Necessity is the Mother of Invention
This morning my partner left his mobile phone at home. As a freelance self employed musician, his phone is his whole life – his diary, computer, organiser. He was going to be out all day and I knew that he was working in various places so his phone would be sorely missed if he didn’t have it. I looked at the clock – he had left 10 minutes ago to catch the train. It takes me 18 minutes to walk from my house to the station – I had less than 15.
Should I attempt to run to the station to give him his phone? This isn’t as easy as it sounds. I have a wonky left ankle, knee and hip. This is not from an injury but from my dodgy hypermobile joints (I have Ehlers Danlos Syndrome). My left knee often buckles even when I am attempting to run to cross the road let alone run any distance. According to Google maps, it is a mile from my house to the station.
I had no time to think. I grabbed his phone and went out of the door. I began to run. Snap, crackle, pop. Uh-oh, it’s not going so well, I thought. I’m not going to be able to do this.
Wait a moment, I told myself, I’m a Feldenkrais® practitioner. What do I always tell my students? Let’s focus on the process and not the end result.
The Structure of the Foot
Each foot has a total of 26 bones. We have a total of 206 bones in our body. This means that a quarter of our bony structure is in those two things that we stand, walk and run on. Without going into detail about the structure of the foot (I will write a blog at some point about the innate intelligence of the feet), you can see that it is not just a block that is encased in a shoe at the end of your leg.
I began to visualise the structure of my feet and the possible movements of all the bones, and what was needed for the running mechanism. Of course it doesn’t finish there – the foot goes into the lower leg (ankle joint) which then goes into the upper leg (knee joint). into the pelvis (hip joint) into the spine and eventually to the head. With the concept of moving each of these joints sequentially in a spiralling movement I began to run slowly, gradually picking up speed as my body intelligence took over, fed by the information I was giving it.
I managed to get to the station in plenty of time to hand my partner his phone – he was ever so grateful (I think I earned myself a few brownie points there).
“Make the impossible possible, the possible easy, the easy elegant.”
Did I run all the way? Of course not. But I managed to do more than I ever thought was possible. Does this mean I am now going to take up running as a hobby? I don’t know. I do know that I am now able to do something that I didn’t think I could do easily. Now, when I cross the road, I have new information that I can give to my nervous system in order to make sure that my weak knee does not buckle and cause me intense pain.
The Feldenkrais Method® does not aim to fix you It gives you tools to self manage which in turn gives you a sense of empowerment.
“What I am after isn’t flexible bodies but flexible brains … actually what I’m after is to restore people to their human dignity”
I’d love to hear your thoughts on the matter.
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