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One Small Gesture Of Kindness

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A mother, 70, has a son with cerebral palsy.  He is now 40 years old.  The mother is small and the son is not.  For years the mother has lifted her son from his wheelchair to the toilet, and back again.  I ask her to show me how she lifts her son up. The mother moves well. She has to.

I notice an almost invisible gesture she makes just before she begins the trying task of picking up her son. She quickly strokes the right side of her head, moving her thick, gray streaked hair back behind her ear.  I ask her to pause for a moment.  I ask her if she felt the movement she just made.  The mother says, “No, I didn’t do anything yet.”  I said, “Yes you did.” I tell her what she did. I ask her to do it again, very slowly, consciously.  She does.  I ask her to do it again, and then again.  I ask her to continue, but to do it now as if her mother were brushing her hair.  She continues. Soon the mother begins to cry.

I say, “Okay, go and lift up your son.” She stops. She doesn’t move, doesn’t speak.  I can wait. Then the mother says,  “I am too old to do this by myself.  I need help.”  She turns to her younger son, who is in the room, and asks him if he wouldn’t mind helping her.  He is happy to do it for his mom, and for his brother.

The mother stands there watching her two boys.

6 Comments Post a comment
  1. Absolutely beautiful, thank you very much. Our body language really tells our true feelings. We as AT teachers are privileged to be able to witness it and pass it on to the person which then frees them of the unconscious movements, allowing them to address the actual heartfelt feeling and change it to something more appropriate for the present, which you did for her in a heartfelt way. Now her boys will help her.
    Why do we shy away from a heartfelt experience when in fact that’s what we all crave? That in my mind IS the heart of the matter too.
    Best Wishes

    June 11, 2013
    • As the years go by, more and more i observe that the fastest way to heal the body is through the heart. the mind can only do so much. thanks for sharing your thoughts with me. all the best to you too.

      June 11, 2013
  2. I always seem to shed a tear or two when reading your blog. So inspiring, so simple, so true. Thanks

    May 25, 2013
    • Thanks Victoria. These days, and perhaps always, i’ve been most drawn to the eye/heart/hand connection. Dewey referred a lot to the mind/body connection when talking about Alexander’s work. I think, ultimately, it’s the heart that heals the body, and the mind. So if i can enter into the heart of the matter, that is where i go. I don’t go after emotional release, but for heartfelt experience. I am enjoying passing on what i have gleaned about life through these teaching stories. Thanks again Victoria. Hope we meet someday. Bruce

      May 25, 2013
  3. Thank you!

    March 5, 2013
  4. So beautiful Bruce!!

    March 5, 2013

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