Why I don’t fix people
I recently read an article from the New York Times, The Secret Life of Pain by Yoni Goodman. He describes his life with chronic back and joint pain for many years and then his experiences at the Mayo Clinic pain program.
The program, he states, “teaches patients not to dwell on the pain and not to try to fix it. Eventually the mind should let go.” Program participants are encouraged to give up the “props” they use to manage pain including braces, cushions, and pain medications and instead are taught to turn their mind to other strategies, such as breathing and meditation among others. The brain then learns new ways of managing the pain and the plan is for the brain to adapt to enable the person might change his/her relationship with the pain.
The Mayo Clinic’s philosophy to teach participants not to try to fix the pain resonated with me.
It embodies my work as a Feldenkrais Method® practitioner.
Every time I work with a new client or welcome a new student to class, or when I describe the Feldenkrais Method to anyone willing to listen, one of my first words are that I am not a therapist who will try to fix your problem. Rather I want to help each person learn what they are doing that might be contributing to the difficulty they are having, the pain they are experiencing or the limitations in action they are frustrated with.
I don’t believe we can be fixed, if it means to mend, repair, or restore. Instead we can continually develop, learn and refine while discovering new possibilities for movement and for relationship development with ourselves and others, and for living “aesthetically pleasing” lives, to paraphrase Moshe Feldenkrais.
True maturation, according to Feldenkrais, is to learn how to live moment to moment with awareness while finding ways to support ourselves in all ways and to act with compassion to ourselves and with elegance and ease. The movements we teach are not exercises to be endlessly repeated until we “get them right” but explorations in which each repetition presents a novel experience in which we attend to new details and contemplate new possibilities.
Those are my daily teaching goals. I love to share my passion and excitement with others; if you haven’t yet tried Feldenkrais, please consider trying a class or session this Fall.
Register today for Fall classes and workshops.
I am also continually refining myself. I’ll be in Seattle until Labour Day for the third segment of the Ideal Organization and Profound Strength postgraduate Feldenkrais program I began last summer.
See you after Labour Day.