Should Paul Rubin Help Choose The Next Guild Director?

I am in the process of working my way through an anonymous email sent to me via anonyMOUSE yesterday. I will post parts of the email as time permits. It is from someone who knows a great deal of what is happening behind the scenes since Susan Marshall’s departure. I must admit, I find it all to be somewhat grotesque and more than a little Faustian.

But for now, I want to point your attention to some publicly available information about the process of picking a new FGNA Director. Paul Rubin is on the committee that has been formed to find a new director for the Feldenkrais Guild. Shall I repeat that? Paul Rubin, who wrote volumes of emails attempting to discredit the last director and her decisions, now wants to help choose the new one. How do you feel about that?

As the commentator noted in the anonymous email sent to me, Rubin’s being on the committee

“…is more than ironic, seeing that Paul led the charge directly against Susan and has a long history of questioning her decisions, defaming her publicly, and basically doing as much as he could to disrupt the functioning of the guild.”

Paul and his trainer buddies got what they wanted. They forced the last director to quit. And now he is getting a direct vote on picking the next one. Perhaps he will help choose someone who will be more amenable to accepting his views? Someone more pliable and not as ethical as Susan Marshall?

If you have a problem with this, perhaps voice your concern to someone at the Guild? Perhaps refuse to renew your membership?

At some point I would consider becoming a member of the Guild again and supporting its growth and the spread of the work. But I just can’t see spending my time and money on an organization with a lack of democratic process, and in which a small group of trainers have defacto power to pick and choose the director and set policy regardless of and in direct contradiction to what members want. It is beyond ridiculous.

Here is some Guild contact information:

The Feldenkrais Guild of North America
5436 N. Albina Ave
Portland, OR 97217
800-775-2118 (toll free)
503-221-6612 (office)

On the page below is an email contact form:

13 thoughts on “Should Paul Rubin Help Choose The Next Guild Director?

  1. kimcottrell

    The only way all of this happened is that after the trainers led the charge to discredit Susan, the Board sat by and did nothing to get them to back off. Most of those folks are still on the Board. It is not surprising then that here we are with the problem getting deeper and more complicated. I will definitely not renew my membership, I was dismayed that I hadn’t done a late renewal like I usually do. I would like to find out if there is a way to be a certified Feldenkrais practitioner through the IFF and bypass the FGNA. I wonder if the IFF could manage certification for all practitioners world-wide?

    1. nagster Post author

      I would love to know what is going on behind the scenes. Board members think that making a deal with the devil is somehow serving some higher purpose? It is all so weird.


  2. wallywalsh


    Thanks, once again, for bringing these subjects to the light of day…

    After hearing about Dwight and Susan’s departure from the Guild, I followed the feldyforum responses closely and then read the leaked emails you posted regarding the witch hunt that took place behind the scenes. What a clusterfuck!

    When I saw the recent bulletin stating that Paul Rubin would help select the next ED, I just about fell off my chair. I grunted, screamed, and then …I just had to laugh at the absolute absurdity of it. I had to laugh, too, when I read that Andrea Wiener continues to research the possibility of providing the guild members’ email addresses to the trainers. Obviously months and months of research by a lawyer, looking out for the best interest of the Guild, wasn’t the answer they wanted. It seems these dinosaurs will stop at nothing to get their way.

    As a 3rd year trainee, I am glad to get an early dose of reality as to how the Guild really operates. I was initially disheartened by the entire situation, having realized that one of the governing bodies of a profession I would soon be joining, is in such disarray. Now I realize, part and parcel, why such a wonderful body of work has been held back and stuck in the dark ages for so fucking long.

    I currently have a Guild student membership for this year and next. I use it primarily as a place to advertise my ATM classes and workshops I’m planning. I figured it might be a decent way to get me jump started. But, looking further down the road, I find It highly unlikely that I will continue to be a member and support such buffoonery.


    Wally Walsh

    1. nagster Post author

      Thanks Wally. After getting angry and belligerent, I too started laughing. The whole thing is so surreal. It is a textbook case of how NOT to handle a crisis.

      The fact that they are not selling emails, essentially points to the fact that Susan Marshall was correct…and..uhm…why was she forced to quit again? Oh yes, for being a strong person and a professional who knew what she was doing. And maybe because she was a woman? I don’t know but it seems like the people who are really hated by the most vocal trainers are women…



  3. Deborah Lotus

    Dear Kim
    I think it might be a catch 22 for the IFF to certify, as I understand it most of the funding comes from FGNA for IFF activities…of course if we were paying each $400. directly to IFF, that would make it possible and ‘they’ might have more ‘movement intelligence’ than FGNA…I’m thinking more along ISMETA lines, join the rest of the Somatic revolution, and also continue my Certification as a Bones for Life Teacher/Trainer, there is more future there imho, as there is an expressed need and a fairly decent name recognition for such a ‘new’ application of Feldenkrais…not that I would ever stop being a Feldenkritter, but I am similarly disenchanted by the current ‘state of the art’ and FGNA’s dysfunctional ways– ad absurdum! I remember meeting you in the FGNA office maybe 12 or so years ago, and how impressed I was with the head on your shoulders….and kind of wondering when disenchantment would set in, never with the work, but definitely with the org! thanks for your postings in FeldyForum, please keep it up!

    All the zest,


    1. nagster Post author

      Thanks Deborah. You are probably right. And the IFF likely wants to stay out of it. I think freedom of intellect and practice might come from getting a more recognized certification of – god nows – massage, physical therapy, psychotherapy. The possibilites are endless, though they do require a bit of work.

