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Class July 24 plus Four More Summer Classes

As uncharacteristic as our Portland summer weather has been, it has required great patience on the part of humans. Patience to wait, to go slow, to not rush about, and to be planful about trips outside in the near-100 degree heat. 

This summer has insisted on a change of behavior and a loosening of habit. A letting go of old ways and a pausing to see what might enter into the scene. 

Whether it’s turning to look over your shoulder on your bike, swimming in a lake or river, or dancing the waltz at a friend’s wedding, every Feldenkrais students benefits from the opportunity to examine the intricacies of moving forward Into this life with grace and elegance.  

And, while the Feldenkrais Method isn’t a spiritual practice, I can think of fewer things more spiritual than learning to bring the whole self into each and every thing we do. And then living into that fullness and awareness. 

Join us, we’re here for summer classes through August 21. Then we’ll resume again September 11. 

Classes at Subud Portland, 3185 NE Regents Drive. 

Class June 26 and Reflection: This Short Life

Greetings Feldenkrais Enthusiasts,

We are having class on June 26, this FRIDAY. Yes, indeed. But, not on July 3 or July 10. Lots of complications and sincere apologies for the changes in dates. I’ve extended the weeks in August to make up for the missed dates and offer you a 9-week class, as promised. Of course, you can always drop-in as you have time in your schedule.

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Reflection: This Short Life 

I’m headed to Arizona to visit my aunt. The aunt who used to visit when I was a child and stripped down to her psychedelic bra when she didn’t have a swimsuit. The aunt who grew up not a mile from where I live now. The aunt who wondered who would raft the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon with her in 1998 and I said, I will.

Reflection: This Short LifeThe aunt I wrote to when I was 17 and asked if I could come stay with them in Colorado for the summer. The aunt who said yes. The aunt who didn’t get mad at me when I was in a fender bender with her car. The aunt who included me in her life as if she’d been with me every day since I was born.

This aunt, Suzanne, has been an inspiration to me, so now, when she’s ill, I’m not questioning my impulse to get on a plane and spend time with her.

For now, you can find me in Flagstaff holding Suzanne’s hand. I can’t think of a more perfect place to be right now. Maybe I’ll get to push her outside in a wheelchair to sit in the fresh morning air and reminisce about our trip down the river. Despite the fact we can’t go on a big adventure or I won’t be moving in with her for the summer, we will soak up our time together, as we always have.

May you find the same in your life, the soaking, the communion with a loved one, the reminiscing of old times. This life is short, might as well revel in it.

June 19 class, PLUS some cool socks

On June 19, we’re going to explore stepping, yes, taking a step. We’ll do some of that practice standing up, but a considerable amount will be lying down. There are so many ways to think of taking a step, we’ll consider every way we can imagine.

And, while we’re on the subject of stepping . . . I was recently made aware of a very cool type of neoprene sock. It’s not meant for the outdoors, it’s pretty delicate. It’s mean to be worn around the house when you might otherwise be barefoot. But, one of my clients said, “My floors are too cold.” If that’s your story too and you wish you could go barefoot without slippery feet, here’s one answer.

NuFeet Barefoot Slippers (Women’s)

For the adventurous among you, my experience is that going barefoot a little bit at a time is a great way to build up the resilience and adaptability of your feet. When I first began, my feet felt cold all the time. Now, not so much. In fact, most of the time I can sleep without socks now, except in the middle of winter. What once felt cold, will soon become familiar and welcoming.

Lots of ways to experiment with being out of our habits and nudging the edges of our comfort zone.

See you soon,

Kim

No Class June 12 (plus Reflection: Bowls Full of Issues)

I’m traveling this week, thus we will not have class Friday, June 12. We will be back in session on the 19th, and on through the summer. Check the Calendar Page for more details and class info, specifically when we’re on and when we’re off. 

Bowls Full of Issues.

In the meantime, I leave you with a post I wrote on my stepmother blog, Bowls Full of Issues, in which I reflect on finding other ways to work with the issues larger than ourselves. After 20 years of dissecting the patterns, I see there are layers that went unnoticed, my awareness expands to include a layer deeper, and then deeper. And it’s not about what’s in my knowing, or what I think I know about my patterns, which is a considerable amount. It’s not about what someone else thinks they know about me, or if only I would do this or that. It is simply to continue learning and understanding the unnoticed layers. Then, these patterns can be shifted and eased and unraveled, until they are part and parcel of my current present-day experience and not the thing that drags me back into the den telling me I’m not ready to emerge yet. Pssst, the same is true for you. The same is true for all of us.

