Quickly—without hurrying. It’s a phrase we often hear in Feldenkrais Awareness Through Movement lessons. We usually start with slow simple movements before speeding up the action.
Listening to Chris Thiele and the Punch Brothers, as well as Bela Fleck and his fellow musicians is a delight. Seeing them in person is a delight and a privilege. The way their hands fly across the strings of their instruments is amazing. Fly is probably not the best verb to use here. Their hands were moving almost like hummingbird wings. So fast! But they didn’t go far—only up and down within a range of just a few inches. And at the same time as one hand was strumming, the fingers of the other hand were picking out just the right notes.
Have you ever tried to pick out notes on a guitar or piano? Placing each finger just so and then applying pressure on the strings or keys, to begin to produce the sound. It’s a slow, painstaking process at first. With mistakes—and wrong notes—along the way. After a number of attempts, it’s as if your fingers magically know what to do and you hardly even need to look at what’s happening. Gradually, you can go faster and faster.
With a lot of practice—and who knows how much talent—you can go at the speed of hummingbird wings. And the sound is magical.
We rarely, if ever, go that fast in Feldenkrais lessons, but we do become more and more elegant and streamlined in our movements. We don’t have to think so much about what we’re doing, and movements become easier, more graceful, and—when we want them to—fast and powerful. There’s a lovely sense of strength and power that comes with this improvement in our abilities. Along the way, we find greater equanimity and resilience.
By the way, in this season of giving and receiving, and wishing for peace on earth, I surely would like a little more speed for getting things done! Or at least a small portion of that equanimity and resilience. How about you?
We’ll do our weekly online Feldenkrais Awareness Through Movement lesson this week and next, and then we’ll take a week off for the holidays.
I’d love to hear about where you’re speeding up or slowing down, and how you’re exploring equanimity and resilience.