Avowing a dream

I have a dream…an unavowed dream that is about to become avowed…

It is a dream that ca. US$300 a year per practitioner could buy Guild Certified Feldenkrais Practitioners a professional organization that wouldn't respond to its members' requests for support in practice-building with veiled suggestions that real grown-ups don't expect their professional organization to support such trivial and grubby things.

A dream that we had something, well, like our beloved FGNA only…a little less disparaging of us.

But alas the latest issue of In Touch came today. I'm so sorry to say that what we have is like FGNA, only more so.

Mission statements are important things. At some point when I wasn't paying attention, the FGNA adopted a mission statement that reads:

Because the Feldenkrais Method® transforms people’s lives in deep and profound ways, freeing them to enact their avowed and unavowed dreams: It is the mission of the Feldenkrais Guild® of North America, a membership organization, to act in stewardship of the legacy of Moshe Feldenkrais. (Mission Statement of FGNA, 2004)

That might be a nice mission statement for FEFNA, the Feldenkrais Educational Foundation of North America, whose membership is the public. But for the practitioners' member organization?

In Touch features a dreamy lead article gathering and sharing the fruit that such a confused mission statement could be expected to bear in an organization with a culture like ours, disparaging the very notion that the practitioners' professional organization should serve practitioners.

The analogy with IBM — yes that's it! Behind the member request that FGNA act as an organization serving practitioners is the selfish demand that FGNA turn out diet pills instead of doing that dream magic thing FGNA does so well! Diet pills to fill my personal bank account! Legacy of Moshe be damned.

The public encounters the method through practitioners. Practitioners look to their professional organization for support in practice building because small or non-existent practices mean two things at one and the same time: they aren't making a living and they aren't getting to share the magic they love with the public.

These two things, making a living and sharing the method, are not separate, and they certainly are not opposite.

If they were, why in the world would we have this whole apparatus of training programs and service marks and a Guild?

17 Replies to “Avowing a dream”

  1. This is uncomfortable information and the question is if it reaches people before they invest? Would you have chosen not to do the training if you had known? Would you have preferred to take lessons instead for all that money you spent? But then you couldn’t have had your ATM classes would you? that brings you joy! And you couldn’t buy AY… and go at advances…Both of us are disturbed by the sect, the economical interests of the “click”. The fear component is so strong, the control for wrong reasons. I had a talmudic saying at my website before. To save a life is to safe a world. That is enough the rabbis said for the same reasons that we write. I think we have to be in the FK community and take what is good there and then make it our own in circumstances that is reachable…

  2. “If they were, why in the world would we have this whole apparatus of training programs and service marks and a Guild?”

    I find your blog fitting well into issues that was dealt with behind the curtains and at stage at the annual conference of SFAF in Malmö last weekend.
    I wrote & published an article, the humilty of learning in connection with that event in order to point out that a cross culture phenomena prevails and it is not necassary the call of the organsations to help practioners to be competent practioners. There has not been many reactions as yet from the Swedish teachers, but what you write about here again makes me strongly connected to your views and reinforced in my doings & makings. Thank you. I think one of the keys to build a practice is good comptence in teaching FI’s.

  3. In the era when I entered my philosophy PhD program, they advertised to applicants the information that it was virtually impossible to find secure work in academic philosophy. This was the ethical thing to do.

    What I have laid out is the most simple information that anyone should understand deciding to go into a training program–we see our practitioner charge $60/FI and we think, well, that’s a superb hourly wage. We should understand the reality of any private practice, especially one not integrated into our health and educational systems, before setting out $50K to learn.

    Would I have done it anyway? Would I rather not have learned to the level of a practitioner?

    Two answers–personally, this was the price I payed for my own rehabilitation; I may well not ever have been fit for full-time work without this investment in myself. And this is commonly said: you do the training because you want or need it for your own growth; in an economic sense it doesn’t pay. If you can use it in and with your profession, you may make some of that investment back.

    The other answer–what I needed for myself ultimately is this sense of being my own practitioner, to learn at the level one can learn as you say from the materials and the educational experiences available when one is a practitioner–and the deeply, deeply important learning one gets from teaching.

    Some of this I wonder if we can’t share without asking such a commitment of the public, so I experiment now with trying to put this into my teaching with [[DIY ATM]].

  4. I very much agree with Ruthy Alon’s statement made at the European Feldenkrais Congress in Berlin, 2005 [[http://feldenkrais.wikidot.com/local–files/texts/RuthyAlon_Berlin2005.pdf| (click here)]].

    Regarding what you write about what trainers, assistants and practitioners earn: I think there should be something in between. Or rather: more trainers, smaller trainings. I’m happy to pay 80-100 Euros a day in a group of 10 people, with individual supervision etc. I’m not happy to do so in a group of 30-40 people. (I still do it, because currently this is the only “officially accepted” way of becoming a practitioner).

    Regards, Julius

  5. for the link to the text of Ruthy’s talk.

    The community got so concerned about exposure to a variety of teachers, that the rest of what she has to say gets lost. Looking back on it, I would trade the limited diet of teachers for the more intimate and sustained, “part of daily life” and PRACTICE environment, which she describes so well. I don’t really buy what she says about a variety of teachers confusing us at an early stage, but I do think that it’s a worthwhile tradeoff.

    Moshe insisted people wear street clothing because this is part of life. Our “vacation” trainings can be useful for deep self-transformation, but I think it contributes to our “floatiness”. Only so much deep self-transformation fits into life anyway.

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