“The door to the invisible must be visible.”
— Rene Daumal
It’s obvious to pretty much everyone that you can’t change what you don’t notice.
What’s not obvious is the answer to this crucial question:
What would you want to change but can’t . . . because it’s invisible to you?
Here’s a hint: Most of us easily identify friends, family members, and folks we know well from far away. Do you know what I mean?
Even from the other end of a long block, all bundled up in bad weather, you effortlessly recognize those nearest and dearest, usually in the blink of an eye. You know them by how they move and carry themselves . . . without even trying.
However, this kind of observation seems to only work in one direction. I mean that you — like just about everybody — would be hard-pressed to tell me, no matter how hard you try, what makes it possible for someone to identify you from afar.
How can that be?
What we recognize about how others move is their kinetic handwriting, the ways they move, where they’re tense and holding, and their rhythm or lack thereof. This is all aspects of how they — we — you and me — learn to move and how we coordinate our actions in the present moment. These are the habitual aspects of our actions, aspects of our behavior that need no conscious effort to carry out, which are, instead, under the control of the autopilot.
Our kinetic habits are, for the most part, what everybody knows about us and what we know about them. The outside of a habit, its motor aspect, is an action or behavior that repeats; the inside of a habit, what you can notice — your sensory experience — is ruled by the perceptual process known as habituation, whereby constant stimuli disappear from awareness. If you’ll pardon me for saying so, I grew up with the saying, “You don’t smell the shit on the farm.”
To return to the question at hand: The things we do the most and the ways we do most things are invisible to us.
That means your movement habits disappear from your awareness. That makes your self-perception distorted and, as real as your experience seems, it means that is unreliable.
And, what’s worse, is that you don’t even notice this body-based blindness. This is the infuriating and humbling facet of this situation: you don’t notice what you don’t notice.
Two things to consider:
First, habituation is a feature, not a failure.
When you listen to the nightly news, no anchorperson reports what stayed the same. Similarly, our sensory systems are designed to inform us when something changes, to notify us of a difference.
Habits are the sign of successful learning and habituation is the price we pay.
That brings us to the second matter, which is what you can do to “dishabituate” so you improve how you move and how you feel. One of the best ways to make what’s invisible visible is through neurophysical learning such as the Feldenkrais® lessons found in my THRESHOLD TO TRANSFORMATION (TTT). This new series of state-of-the-art Awareness Through Movement® lessons uses an ordinary doorway as a tool for extraordinary change.
You’ll learn eight unique processes that activate your innate ability to change how you sit, stand, breathe, and move. Each ATM® shows you another way to be comfortable in your own skin, to take care of yourself, and to continue to improve. These easy-to-do lessons are designed to make it possible for you to:
- Uncover your blind spots.
- Increase your movement vocabulary.
- Harness your innate neural plasticity.
- Revive your flexibility.
- Improve your coordination, dexterity, and equilibrium.
I’ll be teaching the TTT lessons for the first time ever on Tuesdays and Thursdays starting next Tuesday, 21 April 2020. I am offering this series at three different times — 10:30 AM, 1:30 PM, and 5:00 PM US Pacific Time — with a break in the middle of the schedule for Move Better, Feel Better¹ (affiliate link), this year’s Feldenkrais Awareness® Summit from 1 to 10 May 2020.
To learn more about TTT, please click here. Enrollment for TTT opens on Friday, 17 April 2020.
If you’d like to learn more about this practical, down-to-earth program, find about the accompanying course for Feldenkrais teachers and trainees, and experience this unusually effective way to change yourself, please join me for one of two free Zoom meetings. Please click on either date and time below to sign up:
- Friday, 17 April, 4:30 to 5:45 PM US Pacific time
- Saturday, 18 April, 10:30 to 11:45 AM US Pacific time
Please take note: My most recent free Zoom meeting maxed out with 100 participants, meaning anyone who tried to join after that many people had logged in was locked out. So to make sure there’s room for you, I encourage you to sign in a few minutes before the meeting starts.
If you’ve signed up for the meeting and it turns out that you can’t attend one of these meetings, for whatever reason, I’ll let you know how to access the recording. (I’ll also post a link to the recording here.)