Obviously

Today, Louisiana and parts of east Texas are feeling the landfall from Hurricane Gustav. Thankfully, New Orleans received relatively minor damage yesterday, and Houston will only see a few rainy days this week. Like many in this region, on Sunday and Monday I clicked between The Weather Channel, CNN, and our local news stations to track the path of the storm. It’s “TV worth watching” to see the meteorologists getting drenched and blown to smithereens as they fill in the color commentary for viewers who still have electricity, and time to kill.

The outdoor weather forecasters always amaze me. They and their crew are in harm’s way, both from the storm and from flying debris. While this does spice up the broadcast, I quickly get so anxious that I start to bark, “Oh, go inside already!” News is now entertainment, and I guess most people stay tuned to see whether that nice weather guy gets taken out by a flying carport, like it’s “America’s Funniest Videos”or something. One broadcaster was standing on a balcony, harnessed to the structure as a precaution in case he were to be blown off his feet. Several others were stationed on beaches or street corners, wiping off the camera lens every minute or so as their feed cut in and out. In these conditions, they kept their voices calm, objective, and conversational so that we, at a distance, could experience the hurricane. Under this kind of stress, and with 24-hour continuous coverage to produce, it’s no wonder these people sometimes say silly things.

One, from Gulfport, MS, standing in the pouring, pounding rain and surf, quipped, “What we’re concerned about now is the possibility of severe weather.” WELL, YEAH. It’s a hurricane, for Pete’s Sake! Please go inside! What he was referring to, from his location east of the eye of the storm, was the likelihood of tornadoes that frequently spring up along the outer edges. However, my warped sense of humor stayed in the present moment: Buddy, it looks pretty severe right now! On another channel, Anderson Cooper reported, “Well, it doesn’t seem very serious. It just finished raining, and the skies are clearing.” He was clearly unaware that he was, for the moment, between the circulating bands of showers ahead of the storm, and he would shortly get hammered again.

It’s those “Well, YEAH!” or “DUH!” moments that provide amusement and occasional enlightenment. I remember our high school football coach responding to an interviewer’s question after a loss: What do we need to do to win? He responded, “We need to score more points than the other team.” He was not being sarcastic. He was earnestly stating the obvious. But just because something is obvious doesn’t mean that it is also simple.

Moshe Feldenkrais wrote a book entitled, “The Elusive Obvious,” and it’s one of my favorites. One reason is that the book is full of “Aha!” insights. Each Feldenkrais lesson holds the possibility for an “Aha!” experience: the wonder of, “Why didn’t I think of that? Why didn’t I see that before?” The moment of “DUH!” of, “Well, YEAH!” brings clarity and lasting change. Feldenkrais valued and developed people’s ability to learn for themselves, through experience. The Feldenkrais Method, most fundamentally, teaches the ability to make distinctions, and then to be able to respond appropriately. We can expand our choices for action, for thought, for feeling, beyond our known and habitual reactions, and we can create new possibilities in every breath, in every action, in every moment.

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