Saturday, April 29, 2006

Saturday, April 29: Being Human and Free

To be truly human we need to be able to do things in more than one way. Huh? We need to have options, choices, when we go about something or when we react to something.

Such as.

Three or more ways to sit in a chair. One way, and we are a robot. Two ways, and we are flip flop robot. Three ways, and we are free.

Three ways to walk down the street. Ohmygod. What would that mean? Try it and see.

Three ways to get ourselves to sleep at night.

Three ways to prepare a meal. Three ways to eat our meal. Three ways to answer the phone. Three ways to say hello. Three ways to say goodbye. Three ( or ten) ways to say., “Thank you.”

Three ways to get out of unhappiness. Are there three? There are more. One is to come into the present. Real presence can’t suffer. Two, is to choose to be happy, which isn’t that easy, but being a robot is always easier, and since so few people know how to simple chose to be happy, we should we? Three, is to examine our unhappiness: as sensation: what does it feel like (this is coming into the present, actually, but with the shift to curiosity: what do the sensations of this unhappiness feel like. If that is more interesting to us than attaching to our unhappiness, then we can begin to come free). Four is to examine the thoughts underneath our unhappiness, which, of course is the route of the Work of Byron Katie.

Five is to get honest with ourselves. Are we willing to leave our unhappiness behind, or are we committed to it, some strange “right” we have to maintain our feeling bad.

This is not to say we should never feel bad, but this is a sixth way out: to chose how long we want to feel bad and how much.

Or we can keep being a robot, pretending that unhappiness is some cosmic outside force, not something that we are choosing and creating. La, la. Life goes on.

Friday, April 28, 2006

Friday, April 28: The Way Out

This may sound like yesterday’s essay. So be it. It is the way out of situations we want to be out of. The situations can be physical or emotional or mental or even spiritual.

The first step is to come into the present. Forget the, Why? stuff. And just get clear on What Is.

In our waking life on earth, What Is always has this as its basic component: breathing and gravity. (Notice, I said, “on earth.” Out in space you can escape gravity, otherwise, it is a constant, either the boss or the mother, but the earth is attracted to us and we are glued to it). We can at any moment come into a concrete feeling, feeling in the sense of sensation, of the present by becoming aware of our breathing and how we are relating to gravity. What is touching down to the ground or the chair or the bed. Somewhere we are being held up. Where is that and how is that?

If we can notice this in terms of what bones are pressing into the earth and how the line of force goes from there to the rest of us, to our head if we are sitting or standing, this is even more connecting to the present.

Okay. Breathing in and breathing out and knowing that. Breathing in and breathing out and sensing our body’s relation to gravity.

And then what? Feeling if we like what we feel. If yes, enjoy it. If not: do something different.


Create a variation. Lean forward. Lean back. Shift left or right. Lift our toes. Lift our heels. Bring an arm to a different position. Change the shape of our spine. Change how our legs are positioned.

Then see if we like that. If we don’t. Try another variation. See what difference the variation creates.

And if the discomfort we notice in the present is our emotions, what can we do? Keep breathing. Keep sensing gravity. And listen to the voice behind the emotion. What are our thoughts telling us as we feel bad? What is the tone of what we are being told?

“You are so messed up.”
“You should be doing better than this.”
“So and so should treat me better.”
“I had a terrible childhood.”
And so on.

The Byron Katie work is an obvious call here: judge your neighbor/parent or whatever, write it down, ask four questions, turn it around. This is creating variation. This is doing something different than the usual sulking and obsessing. The questions give the mind something to do besides argue with reality. Is it true? Can I absolutely know it’s true? How do I react when I believe it’s true? Who would I be if I wasn’t attached to believing this thought?

And the turn around is almost to definition of variation. “My Dad shouldn’t be so critical of me.” Fine. And try this: “I shouldn’t be so critical of my Dad.” And “I shouldn’t be so critical of myself.”

In there, too, listening to the tone of voice of these thoughts: how can we change that.

Mental problems, again: come into breath and gravity reality. See what the thought and problem is. See what we’ve tried so far as the solution. Try something else. Turn the problem upside down. Look at it from a different perspective. This is a whole book, but the idea is the same:

If what you are doing isn’t working, do something else. Plus the Zen touch: come to the present of breath and gravity. Maybe that is enough to create an ease and solidity from which real change and enjoyment can come.

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Thursday, April 27, 2006

Thursday: April 27: How we heal

My step daughter is into some back issues, and doesn’t particularly want to take advantage of the miracles that Feldenkrais® can provide. So be it. This is good for the part of me that thinks that everyone should be as excited as I am about this amazing system. Other people are what they are.

But it got me to thinking about what are her alternatives, which got me to thinking about a core issue: how do we go about healing? Or, asked another way: what is gong to heal us.

Time might heal, in the sense that if we leave something alone, the body will have the wisdom to get better.

Doctors might heal with various drugs that either kill off various pesky intruders, or create conditions for the body, once again, to heal itself. Trouble with most of these drugs, is that they stress the body also, and provide one more foreign agent against which the body needs to defend itself.

Physical therapist and Pilates folks might heal, by giving ways to get stronger, which is to say, exercise might heal.

