New Year

There is something refreshing about setting one's intentions for the new year, especially in the dead of winter (yes, even we have a brief winter here in Phoenix). There is also some built in pressure with resolutions, as if the brief surge of reflection about your previous year is somehow going to make everything clear about what you'd like differently in your life. In the inspiration of reflection, one is reminded annually how failure to uphold these resolutions is built into the hope when creating them. Maybe this year I will be able to maintain that diet, exercise regime, business plan, or finish that project. When speaking with my sister about this recently over the phone, she shared her similar displeasure about resolutions all together, and we agreed that the forced resetting of the annual calendar can create a false or dishonest sense of renewal. For many this is not false, but for equally as many, those resolutions don't hold much weight in terms of length of time held or success in achieving the set goal. 

So, how do was navigate this brief  annual refreshment of intentions with the knowledge that most don't or can't keep the resolutions? How do we get beyond the lip service of resolutions? Is there value in answering people's favorite question of January 1st, "What's your New Years Resolution?".  What is the missing middle ground between intention and action? 

My conclusion to this conundrum with my sister's point was to realize that my New Years Resolution is to have but ONE active resolution, which is to carry that brief but powerful question throughout my year, rather than  front-load the question in January, and assume I know everything that I need to work towards in a year. While goals and intentions are valuable and important, they ability to adjust and change them, to have the freedom to alter based on life circumstances, is equally important for a sense of a fulfilling life. I resolve to listen to myself more closely, to follow my inner ear and to check in many times to ask whenever I need to, "what do I need in my life right now, what do I need in my life today? Next week? Next month?". Through connecting with oneself more frequently, fully, and honestly, then one can be present for the future changes that may not be predictable in the present moment. Perhaps some of those reflective moments will result in an intention to create new habits, or reinstate old ones. By being embodied more fully in the reflective question throughout the year, one can experience those refreshing moments of self-compassion and hope more frequently. As an approach to an intention-filled life, connecting to the self more frequently without  technology or other influences, allows one to exit to realm of success and failure and enter the realm of being a truly free and aware person. 

The Balance of Quantity and Quality

After 5 weeks of inspiring music making in California, I am happy to be home to share my adventures and lessons with you! I have danced between the words 'quality', 'quantity' and 'balance' all summer, literally, physically and metaphorically.  Inspired by the cool fog of Carmel, I experienced a great sense of inner joy that came from taking the time to evaluate the balance of 'quality versus quantity' in my life. These words accompanied my daily routine and became a theme and personal mantra for the summer. The result was a July filled with an abundance of exciting new experiences, and feelings of being very present in my activities with people around me. 

I ran my first half-marathon in San Francisco and trained for 7 weeks with my attention tuned to the quality and balance of every step. This initially stemmed out of a fear of falling and potentially hurting myself, particularly since I didn't leave myself a lot of time to train. The quantity of the miles and hours it took to run the half-marathon was achieved through creating a moving meditation focused on quality in each moment. The resulting spring of momentum kept propelling me forward in a spirited and balanced manner. L
earning how NOT to injure myself through paying attention to the quality of the movement, allowed me to transformed my fears into a truly joyous experience! Ironically, paying attention to the quality of the moment allowed for the quantity of 13 miles in 3 hours to occur, without injury, and in good time for a first race.

I wonder what other areas of life can hold such results from an application of attention? 

After Carmel, I spent some much needed quality time with my mother who has Parkinson's disease, and found a completely different relationship with the word balance.  Balance is not a metaphorical concept for her to try to achieve in life, but rather a literal entity which rules her success each day. The quantity of her movement and of her independence, is solely dependent upon the quality and connection of her balance in each moment. Gladly, she is having a renewed sense of spirit, even with these challenges!

Through participating in Awareness Through Movement lessons, we deepen this investigation of what quality really means. Fundamentally, the quantity of movement is inconsequential for the goals of our work. What I try to bring to my students, clients and to myself, is a renewed sense and value of the word quality, and ability to listen on a very deep neurological level to how that moves through the self, and through a life. 

I share these thoughts with you as the summer wraps up and we all embark on a busy school year, season, and work schedule. I encourage you to take a moment and let yourself simmer on the balance between quality and quantity, and give yourself the gift of allowing quality to dance and shine in your life this year! 

Feldenrkais ®, an Introduction

The goal of scientist Moshe Feldenkrais was to "make the impossible possible, the possible easy, and the easy, elegant". 

My name is Erin Finkelstein and I am a clarinetist and Feldenrkais Practitioner ®. I will be sharing  a blog to collect interesting videos, articles, and my own musings pertaining to learning, awareness, music, and much more.

How do you relate to the quote above? What parts of your life seem impossible, possible, easy, or even elegant? 

Practitioners work with your nervous system through gentle and profound movement lessons to create more options in your life - your functioning - your movement. 

I work with musicians, artists, doctors, teachers, the elderly, those with chronic pain, and many many more. Recovering from a stressful time? Feldenkrais might be a novel way to recover and restore your vitality. 

Email me at, or call 916-296-9068 for information on classes and private lessons in the Phoenix area.