This is how I felt over the weekend as my daughter was teaching me her dance team dance. Seriously, we got to the spinal roll and I couldn’t get my body to roll in the right direction for beans. “Swallow the marble and follow it down” was her cue. A great cue. It worked for my head, but when I brought my chest into it, it was my habitual movement that ruled. I couldn’t even feel it wrong. After 5-10 minutes we were both laughing and it was not happening. Even thinking it through before I moved it didn’t work. I never got it. On Saturday.
I kept thinking about it, though. I even woke up in the middle of the night to find my body practicing the spinal roll – still wrong! But not quite as wrong. The next day we worked on it again (since she had practice on Monday). When we got to the point in the music where the roll fit in, I did it without thinking. I wouldn’t have known it was right if Rachel hadn’t been happily yelling, “that was right!” “you did it right!”.
That particular spinal roll pattern still does not belong to me, but every time I do it it makes more sense to my body. I can think it. I can move it. I, however, cannot think it through and move it through at the same time. Not yet. I’m learning. This is giving me a choice to add to my movement vocabulary – even as it is. When it is mine, it will be a jumping off point for variations of the roll and more choices.
“Learning is the kind of process where you learn to do the thing you can do in a different way, so that your choice is increased. The difference must be significant. Otherwise your choice isn’t free. No one forces you to do this movement or that movement. But you have your free choice.”
Moshe Feldenkrais, The Master Moves
When we do the same old thing the same old way every day, day after day not only do we lose our gift of awareness, but we forfeit choice.
There is more than one way to do everything.
Don’t believe me, go and discover it for yourself.
Learn something new. Really new – not “continuing education”.
Learn how to do something you do in a new and different way. If you don’t feel completely goofy, awkward and confused, keep at it until you do!
Do it backwards.
Do it upside down.
Start from the middle.
Start from the end.
Do it “wrong”.
Do it without tools.
Do it the way someone from another planet would do it!