I long ago discovered the use of force is counter productive and usually leads to injury, pain, discomfort, bad feelings, resentment and more. It is hard to imagine having more success in life by NOT using force, especially if force has gotten you ‘ahead’. The cost is high in terms of your relationships, personal and professional, and your victims that can lead to unpleasant backlashes as they await their opportunity for revenge. Force leads to reactions and more force in ever more extremes, much of the results we see today across the globe from the US wars to the Arab Spring to Occupy movements. Force in interactions with others leads to bombastic and dogmatic opinions that we somehow turn into facts (which is patently absurd), but it gives us the luxury of not being obliged to listen to anybody that does not agree with us.
Is force working well for you? How often do you feel angry, impatient, bored, aggressive? Are your wins a bitter triumph at the expense of others and your failures everyones fault but yours? Is it important that you always one-up your ‘competition’ whether it is a friend, colleague, spouse or partner? Do you feel good when you hurt another using force? Surely this is not an example of a healthy person nor a reflection of a healthy society, yet this is the unintended result of our systematic use of force.
We start using force the moment we lose awareness of what it feels like to move. This happens about the time we start school when we are systematically encouraged to function from our thoughts rather than learning through movements. Most of us are oblivious of how much force we use from the simplest activity like flicking off a fly to brushing your teeth, closing a car door, making your bed, in short everything you do! Why is using force self destructive? You are more prone to injury, become stiffer and less flexible in your body and mind and your intelligence atrophies.
There are two kinds of force to become aware of:
1. External force – like the bone crushing handshake or locking joints to push or pull.
2. Force from within – most of us push against or resist the ground when we walk, run or stand by locking our knees, holding our breath, contracting our belly and butt muscles and more. If we did not resist the ground then it would feel like the ground is lifting us up as if we are on a magic carpet ride, our joints and muscles yielding and adjusting to the contours of the carpet.
I spent many years learning how to be powerful, effective and connected with others without using force. It started with awareness of what it feels like to use force versus what it feels like to be structurally connected with another person or animal without force.
My horses are excellent teachers because using force always resulted in humiliation, sometimes injury and embarrassment. Since force didn’t work I needed to learn how to be an effective trainer and partner with my horses in a better way. Horses are like people, if you do not set boundaries and rules of conduct then they will dominate you! I needed to learn how to connect with my horses without force yet be quite clear on acceptable behaviour and actions, especially around me.
To help with the horses I took a training in the Feldenkrais Method which emphasized how to not use force to help people change their habits and patterns of movement. The training taught me about external force but did not show me how to yield and not force from within. This missing link in the training is what I spent years developing and refining with my horses, clients and other body workers. My training graduated 70 people yet only 2-3 are practicing today, including myself, and I am pretty sure most stopped practicing because they were not able to effect the results their clients were seeking due to this missing link. The 2 or 3 practicing today may have been like me and figured it out on their own. Anyone can benefit from learning structural connections but bodyworkers of all kinds can transform the effectiveness of their practice.
A structural connection is simultaneously yielding and leading, like in a dance. It is a connection that passes through muscles to the skeleton to move your body as it is designed to move in a clear conversation with your brain. The yield must come from within your structure through the joints and muscles to connect structurally with another. Once the connection is established all movement is a dance that is flawlessly partnered as if we are one.
If you wish to avoid injury, have better connections with others, feel stronger and more powerful in any physical activity, feel less fearful physically, emotionally and mentally then learning how to connect structurally is the answer.