by Beth Cooper, Guild Certified Feldenkrais Practitioner
So many times, after an Awareness Through Movement lesson, students will ask, “How do I keep this feeling?” I recently came upon a beautiful answer…
I’ve been re-reading one of my favorite books, Women Who Run with the Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estes, PhD. One of the stories she explores in the book is a Japanese tale, “The Crescent Moon Bear.” In the story, a young woman is struggling with a difficult situation at home. She goes to a healer for assistance. The old healer says she can help, but the young woman must bring her one hair from the white throat of the crescent moon bear.
The woman climbs the mountain to find the bear. She journeys through rugged hills, thorns and rocks, dense forest, and frigid snow. She encounters restless spirits whom she comforts and sets to rest. When she reaches the bear’s lair, she patiently lures it with food and tames it enough to obtain the hair. Then she makes her way back through all the rough terrain and presents the hair to the healer. The healer carefully examines the hair, commends the woman on her success, and throws the hair in the fire.
The young woman is stunned and confused. The healer says, “All is well. Remember each step you took to climb the mountain? Remember each step you took to capture the trust of the crescent moon bear? Remember what you saw, what you heard, what you felt?” The young woman says, “Yes.” The healer tells her gently to take all her new knowledge and understanding and apply it to her problem at home.
This is what the wise and wonderful Dr. Estes says about the story:
"We all face the same issue, for we all hope that if we work hard and have a high holy quest, we will come up with a something (…) that will—flash!—make everything orderly. But that is not the way it works. We can have all the knowledge in the universe and it comes down to one thing: practice. It comes down to going home and step-by-step implementing what we know."
So, there it is. How do you keep the feeling? You remember what you sensed, what you felt, what you discovered in the lesson and you take it into your everyday life and you practice. You notice how this new knowledge can inform how you walk, how you sit, how you shower, how you cook dinner, how you play with your dog. It takes some patience and perseverance. Sometimes it comes easily and sometimes you’ll feel like you’ve lost it. So, you go back and do the lesson again, or explore another lesson, to keep honing your awareness, your ability to sense yourself and discern differences.
The “magic” of the heroine’s quest is never really about actually finding the treasure chest, or the key, or the ancient scroll, or the hair of the bear. The magic in in the journey and how what’s learned on the journey informs and improves her life.