In Memoriam: David Webber
Wednesday, April 18, 2018
by: IN TOUCH

Section: Practitioner Spotlight




David Webber has died. In the last ten years, David became internationally known 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, which will be released shortly.

In the last months of David’s life, he was surrounded by a devoted group of family, friends, and colleagues, who created a space of love and caring around him as he journeyed through the process of dying. David is survived by this community, which includes his sisters Ellen and Debbie, his brother Mark, his son Evan and dear friends including Christine Dolezal and Alison Armstrong-Webber.

On April 16, 2018, at the age of 64, David slipped away.

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 or visiting their website:
www.benjaminsparkmemorialchapel.ca/ServiceDetails.aspx?snum=134453&fg=0.


For further information about David Webber, see:
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Comments (4)
Zach Schwartz
5/26/2018 11:08:15 AM
Very sorry to about David's passing. It was a pleasure to know him. Condolences to his family and the Feldenkrais community.


Vivian McDonough
4/24/2018 1:33:59 PM
An impressive and beautiful tribute ! I participated in one of his very early workshops at the Feldenkrais Centre while taking classes with Marian; I send condolences especially to Marian, and to all the Feldenkrais practitioners at the centre in Toronto.


Andrea Klassen
4/24/2018 3:49:18 AM
thank you very much for letting us participate at the beautiful life journey of David. Andrea/Cologne


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