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Do you experience discomfort in your body on a daily basis? Do you consider this “normal”? Have you resigned yourself to living with it?
What if you didn’t have to live that way? If you had a choice between living with discomfort or not, it would be a no-brainer, right?
Moshe Feldenkrais, who created the Method that bears his name – the Method that changed my life and has changed the life of so many of my clients – once wrote a book called The Elusive Obvious.
The title captures how we can easily get stuck when we are looking in the wrong direction – and why, at the same time, a simple nudge from someone helpful with a little expertise (or even just a different point of view than our own) is often enough to create a major shift in our relationship to a particular problem.
Sometimes we are left wondering why we thought we had a problem in the first place!
But we all have our blind spots.
You can probably think of someone you know whose life would be better – if they would only listen to the simple advice you have so often given them!!
Or, have you ever had someone tell you they just had a big breakthrough, but then they tell you the story, and you think, “Really – that was a breakthrough for you?!”
You might have felt that way if you had seen the look on my face this past weekend. I had just re-organized the Tupperware in my kitchen and it literally changed the quality of my entire day.
And here I am, still thinking about it several days later.
I’d perfectly understand if you didn’t get why I was celebrating this “great achievement” of mine!
Because if you had seen the two shelves above my sink where I have almost literally been throwing containers and lids for the last couple of years – yes, YEARS!! – you would not have been surprised that I can rarely find a match when it’s time to save some leftovers after dinner.
And, if this was your kitchen, like my 8-year-old daughter when she encounters a mess in her room, you probably would have declared, “I can’t live like this!”
But, somehow, I did live like that for a ridiculously long time – as if I had no other choice.
. . . Until it finally dawned on me that I could pull out all the Tupperware, match containers with lids, separate out any items without a match, and then put everything back on the shelf again!
And – truth be told – the realization of how I could take this obvious and easy step to improve my quality of life was not immediately followed by action. It actually took me about another month to do the job!
“That was a breakthrough?!”, you might ask.
Sorry to say . . . yes, it was!
Here was a glaringly obvious solution to this mess, yet I had been incapable of taking this simple step for all this time.
And, because of this blind spot, I created tons of unnecessary difficulties for myself.
How many times did I waste time stressing out because I couldn’t find a suitable container for storing leftovers or packing up my daughter’s school lunch? Even worse, what about all the times I cursed when I opened the cabinet door and a pile of containers and lids fell down onto my head?!
And how did I fail to read the messages I was receiving from these experiences sooner?
When I finally acknowledged my discomfort with the situation and decided to do something about it, I was amazed to discover that, of several dozen containers I own, there were only a tiny handful of mismatches.
In other words, when I actually looked, the reality of the situation was nowhere near as bad as I thought!
Changing that image actually changed many other things for me . . .
This past week, I have enjoyed the experience of being in my kitchen, cooking, cleaning up, and storing food in easily locatable containers, always finding the size I need, and nothing falling on my head!
I’ve also had the opportunity to laugh at myself more than once. Making life easier isn’t always that hard!
Here was a classic case of the elusive obvious – probably obvious to anyone else who would have looked in my cabinet, but, up until now, completely elusive to me.
In the context of movement, this is the kind of thing that I am helping my clients with all the time.
So, back to you…
Do you have pain somewhere in your body that constantly nags and annoys you, lowering the quality of your experience in a range of activities throughout your day? Or perhaps there is some hurdle in your yoga, martial arts, or other movement practice that you feel like you can’t get past, despite having tried everything you can think of?
Do you find yourself making comparisons with other people you see who you perceive as moving more easily than yourself? And when you perceive that difference between yourself and others, do you create a story about it where your character is not so loveable?
How long are you going to accept this version of your story?
Why not consider a different story line:
What would change in your life if you could jump over that obstacle today? What if the problem wasn’t that the hurdle is impossibly high, but simply that you are not looking at the actual source of the problem? What if all you needed was a fresh pair of eyes to help you find some easy solutions?
Then, what if you began to develop a new kind of awareness and relationship to yourself where the earliest signs of your frustration with any task became signals that you knew how to interpret and translate into useful action to quickly restore comfort?
What if developing this kind of awareness led you to a growing confidence in your ability to tackle and solve problems on a daily basis?
If these things changed for you, don’t you think you might have a different experience walking down the street tomorrow?
It might be something similar to my newfound happiness in my kitchen!
My Tupperware cabinet was my most recent reminder that I prefer to live in the story of the guy with an image of his daily routine as being a breeze rather than the story of the guy who always wonders why his life seems so much more difficult than everyone else.
In my experience as a Feldenkrais practitioner, I have found that I am often offering my clients opportunities to experience their bodies in a completely new way by helping them to make some very simple shifts. Then, suddenly doors begin to open that they had assumed were permanently closed to them.
That is, many people are moving all day long in a way that creates their discomfort, but because they don’t perceive other available options, they feel that they have no choice but to live that way. They assume that, because of their age, a previous injury, lack of movement training, or some other factor, that they must endure the situation and, at a certain point, they simply assume that their discomfort is normal.
But your discomfort isn’t “normal”! – and it’s radiating out into the entire way you experience life . . .
Why shouldn’t feeling great in your body be the norm?!
And if it was, how would that change everything else – your job, your relationship to family and friends, your personal and creative projects?
If your kitchen is better organized than mine (a pretty safe bet!), you probably already know how important that is to your peace of mind when you are cooking, cleaning, or entertaining house guests – and how making those tasks easier sets the stage for enjoying the rest of your day.
In the same way, learning how to identify some simple changes you could make to increase your comfort in movement will create new possibilities for you in countless ways. I’d love to assist you in writing that story.
If you are not happy with your experience of your body – which is not only your anatomy, but also the home of your heart, mind and soul! – the first step is to recognize that discomfort. Then you have to decide that you care about yourself enough that you are not going to accept this situation as the norm.
From there, the next step is to act. Hopefully, you won’t wait as long as I did to deal with my Tupperware!
If you’d like me to take a look at your movement with you, I’d be happy to help you sort out the elusive from the obvious so you can get back to the business of writing the story of your life where comfort is the norm – because you insist that you won’t accept living any other way!
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