First of Nine: Tensegrity Blog

Portland, Oregon's Cancer Survivorship and Bodywork Zine by Compassion Arts PDX, LLC

Intuition? What the huh?

How do you know where to go? How do you track the whale in the vast, ever changing sea?

Let’s demystify this concept that intuition is something magical. Or beyond our realm of understanding.

Intuition defined… Taking all information we have available to us and moving forward with trust in every level of our being.

Information comes from our knowledge. Book learning. Our previous experience and understanding of the basic laws of nature. What goes up must come down. The cycles and rhythms of life.

Information arises from our sensory experience. Our conscious and unconscious knowledge. Our observations of our physical, mental and emotional state, as well as the witnessing of outside phenomenon. That bird in the backyard. The sparkle in the eyes. The quality of light in the sky.

Worlds within worlds… Photography by Hamid Shibata Bennett

Observation, sans judgement, is perhaps the keenest essential.

We take in all of this information. Our brain is a quantum computer, with the multitasking ability to be in many states at once yet in completely different states, moment to moment. Watching a real-time brain scan is like watching a crackling fire. It’s beautiful in it’s dance.

We have the ability to read the lay of the land. We read the topography of the body. We read gesture, expression, gait, posture. It’s in us! Yet, still a skill that can be finely honed.

A child’s stumbling process of learning to walk. Even into adulthood, we are still learning that skill. It’s inborn, intrinsic. This drive to bring our heads upright… We can learn so much about ourselves in our stagger forward. Think about that the next time you stub your toe.

So, we have all of this information at our disposal. What to do with it?

One reason I use a low table is to get a gull’s eye view of the country side. Observe the thermals. The eddies, the whirlpools in the river. The brushstrokes in the calligraphy of the body.

And, then… Trust….

Gently land your hands and sink into a depth that makes ya happy, where you feel the connection. Sink into the depth of the tissue at the pace of a soft breath.

Random thought? What happens when an asteroid meets Jupiter? That’s probably something you can find on the youtubey.

And, then soften your hands and soften your hands some more. Soften your breath and soften your breath some more. We take in more information when our senses are receptive.

From there on out, just trust. Trust your work. Trust your clear intention. And, notice what you feel. Find a release and move on when it feels right.

There are certainly tools for getting more information. Just listening, listening without judgement. That’s within our scope of practice as somatic practitioners. And reflection. Reflection can lead to a great deal of clarification and understanding. To give someone time to tell their story is such a gift. And, a key to building trusted communication with our clients.

Don’t know where to start? Don’t know how to find the whale in the deep, blue ocean? Just dip your hands in the water and trust. Every cresting wave gives you all the information you need.

Hamid : )

“Second star to the right. And, straight on ’til morning.” -J.T. Kirk


6 comments on “Intuition? What the huh?

  1. Michael Taira
    July 12, 2011

    Wonderful post, Hamid.

    I tend to think in a very similar way.
    Art is what happens when the technique is mastered and you are able to get out of your own way. Technique is a means to an end. Art is an end in and of itself.
    Drawing on the work of Malcolm Gladwell and others, it’s said that 10,000 hours of practice is what is required for mastery of a subject. In that time you experience countless variations of the self, the other, the environment, the technique. If you mindfully approach your practice, that experience becomes ingrained in deeply rooted schema which function at a level before our conscious minds become active. Those schema, in a brilliant display of neuroplasticity, rule our lives to an extend which is mind-boggling. Those schema are what we often refer to as intuition.

    Becoming still; listening; softening are such brilliant ways of allowing the art and intuition to flourish. It is using awareness to a heightened degree such that we get out of our own way. Mechanoreceptors, nociceptors, proprioceptors all freed from our own strains and stresses – all freed to be one with the client using our own body as a medium.

