Monday, July 6, 2009

The 100-Degree Rule

Wortham Foundation GardensImage via Wikipedia

(Translation for our international readers: The 38-Degree Rule. Celsius. Right.)

We can't help ourselves, talking about the weather. The 100-degree Rule is: if it's 100 degrees outside (or more), stay inside!

Houston has endured weeks of record-breaking temperatures. And it's a damp heat, mostly. Day after day with the thermometer reading in triple digits begins to wear. People feel cranky. We have the summer version of "cabin fever."

Amid lots of great entertainment options last week, leading up to the Independence Day holiday, we passed on all of them. Ordinarily, an evening out at Discovery Green would be delightful. Dining al fresco at our favorite spot in Midtown is usually a treat. However, we invoked the "100-degree rule" and watched the celebratory fireworks on television, in air-conditioned comfort. It's a matter of self-preservation. At its root, this is an issue of respect. You have to respect the heat. And, you have to respect yourself.

Luckily, most people do take care of themselves under these extreme conditions. The heat assaults you as you open the front door, nagging and nagging you to pay attention. Stay cool, dress lightly, protect from the sun's rays, keep well hydrated. However, most people won't take care of themselves on a daily basis, or in the absence of emergency conditions. We don't view self-care in terms of sustainability.

If only we had more personal "100-degree rules," individual barometers to gauge when "enough is enough." More respect for self might lead to more respect for the messages of pain, of satiety, of anxiety. The heat is like a 2x4 upside the head. You have to be listening and all senses "tuned up" to appreciate more subtle and habitual sensations. The 100-degree rule is simply an invitation to pay attention.

The Feldenkrais Method is remarkable for its respect of individuals and the circumstances in which they find themselves. The work leads inevitably to deeper explorations of self-reliance, self-sufficiency, and independence. You could even say that people find freedom here. However, these are not empty platitudes or tenets of an ideology. They are the building blocks for intelligent, cooperative action, within oneself and within society. The Method values your senses and sensations as first-line sources of information about your body, your safety, and your environment. Any action is only as effective as the sensitivity to initial conditions.

Pop-up thundershowers throughout the coming week will bring some relief. A visit to a Feldenkrais class (all air-conditioned!) brings a similar refreshment. Have your own personal independence day. New ideas, actions, and possibilities abound. Let freedom ring!

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1 comment:

Nita Cheramie said...

Or the thundershowers will just make it sticky and hot. Sorry, stickier and hotter. Let's pray for a good gullywasher to really cool things down. John says Atyrau has had a cool snap. Figures.