Freedom or Professional Status
You will have to pick one.
Awareness through movement?
Awareness of what?
If you take a moment to reflect, you may notice that awareness has both a subject and an object. There is no free-floating awareness. It is only a person or being of some sort that can become aware of something (some “thing”).
And speaking of Feldenkrais and somatics: What exactly can you become aware of?
What will the “awareness through movement” help you become aware of?
Will you become more aware of how your body moves? Ok.
Perhaps you will become more aware of how you feel and sense when you move? Ok.
You can become aware of anxiety and other emotions associated with your movement and action? Ok.
But can it teach you about things that happened before you were born? Can it teach you history? Social dynamics? Mathematics?
It might help you learn those topics by helping you focus more easily and deeply.
But as much as I love and appreciate many aspects of Feldenkrais, “Awareness Through Movement” is a practice that needs to be taught with clear discussions of its limitations. People try to use Feldenkrais-based strategies to get help with things that they cannot help with and that is a cause of suffering in the community. (Take a note of that idea, we will return to it in a future essay).
And awareness, then what?
So once you are aware of something, what then?
Feldenkrais talked a great deal about awareness and freedom. And he was wise enough to see that it was the connector - action - that created freedom.
Awareness is not freedom. Awareness is *potential* freedom.
Awareness coupled with acting on what you know is freedom.
But there is a price, baby!
What happens when you use your freedom to speak up and to speak out?
What happens when your ideas and needs conflict with others around you?
When we act freely as ourselves - especially in public - we do not know what will happen or how people will respond to us.
We might get attacked. We might get scorned. We might be ignored.
And that can hurt.
Remind me to share with you the times that certain Feldenkrais trainers, assistant trainers, and FGNA board members have publically called me an idiot, idiotic, mentally deranged, and a loser! (I have screenshots and quotations).
They do not like my independent thoughts and ideas.
But no worries, I am fine. This is not about me getting attacked, it is about the social dynamics in somatic organizations and how they limit freedom.
Just realize that freedom and speaking out scares just about everyone at some point in their life (unless they are highly sociopathic).
And that is why - in my view - we have professional organizations.
Professional organizations give people psychological and emotional “cover.” As long as members act in accordance with the rules and regulations of the organization they feel a certain safety. They belong to the group, accept group norms and get protection.
But that safety comes at a considerable cost in my view. It comes at the cost of freedom.
We will begin the discussion of how that happens in today’s essay for paid members.