“why are we doing this?”

unpolished thoughts 2/13/2019

I like to get out of bed every day and just do what I need to do.

It doesn’t necessarily mean that I’m become a morning person – not that that would be a bad thing. But why should I have to slowly emerge from fog with every sunrise?

Why not just get up and start engaging?

I feel incredibly fortunate to have finally digested the lesson that I can willfully substitute curiosity for frustration in my moments of confusion, and transform challenge into opportunity.

No matter how messed up certain situations might get, I know that it’s ultimately my fault if I lose my cool.

I still do lose my cool – but, each time I do, I take notes to learn how to make that even less likely tomorrow.

I’m no longer interested in the false comfort of throwing up my hands and saying, “Well, anyone would lose their cool in this situation!”

It’s an idea I still have to practice daily, and probably always will, but it’s no longer the edge. I’m making some progress.

In any case, I have more than enough on my plate now. There is really no excuse to wake up in the morning and aimlessly wonder what will give meaning to my day. There’s always plenty of options I can dig into.

What’s becoming more important to me now is to know how to choose. That means setting up my day so that I always know why I’m doing what I’m doing right now.

I’ve heard of successful people who write out summary statements of their life’s mission, then read them aloud on a daily basis. Similarly, others carry snapshots of immediate family members at all times, consulting those faces every time they need to remind themselves of their purpose.

I don’t do either of those things, but it makes sense to me.

It makes sense to ask ourselves:

What does the thing I’m doing right now have to do with the things that make my life meaningful?

Answering that question makes it easier to eliminate fluff like mindlessly scrolling social media.

(Unless mindlessness has meaning fo you right now. For example, you need a break and you’ve defined a time limit for your mindlessness – and you are mindful about sticking to it!).

Since I teach, making my life more purposeful also means showing up in a meaningful way for my students. If what I teach doesn’t help clarify their life purpose as well, then what the hell am I doing?!

If you were to visit one of my current classes and compare it to my classes a year ago, you would find a lot now that is consistent with what I was doing then.

But here’s a key difference:

I don’t ever again want to hear the question, “Why are we doing this?”

I don’t think it will never happen, but from now on I’m always going to be thinking about how to pre-empt that question. I want to answer that question before it’s asked so that my students never doubt their purpose when they invest their time and money to come to my classes.

Let’s face it: the Feldenkrais Method has a marketing problem.

Which is a damn shame because finding this practice can be a watershed moment in just about anyone’s life if they understand what it is and what it can do for them.

But for too many people, the Feldenkrais Method is a weird, almost mystical experience. They might go to a class and leave feeling better, but they don’t really understand why.

That’s not sufficient motivation to come back – and, like any approach to self-improvement, the Feldenkrais Method can’t really help you in any lasting way unless you make a commitment and practice consistently.

Unfortunately, just “feeling good” isn’t enough to motivate us.

We need to know why we’re doing what we’re doing.

In the case of the Feldenkrais Method, people need to understand why this form of self-inquiry produces the changes that they feel at the end of class. With increasing specificity over time, they also need to understand exactly what changed, the mechanism that produced that change, and how to generalize the overall process in order to apply it to all realms of life.

They need to understand that the Feldenkrais Method isn’t just about “better movement.”

Moving better is an essential component of what’s on offer here, but the most important question this practice helps you answer is:

How can I rewrite the story of my life so I can live every day with the quality of experience that I want?

There is no good reason not to grow this understanding from the very beginning.

I recently wrote a lengthy post that describes some of the basic elements of constructing a successful ongoing Feldenkrais practice.

If you are new to Feldenkrais practice – or even if you’re not – I strongly encourage you to read it.

(FYI, One of my colleagues who shared the article with her clients commented, “Don’t feel compelled to read it all at once. It is like a whole, big, rich New York cheese cake, not to be eaten in one sitting!”)

Writing that article was a step forward in my thinking about my own personal Feldenkrais practice as well as my teaching.

These days, I strive in every class to include explicit explanations of the learning strategies of the Method and principles of ideal movement that it helps us to conquer over time.

They all basically boil down to one thing that Feldenkrais perhaps understood better than any previous thinker or teacher: the implications of our universally shared experience of living in the field of gravity.

When we begin to grasp how our relationship to gravity impacts every single thing we do, we have discovered a lever where we can apply ourselves to improve literally any situation we face.

Discovering this essential tool makes it so much easier for each one of us to spring out of bed every morning and immediately start engaging with the things that make our lives meaningful.

Otherwise, we get weighed down by inconsequential things.

This is my daily purpose.

I can now feel that I’ve come far enough to start working more intentionally on the bigger problems – gradually and with humility, but no longer susceptible to being defeated by the small stuff.

Organizing to get proper rest is essential.

Sleeping in is also nice every now and again when we plan for it, and it’s a gift we can decide to give ourselves whenever we see fit.

But it’s not a good way to live.

I’d rather be upright – and engaged.


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3 thoughts on ““why are we doing this?””

  1. Hey, Seth,
    I’m still struggling with asking myself questions and looking for the answers within myself rather than an outer authority, so I appreciate your guidance in questioning. The one about, what does what I am doing right now have to do with the things that make my life more meaningful, narrows it down and gives me a much needed focus. I xan do that. Thank you

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