Many leveled recovery: just dance

Posted by Jeanne Barrett on August 15, 2009 in Uncategorized

The psychological and emotional aspects of recovery go in tandem with physical recovery.  F.M. Alexander  proposed and deeply believed that the mental, physical and emotional aspects of the Self are integrated and inseparable.  Although some activities may be described as primarily “mental” (problem solving, for example) or “physical” (e.g. athletic pursuits)  or “emotional” ( distress, joyous participation), the entire Self is involved in any activity.  We don’t as animals know we are feeling an emotion, for instance, unless we have an indicating physical and mental set of cues.  All animals have this integrated response; humans have emphasized the mental priority with sad consequences.

Experiencing ongoing physical pain and immobility has myriad psychological consequences.  The Self that has been recognizable by daily physical activity is no longer on line.  New means of accomplishing simple tasks must be found, and the familiar Self, as cued by previous experience, changes and morphs.  The danger of a Self as identified by “disabled” lurks and haunts emotional stability.  We can sink  into a notion of disability as a constant, or rise to a concept of the whole Self, with choices in response to stimuli, whether internal or external.  This is what F.M. Alexander proposed as the next step in human evolution.

My current means of responding to my (temporarily) reduced condition of Self is to, once again, dance!  I watch videos of Michael Jackson, who was one of our generation’s greatest movers.  The mirror neurons in my wee brain take great delight in viewing his ease and skill in motion.  So, I dance in my mind and instruct my whole Self accordingly, despite my less than functional leg.  And, I put on music and dance like a crazy person, so my injured leg can learn to respond again.  I look pretty silly, but I have fun, feel joy, renew hope and also re-connect neural sequences that have been temporarily lost with 6 months of arduous recovery.  My whole Self feels better and more on line.

That’s the spirit!  Just dance, despite limitations!

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