Listening To Whispers
About Edie Jane
I am a Canadian born in New Zealand, where I lived long enough to develop a Kiwi accent. I spent my adolescence in Ireland where I added to my funny accent, much to my teasing cousins’ delight. I now live just outside Ottawa, Canada, near Lascelles, Quebec, a teeny crossroads with a store and a church — and I have no accent!
I grew up with several cats in the household and acquired whatever stray dogs came within reach. Adding to the menagerie were Biddy the donkey, a lamb named Bella, and Mopsa, a hamster. In Ireland I had my first pony, which I acquired by a familiar kid method: “Ask your mother” and “Ask your father” led to “perhaps if you find one you like.” I think my parents were thinking of the distant future, but I found her a couple of hours later, a forgiving Exmoor pony named Monica who would jump anything. I spent many hunting days (drag hunting, not live critters) hanging on for dear life while giving leads to other riders over tricky fences. Monica’s reputation as a brave jumper was well known. I don’t think anyone cared about the little girl on top, who learned a lot in the process.
I always intended to be a nuclear physicist, and indeed did start off in that direction at Queen’s University. By chance, though, I happened to take a geology course in my second year — one additional science was required – taught by a Dr. Al Gorman. One of the best teachers I have ever had, he loved his subject and his enthusiasm infected his students. I rearranged my whole course schedule, which required some creativity, and became a geologist. I still love it, though I have to recognise that most of what I learned has been turned on its head in the decades since.
Various activities — work and pleasure — followed: Summer jobs as an oceanographer in the Maritimes; graduate work and a job with Shell Oil in Calgary, where I took up riding again, and then rallying and car racing (a Lotus Cortina) when the horse I rode was killed in a barn fire. Then to Ottawa, where my parents had retired, and marriage for some years to an artist for whom I acted as agent. In the late 70’s, I built the house where I now live (see photo along the top) and started a small riding school and thoroughbred/warmblood breeding operation.
The journey that led me to practice both TTouch and Feldenkrais has been circular. I had become fascinated with the Feldenkrais Method in the early 1980s, when I saw how it helped my mother when she was dealing with the pain of a deteriorating hip. Feldenkrais lessons allowed her to move more easily. Later, when she had a stroke, the Feldenkrais work helped her not only to move better, but also to think and express herself more clearly. It was astounding.
Knowing that I worked with horses, my Feldenkrais mentor suggested I look into the work of Linda Tellington-Jones, a Feldenkrais practitioner and renowned equestrian who had integrated aspects of the Feldenkrais Method into her work with animals. The system she developed is known as Tellington TTouch Training. Once I saw Linda work, I was utterly hooked.
That was over 30 years ago. I spent as much time as I possibly could working with Linda and her sister Robyn Hood, continuing to be delighted and amazed by the work while practicing and teaching it. In 1996, I completed the four-year practitioner training in the Feldenkrais Method. My experience with each method has enhanced my understanding of the other. The circle continues…
As a practitioner of both TTouch and Feldenkrais I am available for private lessons or consultations. I teach Feldenkrais workshops with humans, and TTouch workshops with horses (TTEAM) and companion animals at home and as far afield as Africa and Australia. I also teach a workshop for humans called ‘Making it Easy’, which blends both methods. I have presented sessions at the Pain Clinic of the Ottawa General Hospital, at several schools of veterinary medicine and at veterinary conferences. I have taught at the Omega Institute for Holistic Studies in Rhinebeck, New York, at the New York Open Center in New York City, and at Best Friends Animal Society in Kanab, Utah. I am also an instructor of Tellington Method practitioners around the world.
I am grateful to all the animals, people and possibilities that have contributed to shaping my life, and I am confident that there are still more of each around the corner. Perhaps you will be among them.
The racing purists will notice the Cortina isn’t race-ready. This photo was taken at a hill climb before the track season.