Today is Valentine’s Day, a holiday derived from a Roman festival celebrating the coming of spring and made all the more romantic by the writing of both Chaucer and Shakespeare.
This year, I’m feeling gobsmacked. That’s British English for astounded and utterly astonished. Yup, I’m gobsmacked and grateful.
Upon learning that I’d been diagnosed with Stage Two HPV-related Tonsil Cancer, some of my Feldenkrais® friends and close colleagues reached out to ask how they could help. When they found out that the timing, length, and intensity of what was coming down — surgery, recovery, surgery, recovery, grueling radiation and chemotherapy, and a much longer, more demanding recovery — would challenge my financial resources to the breaking point, they spontaneously offered to do something about it.
- When Paris Kern and Aliza Stewart offered to start a Gofundme site, I demurred. I’m not a shy person, but this path seemed too public about something so personal. After some reflection and discussion, Paris came up with another approach, one that I was comfortable with: she posted a message on Facebook in the main Feldenkrais teacher group and emailed her appeal to colleagues as well.
- Sonja Sutherland, one of the two regional representatives for the Northern California and Northern Nevada region of the Feldenkrais Guild® of North America, rallied the folks in the area and put together a sold-out fundraising event in Berkeley.
- Kwan Wong, the organizer and facilitator of the international online An AY a day study group for Feldenkrais teachers and trainees, turned last Saturday’s morning meeting into a first-ever mini-workshop and fundraiser.
Other folks started spreading the word through the geographically dispersed community of fellow explorers, compatriots, co-conspirators, teachers, former students and trainees, and others that I’ve met, worked with, learned from, and connected with over the years.
The response has blown me away.
I’ve spent most of my life working with and helping other folks. I’ve never been that comfortable being on the receiving end and I don’t much like asking for help, so this has been one heck of an educational experience. I certainly didn’t expect the outpouring of support from friends and frenemies, folks I know well and others I never met, from around the corner and around the globe. I’ve received phone calls, emails, text messages, greeting cards, socks, a pair of the most cozy slippers ever, dark chocolate, and financial contributions, small and large. All of which has been so wonderful.
Just the other day, when I picked up up the mail from the PO Box, I opened an envelope to find a check and the following note:
Tears were running down my face as I stood there, in public, struck by the kindness and care from someone I’d met and worked with more than a decade ago.
Those were tears of joy, something I didn’t expect to be part of this chapter of my life. They are not the only ones that have leaked out recently. As the saying goes, “I’m feeling the love.” It’s both a bit overwhelming and totally appreciated.
The half-way point of treatment is next week and the side-effects have already begun to show up. My sense of taste is warped and diminished greatly, my voice is croaky, my saliva is gradually disappearing, and I’m bone tired some days. At least my hair hasn’t started to fall out. Not yet, anyway.
Thanks to my awesome medical team, the folks at our local cancer center, and the assistance of others in the know, I’m as prepared for what’s to come as any mortal can be. What I never imagined — and wasn’t the least bit ready for — is this magnanimous show of support. Be that as it may, I am deeply touched and oh so grateful. Whether I mentioned your name or not, I’m writing to simply say, from the bottom of my heart, “Thank you.”
Mind in Motion is made possible by the amazing group of folks who work with and support me. As you probably know, Trey, Lisa, Jade, Gifford, and I have been building a platform for the future of Feldenkrais, one that brings together the latest advances in technology with state of the art approaches to learning. We are on the edge of taking the website to the next level. So that we can continue to make these precious resources available and also keep developing the projects we’ve started while I’m going through and recover from my cancer treatment, I’m asking for your help and support.
The best way to support our work is to buy the digital products and courses that we make available. For instance, there are fewer than 10 copies of the materials from my latest course about teaching personal ATM® lessons, IT’S A LESSON, left and next week we’ll be releasing the new collection of ATMs (from the recently graduated Amsterdam V program) all about the developmental transition between moving around yourself to moving yourself around. We’ll also be publishing the recordings of a brand-new, sensory-based way of understanding the ARTIFICIAL FLOOR FI® lesson.
We’ll let you know more about these new e-products soon. In the meantime, you can support our work either by signing up for a year’s subscription at $5 or $25 per month or, if you prefer, by contributing the amount of your choice. The funds you give will be used to pay salaries and bills so that the team will have jobs for the duration and so there will also be one waiting for me when I am ready to come back to work sometime late spring. In the interim, I plan to continue writing about Moshe’s method and to, occasionally, keep you posted on my progress.
If you prefer to support me personally — which I greatly appreciate since I will not be working until later this year and I’m not drawing a salary until after I’m back in the saddle — you can transfer funds directly to:
Thank you, in advance, for your support.
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