If you’re in Portland, stay cool. If you’re elsewhere, you too!
I’ll see you very soon,
Kim 

Reflection: Ruminations of a Recovering Insomniac

When I woke, I felt irritated sweatiness, frustrated sleeplessness, and over-heated exhaustion.

Two cups of crappy coffee and a couple of hours of shitty musak in the hotel lobby so I didn’t disturb my travel buddy, and I dragged myself into the shower to wash away the ick of a sleepless night.

Karla McLaren’s questions for working with anger came to me. What must be protected, McLaren asks. Well, calm, peace, and space, for starters.

And her follow-up question, what must be restored? I heard the same answer. Calm, peace, and space.

Calm. Peace. Space. Waking up after a sleepless night in a hotel, I didn’t feel calm. Or, peaceful. Or, like there was space around me. Things felt close, as in claustrophobic. I felt sweaty and frustrated, and all that other stuff.

I felt the intensity of the unease and unrest inside me, a feeling of desperation and with it a sense of time zipping past me. Wasted time. Time to which I couldn’t lay claim. Time without quality, tormenting me, the connoisseur of quality in all her forms.

Not only that, it was if I didn’t knowing myself inside the unease and unrest. In those unrest moments I was out of touch with my home, with me, and with any sense there was a boundary around me.

So, I did what I’ve been learning, I used the anger to claim my boundary. I paused, and focused my anger, flooding it into the space inside my boundary.

That day, my anger was blue, all shades of blue that mixed and blended and became a royal blue light, less than royal blue, darker than cerulean.

Surrounded by blue, washed gently in blue, the blues of my voice, the blue of my emotions. Blue of my sadness, a sigh, part of a voice, part of sadness, all together there in the release of the tension of not getting what I want.

IMG_0604 - Version 2Wait, was that it? In the dark of the night when the television next door blared and the room was hot and there was a tossing and turning and fretting over minutes and hours unslept, I wasn’t getting what I wanted?

Hmmm, did something in there feel like losing, like a competition lost, or a challenge as in game on? Was it a, who slept most? Who slept best? Did you get enough sleep? Were you cheated?

And what does sleep give that awake withholds? Is it true, sleep is better than no sleep?  Where and when are we most ourselves?

And, if I didn’t sleep, am I a good person? If I slept poorly or shittily, will I survive? Could I sleep less than the eight-hour prescription and keep my open heart? If I didn’t sleep by choice, is that any better than not sleeping because of distractions, frustrations, or invasions?

In fact, life is not a competition, it’s an exhibition (I got that from my husband).

Hmmm, an exhibition. Then can I use the material gained in my reaction to a sleepless night and work with it to fuel my boundary, ala McLaren? Can I let go of my supposed-to reaction to a sleepless night, can I bypass the outrage and dismay and move into whatever is in front of me when I get up?

Can I continue letting go of dismay and outrage after two sleepless nights? And, then again after five, or even ten, nights of interrupted sleep? Will there be a day I’ll stop worrying about losing sleep? Maybe even a day I’ll fall asleep amid chaos and distraction because I get bored with the non-sleeping me?

Who will, and can, I become? This sometimes sleepless me.

. . . 

Note: Feldenkrais class at 10:45am Friday, the Subud, 3185 NE Regents Drive, Portland

Reflection: Welcoming Emotions to the Table 

No class on May 1, let’s plan to see one another May 8

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Over the weekend, I attended a workshop with Karla McLaren, author of The Language of Emotion and The Art of Empathy. McLaren’s work has the potential to profoundly shift how think about our emotions and therefore, how we can behave when we are angry, anxious, or struggle with any intense emotion.

As the day-long workshop unfolded, people eagerly dug in with their questions and curiosity. Mid-way through the day a few people, stirred by their emotions, asked emphatic questions that left the rest of us breathless.

In the face of those intense questions, I was so uncomfortable I immediately wanted McLaren to silence the asker. After a few more minutes, I longed for her to move us on to the next activity. Finally, I recognized how much there was to learn and watched in fascination as she listened intently to the person’s fear, anguish, and uncertainty.

