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Hello, friends! And welcome to Move Into Coherence. I’m your host, Pamela Stokes. Today is our third part of a three-part series on Depression. We’re going to be doing a motion that comes directly from Moshe Feldenkrais. The Feldenkrais Method is where quite a few of the motions in this podcast are coming from. The Feldenkrais Method is a very powerful method of becoming more aware of ourselves as we do movements. It’s referred to as Awareness Through Movement. And the other thing that comes from being aware and doing these motions is a real sense of self. It’s a sense of feeling empowered and feeling like you’re in charge. You’re in charge of how you feel. You’re in charge of how you move. And we become aware of our capabilities. Our ability to move in such a way that feels comfortable and easy, allows us to feel pleasure. And this is important, because when we’re in a state of depression, oftentimes it’s very difficult to find pleasure at all—to even allow ourselves or to know how. Or perhaps there’s an old memory that gets in the way that says well, if I feel good something, bad’s gonna happen. This happens a lot to clients that I have had. Another thing that is common amongst my clients, is that feeling good makes them feel a little guilty, because perhaps other people that they know or in the world are not doing so well, and kind of how dare I feel so good. So this can be preventing them from feeling any kind of pleasure. In the work of Feldenkrais, he makes it very important to tune In to what feels good to you—what feels comfortable. And sometimes it takes a little practice, but it’s doable. And the more we practice feeling OK, the easier it gets. And why is it important anyway? Why is it important for us to feel OK? Well, we’re all connecte—the Quantum Field connects us all. As we feel sadness, or grief, or loss, or depression, or anger, or frustration, that ripples out. Those frequencies of those emotions ripple out, and then others can resonate with those frequencies. Similarly, we can feel a frequency of joy, or gladness, or appreciation, gratitude, and those can ripple out, and people can resonate with those. So we have a choice, and what do you choose? Do you choose not feeling good or do you choose feeling good?
This motion that we’re doing today can help you identify the sweetness, the gentleness, the tenderness that we are all capable of feeling in a very simple hand gesture that Feldenkrais calls the Bell Hand. The name Bell Hand comes from, if you’ve ever looked at one of those kind of jingle bells, if you look at it you’ll see that there are four pieces of metal that are bent to form a closure on the bell. And so you can kind of think of the hand, as we close the fingers towards the thumb, resembling that kind of bell. So we’re not talking about a bell like the Liberty Bell—that sort of shape. We’re more talking about a jingle bell that has these four parts that come together to close the bottom part of the bell. We will be doing this motion lying down, so please have some space where you can bring yourself to lying. You can do this motion on a yoga mat if you have a hard floor, or on a carpet or a rug. What we’re trying to do is to feel our body making contact with the surface that we’re resting on, so if it’s too squishy, we’re not gonna really have that awareness. So it’s best if you have a surface that’s not very giving and just a little bit padded so that you’re comfortable. Thanks for joining in.
Come to lying. Allow a little space between your feet and legs, and allow some space between your arms and your body. And just be here for a moment. We’re going to do a brief Body Scan to give ourselves an idea of what our body’s doing right now, before we do this motion, and then we’ll look again at the end. So there’s no judgment here. We’re not trying to change anything. There’s no agenda, except to just notice. Let’s begin by noticing your heels and the contact that they’re making. Noticing the backs of the legs. Maybe noticing the space behind the knees. Noticing if one leg feels a little heavier than the other one, or more turned out than the other. Noticing your pelvis, and if there’s any difference between the right and the left. Maybe one side feels like it’s making more contact with the floor and the other one feels maybe raised up. Again, there’s no correcting that needs to happen, we’re just noticing. And then noticing the sacrum, which is the lowest part of the spine. It’s a triangular, fused bones that sit in the low back and connect the tailbone to the rest of the spine. And then we’ll move up into the low back. Maybe you notice that there’s a raised part. And just imagine, if you can, how many fingers could fit under there—one finger, or two fingers. or maybe there isn’t any space for you. Just noticing. And then noticing your spine and what parts of it are making contact. Maybe the backs of the ribs. Maybe you feel some of those ribs. And then coming up to the shoulder blades, and just noticing if there’s any difference between the right and the left and how much contact you’re making there. And then noticing your shoulders—if there’s parts of your shoulders that are touching. Maybe the right or the left are a little bit different? No agenda. We’re not trying to fix anything. We’re just noticing. And then coming into the arms. What parts of the arms are touching? What parts of the hands are touching? And then coming back up to the neck, and just noticing the space underneath your neck. And, again, how many fingers could fit in there? 