Tag Archives: Change

Post-Crookedness Feldenkrais I’m Training

Picasso 3

I’ve been crooked!!!!!!!!!!!!! I’ve been crooked for 2 days.


I’m learning.

Change consciously made is good. Interesting.  Attention-getting. Hopefully choice-laden. Comfortable? Not always.

As I learn more about how my body does some of the things it does, not only are physical changes occurring in my body; my self-image is being tweaked and adjusted.

I’m no longer where I left me. Brain and body.

I find this disquieting as I practice one aspect of my new journey. Lying on my back with my eyes open, I see the ceiling and I’m pretty confident of my body in space. Once I close my eyes, though, it becomes more of a trip down the rabbit hole. Suddenly I am absolutely positive that my head is lying significantly left of my spine. The fact that I do not sense my spine in lateral flexion or bending sideways does not deter my nervous system. My vestibular system is giving me information that is different than what I can see and feel with my eyes open.

After a live Awareness Through Movement class yesterday I sensed my body more reliably, but when I laid down this morning to work with a recorded class, I, once again perceived my head off-center from my pelvis.

Finally, in a lesson that invited me to move in cross lateral patterns (right hip and left shoulder) this confusion has been cleared up. Now when I close my eyes, my head is where I put it before I closed my eyes.

My body moves differently. During my first Nia class back, I realized that I didn’t want to be moving that quickly without being able to be present to the degree to which I had become accustomed in my training. This caused conflict and my class was awkward.

Not only was my cueing disparate, the rhythm and timing of my cueing was also a contrast. I found myself actually creating a bit of a disconnect between my mind and my body. My body was asking me for something I couldn’t give it in that moment. Not altogether comfortable.  My brain and mind were busy interpreting and attempting to integrate the new information to assuage my overall lack of ease in delivering my usual class. It didn’t go well.

It felt almost the same type of discomfort as I felt on the first day of training when I took a wrong exit and wound up closer to Indiana than to Evanston (the training is in the Edgewater area of Chicago, just south of Evanston). I knew I was still in Illinois, but I also knew I was  wrong.


Not what I was.

Not what I’m going to be.

In between.


The Intimacy of Change: Post First Feldenkrais Training Session

Flower Dress Orange from Flower Story

Considering how complex we are…

After these 2 weeks spent immersed in Feldenkrais Method training, my body has been sore and stiff and has moved in a variety of truly odd ways. This was the first of eight trainings within which I will participate over four years.

This morning warming up for my first class back, I had access to ways of moving through some delicious Gabrielle Roth music, that I have not had.

Soft, subtle access.

Access to relaxation that I’m not sure I’ve ever had. That access made my dance feel incredibly beautiful. It felt new. Liquid and curious. This lovely experience didn’t translate into the class, however. The class itself truly sucked. I wasn’t ready to teach a Nia class – especially not to a group who doesn’t know me. It’s ok*. For me, I knew this was coming. Processing and integration always creates an interesting bouillabaisse with some familiar fish and some new fish that haven’t quite found their place in the stew.

With this new sense of my body and ability to sleep deeply and comfortably has come a not-so-welcome visitor. Morton’s neuroma. (An inflammation of a nerve bundle, usually under the second toe. Imagine stepping onto the pointed end of a knife.)

Out of nowhere. As usual. Absolutely no warning.

One minute I’m dancing and all is wonderful and the next time I put down the ball of my foot (usually in a cross behind move), lightning shoots through the ball of my foot and crumbling to the floor is my body’s sudden desire.

For two weeks my body has been quite happy in the daily Awareness Through Movement classes and the time spent in hands on practice (on each other, of course).

Change has occurred.

My walking is easier and more fluid, with the chandelier that is my rib cage swinging gently in just the right rhythm.

As I mentioned earlier, I have access to relaxation on a deeper level.

As evidenced by my swinging chandelier, movement in my thoracic spine is also more available.

This body of work also accessed my core more effectively than Pilates ever did (and I used to teach Pilates).

In general, pre-training, I had a strong core and my movements well-organized. I gained this mainly through force. Power. Muscling.  Not ‘do I need this amount of energy to accomplish this?’ or ‘how much force do I need to exert?’ Even movements with which I created grace could be tiring; created with effort. Created with “push”.

So now I’m in that uncomfortable, transition – not who I’m going to be, not who I was. Restless in my body and acutely aware of how much softness I can keep in my body. Not weakness.

Softness. Strong, flexible, agile, stable, mobile softness.

