Doorways are marked by the physical traces of many a child’s growing up.
Exits and entries: you pass through them on the way to somewhere else. We don’t dawdle in the place between places.
In this time of sheltering at home, a closed door has come to symbolize safety. Nowadays, an entryway can also remind us of the places we cannot go, the ones we miss and the ones we don’t.
Even so, doorways signify possibility and change. You rarely, if ever give them much attention as you transit from one place to another; the very passage through a portal has been proven to prompt forgetting.
My latest foray into the jungle of the brain — to borrow a phrase from the founder of the method known by his name, Moshe Feldenkrais — uses the frame of a door to access your brain’s lifelong capacity to change and improve, what’s come to be known as neuroplasticity. Based on Feldenkrais’ remarkable method of neurophysical learning (NPL), this course is the Threshold to Transformation.
This past Friday and Saturday, I introduced the course via two online Zoom video meetings. After a brief overview of the course, I invited everyone attending to stand in a doorway and put their forearms against its frame. I guided them through an Awareness Through Movement® lesson, a series of small, unusual movements in this unfamiliar situation. For instance, the constricted position of the arms in the frame of the door prevents the upper chest from moving as the participants shift weight — onto one leg several times, then the other leg for a short time, and then, finally, side-to-side — standing square with the door and then again with their feet and pelvis turned partway to one side. This process calls forth possibilities of movement long forgotten and, with their appearance, comes the chance to notice how we’re holding and limiting ourselves, something we’re blinded to by our habits.
When the mini-lesson was finished, the participants shared their experience of the lesson’s efficacy. Less than 15 minutes of doing these simple movements attentively, without straining or stretching, brought about uncanny changes in their coordination and ease of moving. Indeed, this morning’s email included this update from someone who was in Saturday’s meeting:
“What an interesting lesson! I was having a strain in my bicep tendon and it hurt to have my arms in just about any position initially. Eventually, as I walked away from the threshold and sat at the computer to finish the session . . . I had literally NO PAIN, it was gone.”
In the workshops, the participants also brought up aspects of — the width of the door compared to the size of the person and placement of the student’s computer or other device, to name two — that I should consider in adapting this ATM® for different participants. We also talked about how and why it worked. I explained how Moshe’s method harnesses the natural processes built into our nervous systems, using the movements they had explored in the lesson as an example.
Please click on the image above to watch the video here.
You can find out more about what’s behind this course and what it has to offer in a Wrestling for Higher Consciousness post I wrote a few days ago called The door to the invisible.
And if you’re a Feldenkrais® teacher or trainee, I’m offering the supplementary course exclusively for you that provides a BACKSTAGE PASS, which gives you a chance to debrief what happened during each class, decode the ATMs, and discuss the learning logic of the series.
I don’t know about you, but it sure seems that one of the side-effects of the coronavirus and the Covid-19 pandemic has been an unprecedented volume of emails. If you’ve gotten this far, I want to thank you all the more for taking the time to read my blog. I am most grateful.
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