am finding that many smart, sincere beings get caught up in ‘being a fraud’. That they shouldn’t be teaching because they don’t have the answers. That deeply invested training in one area doesn’t bleed into others. That knowing stuff doesn’t guarantee anyone one will care or want to hear it.
Consider this. Maybe 10 will pass you by. Maybe 100. But one might stop and pause and sit. One might be ready for you, exactly where you’re at. That is the one you pour everything into. The relationship is reciprocal.
And if you have yet to find that person or few, can you be that to yourself?