Mind in Motion: Listlessness

I never put off till tomorrow what I can possibly do — the day after.
― Oscar Wilde

Yesterday I received an email from a loyal reader wondering why I haven’t been writing much and asking if I’m okay. As it turns out, she wasn’t the only person who noticed I had only published three posts this year and contacted me. 

That being so, I thought it was time to let you know what’s up. 

For most of my life, I have been a motivated, energetic person. My Feldenkrais mentor, Edna Rossenas, once said that we both shared a severe case of enthusiasm.

That was before cancer, surgery, chemo, radiation, another cancer, another surgery, and complications. After enduring those terribly trying times with my vitality and optimism intact, I thought the worst was over. 

From years of working with folks, I knew all too well that healing has its own rhythm. I thought I understood and felt prepared for the time I would need to recuperate. I’m not sure what happened. Maybe it was the cancer double whammy? Whatever the reason, I was nowhere near ready for the persistent bone-deep tiredness that followed the operations and treatments.

My previously reliable get-up-and-go crumbled into murky listlessness. I felt sluggish and struggled to start the day. Projects that I was once excited about got postponed. Chores that needed to be done, correspondence waiting for replies, and calls I should make all elicited the same grudging response: “Maybe later . . .”

There were many false starts. Every so often, I would rouse myself to teach a class and start to feel better, only to have another unwieldy wave of exhaustion wash over me within a week or two. Despite my best efforts — and the incredible support of my medical care team, neighbors, family, and friends — this dreary cycle repeated for over a year and a half, leaving me gloomy and glum.

The only reason I can write about this now is that I have — finally and thankfully — been feeling better for a good while without backsliding.

Not only will I be teaching workshops in the US and Europe starting next month, but the plans for a new teacher training program are moving ahead. On the more mundane level, I feel inspired to deal with my disheveled dwelling. Just the other day, I started turning the unseemly piles of papers in my office into files.

I took the photo at the top of today’s blog just outside Brady’s Yacht Club, which, despite its highfalutin name, is my neighborhood dive bar. Taking a picture of the file organizer made me realize I was ready to write this post. The pic of Castle Hill Fitness is from their website,

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  1. Thanks so much for responding to our concerns. I also have noticed your low profile compared to your usual high energy in the past. Going through all the medical issues that you have, I’m not surprised at how you are feeling. The body takes time to heal. Please take all the rest you need. And with age comes wisdom and a change of who we are. The new you may be a reserved energy person not the one from your youth. Take care!

    1. Dear Grace –
      Thanks for letting me know you noticed my low profile . . . and for your support. You’re so right, the body does, indeed, take time to heal.
      I’m certainly approaching this next phase with a different attitude and energy.
      Take good care of yourself,

  2. It’s so good to hear from you. I was wondering what had happened to the Energizer bunny….I do wonder how much the uncertainty of pandemic days contributed….I know I have had to kick myself out of the house to get things going. But I too have begun to crawl out from under the covid- move half way across the country rock.
    Glad to hear from you.

    1. Glad to hear from you, too, Rivkah.
      It’s been good to take the time – not that I had much choice! – to recharge my batteries. And to get out of the house to attend some wonderful concerts – I wasn’t meeting many interesting folks hanging out on my sofa, that’s for sure.
      I hope your recovery from COVID continues apace.

    1. Hello Scott –
      Thank you so much for letting me know that your wife, LeeAnn, found some hope in my post!
      Please give her my best . . . and let her know I’m glad to talk with her should she want to talk to someone else on this journey.

  3. Hello Larry, Thank you for your courage to wade through listlessness and to start emerging now. For me, this Winter has been a wild rainy ride, without the breaks of warm days and blue skies that are typical of SC. I am wishing you a bountiful Spring with added patience to find the easier path, the moments of the “that was easy” button, and to request and receive help with the mundane household chores. Best, an occasional student, Diane W

    1. Hello Dianne –
      Well, this winter has been one heck of a wild ride here, too. Hope there are sunny skies ahead for you.
      How did you know? I have one of those “that was easy” buttons sitting on my desk. I’m not kidding!!
      Thanks for your good wishes!
      Take good care,

  4. So good to hear from you after this ‘long cold lonely winter’ — one more dunking as the atmosphere’s riverbed and then – Here Comes the Sun .. i hope you bloom and heal and thrive throughout the Spring

  5. Thank you Larry for keeping us in your loop! We all love you and are thrilled to hear that you are coming round. I’m glad you allowed yourself the gift of sloth, it can be a great healer! Hope to catch you somewhere sometime 💜

  6. Dear Larry,
    thank you for being able to hear from your journey. These journeys, but different ones, we all share, life is a miracle, health is a miracle, we just need to respect it.
    If I may say, you of course know it best by yourself, let changes happen, new perspectives arise, don-t force yourself, easier to say than to do.
    We go on…and thank you for this extreme enthusiasm i got throungh you from feldenkrais method in my early Feldy years…it keeps on
    going, but I do less, much less nowadays…
    warm hug !!!

