Alexander Discovery, Alexander Technique, stopping, trying

I need to get my bones lined up


I’m in Blakeney in Norfolk having a break with my wife and celebrating my father-in-laws life, he loved Norfolk especially the North Nolfolk coast, he made an annual visit every year of his life. We are staying at the Blakeney Hotel, a hotel that I’ve stayed at a few times over the years. I love the north Norfolk coast as well (don’t tell the wife).

The hotel is a little expensive, not too expensive, nice and quiet. The clientele are quite senior with a sprinkling of younger adults, I haven’t seen any children. The pool and sauna so far I’ve had to myself, ideal as I’m enjoying my solitude and being reflective. This afternoon I intended to take some photos, taking my time arranging the image, setting the exposure, depth of field and focal length. My heart wasn’t in it, so instead of forcing myself I’ve decided to drink coffee in the lounge and just enjoy the view. I did wake myself with a snore.

People have come and gone in the lounge, quietly talking to each other some are not so quiet, some of conversations I could hear others not. There was a couple of women nearby quietly talking, when they decided to leave they planned to meet later to go for a walk.

One said, “I need to get my bones lined up before I go for a walk.”

This got me thinking, was she in pain, was she planning to get in pain during her walk, was she thinking as she was becoming a little senior in her years she should feel not as free as she used too. I haven’t spoken to her so I don’t know. Why is it  just her bones that need to be lined up, why does she think that way. Is this fatalism, I’m getting old so I can’t now do … .

I guess that a few years ago I had the view that I’m getting old so I can’t no do … but not anymore. I not need to get my bones lined up as my bones are always lined up and I have freedom between my bones. I’ve got a secret that I’m willing to share, I want to share, I want to shout about. We all have the capacity to have our bones always lined up. The secret can be free, but you’ll get on your journey much, much quicker with the help of a guide.

All you need to do is to think of freedom and space within yourself without any doing, it is just a thought. I’m being rather simplistic but that is all it is, but you will discover it is a lot more than that.

You will need help by someone who’s used Alexander’s discovery to help themselves. Alexander Teachers have to undertake a 1600 hour teacher training course plus many more hours to understand how to pass this discovery to others. For me it was a life saver, it could be for you as well.   How about challenging yourself to keep your bones always lined up so that there’s freedom between your bones.

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There’s always two sides to a story


Twenty two years ago, give or take a few months I decided after a lot of arguments I left my wife and two sons, it was her or me to leave, we argued over this for a few months. I decided that my sons would be better off with their mother so I left. Not the brightest decision I’ve ever made but it is what had to be done at that point in my life. I don’t know if it was my ex’s thoughts but I got the feeling that she wanted me home to do her bidding, get a dead end job and be content with being Mr average. I suppose after being in the Royal Navy travelling around the world and having a good life I had no intention of being Mr average. I didn’t want to be tied to anyone’s apron strings. 

This decision as you can imagine broke my family apart and from my view it’s still broken. I don’t know what my sons thoughts are as I haven’t seen them for many years. I’ve suppressed my feelings, denied that I haven’t had children all in the hope that I could cope with live without them. I’ve been very successful at this suppression, I just got asthma and loads of anxiety. Locked in fright and unable to breathe is not a good place to be, but I deserved it for leaving my sons.

Suppessing love just hurts in so many ways, it turns into self loathing and things just get worse and worse. I’ve tried several times to contact my sons but deep down I wanted to fail each time, so guess what, I failed each time. I’ve been too ashamed to meet them. It’s taken me 22 years to let my feelings out and write my thoughts. My love of my sons had never deminised and a long to welcome them into my life even after all this time. 

I imagine I’m not alone with these thoughts, many thousands of estranged parents and child still have love for each other but are too scared to take the first step in making contact. I certainly was and I still am. May be sometime this year it could happen, I could make the first contact, may be my sons will contact me. 

My journey in getting this far has been painful and I never thought I would get this far. For a while I didn’t know this was my journey at all. You may have read some of my blogs and how Alexander’s discovery has helped me to get to know me. 

I started my Alexander Teacher training thinking that I could get away with just learning about the physical parts of the training, and avoiding the psychological aspects, I’ve was quite successful in my avoidance, I now think my teachers have been just waiting and waiting like the master in “The art of archery” until the right point in my training.  

The right time started a few months ago, psychophysical unity really works, understanding that from my viewpoint that I’m number ONE, if I don’t look after myself no one will do it for me. Once I can love myself unconditionally then I can love others. There are no shortcuts to this discovery and it’s very real. There’s no faking it, you may be delusional at playing that you love yourself but others will notice your shallowness. It just doesn’t work. Truly loving yourself brings out the real you.   

