imperfection, approximation and celebration

Photo by Bryan Rodriguez on Unsplash

unpolished thoughts 3/15/2019

On March 25, I will begin the first module of my 2019 online program, ¡Reimagine Yourself!, designed as a roadmap for how to use movement practice to rewrite the story of how you move through the world.

It’s literally the best thing I’ve ever made.

I don’t say that because it’s going to be perfect. Far from it.

In fact, I know that I am going to be continuously learning new things along with all the other participants as we move through the Awareness Through Movement lessons and enrichment materials of this course.

But the unfolding of the learning process – and how to improve our very capacity for learning – is the heart of what I will be teaching.

So it would defeat the whole purpose if I tried to act more polished than I actually am.

Just like I chose to call the ideas I share here each day my unpolished thoughts, I want to acknowledge that what I offer is continually evolving.

This doesn’t mean I don’t think it’s important to be prepared.

I am prepared. I can feel in my bones that what I do now is clearer than it ever has been, thanks to so many years of experimentation, observation and expansion.

But even so, I plan to leave the door to the unknown cracked just a little bit open.

If I didn’t, I would miss the opportunity for unexpected changes in the light to reframe what I have carefully prepared and put on the table. That’s a phenomenon of immeasurable value.

Moshe Feldenkrais often spoke about the way we humans learn “by approximation.”

That is, you never get things completely right, you can only get it a little bit “righter” than last time – but you can do this repeatedly until you’re in an entirely different place than where you started.

Of course, many of us don’t like this framework because we’d rather place inhuman expectations on ourselves and then club ourselves to death for each little non-robotic imperfection.

I know because I did this to myself for years.

Until I finally began the process of reimagining myself.

One essential aspect of reimagining is the practice of making tiny celebrations. Rather than throwing parties only on the big anniversaries, you celebrate each new day, each individual step you take.

You continuously draw attention to each little improvement, each small new glimmer of understanding. You encourage yourself by constantly highlighting the signs that you are on the right track.

It’s the exact opposite of the habits of a person stuck in the muck of depression.

I myself spent at least thirty years perfecting the art of being stuck. I constantly relived all my most painful memories.

Over and over, I told myself what a fuck up I was.

Looking back now, what’s obvious is that I was actually learning by approximation all that time. The problem was I didn’t notice.

I took many baby steps, one after the other, and continuously changed.

I took on all kinds of new responsibilities, learned to speak a new language, worked in tons of jobs doing things I’d never done before, moved between four different cities, and became a father. I did all that before I found the Feldenkrais Method.

Especially now, my experiences as a radical musician, a factory worker, a political activist,  and a parent give me a unique perspective on the study of movement that I experience as an advantage on a regular basis.

But back then, I never had any idea how to count my assets.

The Feldenkrais Method taught me how to do that.

In fact, every Awareness Through Movement has a built-in process that creates space for you to notice the minute-by-minute unfolding of your transformation. Every few minutes you rest and bring your attention to your sense of self and your connection to the environment.

When you are curiously engaged, it’s rare that you won’t notice some kind of small change on each of these occasions. As a teacher, one of my most important job is to help my students notice each little victory that they can claim in these moments.

The reason this is so important is that we are all so highly skilled at noticing the most subtle details of our experience that don’t rise to the level of perfection.

We allow our attention to be so completely captured by the blemishes that we can’t detect the things we’ve accomplished that lay the basis for further growth.

We use the smallest mistakes as excuses to reach backwards to old painful memories in order to justify not being courageous, not continuing to move forward with the work of reimagining ourselves.

Baby steps are small after all – easy to ignore. But they can move us thousands of miles.

The ¡Reimagine Yourself! program has already proven this to me.

It contains a series of lessons that I first explored many times in the course of my training to become a Feldenkrais practitioner.

Then I explored those lessons again as a teacher, aware that they were not simply about movements of the body, but studies of how to unlock doors to hidden places inside of myself.

At a certain point, I attempted to create language for this wordless process that would help others recognize these internal shifts. I wrote a book-length text to accompany twelve Awareness Through Movement lessons.

In this year’s online program, I will create new enrichment materials for 9 additional lessons.

As I re-teach lessons offered in my previous approximation, I will reimagine those lessons as well, exploring them again to find additional possibilities for discovery and celebration.

Having joined the Feldenkrais Training Academy in Seattle led by trainer Jeff Haller late last year – a commitment of three and a half more years of deep study – I will be monitoring my own progress week by week as the course unfolds.

In each class, I will be striving to clarify not only the essential features of each new Awareness Through Movement lesson, but also the general principles of ideal human movement that the lessons invite us to embody.

I will continuously underline the learning strategies of the lessons and highlight ways that they can be applied to every realm of our daily lives.

My own experience has made me acutely aware that learning efficient use of the body requires us to dig much deeper than memorizing facts about our physiology.

Instead, we can use our movement practice as a vehicle to continuously create more space in our lives to experience joy.

Our bodies can teach us how to be more fully present to the opportunity of being the true authors of our own story rather than just leaves blowing in the wind.

One more idea at the heart of how we will reimagine ourselves in this program is something that I’ve learned through of all my previous approximations:

We don’t do it alone.

We do it together.


Are you ready to shift your attention away from imperfection and towards possibility?

Do you want to learn how to make every movement you make an opportunity for deeper self-knowledge?

Do you want to cultivate the ability to thrive in the face of the unknown, to walk with confidence and competence through today’s ever-changing world?

This is what my 2019 online program ¡Reimagine Yourself! is all about: 

How to make your movement practice into a vehicle for rewriting the story of how you move through the world.

To learn more about ¡Reimagine Yourself!, click here

To participate in a free Awareness Through Movement class on Thursday March 21 at 2pm EST, click here


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