Tag Archives: Feldenkrais Method

Re-inventing yourself

3 Jun
recycling

recycling (Photo credit: Giuseppe Moscato)

It seems that the only way out of a burnout is to go through.

There is no going around, over, or under. Not if you want out.

Once you are in, you have to go through.

For me, it felt pretty shitty. I had no energy, and spent all of my not-working-time simply in recovery. However, once I started looking around, and experiencing where I was, there was much to learn.

Don’t expect what you find on the other side, after you are “out,” to be your ultimate solution. It is the solution for NOW.
My insight came when I realized that I might be able to function as a “tour guide” for people experiencing burnout. I was able to re-kindle my love of writing and website-making to create this blog, and I was off and running. I started feeling much better, remarkably quickly. I had re-invented myself as an expert on burnout, professional, emotional, and physical.

I learned something else in the process of that re-invention, as I started living as my reinvented self. Reading about burnout all day, and then writing about it, is kind of depressing! It was as if I was spending loads of time knee-deep in territory that I desperately wanted to escape.  I am thankful for the Feldenkrais Method, and the way of thinking and exploring that have become foundational in my life and problem-solving style. Here is what I gleaned:

  • nothing is permanent. Nothing. What you observe and experience now, is simply what you observe and experience NOW. Keep observing and experiencing. Whatever it is, will change.
  • make small, comfortable changes. Observe and experience whether those changes make a difference. If you notice a difference, it means that something has changed. (See number 1.)
  • keep making small, comfortable changes. Keep observing and experiencing. Experiment with doing more of the changes that produced positive results (whatever that is for you), and doing less of the changes that produced negative results. You will quickly get the hang of it.

My subsequent reinvention resulted in another website, MoveSleepEat.com Through it, I hope to take my “tour guide” tendencies into the areas of my specialization: movement, insomnia, and healthy eating. I feel jazzed and energized by it. Business is booming, and I feel positive and clear for the first time in a long time. Reinvention is always a work in progress. (See number 1.)

This Method works in a variety of settings. It works in movement difficulties, pain, stress, and insomnia. It works for examining lifestyle changes, like what time you go to bed a night, what food you put into your mouth, what you spend your time thinking about. Each new experiment is a new invention. Combining those good inventions in a way that feels right, now, is the beginning of reinventing yourself, healthier and wiser.

Resilience and Recovery

19 Feb
English: Maria Moline, instructor, coaches her...

Typical ZUMBA Class. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Something odd (for me) happened a couple of weeks ago.

I injured myself, doing something that, in hindsight, was dumb, results predictable, and entirely avoidable.

DUH.

Since Thanksgiving, I’ve been attending a ZUMBA class to get myself back into exercising. As I have felt better and continued to lose weight, I’ve also been taking advantage of the well-equipped workout room at my apartment complex. As someone who really hates almost everything about exercise, this is a big step. I don’t really hate exercise. I love movement: dancing, gardening, walking, playing. I dislike the whole mechanized, impersonal, automated, testosterone-driven exercise scene. The rituals and costumes just don’t do it for me. However, I am convinced of the importance of vigorous exercise every day, and have been getting my head around figuring out how to do that.

So a couple of weeks ago, I came home from my Monday night ZUMBA class. I felt really fantastic. My execution of the dance moves was self-scored (I can’t help it!) at about 85%, and I also felt like I had pushed myself, but not too far. I was so energized that I really didn’t feel like eating much for dinner after the workout.

The very next morning, I felt so great that I practically skipped over to the workout room. I got on the elliptical machine for a few minutes. This is a machine that I recognize holds great promise for me, and I have to work on my coordination and stamina to master it. After less than five minutes, though, I felt fatigued.

This was the moment when I should have stopped. However, I switched over to a recumbent bike and pedaled for about 15 minutes. Usually I can do 30 with no problem, so stopping after 15 was the dawning of my awareness that I should maybe take it easy.

I went about the rest of a typical Tuesday, seeing clients and teaching two Awareness Through Movement classes. However, that evening, I was so stiff that I could hardly walk. My right hip felt inflamed, and things did not feel like they were “lining up” in my hip joint. I came home, took some ipuprofen, and went to bed.

No position was comfortable. Wow, I thought, I have really done it. I couldn’t roll over in bed without causing a shooting and terrible pain that made me yelp. So, something about the twisting. . .

Here’s where the resilience came in, and the beginning of recovery. The executive summary is, I was better the next day, have not re-injured myself, took some time off from structured exercise, and have returned to my ZUMBA class. Happy ending. The resilience piece is that I started thinking using the Feldenkrais Method.

  • In the present moment, what movements seem to cause pain?
  • Is there a way to do those movements in a less painful way? (Changing speed, force, size, trajectory of movement)
  • What parts of myself am I not including in the movement?
  • Is there an easier way to do what I intend?

I slept fitfully that night, but each time I awakened, I moved in mindful ways to make myself more comfortable. I found an easy way to roll over that did not tweak and twist my back. I experimented with other silly variations of the movement, exploring for comfort. By the next morning, I got out of bed, stood for a few moments, and took a few tentative steps. No pain!

In hindsight, I realize that I should not have done lower body work so soon after my ZUMBA class. If anything, I should have done upper body work. I returned to class last night, and my continuing experiment is to rest today. I have clients and two Feldenkrais classes, so my “exercise” will be some gentle Feldenkrais and perhaps a bit of a walk. Tomorrow I will return to the workout room, and see if I can do five minutes on the elliptical machine.

After a setback, we can’t always just “get back on the horse” immediately. I had to be willing to take small actions, slow down, stop, think, explore strategies, and allow things to re-integrate. To rush the process is unwise. Of course, I can apply this process and this new learning to other aspects of my life — namely, my overall recovery from burnout — to redefine setbacks as opportunities for learning.  The resilience and new wisdom come from this process of ebb and flow, light and dark.

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