Tag Archives: sensation

Patience versus Frustration: Matrix Revealed

Matrix 3

Ahhhhrrrrrgh, another lesson in patience!

Patience. Frustration.  Currently co-existing.

My shoulders are whining and growling at me.

The metatarsals on both feet are complaining about the amount of time I’m spending in Bow Stance.

And my hips and knees are arguing over who is feeling the crankiest over turning.

Just when I’m having so much fun dancing the 4 newest routines, U, Feeling, Bailando and Rise – all at the same time.

Too much of a good thing?! Always a possibility. First time? So definitely not!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Now I get to figure out how many variations there are for the moves that are in relationship to pain and discomfort.

Since these are warnings and not full-blown injuries, I’m not going to stop moving.

I’ve been healing shoulder impingement issues for a couple of decades and I know that the “ball” or the top of my humerus tends to roll forward in the joint, causing significant pain.

Morton’s Syndrome and Morton’s Neuroma are yearly visitors that whisper before they scream, so reducing the amount of time I spend on the balls of my feet can often defuse a potentially challenging opportunity! (Foot “Undeez” can sometimes help as well, though not always.)

Hips and knees… 3 knee surgeries, my all-or-nothing disposition, tendencies, and tension… Nia has taught me to use my feet in such a way that allows me to do almost anything in any range of motion without pain. Turning is about the only move that can slow me down. For my hips, the deep sinks that may belie flexible and healthy hip joints are possible without pain but I’m on borrowed time. Even when my hips are painful, I can still accomplish the deepest sinking. It’s the return to the top, that the screaming begins and until I began the Feldenkrais Method training it didn’t much matter what I did or took. For me, relying on Feldenkrais to “fix” me when I do more than I should is like taking antacids so that I can eat more chili that’s going to give me indigestion or irritate an ulcer.

The fun is that I get to plunge into h o w.

Wriggle around in creativity.

Roll around in juicy inspiration.

Slow everything down so that I can see, hear and feel what I could not before. Move in such a way that reveals the subtle structure of how I do what I do – or the matrix – my personal matrix.

What is revealed is a whole new world of detail and possibility…

Part 1

Touch. Move. Feel. Move. Magic in Relationship. 1

Stone Arch

Saturday’s practice had a different feel. This morning, not unlike many or even most of the classes and practices I lead and share, held

My classes and practices, much like my kitchen, are laboratories, teeming with curiosity and possibility. I’m never completely certain how the process will turn out.

My personal practice yesterday focused on sensation through emotion and how emotion shapes the way I move and in turn how sensation shapes the way I move.

This morning was a continuation. The stimulation was touch. With a variety of objects, we moved like the squishy pig, like the poky bouncy ball, we differentiated between moving like a string of Mikimoto pearls and a string of Michael’s (craft store) clearance bin pearls. I discovered that a string of 2-inch wood dowels are more mobile and flexible than I imagined from looking at them.

I noticed how moving with squishy pig changed the relationship between my bones in a way unlike moving with a squishy weighted 5-inch ball. Then moving with a small “school yard” ball changed the relationship between my joints and the music in yet another way from the squishy weighted ball.

And in this, how was my mind and mental energy in relationship? To my body? To the music? To the objects? To the concept of practice as laboratory? How, where and when did my attitudes and beliefs join the party and what was their contribution? How did – how do my attitudes and beliefs arrive and dance in relationship to my desire?

Moving what I see can be a vastly different experience than moving what I feel through touch. I find that my movement can be directly affected by what I touch. I am a highly tactile human (as the guard at the Phoenix Museum of Art will attest to!) and I spend a significant amount of time present to what comes under my fingers. I’m drawn by texture. Not so much to get a closer look but to experience it more deeply. My visual sense isn’t enough, I want to “see” it with more of me and in texture there is movement. Give me texture, I’ll give you movement. Inversely all movement has texture.

When we went down to the floor (or deck as the case was), the Five Sensations showed up…

for tomorrow’s post.

Body Speak

Stones and Water 5


To what’s going on inside you.

Every movement and position has a different “voice”.

When you swing your arm, your shoulder communicates information in one way. When you sit for too long, your sitz bones communicate information in a different way. Pay attention to the tone. Is it a murmur or “yum” or a shriek of “nooooooooo”? Is it flat ache of a body part asking to move or the weary moan of a body moved too much?


For your way to move. You’ll know it, even if it’s buried in technique and relentless instruction. It’s voice may be almost too soft to hear, but it’s there. Shut off


this way

suppose to


And hear what your body has to say – for itself.

Your body needs no translator or interpreter. It only needs a willing listener.

Your mind does not own your body nor does your body own your mind, therefore one doesn’t know what is best for the other.

To take care of your body, don’t rely on your mind for the answers – ask your body and LISTEN.

Don’t look at your watch. Your body follows natural time and will give you the answer in that time. Listen.

This may be your meditation. This may be what you journal about.


It’s your body rediscovering it’s voice.

Listening is never a waste of time and energy.

Want to be more productive? More efficient and effective?

