It was in year four of my Feldenkrais Training…

When I started the Feldenkrais Training Program, I didn’t think it would challenge me in every single way that it has. I thought I was entering a 4 year job preparation and not a way of life. And as “cult” as that sounds, it really is true. The magic of Feldenkrais (and I promise it’s not a cult!) is that people learn things they already knew deep down but forgot existed and how to make it real. We all know curiosity is important; we all want to do spontaneous things now and then. But how can we be all those things we’ve wanted to be for so long but never thought we could? That question has plagued me for the past 5 years of this work.

It was somewhere in year four when I realized that I was holding myself back to the idea of perfection. I needed to be stronger, I needed to be good at this, and I needed to prove myself to everyone. All these words though, they conjure up only hard feelings in my head- my breath holds, my eye squint, my jaw clenches.  And the word need feels so desperate – it feels like it’s not my own. The work that I was doing wasn’t my own. It was what my teacher wanted or what my clients wanted. (Sidenote, neither my Feldenkrais Training teacher nor my clients ever asked me to go beyond my boundaries.) When practicing Awareness Through Movement (group classes) or Functional Integration (private lessons), I would hold my breath to “steady myself,” I would push myself to my limits and even past them. Ending lessons sweating, uncomfortable and dying for a break. For so long I kept doing this as if it was what Moshe Feldenkrais wrote. 

“When learning, do not have any intention of being correct”

His words never actually appeared to me as they really were meant to be.  I spent so long willing myself to stop the chronic pain, stop the depression and all those things bringing me down. What was the correct way to get rid of the pain? Sometimes the pain would go away, and I’d be joyous. I would dance and sing, as I thought I had finally achieved perfection. That once class where we moved our toes up and down must have been it, I thought!! But the pain would eventually come back and I was left in pieces wondering what I was doing wrong. 

What was I doing wrong? And to this day, I still ask the question sometimes. Especially in those moments when I feel the slight pull of a muscle or the limp of my foot. The guilt comes back, the will to push this part of myself away for good. But the sentence, even when I reread it, feels hard too, just like those words above. My reaction to pain is hard. My willingness to get rid of it stings in me, through my leg to my foot. On the last days of class, Aliza Stewart, my Feldenkrais mom, my mentor, my teacher and someone I look up to profoundly told me to “stop trying”


I asked very impolitely. What the hell does that mean? She didn’t have an answer. All she knew was that she could see the trying, the aching, the pain and she said to stop. I actually burst into tears in that moment, baby style, in front of the whole class, fetal position… sobbing my eyes out. She cradled me a bit, and then she got back to teaching the class. 

As I reflect on that time, and well, I’ve had a lot of time… ( I arrived in Boston for my training a couple days before the Covid-19 panic really set in and before masks were a very common thing in North America) … I think about my reaction, I think about the context of the day, the looming graduation and of course the pain. The pain, the pain, the pain! Somehow pain is always there. I’ve learnt throughout the years to stop cutting myself with harsh words; bad eye, bad leg, lazy, stupid. I don’t do that anymore – and gosh I’m glad. But the thing that still seems to escape me is that the only person I needed approval from was me and fuck I have done that! It’s not my clients, it’s not Aliza and it’s not Moshe above. The trying was/is the insecurity and the inability to feel…


It was the insecurity in curiosity. Spontaneity, curiosity and joy; they all have depth; which is so scary to someone who spent a long time not knowing if the ground could really hold me. Moshe Feldenkrais says, “to correct is incorrect.” So, by that logic, if I’m always correct,  I will never develop the ability to learn. If I’m always correct, I can never be curious. And if I’m always correct, I can never be an individual, unique, different and special. 

And I know readers are thinking, spontaneity! That’s it! That’s the answer, I need to run out of the house, do an eatpraylove in Europe, buy something impulsive. But spontaneity and curiosity are not the answers to all my questions, because there is no answer. An answer indicates a right or wrong and I simply can’t see myself being right or wrong. As humans, we keep learning. There is no objective truth that lies underneath a rock in the middle of the sea. All we can do is ask ourselves questions, pool in the results and make choices. And that is exactly what the feldenkrais method seems to do for me. The more comfortable I am at asking real questions, the more choices I have. And suddenly the more access I have to be spontaneous and curious. And it’s not that I became spontaneous, but that I can access that part of me when I need it most. 

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