(Flower dress photo from Flower Story)

Beat. Breathe. Flow.

FernLined Forest Stream

“You can’t go home again.”

I remember hearing this statement as a child, my mother and grandmother discussing Thomas Wolfe. I was 8 or 9 years old and I remember the sensation of dread that began in the pit of my stomach and churled up my spine. “That’s not true!” my child’s mind vehemently argued, “I come home every day after school.”

That combination of words haunted me throughout my life until I began to see life as flow rather than a static, stagnant event.

Our culture of the mind conditions us to trust in what our minds tell us and show us, whether or not they are true or accurate. We have the ability of recall and used properly, can be beneficial. Remembering one’s phone number is quite handy, as well as remembering one’s home address. While still fluid, these facts are more “concrete” then we are.

Life and the human condition are more like the flow in a river.  Time doesn’t stand still and it doesn’t flow backwards. It is always moving forward or at least outward. We don’t grow younger, we grow older, richer, deeper and hopefully, wiser.

With this train of thought, the expression “status quo” and specifically “status quo ante” cannot apply because it is not possible.

People step into our river and join their flow with ours. They might step right back out or perhaps flow with it for awhile before stepping out. I would venture to say that there are varying degrees of joining of rivers, blending and stepping out. Even in long term relationships there is a level of stepping out (time to themselves, personal development, working in different fields, to name but a few examples). In some other relationships, stepping out defines leaving our river and thus leaving our lives altogether.

We are different every day, though we are so close we don’t notice changes until either change is caused by a dramatic event or we invoke recall.

I find change most observable in my dance. I don’t strive for replication, so I notice that while the movement or pattern may be the same, I don’t feel like the same dancer from the inside. My balance, equilibrium and stability may be better or worse. Either way, my precision is affected; my ease may also be affected. If I demand that my body perform as it did yesterday or the last time I moved through this pattern, I lose an aspect of ease. I also lose an aspect of pleasure. The “whose body is this” sensation I have makes me wonder if I am experiencing a kind of out-of-flow. I’m resisting being in harmonious relationship with my flow. I’ve chosen to attempt to stand still or even swim upstream.

I also wonder if this applies to moments in my life in which I am insistent on a direction even though I am cognizant of the fact that the way, value or mission is not mine.

My sentimental heart wants to cling to the idea that familiar equals safe – even though I know that this isn’t true. For me, occasionally the knowledge that every moment is an opportunity for growth is overwhelming.  I want to stand up in the river and let it flow without me. Just for a little while.

Then I remember that, like my heart beating and my lungs breathing, the flow will happen and I will grow and change just as my heart beats and my lungs breathe.

Getting out of my own way releases me to flow and “home” can be where I am at any given moment at any point in my life.

In my body. Awake. Aware.

I am Home.

Awareness: Deeper Personal Practice to Share… Moving to Think 2

Open in Red

Almost 2 months ago I let go of most of my Nia classes.

It was a decision I never really thought I’d make – even though I knew it needed to be made. I released a professional situation that was incongruent with my Spirit, Heart and Mind. I have no regrets.

With 1 class a week to teach, I have been feeding myself.

Over the course of the past 10 years, I’ve taken time away from teaching Nia before, during family trips and to heal. Without multiple classes to teach, I was keenly aware of my teaching skills declining. After a break I would return to my students feeling as though I’d just gotten up from a nap – groggy, slow and with a sense that I’d lost my overall timing.

Since March 13 I happily step into my one class as though I’ve been teaching all week!

What’s the difference?

Two things: Personal Movement Practice and Personal Awareness Practice.

I don’t practice “for class”. I practice for myself. Instead of practicing primarily to to share, my Practice is to embody on deeper and deeper levels. I am writing to suggest that this approach may be more effective than either separating the two Practices or leaning on a professional Practice to feed both Practices. Make sense?

There are a few variables involved here. The one variable I have not taken into account is learning a new routine. Up until now I have been combining my Nia Practice with a non-Nia movement Practice involving Nia routines with which I am familiar.

I am a happy Nia Practitioner. I am a better Nia teacher. I am a better Nia Practitioner. What I have been able to share with my students has been far more organic and spontaneous within the work. There has been an organic and spontaneous quality to my teaching but I feel it expanding and evolving as it must in order for me  to be a great teacher.

I am also more creative.

I also mentioned my Personal Awareness Practice.

As my first online course, Body Awareness launched, I was going through the course with those who had signed up. Either I was in the process that existed to discover ways to improve it or I was re-creating it. Either way, I created a rich awareness Practice for myself in addition to the movement Practice.