And then there is this illusive core to ourselves, awareness. Awareness is so subtle , just knowing how we are sitting right now, how we are breathing right now, how we are walking as we walk. How can that possibly heal?

I’d say, how can it not heal? If we can feel exactly what is going on, we can create slight shifts that show us easier and more pleasant pathways and patterns of movement. We can treat ourselves as a living set of amazing possibilities, rather than some sort of machine that needs to be fixed. The healing then becomes almost a game: let’s try this and see what happens. Let’s try this and see if I can make things a little worse. Let’s try this and that and see how the results alternate. Awareness leads to learning and that is the way of all real healing.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Wdnesday, April 26: Health Tips, my take on this

I think anyone, who wants, could benefit from the Byron Katie work, and the Feldenkrais work. Health stuff, I think we could all use, but the following are my own idiosyncratic conclusions, and I’m not really sure what would be good for whom. But somewhere in here good health can be found, or health can be improved.

1) Eat organic.

2) Eat stuff in season.

3) Eat stuff not from cans or packages. Throw away the microwave.

4) Don’t eat sugar, diet stuff, any soft drinks, anything with preservatives and so on.

5) Let the coffee go.

6) Eat one or more raw foods meals a day. Easiest probably is breakfast: some fruit topped with a smoothie of soaked nuts or seeds ( soaking helps deactivate enzyme inhibitors) and some sweetener ( banana, stevia) in the smoothie. Dinner of salad with a dressing/smoothie of soaked seeds/nuts/ginger/spices/seaweed/organic apple cider vinegar/olive oil/flax oil ( or soaked and ground up flax seeds, or flax seeds thru a coffee grinder) and so on, is the second easiest.

7) Less dinner than lunch. This is hard. Early or no dinner is really good and is even harder.

8) Outside everyday, walk, garden, ride a bike.

9) Stay out of cars at least two days a week, if you can.

10) Get some high quality enzymes to eat if you eat cooked meals.

11) Consider occasional raw animal protein: raw milk, butter, cheese, and even meat/fish.

12) Seaweeds are hugely healthy. Celtic sea salt is on the way there.

13) Greens are the foundation of health, the more strong the better, with weeds and wild greens being the best.

14) If you can stand it, give up bread and pasta. Only eat whole grains, as whole grains, as in rice, wheat berries, oat grouts, millet, quinoa, and so on. Add organic butter and they’ll taste great.

15) Again, if you want to aid digestion and health, mix grains with veggies, and protein with veggies, but not grains with protein. This is hard, but satisfying once you get the hang of it.

16) Water and liquid: good.

17) Happy thoughts: good.

18) Getting to bed earlier: good.

19) Regular learning and pleasure: very good. Feldenkrais is a good way to get both in at the same time.

20) Being present is harder than having Feldenkrais to do, and is to be recommended at all times that it can be done.

21) Practice the three L’s: laugh, learn, love.

22) Liking is almost loving, and breathing in and breathing out is something that can be liked any moment we are awake.

There’s probably more, but I’m bored with this. Variety is good, and stopping things when enough is enough is good, and learning to be focused as well as imperfect is a fine habit to cultivate.


Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Tuesday, April 25: Discrimination in a good sense

I had a nice talk with my young client, whom I’ll call Dickon. The talk was about discrimination, a key concept in Feldenkrais work, the ability to tell differences. We got into the talk because I’d asked him to think about two things. One, what did he want? He forgot to think about this. And two, what did he think his “problem” was. We don’t like diagnosis in Feldenkrais, it’s an excuse to think something’s wrong with the client, rather than focus on what improvement could be made, but I knew that a lot of the world’s attention had been focused on “What is wrong with Dickon?” and I knew he must have some ideas or concepts about this, so I wanted to find out what they were. He’s eleven, and a bright young lad.

His guess as his “problem” was that he wants to hurt himself. All the time, I asked, No. Today? No. But sometimes.

That seemed like a good time to good into discrimination. You’ll see why in a bit.

I asked him to ask me if I liked people over to visit at my house,

He asked. I answered: it depends. Interesting people. People who are aware, yes. People who are just yammering, no.

I asked him to ask me if I liked to shake hands with people.

He asked. I answered, it depends. Some people hardly even touch, and that’s creepy to me. Others shake so hard I don’t like the feeling. Some shake an okay pressure, but they aren’t really there with me, and that’s boring. But a few are actually in contact with me when they shake and I like those.

That’s discrimination.

I reminded him of the other day in a lesson when I’d done something he thought was uncomfortable and he told me and I praised him for speaking up when something was uncomfortable. That’s discrimination, knowing how we want to be touched and don’t want to be touched.

I said that this ability to discriminate how he liked to be touched should make it hard to hurt himself, because when he’s hitting himself it must not be the way he wants to be touched.

He agreed with that. We went over this a bit. Paying attention to how he touched himself was important to discriminate here. He agreed.

There was a little more talk, on a related topic, but this enough for one piece. If we can be clear how we want others to treat us, can we begin to treat ourselves that way. A nice idea for me, too. How about you?

