Mind In Motion

A revolutionary approach to optimizing human ability when faced with pain, neurological disability, or the challenges of every day life.

Feet first

The other day I was thinking about Kunst Haus Vienna, the art galleries that house many paintings, prints, architectural designs, and other works of the Austrian artist, architect, and ecologist Friedensreich Hundertwasser. He thought the effect of paved roads, sidewalks, floors, and the other flat surfaces we live on was to cut off from nature. Everywhere outside of modern civilization, the ground is uneven, and every step we take provides a rich sensory experience of the earth’s surface. 

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I received several skeptical responses to my recent blog about teaching THE ARTIFICIAL FLOOR at Feldenkrais® Institute of Vienna this coming week. In that post, I told you about Austria implementing (another) countrywide lockdown and how that meant we needed to pivot the curriculum for this postgraduate program, which is about a now-classic hands-on Functional Integration® lesson, to an entirely online format. 

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To pivot

In the world of technology start-ups to pivot refers to the process of shifting your business strategy when things are not working out the way you’d hoped, either because your initial plans don’t pan out or because that which had been a success isn’t any longer. 

Earlier this year, shelter in place orders and governmental lockdowns required fellow Feldenkrais® teachers and trainers to pivot. Like so many others whose professional lives had been conducted in-person, we found ourselves asking ourselves: 

How do I offer my services in a suddenly changed world? 

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Long-distance and hands-on

Later this month, I will be teaching the classic Functional Integration® lesson called The Artificial Floor at the Feldenkrais Institut Wien (also known as the Vienna Feldenkrais Institute). During this hands-on session, the teacher uses a wooden cutting board or a rectangular piece of clear plastic to touch and move a student’s feet. This evokes a newfound feeling for standing and an easy, efficient, enjoyable way of walking by tapping into the foot’s neurophysical influence on the entire body.

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Don’t hold your breath

In those cliff-hanger moments when we can change neither the context nor the circumstances, when we find ourselves anxiously waiting for something to happen or change, breathing falters and catches. 

Without thinking about it, we hold our breath. 

The thing is, no one can hold their breath forever. A full-stop turns into interference, a recognizable altering of the scope and sweep of your respiration. With that comes a kind of fixing of our physiology and the feeling state it elicits. 

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Children and families

One of our Feldenkraisian approach axioms is that instead of working with a child, it’s best to work with children and their families. The indefatigable Cynthia Allen, whose online summits have reached tens of thousands of people in some 60 countries in the last three years, is putting on a Turning Challenges into Possibilities for the Special Needs Family, a new conference founded on this very idea.

This summit is designed especially for the family or caregiver of an exceptional child looking for new avenues to developmental progress and a deeper understanding of the learning process. Not only that, but there will be plenty of information for professionals — teachers, therapists, somatic practitioners, and others — as well. 

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Time to vote

Election Day in the United States is this coming Tuesday, 3 November 2020. Given the intensity of the news coverage worldwide, I’m guessing you probably know that already. I’m pretty sure you’re also familiar with who is running for President and with all the controversy swirling around the choices and the process of voting this year. It seems quite crazy out there, doesn’t it?

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Time out

It’s been a long time since I’ve posted here. I’m sorry for taking so long to follow-up. I wrote that I’d keep you posted here, but soon after treatment began I realized I had no desire to divulge the difficult moments of going through radiation and chemotherapy publicly. I felt that even more strongly with the advent of the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic and global shifts of all kinds, which has had everyone dealing with their own dilemmas. 

When I finished treatment at the end of April, I was pretty darn tired. I had little energy, so I focused on doing what I love —  writing and teaching, which provided much-needed inspiration and kept me in contact with folks — and on taking care of myself. Then, at the end of the summer, the road to recovery got even more challenging. My get-up-and-go got up and went. I found myself dealing with nausea and such extreme exhaustion that I couldn’t continue. I had to hit the pause button.

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We’ve heard it all before.

This is going to ruin relationships, isolate people, damage your eyesight, and destroy your ability to remember.

What is the cause of this cruel crime against humanity? 

These dire warnings have all been issued by “experts” about smartphones, computers, and, originally, many centuries ago, about books and writing. And now people, including some of my Feldenkrais® colleagues, are saying the same things about online learning and videoconferencing, especially as relates to training teachers online. 

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Moving training online

Back in March, I had an online conversation with Patrick Gruner. Patrick’s a fellow trainer and a longtime friend and colleague. We met back in the 1990s when I was the guest trainer for one of Mark Reese’s training in Germany. Patrick, who was a newly-minted Feldenkrais® teacher, was the co-administer of that training. We shared a common background as Neuro-Linguistic Programming trainers, which made for many inspiring, insightful exchanges.

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