Walking the walk

Dearest Ruthy -

When I checked my emails this morning, I found several folks had forwarded the email your daughter, Iris, sent out* informing us of the stroke you had last week. 

My thoughts were suddenly swirling. First, I remember when we first met in the Hampshire College gym during the Amherst training; now I’m flashing on how your lessons — on cassette and in the notes from your Boulder workshop on developmental movement — were so important to my formation. I also recall working together over the years: the summer you came to Strasbourg to teach in the training and another summer when I taught in your program in Florence. The conferences we attended together and all those hours we spent in trainer and assistant trainer meetings; these remembrances stand out as well. 

Each of these memories illuminates your contribution to my development, personally and professionally. For instance, I’ll never forget when, during the Feldenkrais Guild® of North America (FGNA) conference in Santa Cruz, I participated in your workshop about the jaw. That was the first time I’d done an Awareness Through Movement® lesson standing against a wall; I still remember my delight at your creativity. To this day, I’m grateful for you breaking past the limits I’d imposed on the method. 

But there’s more to that time: I also can’t forget how, while driving the notoriously winding highway to graduate school that night, I felt my jaw muscles habitually tensing and, a second later, how it disappeared when I suddenly and irreversibly realized that my response was no longer necessary. 

Then there was the FGNA conference in Montreal, Canada, when you attended the workshop I was giving. Though you were my teacher — and the teacher of so many of the other folks in the room — you didn’t stand on your position of authority. Instead, you participated as a member of the class, listening, engaging with others during the exercises as a peer instead of as an expert, and asking genuine and sincere questions. I am, to this day, still touched by the trust and support I experienced.

I also remember a convivial evening during that training segment in Italy when you joined the trainees, me, and other faculty members for a Florentine feast at a local pizzeria. That dinner was another time I realized how your way of being with us demonstrated, in word and action, how much you genuinely cared about and for your students. Your dedication to us, both to our individual learning and to creating community, along with your abiding generosity, rings true through all of my recollections. 

So many of us know, all too well, how some members of our profession can be less than kind. Your efforts were, let’s say, not always appreciated. Yet that never deterred you. I won’t forget how, even though some of them had ridiculed you for taking notes during the Tel Aviv training, you were kind enough to share those notes with your former classmates when they asked for them after Moshe’s passing.

I’m sending you this, a photo of a rose from my garden, the last to bloom this year, to let you know how much you mean to me. Your example, the way you have walked the walk as well as you talked the talk, is one I strive to live up to every day.

Gratefully,

*Here’s the letter from Ruthy Alon’s daughter:

To all of Ruthy’s friends, students, and teachers
A letter from Iris, Ruthy’s daughter.

Ruthy had a stroke a week ago. She is at home, as she made sure in her life to have no interference or life-prolonging drugs. She is comfortable and without physical pain. She is aware of what has happened to her and as you can imagine, for someone whom their body was their teacher and expression - it is desperately sad for her not being able to move freely. 

She recognises us and communicates by feint few words and a limited hand movement.

She is accepting and calm and beautiful in her serenity.

She is never alone, looked after by her gentle carer and myself.

Unfortunately, most of Ruthy’s family (who are in the UK and USA) cannot come because of COVID restrictions.

Still, it is a very private journey.

I will update you. Many asked to help and be assured I’ll reach out if we need anything. It is a spiritual path done rather than witnessed.

Sending love and light,
You are free to resend to others who know Ruthy.

Iris

Responses

  1. Thank you so much for sharing your illuminating memories of the wonder of Ruthy. Her elegance is always a part of her teaching, laughing, just being. Hearing your stories and memories allows me to appreciate her even more. Thank you.

  2. Sending love, light and every best wish to Ruthy and her family. She is a continuing inspiration to me and often in my thoughts as I explore life’s paths and patterns

  3. Thank-you for sharing your letter to Ruthy, and Iris's letter on Ruthy's status with us. A beautiful heart-felt letter reflective of your own sharing and caring of us too, your students and colleagues. Thanks for being a shining light for us Larry; and for being real. xxx

  4. Dear Larry, thank you for that touching story. I have not been much in touch in this crazy world so it was unknown to me, about Ruthy. I know we all send our gentle thoughts to her. I will always have a joyful image of her and am thankful for the times I was able to learn from her. I hope you are continuing to recuperate from your own trials. All the best, much Aloha, Dave

  5. Dear Larry, I find your letter to Ruthy so touching and i love how you are expressing so much sweet gratitude, acknowledgment, admiration and love! It’s comforting to read and be united in good thoughts for her. I’m sure it will be sweet for Ruthy, too. I had the privilege to learn several times from her in my continuing student life and I was impressed by her kindness, her clarity and I was amazed by her ability to move so elegantly and how she took her students to their best abilities to learn, which to witness was simply delightful to watch! I am wishing her the best to be! 💖

  6. Yes, Larry. Among the many gifts I received from Ruthy was to never be afraid to work from my heart, from my whole, best, open Self. I am flooded with warm memories .

    1. I'm inspired after reading your words.
      They reminded me of how many life changing moments I've had because of all the beautiful, caring & creative people Moshe surrounded himself with.
      Ruthy was just one and exemplified grace. Yep, that's it, if I was going to use one word to describe Ruthy it would be GRACEFUL.
      Thanks for sparking my memories of her.
      Grace in action.
      Ruthy Alon.

  7. Thank you for sharing your beautiful memories and sending me to swirl in my own Ruthy moments... I have a distinct memory of the first workshop I took with you was at the FGNA Conference in San Francisco 2001. I had been to Ruthy's Master Class in Italy earlier in the year and then she was there at your workshop, it was very powerful to witness the mutual respect between you two. One of the many millions of learnings from you both...💕

  8. Larry, thank you very much for writing Blog. “Walking the Walk"
    I’ve never known of Ruthy Alon until your Blog.
    Soon after I read your Blog, I got an e-mail about Ruthy Alon’s workshop video from Feldenkraisaccess.
    After I watched preview of short video. It was amazing how she uses her whole body, explanation, etc. I immediately decide to buy it.
    She was near 90 when that class was held and right after she hurt her hip. Every part of the video was incredible, very informative and very practical.
    Her work, teaching significantly impacted me and elevate my horizon.
    She stated that mistake takes us to use unused option.
    I believe that she is using her body for instrument for her life more than ever now.

    Your Blog about the Active Sitting, the Ariel over year ago and Xero shoes last November were very intrigued as well.
    I acquired both of them right away. Now I share both of them to the others how wonderful they are.
    Thank you very much for continue writing Blog.

    Wish you have 2021 the Best Year Of Your Life!

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