Monday, October 22, 2012

More Thoughts on Falling




At 5 am, in the pitch-black front yard, Stella and I encountered a skunk this morning. Luckily, I had the blasting bright flashlight with me and saw the little guy before the dog did. I held on tight to the leash and got dragged a bit, but the skunk went on its merry way while we managed to slip and slide back into the house.  The dead leaves have become treacherous for me on the paths and on the wet grass over the last few weeks.  I am increasingly aware that I am afraid I’m going to fall again.

I’ve written and thought a lot about falling over the years, usually in relationship to riding my horses. So, I have some good resources to draw upon to overcome my new incarnation of this familiar fear. I have been working with Julie Connery Smith,  an excellent Feldenkrais practitioner, here for a few months to help restore my balance and awareness of movement while I’ve been in physical therapy.  For those of you who aren’t familiar with Feldenkrais, I will quote my dear friend, Mary DeBono, who performs miracles on people, horses and dogs :

“It is very common for people to hold onto protective habits since they once served a useful purpose. But these unhealthy movement patterns can cause pain, stiffness and damage to joints over time.  They interfere with freedom of movement and quality of life. Most people, however, don’t realize that they have these harmful movement habits. The Feldenkrais Method works to uncover such inefficient habits of movement and help people learn how to move in a more comfortable, efficient and healthier way.  Aches and pains often disappear. Flexibility, balance, posture and coordination improve.  Simply put, Feldenkrais helps us develop awareness, so that we can move through life with ease and grace.”

            I know what I need to do -- If I can let go of my fear of falling, I know that my range of motion will increase. As my movement becomes less braced and tense, I will be able to blend my motion and my intentions better.  I did it successfully when I was riding my horse. Now, I have to do it while I’m walking on my own two feet.  I think it has something to do with feeling grounded and solid while I’m just standing still. Some days, my whole body feels skewed towards the right since I spend so many hours in splints and exercising that weakened side.

            Another great Feldenkrais practitioner, my old friend, Alan Questel, once wrote an explanation of what led Moshe Feldenkrais to develop his practice. He understood that we are always thinking, feeling, sensing and moving. To change any one of those things would bring about change in the whole person. Movement is the most immediate and concrete of those four aspects, and changing how we move will cause dramatic shifts in the other three areas and in how we perceive ourselves.

So I know I’m going in the right direction, even if I’m out there slip sliding around in the dark. As Feldenkrais said, “If you know what you are doing, you can do what you want.” And I want to move through life with ease and grace.








11 comments:

Grey Horse Matters said...

The Feldenkrais method seems like a good idea. I'll have to look into it and give it a try. It would be nice to move through life with ease and grace, especially as I get older.

I'm happy you and Stella didn't get "scented" by the skunk. My dog Maggie got the full brunt once and it took weeks to get the smell off of her. Is it possible to go out to feed a little later in the morning when it's lighter out and less dangerous?

Victoria Cummings said...

HI Arlene - I bought some tomato juice at the store today, just in case. Actually, I was only taking Stella out for her first pee-pee of the day since she was sleeping in her crate all night. I agree that I don't feed the horses until there's some light. My daughter has to get up in the dark to get on the school bus, so Stella and I keep her company. I hope you check out the Feldenkrais links. Alan Questel has an excellent audio talk about "growing young" - which is an idea that appeals to me as I approach my next birthday.

Grey Horse Matters said...

I will check out the links, thanks. By the way I found out the hard way that no amount of tomato juice works. The best thing is to avoid those skunks!

Lori Skoog said...

Hey Victoria...if anyone can go through life with ease and grace, it is you. Let it happen.

Victoria Cummings said...

Thanks Lori - I'm not feeling at my most graceful right now!

C-ingspots said...

Aaah, to move through life with grace and ease...I haven't felt graceful for a long, long time. If only!!

billie said...

Loved reading more about Feldenkrais - have thought of finding someone to work with but never have followed through... and relieved there was no direct contact with young skunk!

Victoria Cummings said...

For anyone interested in learning more about Feldenkrais, here's link to an audio excerpt from Alan Questel about "Growing Young" : http://uncommonsensing.com/-LISTEN-TO-TALKS-LESSONS-PODCASTS-.html

Strawberry Lane said...

Moving gracefully? That sounds terrific to me. I need to check out the Feldenkrais method. Victoria, you have had amazing courage. If anyone can do it, you can!

Oak in the Seed said...

I left a comment the other day but guess it didn't pass the verification process again. Not sure it this one will either but just want to let you know I read each of your posts and hope you are doing well.
PS: Maybe use the tomato juice for breakfast (or Bloody Marys) and pick up some Skunk Off.
Stay safe in the coming storm....

Victoria Cummings said...

Thnaks DJ - I'm sorry that your earlier comment didn't go through. So, the thing I've heard about the Skunk Off is that it has peroxide in it - and my friend used it on her black dog and turned the pup a weird shade of grey. I'm going to have to investigate this further. Any suggestions are welcome!