Healing Arts Report

Practices for an Evolving Life

They Don't Tell You How

“You need to love yourself more.” “You shouldn’t feel that way.” “Always put other people first. Don’t be selfish.” The one thing that is missing from all this good advice is telling you HOW to do it. We introduce you to practical tools using your own character traits to support you in creating practical answers to those questions. Read more here.

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Two memoirs tell about times of extreme personal growth in the author’s life. Sunny Side Up is a window into the early 70s when certain young adults were searching for a way to head off society’s path bent on materialism. The Transparent Feather tells of a dying author passing the torch of writing to her new friend cum student.

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You can love yourself and other people as well. At Healing Arts Report we explore fulfilling personal development that at the same time serves to create the shift to a peaceful new world paradigm.

“The privilege of a lifetime is to become who you truly are.” ―C.G. Jung

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The Fitness Protection Program

I’ve surprised myself with a new activity. That’s the part I like about my propensity for becoming distracted. I never would have gone looking for exercising in a swimming pool. Exercising?!! Worse yet, in water?!!

I’d even tried it once when visiting a friend. She took me to her gym that had a huge pool in a room as bright as a green house with a glass ceiling that let in the sunshine. A beautiful building, but they exercised! Typical gym style routines. While standing in water. I did it yet I’d never go seeking to do it again.

Nor have I ever enjoyed being in the water much. Curly hair, having to change clothes in the middle of the day, unpleasant temperature differences, parental warnings about the danger. No, it just wasn’t fun.

Earlier Water Escapades Screen shot 2014-07-12 at 2.50.32 PM

One aunt tried to help, taught me to float on my back and helped me develop a little confidence about being in the water. We would vacation at Lake Michigan, a body of water that could turn you blue after 20 minutes, or in only 5 minutes at the beginning of the summer before the winter chill is gone. But Aunt Dorothy made use of the sand bars that came out from the shore at an angle. They created a cozy little triangular pool with shore on two sides. No threatening deep water to slide into.

Then, when I was 21 I took swimming lessons at the YMCA. The teacher was probably not much older than I, but he was a lot more patient. It was a class for people who did not know how to swim. He started us off with holding onto a pole in deep water and teaching us how to float vertically.

Your legs and lower torso are vertical, and we put our upper torso and face on the water with our arms floating forward on the water’s surface. Pushing your arms down would raise your head and you could take a deep breath. Then return to floating with head in water, relax, and exhale. The theory is that you can stay afloat a long, long time without a lot of effort.

Learned that, all done, no more interest in the water—for decades! Until I met Jane a few months ago. Jane teaches a Feldenkrais class at the local park. She calls her class, Fitness Over Forty. This is my kind of exercise. We lay there for an hour making minute movements with complete rests in between while the body digests the subtlety of the completed action.

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Video intro to Feldenkrais for back pain.

Bend your knees, place your feet flat on the floor, raise your arms toward the ceiling, palms facing each other. Reach for the ceiling with your left hand, just a little, feel your scapula move on the ribs, let your arm go back to it’s original raised position, notice how your back feels on that side, is it different than the other side? Is it closer to or further away from the floor? Now, straighten your legs and rest. Yep, this is just my speed.

I’d first been introduced to the Feldenkrais Method almost forty years ago when a teacher coming through town showed a small group of acquaintances some of the exercises. At that time, he was teaching the system of somatic education that Moshe Feldenkrais called Awareness Through Movement. I was impressed with how small efforts done in a relaxed and attentive manner immediately resulted in increased flexibility. However, I never again crossed the path of a Feldenkrais teacher until recently. It is truly a body meditation that awakens the student’s awareness of how the body’s muscles and joints are functioning. Nothing is done to force change. The repeated rests between movements allow the body and mind to take in and ‘digest’ improved functioning.

But it is my enjoyment of the Feldenkrais exercises that allowed me to consider Jane’s invitation to come to her pool. She used to be a life guard in her youth and her husband bribed her to retire to the countryside by offering to have a pool installed–Jane’s dream!

Just Want To Have Fun

I didn’t take the invitation too seriously, didn’t even bring a bathing suit, but her friends were so friendly and there was all sorts of interesting equipment, so I entered with my clothes on. She has these flotation belts that keep you vertical in the water and allow you to do the exercises totally in the deep end, not standing on the floor of the pool. You walk, cross country ski, vertical breast stroke, walk backwards, all off the ground while floating vertically.

Then there’s the noodle-a big plastic thing that resists the water, about four feet long and four inches in diameter. Sit on it. Stand on it with one foot, then the other, then both feet. Keep your legs under you. Otherwise you slip off and the noodle pops into the air threatening your fellow swimmers. It’s different and challenging to your core sense of balance.

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Click on pic: A lot like trying to stand on a noodle in the water.

Bringing people together, neighbors with disabilities come in and Jane is certified to instruct them on what is safe for them to do. All of us, at our age have an assortment of problems and Jane is careful to show us the next step each of us can take. I’ve actually been having fun in the water. It’s never too late to have fun.


PRACTICE. Find something that you imagine would be fun to do. Women, especially, would benefit from an activity that nurtures them. All too often they are involved with nurturing others and waiting for circumstances to provide the fun. Wait no longer. Experiment!

CONTACT. If something is always stopping you from relaxing, consider contacting me for a free 20-minute phone or a one-week email consultation to explore how to stop letting things get in the way of relaxing.