Sunday, July 19, 2009

The Way it Is

PASADENA, CA - JANUARY 15: (FILE PHOTO)  Walte...Image by Getty Images via Daylife

When you read this, I'll be on my way or arrived in Albany, NY, for a one-week gig teaching Feldenkrais lessons at RESONANZ , an intensive study and performance program for career-track opera singers. Sunday morning, as I was hurriedly doing the laundry, cleaning, and packing for the trip, I had to stop and watch a bit of the CBS Sunday Morning tribute to Walter Cronkite. It's hard to believe that he retired as anchorman of the CBS evening news 27 years ago. Respected, admired, loved, and trusted, he signed off each broadcast saying, "And that's the way it is. . ."

Walter Cronkite was the narrator and interpreter of history during my formative years and into early adulthood. I remember well the demand of youth culture in the late 1960's, when Cronkite was already a fixture on the evening news: "Tell it like it is!" In an era when the slogan was, "Don't trust anyone over 30," Cronkite was trusted nonetheless. He was trusted by my generation because he told it like it was.

It seems that "telling it like it is" is still a rare and treasured trait. I can't think of any contemporary public figure who is universally trusted as Walter Cronkite was. He earned our collective and individual trust with his clean delivery of factual information, rarely colored by his own emotions or views. It was as if he trusted us to make up our own minds with the facts available.

I had an opportunity this weekend to reflect on "telling it like it is" relative to the Feldenkrais Method. As a teacher, I make the space for people to observe the way it is with them. You lie on the floor for a bit at the beginning of each class, receiving unbiased feedback from the surface about where you feel comfortable, and where you don't. Where you are struggling, and where you are flowing. Each movement gives you more information. You realize what you know, and what you don't know about yourself. Moshe Feldenkrais trusted each person to work out what was best for them. In this work, we learn to trust ourselves again.

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