(Adapted from article originally published on feldenkraisguild.com)
David Webber, a literal “visionary” in the Feldenkrais® community, died on April 16, 2018. David became internationally known in the last decade of his life for his Seeing Clearly work, in which he integrated the Feldenkrais Method® with Buddhist practices, the Bates Method, and other approaches to healing the eyes and living with awareness. He was a warm and articulate communicator and facilitated meaningful change in the lives of many.
In the early 1990s, David’s life was turned upside down by significant ocular disease and the attendant medical interventions. Introduced to the Feldenkrais Method by Marion Harris, a family friend, and doyenne of the Toronto Feldenkrais® community, David enrolled in the 2000-2004 Toronto practitioner training with Arlyn Zones and Olena Nitefor. This context of sensitive, structured exploration provided space for David’s native curiosity, playfulness, and love of learning. He recognized the resonance of this work with Buddhism and the Bates Method but saw that the Method further integrated awareness and tension-release practices in a more dynamically functional, embodied way. He became a Feldenkrais practitioner in 2004.
Through disciplined daily Awareness Through Movement® lessons and meditation practices, David’s vision and ocular health improved significantly in the years following the training, despite medical predictions to the contrary. Always interested in sharing his process through teaching, he continued to develop ways for individuals with similarly debilitating visual challenges to facilitate their own path to improved functioning.
While still in the practitioner training in the early 2000s, David was galvanized by a vision workshop taught by senior Feldenkrais trainer, Carl Ginsburg, at an FGNA conference in New York. He kept in touch with Ginsburg, and when David later moved to Europe, Ginsburg mentored David and facilitated his involvement in the European Feldenkrais community. This relationship led to many opportunities to study and teach in Europe alongside Carl Ginsburg and, later, Chava Shelhav. Shelhav asked David and his partner, ophthalmologist Christine Dolezal, to contribute a chapter about the development of vision in children, and it is now included in her most recent book on child development (to be translated into English).
A diagnosis of cancer sent David back to Canada for treatment, but following treatment, David continued to teach workshops and classes in Europe, and also in North America—in Toronto, at FGNA conferences, and at the Feldenkrais Institute in New York. Lessons taught by David at the Institute, under the title “Seeing Clearly,” were released as a CD set several years ago and have provided an introduction to David’s accessible and practical approach.
In 2015, Dr. Norman Doidge’s book, The Brain’s Way of Healing, brought further attention to the Feldenkrais Method as well as to David’s experience, within the context of neuroplasticity. Interest in David’s work, and in the Feldenkrais Method, had never been greater. David was excited and happy about his professional opportunities.
David made plans to teach workshops in Israel, Australia, Austria, Italy, the U.S., and Canada in the spring of 2017. Several of these were already sold out. However, during this period of intense interest in his work, David experienced serious health setbacks, including a recurrence of cancer and its devastating treatments. Sadly, these international workshops were canceled due to David’s health.
The last workshop David was able to teach was in March 2017 at the Feldenkrais Institute in New York. It was filmed and, even as his health deteriorated, David was busy communicating with David Zemach-Bersin to organize the editing of the DVD set.
In many ways, David’s work was just beginning. To support further exploration in the area of embodied vision and enable people of mixed abilities to experience and benefit from this work, his family have established a David Webber Memorial Fund. Donations may be made by calling the Benjamins Foundation at 416-780-0324.
It seems best to let David speak for himself. Click to watch the video for his story, his insights, and how he used the Feldenkrais Method to see clearly.
And a short Awareness Through Movement lesson:
For further information about David Webber, see:
The Brain’s Way of Healing: Remarkable Discoveries and Recoveries from the Frontiers of Neuroplasticity
Article / Interview Promed Komplimentar (German)
Newspaper Article Die Press (German)