Casanova has been described as swarthy and with a large nose, yet he managed to seduce
his way through Europe. Milton Erickson, who was wheelchair bound, was always surrounded by admiring women at events. Moshe Feldenkrais, who in appearance was no Brad Pitt, was nevertheless, a chick magnet. What is that ineffable quality that makes a person irresistible? Why are people still building shrines to Elvis and not to Paul Anka?
In his autobiography, Casanova said, “My currency was an unbridled self-esteem…” What is the difference between self-esteem and arrogance? Is there a physical formula to sex appeal? And is sex appeal just about sex? What is it about Adele that is so irresistible? It’s not just her voice, yet….
Our posture communicates our tensions, fears and anxieties as clearly as a written book. Even though most people can’t precisely decode our holding patterns when they talk to us, they can sense when we are relaxed and “embodied” and when there is a “lack of self-esteem.”
Feldenkrais didn’t use the word posture. Instead, he coined a new word: acture. Good acture is the ability to move in any direction at will. This ability means one has to have a clarity of intention, a sense of equipoise, and the ability to choose the most effective action in the moment. Now that would give anyone a “unbridled self-esteem.”
Casanova was vilified by many, as was Elvis. But what if it wasn’t their look, their posture, or even their smile? Each of the people above was a risk taker. Each one was willing to step up to the plate and be utterly unique. That can be very threatening to those who don’t dare to make mistakes. But for most of us, it’s pretty darn sexy.
What I’ve discovered through Feldenkrais lessons is that there is an elegant way to be authentic, without all the compulsions that come from tension and insecurity. What if real self-esteem is the ability to do what you want? By observing our habits, and seeing those self-limiting beliefs that govern our movements and posture, we can develop our own version of sex appeal without stress.
My students are probably sick of this quote, but I can’t resist ending with Moshe Feldenkrais’ famous quote, “If you know what you’re doing, you can do what you want.” Now to me, that’s sexy!