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I have read endless analyses and analyses of analyses and an equal number of varying approaches to ‘cure’ the problem. Most are rigorous, ascetic and require years of dedication. There do appear to be good results though my tentative conclusion is that these are the exception and not always (to me) convincing. What I would want to see would be something like the comparisons you see on real-estate management programs where you see the house pre- and post- fix-up. This is very rare if not unprecedented in my observations. Anyway putting all this aside I want to ask you all a very simple question that may strike you as naive.
Has anybody taken the approach of ‘not fixing’ the problem?
I used to have embouchure dystonia, and managed to retrain myself with 4 years of work. I have no videos or pictures to show how bad it was, but I couldn’t play one single note on the flute. But just like many others, I was busy being depressed and ashamed, the last thing I wanted was being recorded in such a state. The retraining was long indeed, but mainly because I had no idea what I had, and I worked alone with no help. But there was a big change in my mindset after reading The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle. It didn’t stop me trying, I still knew I wanted to solve it, but made me understand that pushing hard is not going to help, and I only have one moment to work on, the present moment. It made me more relaxed, and I allowed myself to use as much time as I needed, and observed myself as I was working on the issue. So a different mindset is definitely needed, but the condition doesn’t solve itself if we don’t do something about it.
You are thinking along my lines, Anna. I think it’s very interesting that you achieved this progress on your own. It must be connected to the attitude you have realized. I just came across this quote. “Compassion is not a relationship between the healer and the wounded. It’s a relationship between equals.” (Pema Chodron) In the case of musician’s injuries we are both healer and wounded and I think we need to show compassion for ourselves. In my view this is a much better basis for recovery. We are not superior to our illness – we are the illness.
You’re right. Feeling compassion for ourselves is crucial. In most cases sufferers tend to feel depression, self-loathing and self-pity. I used to blame myself for getting focal dystonia, even hate myself, but once I was able to accept the fact that it’s part of me, my burden got lighter, and I started to get better. As I stopped wasting my energy on negative emotions, I was relieved and could focus on the retraining.
You are young, Anna. I’m not! Everything feels a little urgent at my age!
Letting things happen, observe the process and “be in the now”, “working with the present moment” is not making the progress longer, on the contrary. It saves time. Forcing the change, working hard and wanting desperately is putting the body and soul in a tense position, which slows down the retraining or even makes it impossible.