If I didn’t love myself, I would be using my asthma inhaler to keep me breathing and constantly fighting anxiety instead, with the help of some great Alexander Teachers, I’ve found happiness, love and just want to live my life. It would be even better with my sons and my new grand daughter.

I have two wishes for my readers, please discuss and maybe offer help to your friends that have estranged parents or children. 

If your struggling with your life find an Alexander teacher, they may be able to help you. They certainly have helped me. It’s not an easy journey but well worth it.

Alexander Discovery, Alexander Technique, End-gaining, self-doubt, Teacher Training

A bucket of troubles


Over the past few years I’ve been troubled with what end-gaining is. End-gaining is the habitual response to astimuli without any conscious thought or control. I’ve until now thought this was mostly about physical activity, how I walk, speak, run, stand; yes standing is an activity. These and many more physical activities can be sabotaged by how we think we should do the activity; “do” is the key word here, by doing we are not allowing ourselves to use ourselves appropriately. 

There’s another layer to all this end-gaining and that is stress, anxiety, stage fright, thoughts of not good enough, etc have a part to play in the end-gaining game. This was my discovery this week during my Alexander training; it’s taken a long time to realise that I’ve been sabotaging myself in my training with negative thoughts of ‘I’m not good enough’ and a host of varieties of self doubt. 

If you’re like me,  when I have a doubt about something I get the sense that the back of my neck is tightening, a handy indicator for me at the moment, this gives me the opportunity to do something about the anxious thought.

I like visual thoughts, I know not everyone does, but I have an imaginary bucket that I put these anxious thoughts in and then treat them in the same manner. I’ve experimented with various thoughts on how to treat the anxious thoughts in my bucket. Having aggressive thoughts makes them more aggressive and they fight back, it’s not very nice vicious circle. Being kind, thanking the thought and deciding not to use the anxious thought really works for me, it releases me from my habitual end-gaining response and now I have constructive conscious control of what ever activity I decide to undertake.   

So be kind to yourself, if and when your form of self doubt, self worth raises its head, thank the thought, be kind to it; you did create it sometime ago when you needed it. Tell it that it’s not needed at the moment and let it go.

Enjoy the freedom this brings.

 

Now this is a rather large bucket, any ideas what it is?

 

Alexander Discovery, Alexander Technique, Inhibition, self-doubt, stopping, trying

It’s Sunday and I’m procrastinating


At the Bristol Alexander School, we third years need to produce and submit an Alexander Technique related project between 6000 and 9000 words, I’m half way there and only a few weeks to complete. Procrastination in the word of the day, well it is Valentine’s Day so we going for lunch, I do have time before lunch – this time now, but I’m doing a procrastination blog about procrastination about not doing my project. This is a common issue with me, all keen at the beginning but getting to the end of things my interest wains and thoughts of ‘that I’m not good enough’; ‘my work is rubbish’; etc manifests itself.

I’m now stuck in a rut, a vicious circle, this feeling appears all too often, a pulling down, strangling with a pulling up of my shoulders. My breathing changes, it shortens and is tighter.

But what to do?

I know what to do to get out of this rut, but it feels so familiar and comfortable in a strange uncomfortable way.

I want to stay here in my procrastination but I don’t at the same time, I want to be free to get on with my project, the rest of my life including a joyous Valentine’s Day lunch with my lovely wife.

I know what to do and that is do nothing. A strange statement if you are not aware of Alexander’s discovery.

Alexander’s inhibition (not Freud’s inhibition) but it is the first step.

Thats better, time for a lovely lunch.

I may explain my version of Alexander’s inhibition later or not.

Alexander Discovery, Alexander Technique, direction, Inhibition, intention, stopping, trying

The set point of Constructive Conscious Control


I’ve been thinking about homeostasis of constructive conscious control and how the set point changes over time.

My thinking is based on Alexander’s discovery of inhibition, direction and intent; through his discovery with eduction, encouragement and empowerment we can improve our constructive conscious control.

Several years ago I knew nothing about this discovery and it took me a while to cotton on to it’s wonderful benefits it brings; simply put, it makes me happy with my life and the choices I make.

But how? – By raising my awareness of my habits in activity, analysing what I’ve been doing and experimenting to see if there is an easier way.

