Waking up in Austin, One TURNING AND LEARNING, AGAIN, SURE, WHY NOT??
A bit of bio and a sweet turning while sitting opportunity to “wake up” to spine, life, movement…and more.
From October 17, 2009 to October 16, 2010 I lived mainly on an amazing island in the Pacific Northwest by the name of Orcas Island. I will write about it again in April when I go back for the summer.
Now it is fall, turning into winter. I am in Texas and a supposedly magically part of Texas, by the name of Austin. Austin was reputed to be the Berkeley of Texas, and many people said it would be amazing, and I came knowing two people who couldn’t get back to me and stayed three nights with a wonderful couple who didn’t know me but where willing to take a couchsurfing chance on me. This was Bridgette and John. We liked each other and I weeded their garden and gave the Bridgette “lessons” I teach, a form of gentle and awakening body brain movement from the Feldenkrais Method® and the Anat Baniel Method.
She and her husband found me my next stranger with whom to stay and marvelous raconteur and permaculture activist and Texas good old boy if someone who was an MD and PhD and threw them away because of wanting real healing outside of allopathic medicine can be called a “good old boy.”
Anyway. That was Ted. I cleaned Ted’s refrigerator, a more daunting process than you might imagine, and gave him some lessons and he was grateful and pleased and we turned out to be kindred and brotherly friends.
And Ted led me to Sonora, a bright transplanted star from Missouri, who raised four children in Austin and teaches voice and piano out in southwest Austin right next to the Waldorf school (where she sent all her kids). And Sonoma has room to store me for the winter, a teenagers’ house with the teenagers gone and some land we are going to turn into a garden and now I’m ready to stop talking writing about me and let the focus be on you and how you can wake up to your body and ease and pleasure and learning in the moment.
That’s our life. This being in the moment is our life, whether we notice it or not.
Many enjoy noticing it and find freedom and pleasure and ability to love and forgive and be creative and discover the joy of the new when they are present.
We’re all going to die, and each moment is a gift and a miracle, and moving slowly and with attention can wake us to that miracle. And if the movements are designed to pattern and reawaken natural “functions” that make our life full and vital and easy, as the movements are in the Feldenkrais Method and the Anat Baniel Method, then this waking up can be not only a coming to the present, but an upgrading of your whole nervous system so that we feel younger and taller and lighter and more at home in our “bodies” and brains after the little lesson.
And here’s one.
Here’s a game in which you can begin to come back to you.
What a gift.
One: sit at ease at the forward edge of your chair. Feel your arms and legs and spine and pelvis and ribs and head. Sense yourself. Sense your breathing. Be aware of being alive. Be aware of being aware.
Two: turn your head to the right and to the left, slowly and easily and less than the limit Go for pleasure and learning and awareness. “Range of motion” is a strange and awful trap. Don’t fall for it. Slow into the delicious present of each time you move being brand new. Notice differences in turning right and turning left. Notice differences as you slow and ease into paying more clear and curious attention. Notice the moment.
Notice being alive.
Rest. Feel what slow and attentive movement can do for your mind and body.
It is good.
Three: turn your head, in sitting more or less upright, just to the left and back to the middle. Several times. Each time slowly and with pleasure and learning.
Four: put your hands each under the opposite arm pit, so you feel your ribs. Now slowly turn to the left and back to the center. Sometimes just turn “the head.” Sometimes pull the ribs to the left so that your torso and head are a team.
Go slowly. Gently. Pleasurably. With learning.
Notice your spine in all its 24 vertebrae glory.
Notice the difference in “just head,” and head neck and torso and ribs as team.
Rest. In the middle. Eyes closed. Sensing the all of you experience: head spine arms legs pelvis ribs feet hands breathing.
Five. Take the hands the same way as above and rotate your ribs to the left, not to the gosh darned “limit,” but over there comfortably, and leave your ribs and torso and sternum facing that way.
Now like this, rotate slowly your head back toward the center, and then a little to the left of where your chest is pointing.
The usual: slow, gentle, pleasure, learning.
Come back to the center and rest.
Six: Take your head and eyes to the left and let them rest comfortably there. And now, hands on opposite side ribs as before, rotate your ribs to the left and back to the center, keeping your head to the left.
Slow, gentle, pleasure, each time new and a learning.
Rest in the center.
Seven. Tilt side to side as you sit, so that your weight is sometimes on your right “sit bone” and sometimes on your left. Enjoy this. Think of the “sit bones” as the two feet on which you stand when you sit.
Slow, gentle, etc.
Eight: Tilt to the left sit bone and stay there , and with your weight over there, begin to bring your right knee forward, by pushing your right hip forward. Go gentle. If you don’t get it, just imagine something, anything. But go slowly, and keep your right foot on the ground, and slowly push your right knee a little bit forward and then back and then forward again so you feel your hips rotating to the left.
Go really slowly. Go really gently. Don’t demand you “get it” if you don’t. Find the pleasure. Find the learning.
FIND THE PLEASURE. FIND THE LEARNING.
Nine: Take your hands to the opposite arm pits and rotate the torso to the left and when there, tilt to the left sit bone and bring the right knee forward, and stay rotated in both hip and torso, and now bring your eyes left and right while your head stays pointing where it’s pointing. Many times. Slow and easy.
Ten: sit in ease and awareness. Turn your head to the left with maybe knowing your ribs can help, maybe knowing your pelvis can help, maybe knowing your eyes can help.
Take lots of time to enjoy this.
Take a mini rest.
Turn both right and left and notice the difference.
Eleven: stand up and walk around and see if somehow life isn’t lighter and brighter and more clear and happy and easy for you.