Thursday, December 14, 2006

Miracles all over the Place, and we forget

Here's a story of Moshe working with a young man who started with trouble and had had that trouble made even worse by the "help" of surgery.

Hollyhock FlowerPhoto: R. Dale

"And I'll never forget what Karl Pribram said at the end of that 'demonstration' (for some who might not know, Pribram was a former brain surgeon turned neuroscientist/researcher at Stanford University--who came up with the "Holographic" model of the brain --which sparked Moshe's imagination no end).

"The young man had, I believe, Cerebral Palsy and had undergone brain surgery to eliminate the spasticity in his right arm. The surgeon's scalpel had slipped in the operation and mistakenly severed a nerve governing the young man's tongue.

" He could no longer speak clearly, as his tongue was not able to differentiate itself from his lower jaw. To add insult to injury, his spasticity left only for a few weeks or months-- and then came back worse than before--plus he could not speak clearly.

"Interestingly, when he played tennis, which he adored, he lost his spasticity and could also speak more clearly. And flirt with the girls. So, Moshe pulled a clean handkerchief out of his pocket, and took his tongue and moved it this way and that way --'showing off' for Pribram.

"Then after about 15 minutes, he stopped and said to the young man, "So what do you have to say".

"The young man replied--clear as a bell--"Hello".

"Not a dry eye in the house.

"Then Moshe went on and worked with his arm and soon the spasticity left. The whole thing took maybe 40 minutes, tops.

"Karl looked at Moshe, awestruck, and said--"You can do more with your hands, than I ever could accomplish with my scalpel".( Recounted by Deborah Elizabeth Lotus)

There are two miracles here: one, the work of Moshe Feldenkrais, which a few thousand of us in the world are trained to duplicate and expand upon.

And two: the reluctance of almost everyone to go through the kind of learning that this young man went through in his transformation. Moshe gave his brain a chance to rewire and to learn anew, as we all learn when we are fresh and young and alive.

We have this chance every day of our lives and throw it away, throw it away, throw it away as we muddle along doing the same things in the same way, feeling the same things, saying the same things, thinking the same things, eating the same things, running raggedy to keep a show afloat that has nothing to do with our real selves.

This is the miracle: we are alive and could be living moment after moment of newness and presence. And we forget.

This is the miracle: at any moment we can wake up and remember, once more: this is me, this is now, this is my life.

I am alive.

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At 7:51 AM , Blogger Ryan Nagy said...

Chris - Nice post. I think many in the Feldenkrais Community have experienced the frustration of:

"the reluctance of almost everyone to go through the kind of learning that this young man went through in his transformation."

However, I don't think the issue is reluctance, but disbelief. Most people simply do not know how much is possible in their own experience and how much is possible for development and change. ah well.

cheers - Ryan


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