    1. Dearest Raisa –
      How good to hear from you across the many miles and years.
      Yes, health is a miracle, in all its manifold forms.
      Thank you for your encouragement not to force myself. Having found my enthusiasm again, I consider it a kind of miracle – both enthusiasm, itself, and its reappearance in my life.
      I’m glad to hear you keeping going1
      Hugs from home.

  7. Dear Larry
    So sorry that you’ve been tired out and unwell. And it’s so exciting that you’re continuing to be inspired! I want you to know I’ve been thinking of you and how YOU were my inspiration when I completed my Feldenkrais training. You made sense of the masses and muddles of information we received, and gave clarity to my thought processes in action. Sending you love and light 🌺👏🍀🌈Margaretkayefeldenkrais (Margie)

  8. Dear David,

    I have never written to you, nor have I read everything you have sent, but right now you are present. I was once at a day seminar with you in Munich.
    The times I read your emails, I was always enchanted by your openness, your heart language. I can well understand the time you describe and I think it can and should definitely have its place. Life is not linear and now another wave is coming. Wonderful, that makes me very happy! May you ride it in its fullness and may everything fall into place for you!
    Warmly, Fatima

    1. Hello Fatima –
      Thank you for taking the time to write. I am so glad my writing speaks to you: heart to heart.
      I appreciate your good wishes!
      Perhaps we will see each other somewhere along the way sometime soon?
      All the best,

    1. That’s exactly what I was trying to say: I am feeling more like myself! Thanks for recognizing and voicing this!
      The birds were singing on my early morning walk on the other side of the continent.
      Yes, it’s the time of year when hibernation ends! 🎯

  9. I wish you the best of healing and enjoying your work in what level it wil take to be the best for you. Thank you for al that you bringing out into the world to help people to have an easier more joyful life with the inspiration from the Feldenkrais method . Lots of love from me. Alice Barte a student from Sweden Malmoe 3 education Feldenkrais practitioner.

  10. So glad to know you are feeling better. Although our paths rarely cross I am so grateful for the time I spent studying with you. Hoping your recovery continues and the enthusiasm you wish for emerges. Barbara Miller

  11. So glad to hear that you are feeling well enough to sort. Of all the activities we engage in, including teaching, I always feel that cleaning/ organizing my personal space takes the most energy.
    Love Marina

    1. Good to hear from you, Marina.
      I’m relieved to have the energy to start reclaiming some order from my domestic disarray. Truth be told, now I am rediscovering the joy of getting organized!

  12. Dear Larry,
    Glad to hear you are feeling better and back at it. You contribute wellness and good will to so many…. With admiration and appreciation,
    —-Donna Ray

  13. Dear Larry,
    I am deeply touched by your sincere words and I am glad you feel better after such a long and difficult trajectum.
    Once you’ll teach in Europe I hope I can join one day (despite I am not in an official Feldenkrais training). I’ll keep an eye on your agenda, it would be awesome to meet you in person.
    Be well, with love,

  14. Larry, so GREAT to read your blog and learn a little more about your past many months of struggle. You can’t keep a good man down for long! I’m reading a wonderful book: The Ride of Her Life, about a 63-yr. old women with no money or family, who had just lost her farm and was given 2 years to live. She chose to ride a newly acquired horse across America from Maine to California in the 1950’s. Not only an incredible story of grit and determination, but also a fascinating history of America in the 1950’s. You’d enjoy it! Author Elizabeth Letts.
    Keep on going!!!

    1. Hello Linda –
      Thanks for writing. I wasn’t so sure that I was going to get back up for quite a while, so I am most grateful to be “back in the saddle.”
      I appreciate your book recommendation. I promised the sizable stack of books on my nightstand that I wouldn’t add any other reading materials to the pile until I’d finished them.
      Onward. Together!

  15. Your absence has been noticed! I had no idea what was happening in your life, especially considering all you’ve gone through. You have been in my thoughts. It was very kind of you to write to let us know that you’re all right. Keep up the good work.
    Please keep in touch.

