Monday, April 20, 2009

The Big Rains

It was a wet weekend in Houston!

Friday and Saturday, it POURED. Lines of thunderstorms, some of them severe, barreled through Houston one after the other. It rained hard, and it rained LONG. It was the type of rain that my Dad would have called "a frog-choker." That's a lot of rain!

So much rain fell on Friday throughout the area that the first leg of the MS150 was canceled for Saturday. Other plans were changed or canceled as weather and road conditions worsened. Tragically, lives were lost. Most people, however, stayed indoors and marveled at the rain. We've been in a drought for months (now officially over), so the sight of dark skies and pouring rain was strange and novel.

We have frequent flooding in Houston, for several reasons.
1. This one's obvious: too much rain falls too fast, overwhelming the drainage system. The water has nowhere to go.
2. Also pretty obvious: there's a LOT of concrete in Houston. Water doesn't soak into the earth, but just runs off. See #1, repeat.
3. Our terrain is low-lying. The city is in a bowl. It fills up. It's a constant battle to keep needed infrastructure improvements in the works and on track, but it's never enough. Conditions are favorable for flooding, rather than draining.

This got me thinking about learning, and the Feldenkrais Method. We see learning going on everywhere, not just in classes or schools. The purpose of learning is fundamentally to create a change for the better, for example, improved understanding or skill. Learning and change are creative -- some new capacity emerges.True learning is not just about knowing, it's also about being and doing. The Feldenkrais Method helps people to navigate change and discover new capacities and possibilities for and within themselves.

1. If you try to learn (or change) too much all at once, you overwhelm your system with the flood of information. ("Information" is not just facts: your sensations, emotions, and thoughts are also information.)
2. You won't learn well if you are not "absorbent." The best and "quickest picker-upper" I know of is curiosity.
3. Conditions must be favorable for learning. Senses of fun, meaning, and achievement enhance and inspire learning.

I'm making a distinction here between "immersion" and flooding. Immersion learning throws you into water that is shallow enough to stand up in, but deep enough to swim in. You can get somewhere, and everyone knows what outcome is desired -- it is constructive. A flood is destructive. You'll drown! The drought may be over, but at a very high price. Our culture is pre-disposed for "flooding." We love excess and extremes, super-sizing everything. However, quantity is not necessarily quality.

The Feldenkrais Method uses body movement as its vehicle, so that you can sense, feel, and think while you are in action. We are sensitive to pacing, curiosity, and fun, creating conditions for learning and maximum "absorbency." The evidence of learning is your perception that some change has occurred. Like gentle rain, gradual and light, soaking in to a thirsty mind and nervous system, the Method provides essential conditions for future growth. You can learn your way out of pain and stress, finding grace, fluidity, and ease in movement and in life.

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1 comment:

Feldenkrais Centre Vancouver said...

Love it MaryBeth how you can learn from all of life's situations. Feldenkrais is a great tool to help us all learn as we traverse through the daily trials and tribulations that are life! By the way, you might want to visit us in Vancouver where, for a change, it is NOT raining and everything is in bloom, the birds are chirping and it is sunny and warm. Vita