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Sunday, April 23: One Reason I was a Good Dad

I keep hearing people talk about troubles they are having, or had with their teenagers and I keep wondering if I failed my kids somehow by having hardly any hard times. Then I remember some things I did that were fairly brilliant, and think: okay, you do some smart things and you get some great results.

In one phone conversation with my son when he was in high school ( he lived most of the week with his Mom), I knew I’d been a success as a Dad. In this conversation, he told me that he was bored and wanted to stop talking. This to me was a sign of two things: one, he could be honest with me. Two, when we were talking, he actually wanted to be, because he’d tell me if he didn’t.

In a car ride across town when he was younger, I was apologizing to him for not having much money and not being able to get very fancy with him. He told me that all that meant nothing compared to what he did have with me, the ability to be honest when he was annoyed at me, or fed up with school.

How did we get to this fine state?

When he was fairly small, I heard this idea, and gave it a go. The idea is based on this clarity: to a small child an adult is like a seventeen foot high giant. And in that small child’s life, no matter how good a parent is, they are constantly telling the child what to do, even if it’s fine and good things like eating their carrots or staying out of busy roads.

So this is the life of a small child: around seventeen foot high giants who are always telling them what to do. To me, that seemed like it must be at least annoying, and sometimes really infuriating. So I’d request of my son at various times when we were just doing this and that: “Tell me you hate me.”

I know, I know, hate is so harsh, blah, blah, blah, but I wanted him to say the worst, and not feel like it was big deal, so that when the times came up he really did hate me, he could feel it and not feel bad about feeling it, and could say it and not feel bad about saying it.

And so it went. At random times I would ask, and he’d tell me, “I hate you, Dad.” I’d be pleased. Sometimes I’d say flip things, like, “Sometimes I hate you, too.” Or, “Sometimes I hate me, too.” All this with a sense of humor. It seemed obvious and natural to both of us that anger would be part of a relationship were there is dependency on one side, and most of the control on the other, and one side is stuck in taking care of this parasite, and the other side is stuck in putting up with being taken care of by this sometimes idiotic giant.

So, that’s one thing I did for the boy. Not bad, eh?

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Saturday, April 22: Good stuff with a fine young lad

Do you like to look people in the eyes?


That's fine, but how about some variety from looking at the floor around people. How about sometimes looking over their heads. Or sometimes looking at their hair and they'll think it's looking at their eyes.

He looks at his Mom. "Hey, Mom. Am I looking at your eyes?"

She thinks yes. "No. I'm looking at your hair." He's delighted. Now he has an option to looking down.

I suggest he can also look at the ears, too. He likes that.

This is what we need to change to be happy. Not rules on how to stop behavior that is bothering us or others, but a variety of options so we aren't stuck in any one pattern.

What is life about anyway, if not being happy, being aware, learning, and loving, where loving can be all the way from liking someone's smile, to being useful to another human, to being mad out full on in love?

Friday, April 21, 2006

Friday, April 21: Improvement is Possible, Free Sessions for Kids with Neurological Issues

On Apr 19, 2006, at 8:40 PM, someone emailed:

Hi Chris,
I saw your ad in the tribune stating free lessons for children with neurological issues. My son is 11 years old and was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome and OCD over a year ago. Do you think you can help him, and if so how. Are you really offering free help?

I answered:

I am really offering free lessons until finishing the third segment of
my mastery training in late June
(even then, I’ll probably do one or two free first lessons for these children)
for more on the training

Do I think i can help?

How: it's a long story,
the short version is:

We came into the world as blobs
and the main job
of the brain
and is: learning to move
and think
in a coherent way

And Feldenkrais
more than any other system
in the world
tapes into the deep job
of the brain
the job
of learning via awareness
and movement
and intention
and connection

when done right
and we are learning the best via Anat Baniel
anyone, from Michael Jordan,
to a girl I worked on in new York
with half her brain removed,
can improve

If you can notice
and love the little improvements
you and your son can build and build
to place none of us can know

i have a phone number
and work out of my house
which is near the Sonoma Valley Library.

Lessons are about a half an hour
you are welcome to be there,
or to go to the library
or Sonoma market while
they are taking place.

They will seem strange to you
because no "fixing" goes
as will happen with almost anyone else he sees,

I am looking for a learner
not at a person
with anything "wrong" with them

(I did like some of what they did in Son Rise,
the book
but that's not my expertise,
it's just along the same lines of thinking
that everyone
has huge capacities to learn
that can be tapped into)

and be of good cheer


Our first lesson was like this. A fine young man came in. He didn’t especially want to look at me, or shake hands. Fine. I told him we’d have a great time because we’d be involved in learning and he got a sinking look. Apparently some other people had offered “learning” in the old style: let me shove something down your throat.

I said, No, this is real learning. You’ll see.

I asked him if he could turn his head without turning his shoulders. He tried and could.

Could he turn his shoulders and not his chest? People can, but he couldn’t. No right answers: just exploration.

I gently moved his knees back and forth ( he was sitting) and asked him what else was moving. This chest? His back? Yes. How did that get from legs to back? “This thing” as he motioned toward his pelvis. “Yes, the pelvis.”