Some of the most remarkable life revelations have come since I “stopped” teaching Nia and began living it more deeply. Baby steps…

Emerging clarity. My life. My role in Nia. The role of Nia in my Life. My curiosity in regards to Nia in the World. Moving Forward.

Away from the Struggle. Away from Frustration and the Energy Drain.

Stepping into Peace. Pleasure and Genuine Fun.

Awareness of “I” – Knee-Jerk, Habits and Patterns

Titania Fairy Queen Green Nature

Once upon a time

I joined Stone Soup & Lemonade, a women’s group dedicated to personal and professional development.

I went to my first gathering on Sunday. We would be celebrating Earth Day.

About 10 minutes into the agenda I noticed that some of my buttons were being pushed. I immediately went into habitual defensiveness.

So there I was, sitting in discomfort,vacillating  between feeling misunderstood (a very big and heavy piece of baggage for me) and considering how this might possibly have everything to do with how I was receiving the communications.

My body felt restless. Unconsciously I refused to place my feet on the floor. I realized that I felt vulnerable and wanted my knees closer to my abdomen. I let my body do what it was asking to do. Gradually, I felt my body agree to open and relax.

Instead of shutting down, as is my habitual response to believing myself misunderstood, I posed other possibilities to myself.

In not shutting down (completely), I learned the following about myself:

my lack of impeccability and clarity of communication lead to responses disconnected from my intention. In other words, I didn’t say what I really meant and the response, while appropriate was not satisfying. My words and my thoughts were incongruent.

This is one of my patterns. Here’s how it usually works.

I arrive with the Judge reminding me of my inability to verbally communicate with impeccability and clarity in the company of strangers. When I “prove” the Judge right, the Victim chimes in, “See, you did it again and now people think you’re an idiot – hysterical – overemotional. So not fair. Think small and maybe you can disappear. Keep quiet next time.” and the Judge, “If you were really as smart as you’d like to believe, you would be a better verbal communicator. You’re not so you’re not smart.”                                                               And the armor is once again, in place.

After the meeting portion of the gathering, I was scheduled to present my passion. In the past, I let the Judge and the Victim convince me and effectively siphon any Joy I had coming into the situation. On Sunday, even though I still felt the push and pull of being in the middle of a significant shift, once I started to move the Joy flowed.

My awareness had been the antidote.

Staying present helped me to remain open so that Joy did not end up dammed and suffocated.

In retrospect, I am surprised by the amount of energy if took for me not to respond out of habit. I felt as though I was chest-deep in mud trudging forward. Every step, every choice was deliberate out of necessity. If I didn’t place my “feet” mindfully, I would end up sucked down into the pit of vipers that the Judge and Victim provide.

Celebrating Earth Day brought Titania to mind. Earthy chocolate swing pants and a top of flowers and vines seemed appropriate. The sensation of loose hair spilling and swinging around my shoulder blades felt perfect. Another integral part of the shifts, changes and transitions flowing through my life is the evolution of my inner face.

My “inner face” is what I show when I get to wear a costume. Halloween has always been perfect for revealing what I keep hidden.

In my Nia classes until 2 years ago, every Halloween I shared a frightening, dangerous, ugly inner face. 2 years ago she was a reflection of the scary becoming something else, something softer and gentler. She was “witch”, “vampire”, “zombie”, “dead elf,” “dead fairy”, then the “fairy queen” more suited to a Jim Butcher Dresden novel. A year ago and this past Halloween, she continued into this new identification. She – I still didn’t have a name. On Sunday the connection was to Titania and I felt downright beautiful and richly inspired.

Vulnerability surrounding me like deceptively delicate fairy wings, I managed to hang onto the inspiration that brought me the Earth Day playlists and my love for delivering Nia and dance. Knowing that I had caught a glimpse of what could create a far more satisfying and rewarding way to share what I love, I felt my feet on the ground. Quiet. Certain. Relieved. Happy.

And lived happily ever after.


Until the next wave in this transition surge arrives to rattle my cage.

Thank you to the lovely, authentic women who shared this time and space. I am grateful.

PigsOnlyUndressInTheDark and TheHorseSpeaks4Languages





Resisting the urge to peak around the corner. The door is open

But the lights are low and I’m not familiar with the room.

Breath sails in and out of my chest. My bones remind me that I am fluid stability.

Unexpectedly my view shimmers to vast and sharp.

I have resigned myself to













My opus.