  16. Dear Larry,
    thanks for sharing with us! I know what you are talking about – the fatique that makes you feel as if unpluged from one moment to the other. Mine got better only very slowly and gave me the chance (better wording than “forced me”) to learn to adopt to another rythm. But I can imagine what a big challenge this is to a dynamic person like you. I´m very happy to hear that you are now feeling more yourselve again!
    Take good care Eva

    1. Thank you, Eva!
      I like how said that fatigue gave you a chance to find another rhythm.
      The biggest challenge was finding the patience to give myself time to recuperate. Once I could surrender to what was happening, I could, finally, start to see it as an opportunity rather than a defeat.
      I’m looking forward to being back in Munich at the end of next month to teach the next installment of Mastering the Method.
      Take good care,

      1. Dear Larry,
        great that you are travelling and teaching again and that you come to Munich! Maybe – if you have time and energy – you could come over for dinner at my house… Just let me know. I will be back from Italy at April 17th.

        Best wishes Eva

  17. Dear Larry,
    I am very glad to hear you are in recovery. I have been managing chronic fatigue of a post-viral nature for many years, and I encourage you to monitor yourself with kindness and affection as your enthusiasm returns, and to make friends with that listless feeling whenever you sense its presence. Over the years I have got better and better at recognising the beginnings of returning exhaustion. I cannot always prevent it – three viruses over three months this winter has brought back my chronic tiredness at a higher level than I have had to manage for the last 10 years – but each time it returns I understand both the condition and my relationship with it more profoundly. Lots of love to you.

    1. Hello Maggy –
      Thank you for sharing your experience with chronic fatigue and for your support.
      I appreciate your encouragement to monitor myself with kindness and affection. It took me a while to get past the frustration and disappointment that it was not changing, to learn to accept it and allow myself to truly rest.
      Hugs from home.

  18. Larry – yes, your absence has been noticed through the general blahness of this awful winter. I am so sorry to hear that you had been going through ‘stuff’ & so glad to hear that you have turned the corner!

  19. Glad to hear you are feeling better and motivated. Listlessness can be hard… Congratulations on the office organization! Love your accordionney file holder, I wanna get one! sending love and imagery of continued health and vigor.

  20. Hi Larry, I had wondered about the lack of posts and thought that maybe you were taking some time out for yourself. I am really sorry to hear how difficult this time has been for you, but I’m really pleased that life is looking rosier again. It has been a hell of a year! Look after yourself, and we both send our love

    1. Hello Tanya –
      You were right – I was taking time out. It wasn’t exactly by choice but it was most definitely what I needed.
      I appreciate your and Bruce’s good wishes!
      All the best to you both.

  21. I appreciate your sharing your experiences of fatigue and of finding that the former you sometimes doesn’t respond with energy and enthusiasm and getting things going, even while “he” has returned for now. did I get that right? that is how it can be for me, and the most helpful way to deal with it hs been to realize that I do not have to be the person I was.
    I signed up for two classes with you and I am so grateful to have the opportunity to be with you at Castle Hill. Best, Helen Roberts

    1. Thank you, Helen.
      Yes, you did get that right. I have come both come back to myself and realize that I’m not exactly the same person I used be.
      Looking forward to seeing you in Austin later this week.
      Onward. Together,

  22. Greetings & Kindness Larry – and thank you for updating your presence here -as I too was noticing a lapse. So glad to know you have been gently pacing forward with help of others – and are now getting back on track. We in community look forward to learning from wherever your priorities will most beneficially guide you. Take care my friend, and I’m so glad I checked in tonight.

  23. Dear Larry,
    Long time ago we Met in Hamburg and I Followed your Blog Since 2016. I know the Changes you Go through as a Psychologist for Onkology and I am glad to read That you find back to a new Level of power. Take care!

  24. Larry,
    You have been through the grinder, so your reaction is to be expected but that doesn’t make it any easier to endure. When life throws you curve balls you have to be able to bend. And of course in Feldenkriasian style, you did listen to your body’s call for rest and slowing down the pace. I’m so glad you are now able to pick up your tempo and slip back into your groove. It’s also ok to find a different tempo at different stages of your journey as well. As long as you can still smell the flowers and enjoy the view on your way. With much love and appreciation for all you do and who you are.

  25. Hi Larry,
    It’s been a busy year and I am happy to have taken the time to read your blog. May things continue to lighten & lift for you. You are a force & a gift whether at rest or in motion.
    warm greetings & love,