      The Ericksonians and the Erickson Foundation have avoided many of our problems. I believe that it is because its members have licenses and certifications not dependent on the Foundation. People get a degree or license in therapy, counseling etc. in their country or home state and the Foundation offers training and experience in Ericksonians strategies. They only have the function of teaching and sharing the work.

      The Guild system provides a judge, jury and executioner and it really fucks things up-


  4. Lavinia

    They will hoist themselves with their own petard. Implosion (or explosion) eventually occurs, especially when there are selfish motives. The idea that our organization might crumble over an email list is almost hilarious, but indicative of something much deeper. Perhaps it should.

    However, anonymity only foments rumor and fear, and plays into the same game. Why should I take an anonymous leak seriously? Is there really danger in the Feldenkrais community? Or are we like any group, in love with intrigue and backbiting? People complain about the board, but hey, the FGNA has BEGGED for people to join the BOD, to run for office, to step forward. No one wants to do it. What we’ve got are the same folks who are willing to take the job, whether they are qualified, strong, frightened, impotent, good, bad, it’s who said yes. Wanna change things? Step up to the plate! Or as they used to say in the 70’s, stop bitching and start a revolution.
    I love the work, hate the politics. This is difficult for me to write, I try to stay out of this stuff, but poison only breeds poison. Let’s try to find another way to heal this.

    1. nagster Post author

      Hi Lavinia – Thanks for the comment. The leaker was anonymous but the emails that I published are genuine and verifiable. We know who wrote what and when. And on today’s post, the link is directly from the Guild.

      I believe this goes beyond mere politics and intrigue. I could be wrong. But I see a small group of trainers, mainly men from the San Francisco training, who seem to believe that they own and created the Guild and should have control. The board gives into their demands – I think – because they need the new members that the trainers provide. Though it is the current practitioner members who actually pay the bills.

      You want a new board member? Nominate me. Though I live in Mexico and I am currently not a FGNA member, I believe the bylaws allow for a board member to be a member of the public. But a complete new board is needed. We need a majority. And, people need to be able to stand the attacks and violence when they come. And the threats from Denis Leri, David Bersin, Paul Rubin, Jerry Karzen et al. that they will leave if they don’t get what they want. Let them leave. The Guild is strong enough to survive without them and can thrive.

      My two cents.

      Thanks everyone else for your comments. Will reply again soon.


      1. Josh Schreiber Shalem

        Ryan — you’d run? I’ll nominate you! (Assuming the by-laws do allow it).

        My first thought was that I’d run too, but my wife would probably divorce me. (Seriously, I’m primary parent to a toddler and just don’t have the time). But put out the call, maybe some other folks who want change will come out of the woodwork to do it with you, and we’ll get some real democracy, just like you’ve been nagging us to have!

        Lavinia — I can’t agree with you more that the issue is not so much people on the board holding onto their power. If anything, I think it’s that so very few of us want to take on the project of acting powerfully together.


        1. nagster Post author

          Family takes precedence! Especially toddlers. If all children had a stable homelife and care the first 3 years of life nearly all crime and negative health outcomes such as depression would be eliminated from this planet….

          Just my two cents as a former preschool assistant teacher and a masters degree in develompental psychology.



  5. Mac

    Yep. Same stuff, different day. I’m glad that you’re shining some daylight on the disfunction.

    While some people will maintain that the only way to change things is to work within the guild, the decades long history of it indicates to me that it is an intractable organization. It seems to have more in common with a multi-level marketing scheme than a genuine professional body. And it’s hard to move a pyramid once it’s put in place.

    I appreciate your calls for members to leave the guild. Members pay for the vast majority of the guild’s operations. If enough were to leave they could create an existential crisis in the organization (more than some trainers deciding to go off and do their own thing..which they will likely never do, having lived off MF’s name their whole adult lives).

    At this point in my own life, affiliation with the word “Feldenkrais” is a bit of a professional liability. Too many people do too much goofy stuff and call it “Feldenkrais” (30 years of no real standards can do that….). There are many really good ideas, a handful of really bad ideas and a shocking lack of necessary foundational knowledge.

    But some people want to keep the name. Would a lesson in how to move better be valuable without anecdotes about Moshe? Can you learn calculus without talking about Newton’s life every damn day?

    I appreciated your previous post about helping to promote people’s classes. The main function of the guild seems to be its online list of practitioners and access to some liability insurance. If people had access to a public acknowledgement of their training and perhaps a route to the liability coverage personal trainers or massage therapists get, then it would be an absolute mystery why anyone would join the guild.

    Or maybe not a mystery: It is to have access to the incredibly valuable terms “Awareness Through Movement” and “Functional Integration”…two phrases that people are familiar with, understand and are drawn toward. Right.

  6. nagster Post author

    Thanks Mac. You raise lots of good points. At this moment, many people support the Guild through inaction. If its existence were called into question by an exodus of members, I believe it would – could – make the choice to begin serving its members and get out of the schizophrenic double bind that it is in now.

    I hope that more and more people will begin teaching without Moshe – at least at first. I taught ATM in a very conservative part of Utah in a University. I called the sessions “Experiential Session” and did not bring up Moshe or Feldenkrais until late in the semester when everyone already was comfortable with the work and liked writing about the sessions. Why raise a barrier that did not need to be there?

    Much more to say, but…..


  7. bonnie angelie

    it’s doubtful that i’ll continue as a member of the guild. i’m still too upset and disturbed by the lack of sense demonstrated in the handling of the trainers vs susan marshall. not available to be a board member. please though, not just more of the same old shit!
    thanks ryan for another opportunity to state it.

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