Reminder: Have You Signed Up for My Online Course – The Alchemy of Awareness?


A course for fitness and beyond.

April is almost here…

The Alchemy of Awareness: Your Personal Online Somatic Practice

Session One: Body Awareness -The Gift of Intimacy

Refine your ability to notice body sensation so that you can:

  • Get more out of your fitness classes and workouts.
  • With practice, see fitness results faster without having to work so hard.
  • Feel better in your body.
  • Increase your ability to fine-tune any movement practice.
  • Notice aches and discomfort before they become injury and make the changes you need.
  • This is a practice you can do from home—without ever having to get out of your fuzzy slippers or pajamas! Or access your practice from your phone during breaks at work. Do it anywhere, any time.
  • So what’s the “beyond”? Once you have increased your ability to pay attention and notice body sensation, you will have an increased awareness of your place in the world and the world around you.
  • Relationships exist on many levels in all aspects of life. We are in relationship with everything and everyone in our world. As your practice develops you may begin to notice, on a deeper level, how you relate to others and how others relate to you. With this rich information, relationships might look and feel different.
  • We often are not aware of what is available to us until it is brought to our attention.
  • Through awareness we have access to more of what is possible.

Every week you will receive a new Awareness practice in the form of a pdf.

Introductory 5-week session for $25.

For registration or questions, please contact Catherine Perreau Ehret at MovementAlchemyHeals@gmail.com or 630-290-4814.

Sensation of Change – the 28-Day Challenge

Challenge Play More

Day 1

I used to say “I love a challenge!”. A friend of mine suggested that I be careful what I wish for. True words, those.

The fact is that I can rarely resist a challenge. I’ve gotten myself into all kinds of trouble stepping into challenges. (Let me be clear that by challenges I don’t just mean can I climb that mountain, run that race, more like can I move my friend before her mother comes home and kills us both.)

This year I’ve committed to a challenge that is good for me. It will serve and support my purpose of helping others to improve the quality of their lives by reconnecting to their bodies through awareness and movement in order to heal body mind, heart and spirit.

I’m calling it the Soma Ranch 28-Day Challenge. It is the brain child of Nia trainer and entrepreneur Helen Terry. For more information from Helen on the 28-Day Challenge and her fabulous Soma Ranch, please visit http://www.somaranch.com.

It goes like this:

Pick one or two changes you want to make in your life. If they’re big changes, break them down into small steps so that the process doesn’t become overwhelming. This is a one day at a time proposition.

Adding in my part:

It’s not about accomplishing your goals in 28 days. It’s about setting up the environment and developing the good habits that will foster accomplishing your goals. This 28 days is a nest building time. Every day you’ll practice something small that will move you forward. No busy work here. One of my favorite suggestions in terms of self-development is from a book called The Slight Edge written by Jeff Olsen and it is to read 10 pages of a GOOD book every day. Unless your goal is to be a novelist, this suggestion doesn’t mean read a good novel, it means read 10 pages of a work that will grow you – teach you something that will move you forward towards your goal.

Here’s a big part of this (as far as I’m concerned it’s huge)

Read your 10 pages (or whatever small step you just finished) and then sit for a moment and congratulate yourself for your accomplishment. I’M TOTALLY SERIOUS! Give yourself some love. Breathe it in. Let in settle into your bones. Not pride, love.

Ok, time’s up!

My challenges:

To move through daily:

1. a Nia/5Rhythms/focused improvisational class

2. to write rich content daily – even if it’s just a couple of words and whether or not I post it

3. to gradually reduce the amount of sugar in my diet

4. and yes, read 10 pages of a good book. My good book is An Unspoken VoiceHow the Body Releases Trauma and Restores to Goodness by Peter A. Levine, PhD

Here’s my clincher:

5. to speak about what I do and my purpose

I’m a Nia teacher, so moving is not too tough. With developing Movement Alchemy I’ve gotten away from my daily personal practice so #1 brings me back. For #2 I love to write, this is a way to fine tune my discipline. #3 is because I am addicted to sugar. I feel lousy when I eat it in amounts I do around the holidays and I know that I have to create change in very small increments around this so that I will feel better. #4 is easy, in theory. There are few things I love to do as much as I love to read, but with my schedule I can actually go a few days without reading, so this is a reminder.

#5 is the spider, the bogey man in the closet, my Mount Everest – makes me nauseous just thinking about it. Small steps. Write it down. Say it to myself. Say it to my children. Say it to my close friends. Say it to my other friends ;> Say it to my classes. Rinse and repeat. By the end of 28 days my challenge is to have created a comfort level – of some sort – that gives me a foundation for speaking confidently about what I do.

