- The Method
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By Alan Questel
Creativity is not limited to artists and performers, it can be developed by all of us in our everyday lives. How, when, and where do we get to explore this creativity? What do we mean when we talk about creativity? Are you a creative person? Do you know people who are creative?
What stands out when someone is being creative, is their ability to generate and see choices. When someone uses a Chinese parasol as a light fixture, we think, “Oh, how creative!” In the movie, “The Gods Must Be Crazy,” a Coke bottle was used in all kinds of creative ways, except for drinking Coca-Cola. We can see the ease of creativity in children, as adults our creativity does not come so easily.
If you are interested in being more creative, the Feldenkrais Method® may be what you are looking for. It’s not that we are explicitly teaching creativity, but we are evoking a greater sense of choice in how we can sense, feel, think, and move. It is done in an environment that is safe and pleasurable, while eliciting your innate curiosity.
I first discovered this when I was teaching theater games in an acting and improvisation class at Princeton University. Interestingly, people tended to repeat the same sounds and movements in the exercises. It almost became predictable as to who would do what. At the time, I was just beginning my studies in the Feldenkrais Method and decided to try it out with these acting students. I began to observe something quite remarkable. Starting with a theater game, I would then teach the group an Awareness Through Movement® lesson, then return to the same theater game. After doing the ATM, they chose completely novel sounds and movements. Different uses of themselves emerged spontaneously. It didn’t end there, throughout the semester, they continued to develop new ways of moving and interacting.
Another parallel between the Feldenkrais Method and the creative process is the opportunity to safely spend some time in the unknown. Most of our lives are constructed around knowing. When we are being creative, we don’t know what is going to happen next. In many Feldenkrais Method lessons, you don’t know where you are going to end up and you have the chance to observe yourself in this unusual context. The beauty of this is you can do this in a situation that doesn’t have the everyday pressures of producing an outcome.
A great deal of our ability to be creative is influenced by our self-image. Through the Feldenkrais Method our self-image expands. We color in more aspects of ourselves and discover that we are more creative than we ever imagined ourselves to be.
People from all occupations and backgrounds report having a greater sense of creativity, in both their work and play. Many find a positive influence from the Feldenkrais Method in their relationships, as well as their general outlook on life. In the process, they learn to move with greater fluidity and develop more awareness of themselves. Whether working on a computer, or performing on a stage, the Feldenkrais Method can provide the how, the when, and the where to awaken and realize the creative promise that exists in all of us.