28 Nov 2012 Comments Off on Flossing and Feldenkrais
“Flossing and Feldenkrais” is my latest essay in my ongoing series, How to Use the Body While You Think It’s You*. Believe it or not, flossing my teeth has been a crucial addition to my healing path. Not only does flossing do the obvious and maintain the health of my gums, but it also is one of those habits that reinforces the power of good self-care. For many years I knew I should floss my teeth, but I didn’t.
And it was discouraging that for some reason I just couldn’t manage to cultivate this healthy habit which I knew would save me from unnecessary pain and expense down the road. The dentist told me. My father told me (he’d learned the hard way). I told myself. One day I confided to my psychotherapist that when I started flossing my teeth, my whole life would change. It sounded kinda crazy, but I knew it was true!
One day it finally happened. I flossed. And then the next day I flossed. And the next. And I’ve pretty much been flossing since. Did my life change? Yes, it did. And I’m not sure which came first, the flossing or the self-discipline, but when it finally happened, several good habits fell into place. My confidence increased. My self-acceptance increased. My gums stopped bleeding 🙂 My yoga practice became more regular. I achieved a whole new level of self-love and self-care.
Flossing was a simple, ordinary thing. The basic practicality of it appealed to me. Being special had been important in my home and it had created too much pressure for me. I longed to be ordinary, enjoy ordinary pleasures and feel easy with other people. Flossing was my practical spirituality.
So where does Feldenkrais come in? Over the years, I’ve had many back issues and tried many healing modalities including tai chi, cranio-sacral therapy, yoga, Alexander technique, rolfing, Trager, and Feldenkrais, to name a few. I loved them all, and Feldenkrais was particularly delicious because listening to my body was really all I was asked to do.
Frania Zins, the brilliant Feldenkrais practitioner who treated me, taught me that running my tongue around each of my teeth slowly and thoroughly would release my spine. It was extraordinary. I would lie on her table and while I waited for her to begin, I would trace my teeth with my tongue and feel my vertebrae lengthen as my back muscles released and relaxed.
As my back improved, I happily returned to my busy life and forgot all about Feldenkrais. Until I added oral irrigation to my dental hygiene. One day I went for my cleaning and the oral hygienist was fresh out of school and full of enthusiasm! I got a big smile and a dose of love while she cleaned my teeth. We passionately discussed oral hygiene, since I had learned long ago that it was crucial for me and rarely did I have the opportunity to relish my personal advances with someone so interested.
As we talked she recommended a little-known product called “Shower Floss” that I could get at the local Ace store. She said it was really a waterpick that you attach to a shower head and then you could spray and splash to your heart’s content without spattering your bathroom mirror!
I ran out and got me some “Shower Floss” and to my surprise, as I ran the water carefully around each and every tooth, front and back, I felt my back completely relaxing and elongating. Never was dental care so fully pleasurable. Flossing had actually led me to a form of “WaKrais” (I just stole that from “Watsu” which is water shiatsu–worth another essay 🙂 ). Now I actually look forward to “flossing”! My back is thanking me every day.
What does flossing and Feldenkrais have to do with A Course in Miracles and “How to Use the Body While You Think It’s You”? Combining those two had to be God-given. What an unlikely pair. And how perfectly they fit together. Only my willingness to take guidance from the Holy Spirit could result in such unexpected delight. As God’s Messenger, it is my purpose for the body is to be a clear channel for receiving and transmitting His miracles. The miracle always heals the receiver first and then emanates through her. Try it yourself and let me know what happens for you!
* If you liked this essay, you may enjoy others in my ongoing series, How to Use the Body While You Think It’s You.
Copyright © 2012 Amy Torres. All rights reserved worldwide.