Listen to your body.

It’s About the Dancer, Not the Dance.

Dance ParadeNY FireDancer

It is about the dancer not the dance.

The journey within.

Guided by Sensation.

Guided by personal pleasure.

Perfection is indigenous when pleasure is present.

Move and express from the inside out.

It all begins with breath – our natural rhythm.

Inhale. Open. Expand. Fill. Nourish. Begin. Renew.

Exhale. Release. Let go. Deepen. Rest. Close. End. Fulfill. Trust.

Dance of Life.

Liquid. Gas. Solid.

Dancer. No approval needed.

Without the Dancer





Photo: Dance Parade New York

Where Did My Body Go?!?!? And What’s That Buzzing?!

Trust Yourself


My word for a beautiful and enriching weekend experience.

A word that fills me with trepidation and a thorny, trouble-hinting sensation that fills my head with word smack!


Mental Roadblock.

Sensation Obstacle.

Habitual Distraction.

Mind Tangles.

Addictive. Alluring. Familiar. Available.

Self  T R U S T

I found the place – the great big, brilliantly lit ballroom full of what pulls me away from what is possible. It is in this room that  I lose my body to all but a thrumming. All I can hear is the fear, doubt and excuses screaming across the surround sound that is my personal theatre.

I can carefully place my feet where I am sure they will not wobble. Nor will they grow stronger.

Safe and Sound and Small.

Dead Horses.

The demons can scream themselves hoarse. They’re only words. Merely images birthed by the past. Walk through them  – they fall away. They are only as real as I invite and allow them to be. Most of them don’t even belong to me; someone else’s baggage. And now mine – how sweet and generous.

Wait a minute.

Electric Color

ONLY mine if I agree and accept.

I don’t think I want to do that anymore.

I will trust myself…

to get it right

to get it right-ish

to get it wrong

to get it flaming, I-can’t-apologize-or-dig-my-way-out-of-this-one wrong

to have moments of brilliance

and moments of

more brilliance.

Yes, yes and moments of less brilliance.

Thank you Julie F for working the click out of me and thank you Jill for guiding me to empty.

There’s a Part Two coming…

It’s A Body Thing

Hands to Hara

Ok, now that I’ve gotten that off my chest and I’ve given my mind its turn, I can move on.

To my body.

This post is a bit longer than most as I’m taking you along with me in real time exploration.

I have been aware for most, if not all of my life, that when I have an experience I actually have multiple experiences.

I know a few people who might suggest that I have the experience in four realms, body, mind, spirit and emotions.

Yes. That, for me, is the abridged version.

My mind, like most, tends to box stuff into categories with nifty little labels and beautiful packaging. Purples that glow, reds that pop, silvers that glisten. It’s really lovely.

My body, however, doesn’t give a snert about packaging. It is my body’s snerty attitude that gets my attention. My mind attempts go go about business as usual and my heart is being expressed through my body sensation.

(I have this visual with my mind happily bringing in the pretty wrappings and calmly believing it is safe, starts wrapping. My body shows up. My mind proudly shows off the trappings of its own process. A flurry ensues. Silver dust everywhere. Little fires gather and release. Purple odds and end lay like tiny corpses strewn across a Martha Stewart holiday program.)

Without malice or deliberate intention, my body has its own experience. This experience is pre-verbal. It needs no words and no permission and it doesn’t wear a watch. I have come to understand that my body doesn’t process an experience in any way I cannot manage. Unless I get in the way. This is worth repeating.

I have come to understand that my body doesn’t process an experience in any way I cannot manage.

Unless I get in the way.

Since I am a whole human and not four separate Catherine copies, I have four experiences, impossible to separate yet separate nonetheless. Four experiences that flow like fluid around ball bearings being both the fluid and the ball bearings at any given moment. This process even has its own gravity, which, unlike the external gravity we know, is not a constant. It pulls and pushes in what often feels like unpredictable ways. My body sends me a sensation in response to an event, then another but in a different part of my body with varying degrees of intensity and longevity.

What I’m talking about is not my own genius discovery (dammit), I’ve just uncovered my way to communicate the concept. David Berceli talks about it. Peter Levine talks about it. They have not only written books about it but created programs around it. Actor Josh Pais has even coined a phrase, “Ride it, don’t hide it” and offers video and workshop advice on the topic.

I’m one of those people who gets the jitters when speaking to an unfamiliar crowd. Even after teaching movement classes for 18+ years, I still get a heady adrenaline shot when subbing or teaching for a Jam. I’m not talking about “oh gosh, I’m a little nervous about this”. I mean my hands shake, my legs shake, my voice shakes, my breath-pattern becomes so erratic that I might see stars and threaten to lose consciousness! I’m not exactly a do-things-halfway kinda girl.

It’s not too terribly noticeable since there is usually so much movement involved, I get to more completely release the adrenaline. If I’m speaking, though, well, you can imagine.

