How long does it take to change?

Learning any new skill set — along with developing the essential framework needed to understand and implement it — is an incremental process. It takes us time to figure out what to observe, how to understand it, and what to do about, or with, it. So often we are held back by what we’ve already learned, struggling to make changes, and leaving us to wrestle mightily with our unconscious, self-imposed, habitual ways of doing and noticing. 

The thing is that though the lead up may be long, so often change comes in an instant. Love walks around the corner; a book, question, or comment shifts your perspective; something impossible to do becomes possible and easy; or news arrives in a seemingly ordinary sentence, one word following another. 

Recently, during a regularly scheduled dental tune-up,  Leslie Gonzales, my wonderfully observant dental hygienist noticed a small white patch on my left tonsil. I followed up with the ENT doc and then, two weeks ago, I got the news: I have HPV-related tonsil cancer. 

At the end of last week, after getting more results back and discussing their implications, my docs and I concluded that the wisest course of action was to start chemotherapy right away, which I did this past Wednesday. 

The good news is that the prognosis is excellent.

If all goes as planned, I now have a few weeks to recover from the initial treatment before starting a nearly two-month regimen of chemo and radiation. This will make it possible to finish teaching the eighth edition of RETURNING TO THE SOURCE and to go to Holland in a few weeks to graduate the fifth Amsterdam International Feldenkrais® Teacher Training in person. 

For the past few years, I’ve been saying that if I were to write an autobiography, I’d call it A life of side-effects. This is going to be a doozy because the rest of the treatment regimen is long and intense. Then there’s my hair growing back, salivary glands — the ones that survive the treatment — rebooting, being able to swallow comfortably, and speaking,  all of which will take time to return. 

To rest, recuperate, and recover, I am taking a hiatus from traveling and teaching for six months. The start of both Amsterdam 6 training and of a new, soon to be announced, US teacher training are pushed forward a year. The current postgraduate programs in Boston, Laguna Beach, Melbourne, Munich, Santa Cruz, and Vienna are being rescheduled as are my commitments to be on the faculty of training programs in Europe and Australia. 

Thankfully, I’m working with a great group of docs and alternative practitioners, getting essential support from the awesome team — case manager, nutritionist, and patient navigator — associated with our local cancer center, and have an incredible network of friends and family close to home and around the world who have already begun to mobilize to help me get through this. (As an inexorable hat-a-holic, one upside is that I’ll finally have a legitimate reason to wear hats indoors . . . and a chance to show off the beanies, bowlers, caps, chapeaus, hats, and other headgear I’ve collected during my travels.)

During the coming months, I’ll be keeping you posted on how things are going. What’s more, I’ll continue to write about doing, understanding, teaching, and learning from Moshe’s method. As it happens, I’ve recorded Awareness Through Movement® lessons that I have yet to share here as well as interviews with colleagues who are engaged in doing worthwhile and fascinating work. And we have the fourth and final year of the ATM® transcripts from the second Strasbourg International Feldenkrais® Training nearly ready to publish 

The Lesson Locator team is working on the next phase of improvements: correcting and expanding the search engine’s ability to search for lessons according to the student during the ATM. This is the last phase of Version 1.0 of our digital card catalog. We continue to collaborate with the International Feldenkrais Federation to add more lessons to the database and we’re already at work on Version 2.0. If you’re interested in helping to classify lessons, coordinating the work, or participating otherwise, please send an email letting the team know

The only way I can offer these materials and contribute to fostering an international community of learners and teachers is because of the amazing team that we’ve built at Mind in Motion. Thanks to them, we are building a platform for the future of Feldenkrais. There’s no way I could have done this alone and it isn’t going to be possible to continue to do so without them. That’s why I’m asking for your help and support during the coming months. 

  • In addition to the free accounts we offer, we are setting up a voluntary subscription service so that you can support our work. Please click here to help keep Mind in Motion moving forward.

  • We’ve already edited a new series of ATM lessons examining the fundamental developmental transition from moving around yourself to moving yourself around. This program will be available to purchase soon.

  • And there are a few other projects — and surprises — that I’ll be letting you in on over the coming weeks and months.

Please stay tuned! 

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