You may have read my previous blog My Story that I’ve been in fright for years. When your in fright as I was/am some muscles shorten and stay there holding on for dear life, in my case for years, other muscles just atrophy through lack of use. It takes time to release from years of fright, Alexander’s discovery certainly helped me. Before I discovered the Alexander Technique my knowledge of constructive conscious control was minimal and set point (the mid point of a swinging pendulum) was low, though my Alexander Technique lessons and then becoming a student teacher, my knowledge of constructive conscious control has vastly increased hence my set point of constructive conscious control has increased. Through this time I’ve had ups and downs as the set point of knowledge of constructive conscious control improved. These ups and downs I see as the end points of a swinging pendulum or of the homeostasis. When an end point is reached something needs to happen, for example, for a central heating boiler it would either switch on or off to maintain the selected temperature. For constructive conscious control it’s inhibit, review why you’ve hit the limit, choose what action to take and then carry on with the intention, be happy if the action that was taken was wrong, if it’s wrong you’ve earned a learning point. This is true for both limits the good and bad, the happy and sad, whatever the ying and yang is.

Over the past months, I’ve certainly had my share of hitting both limits, it’s always good to come back to the set point to review options. I’ve found the set point is a safe comfortable place to be but being there too long may make me complacent so I need to keep the pendulum swinging to keep my set point moving in the right direction to improve my constructive conscious control.

 

 

Alexander Technique, Asthma, stopping, Teacher Training

My Story


I’ve been thinking that my story begins when I got asthma but it was way before that, years before but that may be another chapter when I’m ready to write it.

This part of my story starts a few hours after a cruise from Southampton to Spain and Portugal and return.

I was just leaving a supermarket, I thought I was relaxed but this woman, I never asked her, thought otherwise. She stopped me offered a sales pamphlet about her Alexander Technique practice and put her hand on my left shoulder. It was something to do with her touch, I immediately felt safe without judgement. She was offering a half price first lesson, the price didn’t matter, I wanted the safety of her hand, I would have paid double. I ended up going for lessons every Friday for over a year. I changed jobs to another area so my lessons stopped, she cried as I left my last lesson.

In hindsight she probably put a lot of emotion effort in to my lessons which I didn’t notice at the time. I guess I did learn a lot over that time as I was an emotionally wreck on the Saturday and happy happy happy on the Sunday after each lesson.

I took a year away from the Alexander Technique, I fought the urge to find another teacher for quite a while but gave in, I was intrigued and wanted to know more, so I found a local teacher and was with her for a few years. I was a reluctant learner, I must have been hard to teach but did recognise changes in me, I was becoming less anxious, my asthma was getting under control but I wanted more hence I started teacher training.

IMG_1901Reviewing my lessons that I had, I never really got that it was a teacher/pupil relationship until late on, I went for the therapeutic experience. I wasn’t ready to learn because I couldn’t stop I just got on and did, my habitual responses were extremely strong and only very recently and that’s into my third year of teacher training that I can control these habits, well most of the time.

I’ve very valid reasons for these habits, they have protected me from the grief of loss of my two children though divorce and very shortly afterward my mother who was the bedrock of my life. This was 17 years ago, I guess I was stuck in a state of fright for all that time. It hurts both mentally and physically and habits get well and truly stuck.

With Alexander’s discovery I’ve managed to get back on track without the need for medicine or counselling.

If you suffer with anxiety I would give Alexander technique a try, but remember it’s a teacher pupil relationship, you are there to learn, don’t waste your valuable time enjoying the therapeutic experience, use the teacher as a catalyst to your happiness. Hopefully you won’t take as long as me to find your freedom and happiness.

 

Alexander Technique, present, trying

Loving on a knife edge


This blog was going to be Living on a knife edge but I like the typo!

I guess loving is more apt to what I’m about to write. I’ve been discovering what is being present. I’ve made guesses and forced myself into being present, that’s just cheating and I was just fooling myself though I didn’t know at the time, I thought I was doing it right; ‘doing’ is the problem word in that statement. You can’t do being present, or forcing and cajoling, presence just won’t play. I image that the relaxation brigade think presence is with your eyes shut and allowing your muscles to relax, they are far from the point; it’s pointless lying still with your eyes shut, there’s not much you can do but lie still with your eyes shut.

The real being present is being present in activity, I’d need my  eyes open for that.

Being present in activity is like having your stars aligned, having all your duck in a row. Difficult but not impossible, the ducks that help are;

  • having your head nicely balanced on the spine
  • your spine being supported by your pelvis
  • and your pelvis being support by the ground
    • either via you legs and feet or via the chair you’re sitting on

All this balancing and supporting is with freedom and no pain

That’s the physical bit, now for the hard bit, you need to be present in time and space as well. Allow any anxiety or stress to go and a sense of expansion into the space around you.

Simple.

Now you are present in activity, moving around and applying yourself to tasks become easy and free, time slows and you have time to think before acting. It’s a lovely place to be. It’s a place of ying and yang, it’s loving on a knife edge.

It may be simple but it has taken me several years of practice using Alexanders discovery just to be there on the knife edge for a few minutes.

If you ever fancy a challenge find an Alexander Teacher, warning there will be tears on the way even for grown men. It’s not for the faint-hearted.