Need some ideas?


Challenge Car Free

Challenge Dance for No Reason

2. Dance for No Reason!

Challenge Dont Complain

3. Challenge yourself to Complain Less and Keep a Tab.

4. Keep a What I’ve Done Today Journal!

Challenge Play More5. Play More!

Helen encourages a running commentary on this process and I do the same. Comment on Helen’s site, comment here, comment on Fb if you like. Don’t keep this to yourself. Make it public – commit out loud. To keep it to yourself keeps you from being accountable and I know for myself that I never accomplish anything that way. It also prevents you from receiving support.

Besides, you never know when and how your experience may be of help to someone else with a similar challenge.

Happy Day 1!

When I’m the Dark. Letting the Light In.

Dark Background

I find that there are few experiences more daunting (my word of the week), more frustrating and more liberating than realizing that I am the only one who can stop me from doing what I’m here to do.

I am the dark keeping the lid on the box.

I am the dark denying the light.

I am the dark behind eyelids I refuse to open.

I have the awareness and the ability to see through the Matrix and action will ensure that I will never be stuck in this place in quite this way ever again. Right now what stands between where I am right now and where I want to be is habit.

What stands between where I am and where I want to be is my Matrix – the file that automatically opens when I open my eyes every morning. My Matrix is my default. It isn’t the truth. It isn’t real.

My Matrix is a culmination of what people who mattered to me have told me over the years. It is what has come out of my processing of that information. Mostly old stuff that is nearly impossible to separate; a skin, while not mine has been covering me for so long that I am numb to it’s extra presence.

It is only mine if I accept and agree. Only if I agree to remain in the dark; to keep the dark around me like a blanket.

So I don’t agree, I rebel. No problem. “Better the devil you know than the devil you don’t know.”

My devil. My Matrix. My blanket, worn and familiar. The dark that prevents me from seeing through to what is on the other side of my habitual way of seeing myself.

To be clear, this is not my dark side. I’m well-acquainted with my dark side. She’s tough and outspoken with a penchant for scathing sarcasm and breaking door frames. I have come to accept and respect her. With acceptance and respect she becomes the courage to speak my heart; to be honest and open. She gives me the wherewithal to endure loss, insult, proactive lack of support and the stomach-dropping sensation of stepping off the cliff into an unknown.

This dark is not a balance of the light. It is an obstacle. It stands in the way of the light. For me, it is not affirmations that pop little holes in the blanket. It is a two-part process: Doing then Being. Every step forward that is not pulled by the past. Every follow through – no matter how small. Even if that practically invisible follow through is only for myself. It is enough to thin the fabric; to scratch the Matrix thinner. What finally allows a sliver of light is Being. In Being I acknowledge my accomplishment, and spend the time it takes for it to be written in permanent marker. When the light begins to shine through, it is sensations of appreciation and gratitude that I am gifted in Being.

Without the moment of basking; of acknowledging I move through my life without full awareness of what I am capable of. Something like taking a test at school to go from one grade into the next, but not looking at the results.

Appreciation and gratitude, for me, are swells of emotion and sensation; of softening that allow for expansion.                    A softening; yielding for growth and increase – not of pride but of love.

Without the acknowledgment and the love every accomplishment will be hollow. I will never be satisfied. I will never have enough. I will never be enough. This is where I have been. Restless. Unfulfilled. Holding myself prisoner. Chained to under-accomplishment. Tethered to disappointment.

Letting the light in is uncomfortable. For me. Like wearing clothes that are too small. And what’s with the guilt?

By letting the light in I’m flying in the face of how some who mattered to me defined me. I’m saying that they were wrong. I’m saying that my opinion of myself is more important then theirs. Who am I to be defiant – for myself? Not a little convoluted.

Like any behavior that is breaking habits in order to create significant change, this requires moment to moment attention. Awareness. Not reminders of how wonderful I am. Reminders that not taking action every day – procrastination (my “substance” of choice)- provides thread with which to reinforce the blanket.

If procrastination is the poison, awareness is the antidote.

Awareness sends up flags that it’s time to re-commit. Not only to remember to replace habitual thoughts and behavior.

The commitment – to myself and the gift that is my life.                                                                                                                 A commitment that will ripple out to my children and the world around me.

Commitment fueled by rebellion.

And love for life.

What else is there, but life?

And the only one I have is mine.

Here comes the sun

Sun Rising out of Pink Ocean