I asked him if the ribs and the spine move together. Yes. How come? He wasn’t sure. I asked him to feel my spine and where the ribs came out from the spine. He did. And asked him to notice how if I moved my spine, the ribs had to move. He noticed.

Then I asked him if he’d like to discover some more about his ribs and spine. Yes. So I asked him to lie on his side and we began to explore his spine and ribs and if the spine moved, what else did? He got fascinated, and we were off and running, eventually opening the shoulder and leg on the up side to move with great fluidity and grace and understanding of their connection to the spine.

He had fun, he got up noticing a big difference one side to the other, and best of all, he got up liking himself more,, pleased to be such a good learner. And now, learning seemed like a fun thing, since it wasn’t about doing anything right, but was about discovering more about himself and how to be more comfortable and connected to himself.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Thursday: April 20, Do Yourself a Favor

Come to a lesson where you will:

•Move in new ways or ways you haven’t since you were young.

•Connect parts of yourself ( including awareness) that have been strangers for years.

•Come into a state of presence and pleasure and curiosity

•Turn on your learning switch

•Improve coordination and strength, without effort or strain

• Get smarter

Groups lessons are available:

Thursday night, 6:30-7:30 PM, call for location

Sunday evening, 5-6 PM, at Sonoma Ballet Conservatory ( going to 4:45-5:45 when Jewel’s dance starts up again)

Individual lessons, called Functional Integration®, radically improve function, feel great, are gentle and amazing, healing if that’s what you need, or the gateway to tremendous improvement in some sport or activity, and enhance a sense of well-being. Free lessons for any children with neurological issues.

Daily, almost essays at, though today, this is what you’ll see, but yesterday’s was about Buddha and wanting, and the day before’s was about giving what you want to get, and so on.

Phone, at 996-1437, hope to see you soon.


Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Wednesday: April 19, Want What you Want

The Buddha says: desire brings about suffering. Or maybe not the Buddha, but somebody says that. And it’s usually true, unless you add one magical ingredient. Non-attachment to the end result. What does that mean?

You want something. You ask for it. Ask your partner to give you praise. Ask your boss to give you a raise. Ask the universe to discover the secret to the Maze. And then, you get it, or you don’t get it.

The goal is to be clear about what you want and make gestures in that direction. Then to keep being present to what happens. You get the praise, not the raise, still confused about the Maze.

Oh, well. We can be amazed at the maze, and just a little lazy about believing the part of us that wants to have a big old fit if we don’t get our way.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Tuesday, April 18: Give what you want to Receive

Marlie did it! She pulled off a wonderful yoga class this morning, directly after moping about and telling me she wasn’t inspired, and didn’t want to teach and wasn’t in the mood. You know that feeling of not wanting to jump ahead and do something that you are slotted to do.

She’s a great yoga teacher and she’d let her mind tell her that this wasn’t what she wanted to do this morning. Trouble was: whether she wanted to or not, the class was coming up.

She teaches a style called Anusara Yoga, which is a connecting to heart as well as aligning the body. Different than many types of yoga, the teachers are supposed to have an ongoing theme to tie each class together, a heart theme, not a “this is a hip opener class” theme.

So I suggested to her to come up with a theme that she’d want to hear to cheer her up and get her in the mood to give a great class.

She did, picking Courage as her theme, courage as something always in us, always available, if we are willing to just reach inside and tap it. She tapped her courage to give the class and reminded us to tap ours when trying something a little difficult. Of course, I wouldn’t have minded a little Feldenkrais emphasis on exploration as well as courage, but she was the teacher and the class was great and she’d turned her moping into brilliance.

This is the principle: what we want to get, give. If we want attention, give attention. If we want to be listened to, listen. If we want to be supported, support others.

It’s a good one, eh?

Monday, April 17, 2006

Monday, April 17 : What to do when someone is annoying

This is one of the annoying things that happens in life. Someone comes along, a visiting relative, a perfect mate who suddenly isn’t so perfect, a new workmate, whatever, they get it into their minds to be a jerk and boss you around or yell at you, or accuse you of absurd things. You know the situation: someone is giving us a hard time.
What to do?
Don’t take it personally is the beginning and the end. The old Byron Katie ide of my business, your business, God’s business. I teach this to kids. “When your mother is in a bad mood, whose business is it? If you get upset about your mother getting upset, whose business is it?”
From the point of view of their behavior being their problem all sorts of possibilities exist:
1) Ask them if they are really dong what they want to be doing.

2) Tell them the truth, from your point of view. “You might think you are doing this to help me, but when you….., I feel …(angry, sacred, disrespected, little, whatever.)”

3) Tell them what you wish, realizing that their job in life is not to do what you wish, nor even to listen. But at least let it be known. “I’d prefer it if you wouldn’t yell at me.” “I’d prefer it if you’d not rearrange my stuff.” “I’d like it quiet when I’m reading.”

4) Just watch them go through what they go through and try to imagine what is motivating them. What is this telling you about how they must feel and live from their insides.

5) Go into happiness at being you and being able to follow your breathing and sense gravity while they are doing whatever they do.

