The Non-Habitual Non-Habitual

Between 2002 and 2007, I taught psychology classes at the University of Utah. And I did whatever I could do to integrate Feldenkrais sessions and ideas into my classes. For example, in my infancy and early childhood classes, I would take developmental milestones such as learning to crawl or walk and teach Feldenkrais sessions about crawling and walking. It was a fascinating experience as I got to read hundreds and hundreds of 1-page "Field Notes" of the sessions that I required the students to hand in every week.

Feldenkrais "Extra Credit"

However, something wonderfully unexpected occurred when the students asked me to give them "extra credit." That is, at the end of one semester they wanted me to give them some type of extra project or paper that they could do to increase their grades.

Being very busy with my teaching load and graduate studies, I came up with the rather unimaginative idea for them to take any Feldenkrais session that they had already done and do it in some type of new context. So, if they normally did the sessions in the evening, they could choose to do one in the morning. If they normally did them at home, they could do one at work. Or they could try doing one in public or at their girlfriend or boyfriend's house. It did not matter to me as long as it was a different as possible.

I was quite surprised when their papers came back and they described radically different experiences from when they first had done a particular session. They had different emotional experiences. Some described the second context as bringing up anxiety or guilt. For some the second context was more relaxing and more impactful. Several students noted that it seemed like an entirely different session. And the field notes that they submitted were longer and more detailed. I was impressed.

I came up with the term "the non-habitual, non-habitual" to describe what they had done for themselves and I have used "non habitual" Feldenkrais strategies ever since. You can quite easily fall into doing Feldenkrais in a habitual manner and thus get less out of the sessions. The solution is to do some sessions in what would be for you the most non habitual manner that you can.

Have you ever woken up at night and could not go back to sleep? Do a Feldenkrais session. Have you ever felt bored, depressed or unable to work? Force (yes, force) yourself to lie down and do a Feldenkrais session. Do you never do Feldenkrais at a certain time of day? Do a few sessions at that time of day! Or if that seems impossible, at least lie down and do a scan. Have you never done a session at the beach or in a forest? You know what to do.

You will likely be very surprised at how different your experience is and what you discover about yourself. If you really want to evolve your life and habits at deeper and deeper levels - to break free from more and more habits and compulsions at deeper and deeper levels- doing the non-habitual non-habitual is a requirement.


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