is it worth the effort?

Photo by Alora Griffiths on Unsplash

unpolished thought 6/20/2019

In almost every case excess tension remaining in the muscles causes the spine to be shortened. Unnecessary effort accompanying an action tends to shorten the body. In every action in which a degree of difficulty is anticipated the body is drawn together as a protective device against this difficulty.

…Further, this self-protection and superfluous effort in action are an expression of the individual’s lack of self-confidence. As soon as the person is conscious that he is placing a strain on his powers he makes a greater effort of the will to reinforce the body for the action, but in fact he is forcing superfluous effort on himself.” – Moshe Feldenkrais

When something isn’t right and you just don’t know what it is, it becomes nearly impossible to fill your lungs completely.

Somewhere inside yourself you are struggling. Somewhere inside you are bracing.

It’s not possible to detect the exact place. You simply feel a contraction, like a black hole that pulls you into yourself. It’s somewhere near . . . there . . . but still, you can’t pinpoint it exactly.

Why do you do it?

You don’t know.

How do you do it?

You don’t know.

Each unanswerable question feeds the contraction further. You try and try to answer the question, coming up with one logical explanation after another. As you go through the process of generating one inadequate theory after another, it becomes increasingly tempting to go with a simpler explanation.

“There’s just something wrong with me.”

Strangely, there might be some kind of comfort in telling yourself that there is nothing you can do about it. Perhaps it allows the whole problem to go away for a while. It suggests that the discomfort you feel is normal. It becomes logical to assume that it is simply your duty to live with it – just get used to it.

You get used to struggling and bracing yourself. You actually develop a talent for it.

You increase the struggle each time you face a challenge and quite often you solve your problems this way. It proves you “right.” You see the truth in the idea that “Life ain’t far and sometimes you just have to suck it up.”

Then along comes a beautiful soul with a bright and melodious warmth.

Something doesn’t make sense. How can this person be this way?

Time stops for the tiniest moment and an opportunity arises to notice that life could be different. Perhaps you are still attracted to beauty and warmth, despite your talent for skepticism. Perhaps something melts in that place that always wants to fight. Perhaps you rediscover some of your own internal sunshine.

Or perhaps not.

Perhaps you find another explanation: The apparent joy of this person is an insult! Apparently they didn’t get the memo about life and they are obviously naïve. Someone should teach them a lesson about the way it really is – maybe you?

Or maybe not, maybe it’s better to simply make silent commentary as you notice that unrelenting contraction again. Who knows, maybe that person is the one who knows how to live and you are the one who doesn’t. Looking for answers, you draw yourself deeper into the internal black hole.

But what if none of it was predetermined?

What if you knew how to let go as well as contract?

What if you knew what you were doing and you could do what wished?

What if you wanted to feel a full breath, the kind that allowed you to expand outwards in every direction?

What choice would you make then?

Strain is a choice. There are other choices too. 

How would you meet the world if you weren’t always contracting against it? 

Find out in my next online Feldenkrais program, Connecting Insides & Outsides, starting July 1.

Click here to learn more

2 thoughts on “is it worth the effort?”

  1. Barbara Miller

    Hey Seth
    I am a Feldenkrais practitioner in NJ. I found your wonderful blog when looking for someone for my son to work with in DC while he is doing an internship this summer. Although he is finding it difficult to make time to make an appointment with you, I wanted to let you know how much I have been appreciating your writing. I find that every once in a while words written or spoken by others breath fresh air into my living (and work 🙂 ). Thanks for sharing.

  2. Hi Barbara,

    Thanks for your comment! I’m so glad you find fresh perspective in these posts! I’ve found it also helps me in my work to try to put it all into words every now and again.

    I sent you an email about scheduling appointments for your son.



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