6) Watch your own freaking out responses, get out a pencil, write them down, and do the Judge your neighbor, Write it down, Ask four questions, Turn it around, work of Byron Katie.

7) Watch your own freaking out responses, do the work and end up grateful at the chance to learn to be cool while they are showing you how to disconnect from your buttons.

8) Ask them what it is like to be them.

9) Ask them if they know they are bothering you.

10) Discover how not to be bothered ( see above), and ask them if how they behave is supposed to be bothering you.

11) Watch the whole thing and think of how amazing it is to be alive and to have this sort of nonsense to watch.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Saturday, April 15: Rests and Mistakes: Good


To move a new way is to learn something easy and delightful in life. To be compelled to always move a new way, would, I think, be tiresome. To build strength is fun, if we allow ourselves lots of chances to experiment on the way, and if we take it out of the gym, into the garden, into the yard, into the fields, into the streams. Life is fun when we use ourselves, especially with rests when we are worn out.

The other night I had a great birthday present, as I’d fallen asleep in a field after wearing myself out with too much celebratory eating. I returned twenty minutes late to an Awareness Through Movement class I was supposed to be teaching to find my sweetie, Marlie, reading AY 101 as the lesson. I lay down, and got to do the lesson with the others. It was “hard” as a hard yoga class is, but with all the rests, the “hard” became really exciting and rewarding. I got excited to teach this whole volume of AY.

Riding a bicycle, I’ve discovered again the way we used to train on a waterpolo team. Swim a fast lap, rest a little, swim another. On the bicycle this translates to riding hard for a little while, then riding soft, then riding hard, actually trying to keep the breathing, my breathing, smooth the whole time. The wish for my breathing to get more labored being the single to go slow.

Damn, I’m driving the car to pick up Marlie at the garden today, and writing this has me wishing I could be riding my bike. It’s so fun to put in effort that is exhilarating rather than exausting. Exhausting. There. That’s how you spell that word.

Sometimes spelling is exhausting. Like my friend Gisela says. We have this fear of making mistakes, which takes so much fun out of life. I mean, once we are dead, there’s an eternity of not making mistakes. While we live, we might as well live.

Think I’ll go take a useless bike ride, just for the hell of it.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Friday, April 14: Getting Smarter

I’m spending some time in a local classroom, and in a way it’s heartbreaking. The kids, of course, are wonderful, and the teachers think they are teaching, but almost all of what I see is training: this is the right way to do it, do it the right way. This is fine for dogs or monkeys, but human beings, we like to learn.

Learning is having options and then choosing between those options. Learning is messing around and discovering what is the right answer for us right now. Learning is exploring which answer works in which circumstance.

Feldenkrais was an heart an explorer of the terrain of learning. He saw, quite clearly the effects of the Day the Waters Changed, in yesterday’s mentioned Sufi story. We are dependent on people who teach us to be afraid and constricted and narrow minded. How to come out of this?

Returning to learning how to learn more easily and efficiently is a return to our first and primary leaning, a return to sensing, which to my mind is the language of the brain. Sensing and exploring movement and learning by trying out lots of possibilities. This is why I’ve started to say in my Feldenkrais ads that among the usual benefits of more flexibility of mind and body, is the straightforward claim: get smarter.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Thursday: April 13, Happy Birthday, and The Day the Waters Were Changed

My birthday today
so happy day
to me
and to you.

and, continuing from the posting of yesterday afternoon:

Why would someone tell us an untruth? Hmm. This is kind of like asking, why do people lie? To make this really useful, I’d ask: why do I lie? Me. Yeah, me.

Moshe said, thinking that doesn’t lead to improvement is worthless. He may have said it’s mental masturbation. If I think about why I lie, I’m much more ready for improvement in the world, than if I think about why others lie.

So, why do I lie? Or like this: why do we lie. Now I don’t feel so lonely.

Which is one reason, I lie: to fit in.

I recall in my training not telling people their touch was not so good. Why didn’t I? Didn’t want to hurt their feelings. Didn’t want them to dislike me. The invisible ethos of Be Nice.

One reason, we lie is that we were raised by folks, who when we were young geniuses figuring out how to roll over and sit up and crawl and walk and talk, were, relatively speaking: morons. They were worried about what the neighbor’s thought, or whether they were getting their fair share of attention, or how they looked in each other’s eyes, or the bosses eyes, or whatever.

We were small and smart and the giants that took care of us were busy feeding us the lies that they had been fed. “You are making me angry.” “You are making me happy.” “If you do this and this my way, I’ll like you more.” “If you do this and this, you’ll ruin my day.” Lesson after lesson in denying responsibility and lying about who was in charge of their feelings.

And then all the upside down, anti-Buddhist lessons, lessons that taught us over and over to feel bad, frightened, worried, a failure when things changed. Someone dies, someone leaves, loses a job. The world is supposed to be always the same, so feel bad.

They taught us this great lie: it is what other people think, want, feel and approve of that matters. Look outside for your reference, for your truth, for your guidance.

