Healers

How to Live

Jesus had his students
Dipa Ma had her devotees
Joanie French has her students

Jesus sat with people
Dipa Ma sat with people
Joanie  helps people to sit without pain

Jesus placed his hands on someone in torment
Dipa Ma placed her hands on someone in torment
Joanie places her hands on someone in torment

Jesus embodied the heart and its treasure
Dipa Ma embodied meditation and its treasure
Joanie embodies accompaniment and its treasure

Share the Wealth with Lorraine Glass-Harris:
Exploring the Un-Conducted Life–Life after the St. Louis Symphony

Lorraine Glass-Harris retired her 43-year-long career with the St. Louis Symphony in 2015. From early childhood, following the family’s dream of a generation of professional musicians, she studied the violin and contemplated the role of music in our society, as she played concerts, traveled the world with the orchestra, and performed with the great conductors and soloists of our times.

Now on the other side of this performing career, she explores her life on its own terms, at her own tempo, to her own script. She shares what it means to go slow, grab the joy, find one’s own pace, create the future from within, some Lessons from the Stage, from Paying Attention, from Living Horizontal.

Lorraine enjoys an active musical life as soloist and chamber musician, and has been performing since she was in single digits. Specializing in both modern and Baroque violin, she has twice been soloist with the St. Louis Symphony, performed as soloist/leader of the String Orchestra of the Rockies, in Missoula, Montana, coaches orchestral string technique in area schools, and hosts theSymphony Shuttle, a program of her own design and unique in the symphonic world. On historical violin, she performs with Collegium Vocale and co-founded L’Esprit de Music, Music of the Baroque Era on period instruments, with husband, James Harris. A native of Philadelphia, she began her musical studies at the age of four. She holds 2 degrees in Violin Performance from Indiana University, in Bloomington, where she studied with Josef Gingold. Lorraine was the 2015 recipient of the Owen Miller Award, given by the Musician’s Union of St Louis, for outstanding musical service to the community.

Join us
Sunday 27 January
Potluck dinner begins at 6:00 p.m.
Lorraine begins sharing at 6:45
At the home of Ellen and Arthur Hartz
University City, Missouri

The Good News of Accompaniment

Jean Abbott hears the cries of the world and through such listening knows what to do, or knows sometimes that there’s nothing to do except being present. She’s listened to hundreds of Bosnian, Somali, Guatemalan, Afghan, and Ugandan women. She’d lean forward in her chair as she’s listening and extend her hand to someone who doesn’t believe there’s a way out of hell. She’s given ten thousand hours of her life to this person, then that person, then another person. Andrew Wimmer said he’d go crazy doing for three hours in a single week what Jean’s been doing since the mid-1980s. She’s assisted people in recovering their some of their humanity after experiencing devastating violence, but she’d say to me, “Marko, it was the Bosnian woman who helped me to stop being a zombie, she gave life to me…”

Jean Abbott

Testimony
by Lorraine Glass-Harris

I met Joanie French soon after I had retired from a demanding career as a symphony violinist. Being a professional musician was wonderful, but I had become an unhappy tenant in my own body. Paying attention to everything but how I felt had left me twisted up, in pain, full of accommodation for everyone but myself—I knew my life needed to change!

Over the next few years of Feldenkrais exploration with Joanie, I have slowly found a new way of being with myself. We have explored healthy movement, learned patience for habitual patterns, celebrated progress. She has seen me through hip replacement surgery, and guided my healing to maximize the gifts of that surgery.

Joanie’s knowledge of movement and the human body is astounding and her hands-on private work is a marvel. In addition, her humility and devotion to the “work” and to her students is inspiring. Most of all, her selfless approach illuminates the path to more kindness and self understanding. Joanie French is a treasure.

Maxims

Once I was talking with Pat Geier when we reminisced about her teacher, a therapist she had respectfully nicknamed the “Wiz,” as he was so good at helping people work through their thousand and one maladies, stuck points, self-loathing, and sabotages. Since she had trained with him, I asked her to try to remember some of what he taught her. She sent me the following list as a birthday present.

“We’re not gonna make it.”

“It’s not what you do but what you do with what you do.”

“I do shit, but I ain’t shit.”

“You can’t do much with a middle-born.”

“Victims are more in command of avoiding what they don’t want than getting what they do want.”

“The best way to learn anything is to teach it.”

“It’s easier to wear slippers than to carpet the world.”

“Middle-borns are like picking up mercury.”

“A lie is the purposeful misrepresentation of the truth to someone who has the right to know.”

“Individuation is the point at which one’s own human experience becomes the automatic (but not necessarily exclusive) basis on which decisions are made.”

