Updated: Oct 10, 2022
You know that feeling you get when you hear your own voice or image played back after not knowing it was being recorded?
I am reminded of a scene from Harry Potter Prisoner of Azkaban when Harry and his friends travel through time. While hiding in the bushes, spying on a recent version of themselves, Hermione gets an astonished look on her face and whispers, “Is that really how my hair looks from the back?”
These moments of surprise recognition, while sometimes embarrassing, can actually be opportunities to learn something new and lasting. It all depends on what we do with the information.
For instance, notice what your own posture is like right now as you read this. Where are your shoulders? How does your head rest atop your spine? Does a little voice tell you it should be different than it is? Maybe you already made a quick adjustment.
This tendency to want to improve ourselves is no more a problem than our actual resting posture is. We are wired to seek out better, more efficient ways for doing just about everything.
But if we look closer at how change takes place in an organic system, we see that the use of corrective force will usually backfire. It may yield short term results, but with time, if our brains don’t recognize this new behavior as “us” it will reject it like a mismatched organ transplant and go right back to that which is familiar.
This is not to say that things can never be improved or made to be more efficient. But the seeds of real transformation are planted inside that brief space between the recognition of how things are and how we want them to be.
In our desire to get to the ‘right’ place, we rush past the what-is-actually-happening stage, which is where all the juicy stuff is. A skilled martial artist has respect for her opponent and pays close attention to their every move. Your nervous system is incredibly complex and intelligent, so most patterns are serving a purpose or they wouldn’t be there in the first place.
Follow along with me in this 3 minute exploration that you can do anytime. If closing your eyes or turning away from the screen helps you tune more into yourself, just press play and listen along..
What has changed? Did your system already find a more efficient path of skeletal support without self correction?
Dr. Moshe Feldenkrais is famously quoted as saying, “If you know what you are doing, you can do what you want.”
Wishing each of you awareness and self regard in equal measure this season~