Processing an experience in general is not a one-time freeze frame. Two days ago I felt emotionally lost, mentally flat and dull and my body was heavy and resisted movement encouraging me to spend some under-the-covers or better yet under-the-bed time. Yesterday, my heart was lighter but more fierce, my mind a bit jangly and unfocused and my body nudged me to “blow off some steam”. My spirit, that had remained quiet (not silent) until this point also began to speak up.

Now I’m restless;  a familiar sensation. This is my body’s way. My mind is at a different point, clear, humming softly; leading me forward. My wise heart knows that I’m not out of the woods yet; there’s more to come and my spirit has aligned with my heart. Rather than popping inspiration in, there is a sense of patience as if my creative side is waiting to be informed by my heart to inspire me.

Flesh and bone. Wind and rain. Lightning and thunder. Sun and moon.

I trust my body.

I know that it will lead me through every experience with clarity. That is its nature. Pragmatic. Essential. Honest. Authentic. My built in compass.

Living in Sensuality – Be the Movement

FreeDance in White Dress

This morning I took a class at the Y called Tums, Legs & Buns. The class was taught by Kathy Ross, a highly skilled and gifted teacher. Kathy blends yoga and Pilates with conventional fitness and has always delivered an effective class. It’s been a while since I’ve taken such a class and there was a point or two during the legwork where I couldn’t think of anything except the movement. I think I can safety say that I was completely immersed in the movements! I was in the movement moment!

I doubt I was the only one.

After I got home, I still had little sensation reminders of the class.

I watched Out of Focus, a documentary about Ohad Naharin and his creation GAGA, while I ate lunch. GAGA is an improvisational practice and what I’ve been able to pick up has greatly influenced my dance – and my body. A little later I went through my freedance/improv practice, inviting some of Naharin’s comments to settle in. “Be cool,” he suggests to a repertory group of dancers he’s working with. “Enjoy your body going into the movement.”

“Enjoy your body going into the movement.”

My body relaxes just saying it to myself.

Tense, self-conscious, perfection or technique-driven movement didn’t work for the Tin Man and it doesn’t work for us either.

Last Friday morning (2am or so) I woke up unable to roll onto my right side. My shoulder was too uncomfortable. When I got up for the day, I discovered that the range of motion in my shoulder was compromised, most noticeably by pain. By Sunday I had almost zero internal and external rotation and little extension. I have no idea what I did to piss off my shoulder. I went on to teach 2 classes in a sling and planned to not only visit my favorite Feldenkrais practitioner, Julie Francis, but to also consult an sports medicine specialist. For 2 days I protected my shoulder, adjusting my normal body flow to accommodate my new restrictions. Ice. Heat. Ibuprophen. Arnica oil. No relief.

As I was getting into the shower after class, Monday I noticed just how hard I had been holding myself. Getting in and out of shirts and exercise tops was practically a tear-jerker. I took a breath and drew the exhale throughout my body, with particular attention to releasing in my shoulder. Immediately it hung more comfortably. Another couple of breaths and conscious releasing exhales and the shirt came off with less pain. I taught Tuesdays class without the sling, relinquishing level 3 workout intensity for level 3 consciousness. By Wednesday morning I was again able to hook my bra like a big girl!

I still don’t know what I did, but the two experiences brought me around to considering how easy it is to be aware of what is challenging. Often our activity can be so difficult that we cannot be anywhere else. If we’re injured in such a situation, we’ll probably remember what we did, to tell the doctor. It’s the rest of the time that I’m getting to.

How many times have you heard someone tell you, in embarrassment, that they hurt their back getting out of the tub, or getting out of the car? How about getting out of bed? These are the movements we go through without thinking. These actions are a means to an end, they’re not the main event. They’re so not the main event that most of the time we don’t have any memory of doing them – mmm, how did I get here?

I watched as Naharin’s advice to the dancers changed their movements from technical and detached to expressive and connected.

Be in the movement,” applies to everyone. Hindsight only helps in the case of accidents involving things like planes, trains and automobiles. If we weren’t paying attention otherwise, we won’t have anything to reference in hindsight.

Credits: Out of Focus is a Heymann Brothers Production and is available for $35 through http://www.heymannbrothers.com

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.

The Sensation of Self

Fire Just the Flames and Smoke

Stone Turns Black – Kaya Project

                                                                                                Quiet. Earthy. Grounded. Edgy. Steady.

 Masculine invites the dance, offering the embrace of Pulse.                                                                                                                  Feminine receives Masculine in Melody.

Gentle teeth bite down without breaking the skin.

Magnetic connection to the Earth.            Contained Hot.           Red. Orange. 1st and 2nd chakras.           Primal.


Hand Drums dance lightly.                        Strings yawn seductively,                   drawing us deeper.

Lush vocals whisper and                    murmur something I need to hear.         Spirals of sound run in rivulets through me and settle into puddles in my soft, yielding places.             Warm pulse; sensation attracting my attention.



Muscles gape.           Joints inhale. Cells fill.            Vessels empty.                   Bones exhale.

Percussion is the heartbeat leading my joints, my feet. 

A place to rest.

                             Release from alert. Release from my self.