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Movement as Muse

By Nancy Galeota-Wozny

During the Feldenkrais Method® lessons called Awareness Through Movement®, we literally practice the skills most called into play in the creative process. How exactly does ATM prime the creative pump? It’s a slippery process—it’s as if we just fall into a creative mode without effort, and sometimes, even without intention.

I have become increasingly aware of the relationship between my own artistic development and ATM, yet I was unprepared for the work to have the similar affect on my students. Over the years I have heard countless stories from my students finally getting back to writing, or finishing the quilt they started, or getting new ideas for a program at work. The obstacles that were once in the way moved aside to let their creative force take hold. I enjoyed hearing these stories but was curious as to how the connection between ATM and creativity worked. I suspected that a unique partnership between awareness and expression can “create” a dependable and enjoyable means to tap our own creative source.

Emelio, a Ph.D. candidate, began to receive visual images (his words) after ATM lessons. It was as if his drawings drew themselves. With no training in the visual arts, he rendered these images and shared them with me with complete confidence in his own process. His expressive nature seemed to show itself after ATM. In ATM, we practice being a beginner with each lesson. We get comfortable with the raw, unfinished experience of movement. Perhaps this quiets the critic in all of us. I’d like to imagine that ATM releases an expressive force that is often dormant inside of us.

Patrice, an accomplished playwright, was experiencing a slowing down in her writing process. She noticed that there was a connection between ATM and increased flow in her writing. It was as if all the detailed attention to movement was literally moving the words through her and onto the page.

In ATM we find some unusual solutions to the idea of limitations. During an ATM we might purposely restrict movement in one area so that we literally have to move somewhere else. We call these “constraints.” Using these constraints, we open up possibilities in movement that we were previously unaware of. Ellen, a visual artist venturing into spoken word performance, describes ATM as, “An exotic new taste to my consciousness, suitably strange and deliciously unknown.”

In ATM we often switch gears as we experiment with the same movement in many different positions—giving us a new opportunity with each shift. Laura, education director at a children’s museum, noticed a renewed vitality to her thinking when she returned to the business of curating and planning after ATM. She found herself considering a broader range of ideas.

In ATM we enter the planet of the non-habitual as we visit novel movement patterns. As art therapist Shaun states, “The creative process is an ecology that depends upon the full spectrum of our resources.”

The Feldenkrais Method provides an accessible means to tap our creative resources. Dr. Feldenkrais created this Method to encompass improvement of all human activity. The spirit of his work dwells in a return to wholeness that includes creative expression. The wealth of our interior takes form in our dances, drawings, music, and words. Through practices of awareness, we tune the muscle of our attention, quiet the critic, and summon our innermost muse.

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