Updated: Jun 6, 2022
“We do not grow absolutely, chronologically. We grow sometimes in one dimension, and not in another; unevenly.
We grow partially. We are relative. We are mature in one realm, childish in another. The past, present, and future mingle and pull us backward, forward, or fix us in the present. We are made up of layers, cells, constellations.”
— Anaïs Nin
Today I read: “one study found that some 8-year-old brains exhibited greater brain-connectivity maturation measures than some 25-year-old brains.” - Isn’t that funny? - The article’s summary states: “As different areas of the brain mature at different rates, neuroscientists argue it is more difficult that it seems to argue just when the brain ‘reaches maturity’.” - For policymakers, who need to come out with an age when the brain is legally an adult, that is likely an embarrassment. Otherwise, I always find this neuroscience news about the plasticity of the brain quite exciting, also because they align with the principles I work with as a Feldenkrais® practitioner. You can read in the same article: “The plasticity of the brain — its ability to interact with the environment, add new connections and grow new neurons over time–also makes it so that change is constant throughout life.” - Such is the basic assumption of the Feldenkrais Method®.
Dr. Moshe Feldenkrais wrote a very interesting book called - “Body and Mature Behaviour” - where maturity can be seen not as a stationary stage but more as an ideal state, never completely reached. A state where one’s unique ability to generate news responses to the environment would reach its ultimate perfection. For him, the path to maturity is dynamic and never ending, and mostly related with our ability to learn without internal compulsion but by conscious choice.
As children different patterns of activity were established in us by a certain regularity, repetitiveness and emotional tone from the part of our educators, but it could happen that some excessiveness made certain patterns very rigid and difficult to undo. In such a way, that no matter at what age, one still can’t dissociate certain acts from the emotive tonus with which they were first inculcated. Thus, it turns out that sometimes we are very mature in certain aspects of our lives and very immature at others. The way we respond to pleasant or distressful events is marked by a certain internal attitude, which makes all the difference to how we create healthy behaviour.
Therefore, in Feldenkrais®classes we practice to break up total patterns into their parts. Then, we reform them into a pattern, dissociated from previous experiences, and that is most suitable to the present circumstance. Dr. Feldenkrais believed that in this way we can consciously shape our nervous system, by continuously learning new patterns of action, which in our daily lives only gives us more freedom in how we respond to events, whether they are internal or external to us.
Finally, I leave you with an idea, which I keep reminding to myself, and that in Feldenkrais goes hand in hand with the search for maturity. “Perfection is as essential as its opposite, and there is no justification for becoming crazy about it. As far as potent, healthy behaviour goes, nothing is more important than the degree of internal compulsion with which we act.”
Thank you for your attention. I’m looking forward to seeing you in class.
P.S. - I highly recommend you this Free Online Feldenkrais® Summit,
with 48 live classes and teachers from around the world:
“Move Better, Feel Better ” - May 1-2, 2022. For registering go to: https://resources.futurelifenow-online.com/mbfb-atm/atw-2022
FELDENKRAIS, Moshe, “Body and Mature Behaviour - A Study of Anxiety, Sex, Gravitation, & Learning”, London, 1949
FELDENKRAIS, Moshe, “The Potent Self - A Study of Spontaneity and Compulsion”, San Francisco, 1985