They also had this great confusion of which Moshe speaks: they confused speaking with thinking. So, any old words out of their mouths they confused with truth, and so we grew up to think any old set of words was true. This went along with no or little differentiation of opinion and truth, so that we could watch our parents over and over pound away at each other, each positive that their opinion was the truth and the other’s opinion was false.

I could go on, the history of humanity, in a way, but there is a Sufi story which tells it more poignantly: called the Day the Waters Changed. From Idries Shah’s book, Tales of the Dervishes.

One there was a village, and Khidir, messenger of the unseen world came and warned people: on a certain day, the waters will be changed and everyone who doesn’t have a special store of the old water will change and become crazy. Only one man listened and hoarded his water. On the appointed day, sure enough, the waters changed, everyone else drank and began to get crazy. Our friend, sad and a little worried, noticed this, but he has his special water to keep himself sane. Finally though, the loneliness got to him, and he went and drank the new changed, now regular water. He too went insane, forgot his stores and went insane like the rest.

But now he fit in.

This happens to us around what? Two years old? Three?

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Wednesday, April 12: Why would someone tell an untruth

This came from a forum invitation to read my truth list.
And then a question and some answers.

My question about your truth:
Why would someone tell an untruth?

1) They are being paid to do it
2) They wish it was true
3) Somebody told them it was true
4) To protect themselves, (from scorn, liability, exposure, punishment etc.
5) To protect someone they are concerned about
6) To convince someone to do something they want them to do
7) To prevent someone from doing something they do not want them to do
8) To see if someone can tell the difference
9) To determine peripherally relevant facts
10) To get someone to go to a Pilates class

Bob Schulenburg

Wednesday, April 12: How to Feel Good

Getting up this morning, I moved slowly, interested in how I could do the “normal” things with more awareness. That made life interesting, pleasant, sweet.

Then, speaking of sweet, my Sweetie did something different than the way Chris as God wants things done. I followed my breathing. I realized she had better things to do than remember all of Chris as God’s rules.

I set a timer for 16 minutes and did pretend yoga, or yoga with a Feldenkrais flavor, going slow, exploring, trying different options, never getting a pose “right.”

Then I had some fresh lemon juice from a fresh lemon, and swished out my teeth so the juice wouldn’t melt the enamel. And I put away the dishes and puttered around the kitchen and kissed my Sweetie on the back on her neck, a sweet spot.

She was busy and this even annoyed her a little and I followed my breathing and loved all of that.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Tuesday, April 11: I Wonder

How to have a wonderful life? Among other things ask, I wonder….? This is advice that Anat Baniel gives as central to how to go about giving hands on lessons with children, or adults. Taking an attitude of curiosity, we set up conditions to encourage curiosity. Win, win, won, won, wonder full, wonder full.

I wonder what I’m going to write next?

I don’t know.

A voice says: you should know. The Byron Katie system gives me a break, with the question, Is it true I should know what’s going to come next. If I know what’s going to come next, there is a certain security, and the thrill of being in the moment and discovering the next moment as it unfolds is gone.

Apparently the above paragraph was what I had next. Then a voice could say, this isn’t good enough, and the BK work asks: Is that true? And, How do I feel and react with the “This isn’t good enough?” Riff. Weary. I’m tired of that voice. Aren’t you. And the fourth question: Who would I be without that story? Just me, writing along, neither good enough, nor not good enough, just following what happens next.

And I’m ready to stop. And a voice says, “This should be longer.” Is that true?

I don’t know. Maybe not.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Monday, April 10 : 35 truths

Some things are true, and some are kind of true and some are just bullshit. A guy yesterday asked me what was true. It was a good question but he was pretending to be Mr. Wise. I picked up a flower, held it in front of his face and said, “When I let go, this won’t go up. That’s true.” I let go and it fell. He got all pushed out of shape and said, “You don’t want to learn,” and walked away. Fine by me. I thought the questions was a good one, though.

Here’s some truths, as I understand this Life thing as of now.

1) Gravity is a major organizing force for life on earth.

2) Whatever I think or believe about gravity has no effect on whether a rock or flower will fall when I drop it.

3) What I think or believe about my mate will probably have an effect on how we get along.

4) When people don’t get along, usually one or both are interested in proving that they are right and the other person is wrong.

5) This usually leads to unhappiness, since people don’t like to be put in the wrong.

6) Often the choice when people don’t get along is between being happy and being right. And if the argument is to continue, all you have to do is keep insisting that you are right and the other is wrong.

7) People who can listen to other people are rare.

8) If you can listen to other people, sooner or later you’ll hear how they are right from their point of view.

9) People can learn, and many choose not to.

10) When we are born into this world we are essentially blobs that are great at learning.

11) We learn to roll over and sit up and crawl and walk and talk. We learn this without consulting any time schedules of how many weeks old we should be to crawl or roll over or walk. We learn by experimenting and curiosity and trying this and that, and resting when we’ve had enough, and going down a lot of dead ends. We learn by giving ourselves an opportunity to experience a huge variety of possibilities.

12) This is still a great strategy for learning.

13) If we are afraid to experiment and make “mistakes,” chances are we won’t learn much.

14) In a interpersonal thing, if someone tells me I’m not listening, two things are probably true: one, I’m not listening. Two, the other person isn’t listening.