McLaren didn’t shout the questions down. She didn’t ask the person to talk to her after class. She settled in and her facial expressions and body language relayed a message that she was hearing and seeing the speaker.

I can’t think of a better way to handle the situation and the rest of us were able to observe exactly how McLaren suggests we behave in the chapter, Anger: The Honorable Sentry. When someone is angry, listen.

McLaren eschews the notion of only four emotions, and, as we worked with the fifteen emotions she has identified it was easy to see why. I came to appreciate the nuances of each emotion and, most importantly, how they work together and the interactions between them. Emotions almost never function solo.

If you’ve been reading along on this blog, you know, I’ve been working with the processes of anxiety and anger and how they function within my family and other families. It was only last summer, at a friend‘s suggestion, that I read The Language of Emotion. Some very key pieces fell into place.

Empathy pioneer, Karla McLaren

Empathy pioneer, Karla McLaren

For example, McLaren sees anger as an honorable sentry whose purpose is to protect a boundary. That means if I lash out, my border is unprotected. And if I cave in, my border is also unprotected. Instead, I can work with my anger until it flows freely, as McLaren says, and signals to me that something is wrong. In those moments of being alerted, I can learn what needs to be protected and restored.

There’s something expansive about bringing all my emotions to the table, shushing none of them. I can learn to let my council gather and work in harmony, some coming forward when needed and others receding when their turn comes to wait.

When I first tried to imagine a natural ebb and flow of emotions inside me, all I sensed was chaos. And so, I gave up on the idea and tolerated the clamoring. And, sometimes, none of my emotions were present and I sat in deadened silence.

These days, my emotions and I gather around the family table where harmony and cohesion jab and feint, and highs and lows are expected and welcomed. Anxiety now has a focus, anger does her job, and happiness gets to rest when the emotional content has nothing to do with happiness.

All in all, listening to and making friends with my emotions has been an incredibly fruitful process, a natural extension of my studies of human behavior and my practice of the Feldenkrais Method.

The simplicity of accessing my emotion council astonishes me, and yet it makes perfect sense. After all, it’s me listening to me being me.

What emotion do you struggle with?
And, which emotion would you like to invite to dinner? 

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Class: Friday, April 24 @ 10:45am

Greetings all,

We’ve been in the swing of things with regular Friday classes, the usual 50-minute adventure. I’d love to say there are never any gaps, but I can say there are fewer than there were. I’m teaching a great walking lesson on Friday, a classic. Then, next week, I’m roaming around British Columbia on a grand writing adventure. Wait, didn’t I just do that in February? Mmmm, so I did. Seems to be a writing kind of year.

What about you? What is your year shaping up to be? Are you getting out and doing the things you want to do? Are you taking five minutes for yourself? Is there too much noise in your brain, or in your heart? How do you clean that stuff out from between your ears?

A funny story about doing routine things in new ways?

I’ve been writing as if I was on a mission. In fact, I am. I want to have a draft of my book ready to share with a few readers in August. Gasp, that’s less than four months away. So, yes, the mission part feels true.

Each morning I hope to get up early and write for an hour, maybe two, before the day gets rolling. Lately, it’s been working great since I have been waking up at five a.m. It’s dark and I lie there and think of the great coffee waiting for me, if only I make it.

Then I consider that by the time I get up and go downstairs and let the dogs out and put the water on and heat the water and pour it over the coffee grounds in the french press, fifteen or twenty minutes will have passed before I’m sitting with my cup of coffee, ready to write. And, along the way of making the coffee, I might get distracted by putting dishes away and other things, like feed the dogs.

I can get lost in tasks that never end, needing doing three, or more, times every single day. Sometimes I waste an hour downstairs, having looked at the news on the New York Times app on my phone while I waited for the coffee and then drinking the first cup of coffee while I’m reading the rest of that article and then the next one, and so on. By the time I return to my writing perch, I’m disgusted with myself.

This evening, I have no dread about the morning because I’ve solved the problem.

I made the coffee a few minutes ago and poured it in a stainless coffee carafe and tightened the lid down to keep it warm all night. The carafe has kept coffee warm until the morning after a block party or an easter egg hunt, it should last until my five o’clock wake up. It is positioned now, with a coffee cup beside it, on the shelf in my office, waiting, and waiting for me to pour my first cup.

One thing is for sure, I can’t wait for the first sip . . .