    I’m also very glad to see the importance you place upon trust. At many different levels, many of us have tiny little struggles with trust. Finding ways to build that trust is a key to continued growth. For those who are still building that trust in their work and selves, one bit of advice I’ve found to be absolutely helpful is to go back and check your work. Feel what the differences are. Feel that you have affected change. Feel what the effects of change are. Even engaging with the client to introduce them to the change can be a powerful thing.

    I’ll often work on one leg and then rock. “Here is your right leg.” Then I’ll rock the other leg. “Here is your left leg.” The difference is so striking to people that not only do they seem to gain trust in me, but they also evoke a greater trust in myself and my own work.

    One last note regarding ‘the child’s stumbling as it learns to walk.’ We often in adult lives see things in stark contrast. Things are either successes or failures. When the child learns to walk it is neither. Just like a true warrior, the child sees learning to walk as merely a challenge. Adversity is what ultimately brings us to a greater understanding, to growth, to higher capability. Without challenge, we would never know our limits – nor would we ever know our abilities.

    In choosing to redefine failure/success in terms of challenge or adversity, we can re-frame the entire process and view the world in terms of possibility instead of restriction. My journey in bodywork, short though it has been, has brought some adversity. It has also opened up an entire dimension of possibility.

    Thanks for your continuing work and communication on your own journey. I’m continually fascinated and it spurs me to engage with myself and to lean into the discomfort of growing, changing, and being.

    • hamidlmt
      July 13, 2011

      Simon Lewis recently said the most brilliant definition for neuroplasticity…. Neuroplasticity means we have hope. We can change our wiring. And, the next response to global climate change will be a change in consciousness.

      Adversity certainly does shape us. I had an elder client back in my first year of private practice. When his wife began to fall ill, he had this great attitude… This is just something we’re going through. Neither good nor bad… It’s just stuff happening.

      And, time… Working with more and more clients, being open to new and sometimes bewildering histories… It is humbling to know the myriad of adversities in the human experience. It all gives us ever-widening perspectives.

      Michael… I appreciate the thoughtfulness in your response. I have a feeling you have a wonderful career ahead of ya.

  2. Ryan Kaufman
    July 16, 2011

    The morning comes, my consciousness stirs. I do not open my eyes, but let my body take in its surroundings. The dog stirs at my right. The cat lies motionless at my feet, still wrapped in dream. I do not need to see them to know they are there. I feel their presence through the tension of the sheet that lies upon me. It’s a familiar sensation. One I have felt a thousand times before. I reach out and give the pup a gentle scratch behind the ear. He reciprocates with a warm nuzzel. I have yet to open my eyes, but the information is there, gathered from my other senses.
    I open my eyes, the rest of the world comes flooding in. What I preceived through my other senses is confirmed. Knowledge becomes reinforced. My faith in my own senses and awareness becomes strengthened. When I wake tomorrow to find a similar situation I will trust that my senses have not led me astray.

    Though a very basic example, this is intuition. I listen to the information given to me and can respond without having to see that I am right. By laying my hands on the body and closing my eyes, if I am soft enough and still enough, I can feel the sleeping cat, the stirring puppy, the sheet on which they lay, the bed which provides them support, the room which surrounds them. All of this without having to see, because I have felt this before, I trust that this is what I’m feeling. I follow the tension in that sheet to find the stirring pup and offer it a little nurturing, and it responds in kind. This I know because I have felt it many times before.

  3. Hans Quistorff
    February 5, 2012

    The cerebellum reads the input from the body and calculates what changes are needed. Let your cerebellum read the clients body and the needed changes will become obvious.
    When the client says how did you know that? I explain the concept above and then start helping them to relearn the prosses in their own body. When you are going on 72 years old you don’t want clients coming back extra for somthing they can do for themselves.

    • Hans… I have a vast appreciation for all you share. I’m gonna have to study the cerebellum in more detail. One day, I’d like to sit down for tea with you.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Compassion Arts PDX, LLC

Hamid Shibata Bennett, LMT, CAMT (OBMT #301)
Advanced massage therapy and bodywork
3810 SE Belmont ST
Portland, Oregon 97214

%d bloggers like this: