LEARNING: How to Be Okay with Stepping Outside of Your Known!

As we developed not only in Utero but once born, our process was to learn about ourselves in our environment.  Everything was a new experience.  We became interested in observing everything around us.  In that process at first nothing was differentiated, we as babies moved a bit spastic and everything moved together as one unit.  Slowly, as we began to feel the ground force underneath us, how to push into the ground, we began to develop our ability to sense and feel ourselves in our environment.  Everything informed us.  We were endlessly curious and investigated as we learned how to move ourselves around in our new environment.  As this process became a bit more known we developed our abilities to differentiate so that our hands crossed our midline, we felt a bias that one hand came to our mouth easier, we rolled to one side faster, found our way back to our back but not without some struggle at first to find the path of greater ease.  That path of finding greater ease came with some resistance and frustration so we rested, paused and re-evaluated what was driving our attention. We explored over and over again until a pattern of ability became a habit, something we didn’t need to pay so much attention to.  Then we moved forward to another function that drew our attention.  As we developed there was in a sense an internal hierarchy of patterns of development that healthy babies find deep within us.  At some point as we continued our development we grew to a higher level of independence, this took many years of play, exploring without an intention to be good or do it right.  We were and still to this day, driven as social beings to be included, liked, loved, needed and so as we grew more and more these desires began to also mold our self image.  At some point with most of us we developed to a level where we felt, “it’s good enough” and moved on to another function.  The question is, was that level of accomplishment and development as optimal and efficient that it might not be wise to revisit some of our habits or might it be worthwhile to re-investigate some of our patterns to advance them and therefore ourselves into a more optimal functioning of mind, body and spirit?  I think so and that is my driver and life’s work as a Feldenkrais ® Practitioner and Assistant Trainer.

I developed a belief long ago that for me has been a driving force, advancing myself and my growth forward, seeking more optimal patterns that improve the way I think, feel and move.  When I move better, I like myself more,  I feel happier, my brain is freer from noise that interferes and this allows me to become more productive with less effort and exhaustion.  I’m also endlessly curious as to what makes me tick as well as others.

If every aspect of learning, adding new information into our known, comes with some level of resistance, how do we continue this process is my life’s quest!  I find many people become too habituated to their known without a curiosity to move outside of the comfort zone.  Maybe the question is, has one been pushed with too much resistance and shuts down because an experience created too much effort and lack of pleasurable experiences?

Can we find those things that appeal to us, are easier for us and from that entrance way can we find a lead into areas that are not as simple for us?  I think that is the path of optimal learning, finding the level of resistance that is acceptable, pausing and revisiting the explorations on a daily basis until they too become new habits.  Resistance begets more resistance and if learning is pushing against resistance, maybe becoming more mindful as to what is the amount of resistance we can mange is a good thing!  That seems to me to be the answer.  As babies we learned little bits with consistent explorations on a daily basis.  We didn’t give up, if we had we would not have survived.  Resistance is a good thing, it enables our bones to maintain structural integrity, it leads us to elevate to a higher level of endurance and resilience.  What we need to begin to recognize is our spectrum of tolerance to resistance.  We each have a sliding scale of what we can handle based on what we are doing.  We can begin to recognize where the level of what we can tolerate is different and in each situation learn how to modify the levels of resistance in our quest to develop.  When we can become aware of this process we can continue to learn and improve so that we don’t shut down our curiosity for an improved quality of life.

An athlete moves into resistance, increasing little bits regularly to develop and hone their skills as does a musician, any performer, a scientist in pursuit of a solution to a problem….  How can we apply these skills to how we improve ourselves is what grabs my interest.  As long as we are alive, we have the ability to grow and improve some aspect of life.  When we give up, retire from this interest and curiosity, we decline in all aspects of quality of life.  Life is a gift given to us, what we do with this gift is open to many possibilities.  How to harness the skill to improve, advance and continue growing so that from uninhibited to learning how to inhibit to over inhibiting we return to a place of balancing between what we inhibit and what we open ourselves to in our process of growth, learning, improvement and ability!

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