15) If I tell another person they aren’t listening, this is always true: I’m not listening.

16) Listening to myself when I “make mistakes” is a way of learning.

17) People breathe. This is essential to life.

18) So is movement. Life is moving: to eat, to find a place to sleep, to make housing, to reproduce, to play musical instruments. Without movement there is no life.

19) Improving movement can improve all of life.

20) I am either breathing in, breathing out, holding my breath, or between in and out breath, or between out and in breath.

21) I can be aware of this.

22) I can be unaware of this.

23) I can be aware of my awareness.

24) To not be aware, I am doing something else.

25) To not be happy, I am doing something else.

26) To not move with ease and grace, I am doing something else.

27) Discovering the things I do with I am not aware, not happy, not moving with ease and grace is a big step to improvement.

28) To be able to change I have to know what I’m already doing.

29) To be able to change is interesting and gives me freedom.

30) Freedom feels good.

31) Feeling good feels good.

32) Someone will come along sooner or later and try to tell you that you should only feel good the way they think you should feel good.

33) We have a choice of whether we believe them or not.

34) We have a choice, though usually we don’t’ take it, or whether or not we believe a huge amount of things we have been taught, told and force feed.

35) To be aware helps us wise up to the possibilities all these choices offer.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Saturday, April 8: Secondary Gain

There’s an interesting book out there: Why People Don’t Heal. It’s about the subtle and powerful pull of the gains some of us get from our “issues.” Here’s how I see what goes on when someone is in a long term trouble situation.

One, the patterns in the brain aren’t working to really get the person the outcomes, the movement, the life they want. Feldenkrais can take care of that.

Two, they might be adding fuel to their fire with all sorts of internal negative remarks: I’m such a loser. This isn’t fair. When am I going to be well. What’s taking so long. This is proof that life sucks. And so on. The way out of this is to do the Work of Byron Katie.

Three, they are getting the goodies from their ailments. They get attention. They get people to do things for them. They get to be weak and have other people take care of them, or rearrange things for them, or wait for them, or stop everything while they have a crisis. And so on. Tempting stuff, to be a baby again, to have helplessness give us the power to control the universe, or so it seems.

What’s the way out of this? Friends who say, No. A sense of humor about our wish to control the world. Doing the Katie work when we start to think others aren’t “supporting” us enough, or aren’t “compassionate” enough. Being present and looking around and seeing: Wow, what a sly dog I’m trying to be. Is this really how I want to live?

And actually, another kind of false secondary gain can go on. An imagined punishment to whomever we think was bad to us in the past. So and so (often long dead) will feel really guilty when they see what sorry shape they’ve put me in. To get out of this hole, everything would help. Feldenkrais to get into fun and learning and the present. Coming into the moment to realize so and so is dead or not here. Doing the work on the always mistaken notion that some They is causing our pain, and coming back to the freedom of realizing that in our own mind, we are doing the hatchet job.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Friday, April 7: A deep and useful meditation

Here’s a deep and useful meditation. Sit in a chair, close your eyes and go through a trip around the world in your two arms and two legs. Start with the right foot. Sense it deeply, all the bones, muscles, nerves, fluids. Everything you can be aware of. Start at the toes and work your way to the ankle and then move your sensing awareness up your right leg to your right hip joint.

Where is the hip joint? This is pretty amazing to discover.

Then sense the entire right leg.

Keep sensing your entire right leg and begin to add of the fingers of your right hand. Slowly work your way in awareness and sensation, up your right arm. Then fully sense both the right leg and right arm, from toes and fingers up to hip joint and shoulder.

Keep sensing those two and jump across to your left shoulder and begin to sense down the left arm. Fill it with awareness. Fill you with awareness of your left arm, as you move slowly down to the fingertips. Then sense the entire arm along with your right arm and right leg.

Keep sensing those three and add on the left leg, sensing down from the left hip joint, slowly and sweetly through the leg until you come to the toes. Now sense all four, feel the right and left sides of you and then add on the spine, starting with the sacrum and working your awareness way up to the base of the skull. Now fill in the pelvis and the ribs and the head and the shoulder blades and sense your entire skeleton, but with the five lines as the guiding template.

Now keep sensing that and be aware of sounds coming in your ears.

And then, add to the five lines and sounds, light coming in your eyes, reflected light. To do this you will probably have to open your eyes. Now you have attention in and attention out. Get up, go about your day and see how often you can keep this animal-like state of heightened awareness..

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Thursday, April 6: Going Slow

If we want to be happy, we need to come back to this moment. If we are in a rush we are at the next moment, and we can’t be happy. No, it is worse than that: if we are in a rush we are nowhere, because our bodies are here, without our sensing and awareness and our mind is there, without feeling and sensing . Between the place where we really are and aren’t paying attention, and the place we think we want to be there is a chasm, and into that chasm falls:
Our lives.

This very breath. It is so easy to say, so easy to forget and then the remembering can be either a sweet homecoming or more of the same old nonsense of scolding ourselves for not being perfect. But we aren’t perfect and can either have a sense of humor about that, or get mean with ourselves. Being mean is no fun, so we might as well get a sense of humor.

