Friday, August 19, 2011

It's You!

I found a wonderful video about Anat Baniel's Feldenkrais based method for occupational therapy.  I think she is hitting it on the head with her thoughts about awareness through movement.
She quotes her teacher, Dr. Feldenkrais, as saying that "Without movement, Life is unthinkable."  What is interesting for someone like me, is how much I have avoided many movements and in doing so, I have avoided a certain amount of living.

She has noticed that under certain conditions, change can occur very fast.  One of the key things she thinks is the importance of attention.  This attention is not just to the body part but to the emotions and to the feedback from the body.  She thinks that if you are attentive, the brain goes into a growth spurt or an exploratory spurt.

Also, Baniel takes a holistic approach and looks at not just improving a body part, but that the PERSON improves.  "I am Better".  It's not you and your body, or you and your mind, or you and your feelings, IT'S YOU!

Baniel also finds that there is a Learning Switch that can go on during therapy where the brain is in a learning mode or in a non learning mode.  When you are in a nonlearning mode, you "aren't there".  When you are in a learning mode, you "are there".  It's like someone flicked a switch.  This is something else that I am finding happens.  I have phases where someone flicked the switch and I am absorbing the world very quickly in a new and different way and I also have had phases where I am definitely spazzed out.

At the core of her approach is the understanding that awareness, cognition and movement are really inseparable, and that the establishment or recovery of ability in any one of these domains requires the integrated engagement of the impaired individuals and their brain in all of these dimensions of recovery. Put another way, isolated weakness or loss in ‘movement’ or ‘awareness’ or related ‘cognition’ is a human IMpossibilty. Movement is inextricably controlled on the basis of ‘feedback’ from our bodies and brains, and movement control is guided very directly by the cognitive resources that guide all of our behaviors. They are weaker or stronger, enabled or disabled TOGETHER. Neurological processes that control the flow of cognition and thought are not really different from those that control the flow of movement — and in fact are complexly, inextricably inter-twined!
Noted Neuroscientist, Dr. Mezernich, on Anat Baniel's Method

Even beyond moving the physical body, I am thinking that the kind of awareness that I am obtaining in many other therapies such as vision therapy, auditory therapy, etc. is happening as you change the body, you are changing the mind.

Maybe there is a  feedback loop going on here, as you change the mind, you are changing the body.

Some of all of this thought is making me think more and more about consciousness and I ask myself, 
"What is it like to be a conscious human being?"  The very manner of how I relate to the world and how I organized my perceptions of the world is changing week to week.

Let's start with thinking about what happens with sensation.  Each of my therapies has led to changes in how I sense things.  Each type of sensation is associated with a different stimulus energy (ex. seeing is about light, hearing is about sound, proprioception is about touch, etc).  So natural phenonemon like light or sound generate different waves that I have not processed in the way that most people do.  These different energies hit different portions of my body like my eyes or ears, etc that turn these stimulus into a neural impulse that follow certain pathways to the sensory projection area  of the brain that processes the different modalities of the senses.  There are higher level functions of the brain that help order our perceptions.

Well, my way of processing has been pretty disordered so my perceptions and way of organizing my perceptions has not been the usual one.  There are positives and minuses to that.  For example, if I had better physical perceptions, I might be painting.  Instead, I am blogging, because blogging is easier when I don't feel like expending too much energy.  Not much movement.  So, this makes me wonder about being me, here behind this screen.

While blogging, I don't get that feeling that one has after a good physical workout.  You know, the glow in your body.  The relaxation. The feeling of YES!  YES! YES! When I am blogging, my body feels frankly a bit cramped... that is, when I am paying attention to it, which often I do not. I do not get a glow from blogging, or a feeling of relaxation, or a feeling of YES! YES! YES!   Sometimes I get an emotional release from doing it and I do get some satisfaction from writing... but I don't get that sense of It's You!  I do get a lot of mental stimulation from it and that is pleasing. 

On the other hand, if I were out being one with my body in some sense or another, this blog wouldn't exist.   Go figure.

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