“You’re never where you were.”

“Maturity is the ability to handle being odd-man out on a triangle for a long time.”

“You do what you think and then you believe what you experience.”

“The best way to block anything is to insist on it.”

“Intimacy is the sharing of dangerous things.”

“The truth is in me and I have to get to that truth and I can’t do that if I am constantly being fed from without.”

“You never get over anything, you just get through it — once, you surrender to the fact that you can’t get over it, you’re already through it.”

Right after a Feldenkrais Session
by Laura Weis

And again, as with sessions past, I am about to, no, scratch that, I am already tearing up, yup, there goes the first tear, trickling down my cheek. Now my vision is blurred. Glasses fogged. I let a few tears fall. So be it. It’s so nice and warm, curled up in the blanket, with the heater humming, a gray autumn day yet again, but I feel content and fully present, if a little shaken.

Did she somehow know I’d want/need some time alone? Why’d she ask this time? Maybe it’s just a coincidence. But it’s like she has a sixth sense. I certainly didn’t know, I was bouncing up, ready to go, then thought, well, OK, if she insists, maybe I will sit here for a bit. And what a relief. So how did she know?

Could she tell I was shaking? Not just my legs and hips, doing the work, but inside, my chest, heart pounding, like my body knows it’s moving into unfamiliar territory, it’s happened every time, and I feel like I can’t control it, so I try to breathe. Yet it feels so safe, so indulgent, even, on the table, with the blankets, the supports, in Joanie’s capable hands, strong and sensitive, making matter of fact movements with palpable empathy. Total trust exchange. She feels around, releases muscles I didn’t know I had, tap tap tapping, a little signal, for the body, for the mind, to feel, and to recognize, and to integrate. Huh, well, I guess there’s a reason it’s called functional integration. Imagine that.

She is guiding me, I know, but sometimes I’m unsure whether I should relax into it, or try to follow, to anticipate. I don’t want her to do the work (well, she doesn’t want to do it for me either, of course), but it could be easy to slip into just letting her movements lead me, without challenging myself. I don’t think I fall into that trap too often. I hope not. But with challenge comes friction comes discomfort comes a crossroads, a which way you gonna go, easy or hard or somewhere in between, back to the old ways – the patterns – or forging ahead into the unknown and being open to where it might lead, which is scary, it’s scary, I say. But there’s that refrain. Let it go. Let it go. Let it go.

To do one move, something else has to let go. To make one change, something else has to let go.

Tightening, balled up, tension, cringes, twinges, maybe it’s a way of clinging to the past, or grasping for the familiar, even though the familiar can be painful, it’s still familiar. It’s hurt this long, I don’t really remember what it’s like not to have it there, sometimes worse than others, sometimes barely noticeable, but always there, lingering. It’s just me. Can’t change me. Why change me?

But to hold on to that me is, perhaps, a way to hold on to…I don’t know…to what was? That me is linked to a defining moment in my life (was *The Accident* really so defining, or is that just what I’m supposed to say?), it’s almost like I’ve been wrapped up (all safe) in sustaining that version of myself. What would it mean to be free of that? Wrapped up, indeed. Wound up. So now to unwind, for what is, and what can be, and no more getting stuck in the pain patterns, stuck in what was. Let it go. Let it all go.

Share the Wealth with Joanie French:
An Introduction to Feldenkrais

Dear Friends,

This week’s Share the Wealth is an Open House with my partner Joanie French and her colleagues. Please come for part or all of this gathering.

Mark

Feldenkrais Open House
Sunday, October 21st
1 – 4 p.m.
Hosted by:
Virginia and Mark
Sappington, Mo 63128

Enjoy food and drink, a Feldenkrais class, as well as a brief introduction to the Feldenkrais Method. Come for the entire event or stop by when it is convenient.

Event Schedule:
1:00-1:30– Social
Food and drink, talk, browse or read Feldenkrais materials

1:30-2:30– Feldenkrais discussion and classes
Upstairs: an introduction to Feldenkrais and 30-minute class
Downstairs: audio recording of Dr. Moshe Feldenkrais teaching a lesson

2:30- 3:30– Introduction of Feldenkrais Instructors: Joanie, Sandy and Kelly
Current classes, upcoming workshops, sharing of ideas with community

3:30 -4:00– Q and A, social time–meet the Feldenkrais community

“Make the impossible, possible; the possible, easy; and the easy, elegant.”
–Moshe Feldenkrais

Joanie French; Feldenkrais Training, Maui, Hawaii; 2001

This page is part of my book, Dear Love of Comrades, which you can read here.

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