A few months ago I spotted this on a bumper sticker on one of my local Feldenkrais students’ cars:
“Freedom is what we do with what’s been done to us.”
– philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre
It stopped me in my tracks! In so few words it affirms some of my deepest values.
It’s not the first time a new perspective on freedom has struck me powerfully. Today is the first day of Passover, and its themes of liberation remind me of the time our rabbi asked me, when we were preparing for our first child’s bar mitzvah, to summarize what I loved most about Judaism in just one word.
In a moment I knew, with total clarity: for me, that word is freedom.
Freedom is what I love most about Feldenkrais, too. In Feldenkrais study we discover that we can question our experience, and liberate ourselves from our own compulsive behaviors. Through self-education we learn how to escape habits that cause suffering in us, or those around us.
By sensing each moment more deeply we discover we have the freedom to choose how we approach the next moment, no matter what’s happened to us.
After seeing that bumper sticker I sent the line to one of my students who is a retired philosophy professor. John wrote back with this:
Your Sartre quote made me think about the relationship between Feldenkrais and aging. Aging is going to do stuff to us, and Feldenkrais give us this great gift of a mind-set and a pathway to hope, of calling on the neuroplasticity of, in my case, an 84 year-old neuro-muscular-skeletal system, to adapt in a healthy, graceful way to what aging is doing to us.
I’m 46, and I want to be like John when I grow up! Diving ever deeper into the self-discovery processes of Feldenkrais – and sharing them as widely as possible – is my path.
I chose this month’s featured free lessons below by looking at what our listeners have said about freedom in their comments over the years.
– Nick Strauss-Klein
PS – Yes, you can share this post! The lessons below are free to all. There’s no login or fee. We simply ask our listeners to donate to support our work, if they’re able.
This post first appeared as our April 2023 Feldenkrais Project Newsletter. Sign up here to receive featured free Feldenkrais lessons in your inbox once or twice a month.
April 2023 Featured Free Lessons
During Feldenkrais lessons I can…give myself the freedom to just be with the movements without judging myself.
– Teresa on Connecting Shoulders and Hips Part 1
From a tensed back to total freedom all the way from feet to head up the spine.
– Aviva on Length Without Effort (36 min)
Very different and lovely sense of my torso as I walked. Freedom and space.
…enjoying the freedom to be silly.
– Margie on Legs as Free as a Baby’s