1,2,3, or a whole hand? And then noticing your head and the quality of the contact. Is it right in the middle? Or is it a little bit more to the right, or the left, or towards the top of the head. or the bottom of the head? Just noticing. And now, we’ll do the motion—the Bell Hand. So go ahead and bend both arms from the elbows, so that your hands are facing the ceiling. And then just relax your hands from the wrists so they’re kind of dangling. So, basically, what we’re creating here is the forearms are straight up and down in space at a right angle to the floor. And then your hands are kind of dangling from the wrist—kind of soft. And then the motion is very simple. We’re going to bring all four fingers to the thumb slowly, carefully, and to see if we can get all the fingers to land on the thumb at the same time. It’s a challenge, but just do your best. And then release that, as if there was a ball in your hand that’s being slowly inflated, so your fingers are just moving away from each other, and the hand is opening up. And you can allow the wrist to extend a little bit to be more straight in line with the arms. And then slowly—again, we’re going to let the fingers close down. And this is slow, so we’re talking about maybe five or six seconds, or maybe even up to 10 seconds, to get the fingers back to the thumb. It’s very slow. And then allow the fingers to separate away from the thumb as if you were holding a ball that’s being inflated, slowly. And let your wrist straighten out a little bit. And then do this again. So letting the fingers come towards the thumb. And maybe you don’t want to go all the way to closed, but just get sort of in that direction. And then slowly release and let the hands open back up to that soft hand. Let’s pause here, and relax the arms back down to the floor, and take a break and take a breath. And just noticing anything that might be different for you. Noticing your shoulders and the weight of the arms. Maybe your pelvis has changed. And then let’s bring the arms back to bent, and we’ll continue this motion a few more times—maybe three or four more times—letting the fingers come towards the thumb. And maybe this time you don’t want to go all the way closed. And then let the hand open as if you were holding a ball that’s inflating. And noticing your breathing. Are you breathing in or out when you’re doing this motion? When you’re coming closed, are you’re breathing in or out? Just becoming aware of the breath. And you could try it both ways. Again, we’re trying to get into this feeling of being in charge and understanding that feeling OK, feeling good, feeling pleasant sensations, is actually it’s really good for us. And it’s also good for everyone around us. And then let’s go ahead and let the arms come back down to the floor—a comfortable space between the arms and the body. And let’s take a nice breath here, from the nose, deep into the lungs. And then a slow exhale. And then we’ll do that Body Scan again, just to see what’s different. Noticing your heels. Noticing the backs of the legs. Noticing your pelvis—the right and the left. Noticing your low back, your middle back, your shoulder blades, your shoulders, and your arms, and your hands, and what parts are making contact with the floor, and the quality of that contact. And noticing the space behind the neck. And where is your head making contact with the floor? And just noticing what’s different now—what’s changed for you? Maybe you have more awareness of more of you. And that’s a good thing that allows you to know that you’re really here—you exist. And you’re in charge. You get to be in charge of yourself. It’s OK. No one else knows how you feel better than you, so by bringing in more of your body, and in pleasant ways, letting yourself feel more of you having these pleasurable sensations, can turn off that sense of the feeling of depression.
And you can stay lying down, or if you’d like to come to sitting or standing, we are finished with that motion today. I’d like you to practice that whenever you get the chance. Even if you’re, let’s say, waiting in line at the grocery store, you can just do one hand. You don’t have to do both, and you don’t have to lay down to do it. You could just do it as you’re standing there with the arms down by your sides. You could also try it while you’re driving—one hand—and just focusing on this simple motion, coming closer together and farther apart, and nice and slow. And notice how you’re breathing when you’re doing it, so that you have this sense of self—your power to BE—and increasing your capacity for living in easy ways. I can be in charge of myself. I am. I exist.
I wanted to remind you of a few episodes that we’ve done in the past that may also be helpful if you’re feeling that there’s a sense of a part of you that’s not really here—not really present. In depression, this can happen. We call it dissociation. And by noticing more of your body sensations that dissociation can be less and less. Dissociation is actually a really important technique that we use when something is very, very frightening, or I would say life-threatening. We can dissociate. We can just tune out. And so we want to think of dissociation as a positive, because it did help us in the past. But now that we’re safe, now that we are out of the danger, we can become less dissociated and more in our bodies. And this allows for our body to know to do all the functions that it’s supposed to do. If it believes that you aren’t really here, why would it do all those functions? So the more we can get into the body in pleasant ways, this allows the functions and what we call homeostasis, which is an equilibrium or balance of all of the things that the body does to stay alive. Previous episodes that may be helpful for you are Episode 2, which is called Resilience and the Polyvagal, and that motion is called Orienting. That can help us really feel safe in any environment. And we may also enjoy Episode 40, or there’s also a version of it with music in Episode 41, which is a meditation called Inhabit your Body. And then when you’re ready to really get energized and allow the energy to come fully into you, I would suggest Episode 45 or 46, again depending on if you like it with music or not, but that one’s called Being the Brightest Light, and it is energizing. It feels really good. So I hope you might check that one out. And I can’t leave out Episodes 42 and 43, Receiving Hands, because that is the one gesture that tells our entire nervous system I’m safe. I’m satisfied. And I’m connected—three basic human needs are met all in one gesture. So please check that one out for sure. Thanks.
I’d also like to take this opportunity to remind you that I have free sessions that you can sign up for at the website MoveIntoCoherence.com. I would love to meet you and to just see what we can discover and uncover and create for you, so you can have optimal well-being. It’s time for us to step into feeling OK. It’s not just for ourselves, it’s for everyone around us and for the entire Field. We are creating pleasant sensations that we can then feel for ourselves and also share, by letting these vibrations of positivity go out into the Quantum Field. Thanks for joining in, and please send yourself some appreciation for doing so. This has been Move Into Coherence. I’m Pamela Stokes. Take it easy. ☺️