Saturday, April 3, 2010

Fizz to Solidity: A technique for feeling the world

I was lying in bed the other night waiting to fall asleep when I starting paying attention to my sensations. Along my back and torso, I could feel the bed as a solid object, pressing into me. But along my legs and feet, it felt like wind. Instead of feeling the solidity of the bed, I felt like my legs were resting on a the top of the foam that bubbles to the top of a freshly poured soda.

I knew that this type of diffuse sensation is not uncommon with MS, so I didn't try to do anything about it. But it was an interesting sensation, so I focused on it without moving my legs or trying to change it in any way. That's when it got really interesting. A few minutes later the sensation changed from fizz to concrete reality. Instead of the foam sensation, I felt the bed solidly underneath me pushing back on the weight of my body lying there.

I didn't think much of it and went to sleep. The next night, I tried it again. No intent to change, no desire to actually do anything other than pay attention to the actual sensation my legs were giving me. Again I felt the fizz and again it changed to solidity, but quicker than the first time. I did that for a few days and three nights ago, when I lay down, I only felt solidity, no fizz at all.

Since that first night, I've been paying a lot of attention to what I am actually feeling. When I sit, I focus on my legs and butt meeting the chair. When I stand, it's my feet on the ground. I've had intermittent dulled sensation in my feet for years, so it's been really interesting to pay attention to what I feel and watch the sensation come and go. Though again, the more I pay attention to it, the more it turns into solidity and less fizzy.

For a number of years, I saw an Alexander Technique teacher in Boston by the name of Debi Adams, who I strongly recommend to anyone in that area. I had to stop the lessons when I moved to Israel three years ago, and the bodily awareness that came from them  faded over the course of a year or two. But when I started to pay attention to the
sensations, then lessons instantly came back and with them a body awareness I hadn't realized was so dulled. (On my healing blog I wrote about a class I took with Tommy Thompson, a master teacher of the Alexander Technique).

The trick seems to be to pay attention to two things: the actual sensation coming from my body and the fact that the thing I'm touching is pushing back on me. When I step on the ground, I'm pushing down, but the ground is pushing back up. When I lie on the bed, gravity is pushing me down and the bed is pushing me up. Focusing on the contact point between the two is where all the good stuff happens. If I focus too much on myself, then I ignore the world around. But if I focus too much outside, then I miss myself.

The other trick is not to try to change anything, but just to pay attention and let the change come. Part of MS is a disconnect between what's outside and our perceptions of it. This technique brings those two into clearer harmony.

I don't know if the technique helps repair the damaged nerves or builds new neurological connections, but one way or another, it helps.

I'm wondering what types of experiences others have had when focusing on their sensations and if it helped them to heal? Please comment and let me know.