Sometimes we forget to be present, sometimes we remember. All we need to do is cultivate a sense of the difference, the delight in being present and let that delight be our guide.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Tuesday, April 4: The Language of the Brain

Sense your right hand. Now sense your left hand. Who did that?

You did.

That is who you are, someone, something, an organic being who has awareness and can shift it from one place to another. And why do we have this at our core? So we can reach out with the right hand or the left hand and pick an apple or a fig off a tree and put it into our mouths. This brings pleasure, and if we are hungry, helps keep us alive. We learn to move when we are young so we can become independent beings that don’t need to be carried around or fed, we can dance with another person, and then maybe mate with that person and keep the whole show going on.

And if we couldn’t move awareness from one hand to another, none of this would happen.

We are life, in a field of life, and when we wake to the moment, we can sense our arms and legs and spine, we can sense our breathing, we can get a deep sense of ourselves. This is our birthright, which we often throw away with all the mental chatter in our minds. Can we stop this chatter? Sometimes, usually by giving ourselves something more interesting to do, like learning a musical instrument, or reading a good book, or learning to move in new and unexpected ways.

We can meditate, which rarely stops the chatter, but it gives us a chance to see what the chatter is all about. Are we making plans, imagining arguments, rehearsing speeches, worrying about our health? To see where the attention goes when we sit down to stay present is to begin to understand the structure of our unawareness. This is important, to learn how our not doing is a certain set of doings.

So when we can’t easily move our arm say, this is a set of doings. We do certain things, usually stiffening the ribs and de-activating the pelvis and lower back and by doing these things make a certain trouble for our arm. So planning and worrying and inner argumentation are doings that keep us from being present in meditation.

Is being present better than not being present? Try both and see which you like better. If being present sounds like too big a job, start simple: sense your right hand and then move the awareness over to sensing the left hand.

Who did that?

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Sunday, April 2: The Importance of Laziness

Some days we just feel it’s great to be alive. This is a sign to us: pay attention and see if you can have more of your days like this, or all of our days.

Today is one of those days. The weather is mild and pleasant. I don’t have pressure to get anywhere on time. I have some time to myself to putter in a garden or putter in reading or putter in Feldenkrais, time to move gently and with awareness and keep heightening my pleasure and knowledge of how I connect to myself.

This is nice.

All days aren’t like this, but the hints are there, the hints are there: slow down. Pay attention. Do at least a little bit of conscious and pleasurable movement. Keep learning. Come back to that softness that happens when we follow our breathing, when now is not only good enough, but just fine, great wonderful.

This is a bit of a ramble. Oh, well. That’s what today is like. It’s Sunday, a day to rest, a day to do less, a day to connect with the moment and the pleasure of having a body and a mind, and bringing them back together, which they already are, and bring myself back to the present, where I already am, and allowing the seeping back in of happiness, again, that state that is there when the other nonsense is let go.

Even this essay, isn’t hard hitting, isn’t detailed, a hint of the wonders of being happy about being alive, and not much more.

Essay as gesture, which is just fine for a lazy spring day in New Jersey. Laziness as a lifestyle is hard work, actually. But a lazy day, a lazy hour, a lazy evening or morning, these are a food for our soul, a kind of gift to ourselves. A kind of way of being kind to ourselves. . I came out to learn a lot on the east coast. I did. Now, I have the day I planned to take it easy before getting in an airplane. This =day is my gift to myself. Good job, Chris. Thanks.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Saturday, April 1: Happiness is a good thing

Happiness and such.

Happiness is good. Why? It feels good, we feel good when we are happy. And this, too: we are usually more kind when we are happy. We are willing to give another person a hand, a smile, a break.

And there’s the old con: the pursuit of happiness, which, once you begin to taste real happiness seems silly. Happiness is either now, or it’s not. Of course, you can be happy thinking back over happy times in the day or the week, or thinking about someone you love or something you like, and that’s a hint:

The sunset doesn’t even have to be there to be useful for our happiness. We can remember the sunset and re-experience our happiness.

Of course, there’s the opposite, which is the great secret of misery and the way that therapists stay in business forever and ever, which is that we can mull over our past unhappiness and by going there in our mind re-induce our unhappiness.

I once had a girlfriend with whom I alternated loving and fighting. It was a drag. It was wonderful. You know the drift. She then left me and I decided to be unhappy about it. Forgetting the bad times, I concentrated on the good times, now supposedly forever gone. As if she was the cause of my happiness, silly me, instead of my story about how things were going when things were going well.

Anyway, she left, and I took the unhappy route even deeper, going over and going over in memory here days of leaving, her critical comments and so on.

And then, I had this understanding: in the present, in a nice place I just was me, standing in a garden or walking in the woods. If I wanted to drag in memories of her leaving then I was causing the unhappiness.

I also had some Byron Katie kinds of understandings: that her business was to leave me if she wanted to leave me, and my business was to decide what to do with that. I could love here for doing what she wanted. Or hate her for not doing what I wanted. One felt good. One felt bad.

To choose the way that feels good is the beginning of happiness now, not later in some vague “pursuit.”