I decided to move to Portland, OR after a wonderful visit in 2004. I fell in love with the Pacific Northwest and Portland, in particular. A friend of mine suggested that I come and visit after a conference I was attending in Denver. Because Denver is much closer to Portland than Asheville is, I thought, how could I miss the opportunity. I had always wanted to see the Pacific NW. My friend squired me around Portland as well as Cannon Beach and Depot Bay. I got to see whales and seals and exquisitely beautiful sunsets. When I returned to Asheville, I had dreams of the ocean, wales, otters, scrumptious cuisine in so many restaurants, tables of mushrooms at the farmers markets, pioneers and soaring eagles.
Coincidentally, Portland is also the home of the Feldenkrais® Guild. I have been studying Feldenkrais for 4 or 5 years withLavinia Plonka. Our journeys to Asheville happened about the same time and we met shortly after moving there through Aikido, a martial arts we both practice. At the time, I was in a great deal of physical pain and through Lavinia’s individual lessons and then the group classes I have become a life long student of Feldenkrais.
Moshe Feldenkrais was an innovator and pioneer in somatic education. Besides the “somatic” work we do in class, there are also tenets that have become an integral part of my life. One of the experiences classes offer me is the opportunity to “notice.” Not noticing to fix anything in particular, just noticing…For me, noticing where I “grip” was and still is among my top ten noticings. Of course, now it’s not the only noticing I do.
Of course, I told all my friends about my intent to move to Portland. Some were supportive and some were upset with me…”It’s so far.” “We’ll never see you”…and, of course, the big one…”Can you stand the rain…you know it rains in Portland A LOT and there’s no sun”… “Make sure you go in the winter when it’s raining and there’s no sunshine, so you can see if you can stand it.” However, my course was set…even if it has taken me almost 4 years to have finally satisfied all the questions and concerns… mine and everyone else’s.
Anyway, back to noticing. What I began to discover was the practice of noticing from Feldenkrais class was creeping into my life…and what I began to see after I returned from Portland was that pretty frequently I would hear something about Oregon or Portland. I’d see a story about Portland on the morning news or hear something in an overheard grocery store conversation, read something arbitrary from some really unusual source or even find some great source I was researching and they would be from Portland. There was a continuous mentioning of Portland or Oregon.
One day I was driving and I noticed that I’d heard something about Portland 2 times in one day. I remember telling a friend that it seemed a bit odd that I was hearing all this stuff about Portland. By the time I mentioned it to my friend it was pretty consistent and loud. And then one day I heard something about Portland 3 times in one day. Well, by that time noticing how often I heard about Portland had really gotten my attention.…and I remember just laughing out loud the day I heard Portland stuff three times in one day. It never seemed to be important what I heard about Portland. What I noticed was that Portland was continuously in my life.
So, I developed this theory that my friends now tease me about and some have even written about. I call it “getting it in stereo.” Basically, the theory is that when we take time to “notice” we can hear all sorts of things. I have found that if it’s something important that I might want to pay really, really close attention to, that the information gets repeated until I do notice. Of course, I have been known to sleep through lots of experiences. However, these days I notice when I am “getting it” at least in stereo. For me, stereo is when something is repeated two times and it’s close enough together to get my attention). But if I am really snoozing, I get it in surround sound until I “get it.” For me, surround sound is when something repeats as many times as I need it to until I get it. So, I have come to see that that when we actually take the time to notice…we can hear the those things we might ordinarily miss. Remember, it’s not noticing to do something, it’s noticing to become aware. Thanks Moshe and Lavinia.