I was a bad student today.
My dear friend and colleague, Donna Blank, was teaching the morning Awareness Through Movement® lesson at the An AY a day study group for Feldenkrais® teachers and trainees this morning. For the second day of AYAD’s third-anniversary celebration, she chose Alexander Yanai 23: PALATE, MOUTH, AND TEETH.
This lesson — which is about way more than its title reveals, especially when taught by a tremendous teacher like Donna — is the one I remember from the first time I experienced it. It’s one of those lessons that is the Feldenkraisian equivalent of the 1966 sci-fi movie, The Fantastic Voyage, which is to say that these lessons are mind-altering, soma-revitalizing inner journeys. My sense of the proportions of my head, trunk, breath, of myself was forever altered.
Today, as then, I marveled at how the kinds of silly things I used to do as a kid, like sliding my tongue slowly along my teeth, feeling each one, in turn, spacing out (or, more accurately, spacing in) in the classroom, could become the catalysts for such surprising and significant shifts in my felt sense, in how I notice and know myself.
Then it happened. During a moment of rest, I started thinking of the letters A – T – M, about what they could stand for besides Awareness Through Movement. My mind wandered away from the lesson.
What’s worse is that not wanting to forget my meander, I rolled over, sat up, and reached for a pad and paper.
I left the lesson to scribble down some phrases, scratch out a few words, ponder, wonder, and wander some more. After a bit more writing and rewriting, I looked at what was on the page. Once I’d renumbered the elements of the draft, it was done.
Here’s what I came up with: a poem for my classmate, fellow explorer, and courageous comrade. It consists of four lines, one for each of the decades we’ve known each other.
During the after-class discussion, I read it to Donna and the 150 other members of the international Feldenkrais teacher community on the call. In case you weren’t there, here’s the poem:
A – T – M times four
All tiny movements.
Attention to myself.
Accessing the moment.
Action that’s mindful.
Tomorrow, 3 June 2020, Motiv Nativ, also a fine friend, who is, in addition, a martial arts master and Feldenkrais historian, will be teaching the third installment of the AYAD third anniversary celebration. It starts at 8:00 AM US Pacific time.
At the same time, on Thursday, 4 June 2020, I’ll be teaching the fourth and final lesson of the series.
If you’re interested in finding out what happened when 60+ Feldenkrais teachers and trainees voluntarily took part in A TRAINING SEGMENT ONLINE earlier this year, what we learned from this first-ever event, and how I’ve improved it for the next time around, you’re invited to the free webinars I’m offering this coming Wednesday, the 3rd of June. To sign up for either Zoom meeting, please click on one of the links below:
10:00 AM US Pacific time
Wednesday, 3 June 2020
6:00 PM US Pacific time
Wednesday, 3 June 2020
There will be ample time for Questions and Answers.
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