First of Nine: Tensegrity Blog

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

The proprioceptive run

“Get a hair cut, stupid hippy!”

I didn’t have the heart to bother with the young hoodlum of admirably limited cognition hanging outside the AM/PM mini-mart. Just kept running. Breath pattern was opening in the cool night of downtown Gresham proper. Transversus thoracis tugging on the deep surface of costal cartilage, hepatic flexure caving deep to the false ribs, reminding me to give the phrenic nerve a bit of spark with a more expansive breath mechanic. A slight shift in focus from mid-foot to fore-foot strikes of the left foot brought the tug of omohyoid into awareness. The eyelids bounce in triplets like a piccolo snare, creating an animation of the visual world at six frames per second.

Transversus thoracis and the diaphragm as depicted by the new industry standard muscle man in 3D4Medical’s brilliant and extensive Muscle System Pro III on the iPad, co-developed by Stanford University School of Medicine. The new dawn of anatomy reference for massage and bodywork geeks.

I am a leaf on the wind.

I stopped at the labyrinth behind St. Luke’s, singing on the breath with every mindful step. The Ministry of Silly Walks, meditation division. The pups beside me, occasionally got in a lick of the face when I swooped low. Every now and then I’d hear gun fire from the south. A dog began to bark from the west. I sang a little louder, letting the sacrum lift on the inspiration.

I ran around the old high school. And, down Main Street. I found a small, white, wooden staircase with a hand rail by the side of the road. Five steps with nowhere to go. Climbing up, I heard a voice on my six.

“Don’t do it! Don’t jump!”

I turned to see a lovely couple, arm in arm, giggling.

“I think I found the stairway to heaven… It just doesn’t go anywhere!” I landed with soft feet in the bark dust below.

A big grin and I ran withoutward. I love running at night. It makes for a grand proprioceptive experience. The Soft Star Moc3’s have been a fine, minimalist running shoe with excellent barefoot feel and sensate ground transmission. Made by elves in Corvallis, Oregon.

I started wearing Soft Star Moc3’s last winter, after busting the toe seam in my two plus year old kangaroo leather Vibrams. Like any minimalist shoe I wear, I quite intend to wear out the Soft Stars too. Photography by Hamid Shibata Bennett

Now to set the record straight, there are a few snazzy reasons why this rare lymphoma survivor keeps his long hair. I have Samurai in my genetic lineage. These warriors, turned poets, philosophers and monks once took their top knots quite seriously. Native American trackers also understood the use of long hair as a highly sensate extension of the nervous system. Well, perhaps not in such Western terminology. But, they were fluent in natural states far more than learned academics.

Using Pocket app, I saved this fantastic article about long hair and the experiments of our US Army with First Nation trackers in World War II. An excerpt…

“Hair is an extension of the nervous system, it can be correctly seen as exteriorized nerves, a type of highly evolved ‘feelers’ or ‘antennae’ that transmit vast amounts of important information to the brain stem, the limbic system, and the neocortex.” -from the article The Truth About Hair and Why Indians Would Keep Their Hair Long

Chasing the light in Newport, Oregon. Photography by Hamid Shibata Bennett

Some days, on runs
The light catches my eye
Just so

And, I drop down to my knees
To weep

Because it is all




I also dig running in the early hours. Or golden hour. When the light is breathtaking and the world has gotten a little quieter. I tend to explore the day when there are fewer folks around.

Gait, breath, endurance. Never had this quality of movement before. Pappy was right about movement. Keep the body moving. The man continues to teach me with his Jedi wisdom, though he has been gone for several years.

Four hole-in-one’s. An avid golfer, pappy had four of ’em in his lifetime. I have not since met the like.

Can you hear the cicadas in your craniosacral rhythm? Random thought from a reconnoiter of Portland, Oregon’s Mt. Tabor earlier in the week.

Hamid : )

Music bonus!

I picked up a cheap 3/4 size acoustic guitar on Hawthorne. My first Fender. Inspected by Lucky. Something to bang around, with a ratty buzz when plunked hard. My house is nearly empty, so I’m using the iPad 2 and Multitrack DAW to capture the soundscape of various rooms. I seem to be merrily engulfed in lessons of non-attachment these days. Personal transformation to the Nth degree.

Useless factoid: Nth Degree was an old AOL chat room from back in 1993 that was only surpassed in awesomeness by the infamous Borg Implant Hooters. Bygones.

I fired up the iPad 2 the morning after a late night, two and a half hour sensory deprivation experience at Float On. My third and longest float. This tune was recorded in the same room where I learned to sit in open eyed meditation as a child, starring at the wallpaper and the popcorn ceiling. Both my mother and father took their last breath in this room, two months and three days apart. Yeah… Feels good to let it all go…

This is Wisp of Smoke

Bonus, bonus music!

Here’s the first multi-layered improvisation of cheap guitar goodness. I can’t get buzzy tones like this out of the exquisite Taylor. Recorded and mixed in about an hour. Like eye glasses or processing film.

This is Lament

Just finding First of Nine: Tensegrity Blog? Deep dive with massage articles, photography, video and music in Stumptown’s Massage and Bodywork Zine!

Sound therapy for cancer survivorship
Robots, bodywork and proprioception
Self-care and massage therapy

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9 comments on “The proprioceptive run

  1. Hannah Hulett
    August 14, 2012

    Grow that hair! 🙂

  2. Hannah Hulett
    August 14, 2012

    Also I think it’s funny that people think calling someone a hippy is insulting!

  3. intuitiveflow8888
    August 16, 2012


  4. kdennington
    August 21, 2012

    I like the description of the ’exteriorized nerves’, no wonder it feels so good when someone plays with my hair. Mmmmm! And thanks for the link to the Mocs – how do they compare to the Vibrams? I’m in research phase right now – almost ready to make the jump!

    • I like the Mocs quite a bit. My main running shoe through a few seasons now. Excellent ground feel. They tend to soak in water and get a bit boggy. They also tend to shloop off in moderately thick mud. Sofie, one of my pups, gives me a flat tire every now and again. I got myself a larger pair of KSO Trek’s, and have been wearing them around town as my every day shoe. I do love wiggling my toes in Vibrams.

      There is a thought they we “hear” through our hair, including body hair. Ya might notice your total body perception next time the hair on your arm stands up.

      Thanks for taking the time to write.

      -Hamid : )

  5. Pingback: Eights years and bone broth update | First of Nine: Tensegrity Blog

  6. susie
    March 3, 2014

    Thank you for sharing so much. I enjoyed it

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Compassion Arts PDX, LLC

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

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