Alexander Technique

Getting in the middle

Do you ever butt in to a conversation with “and”, “but”, “however”?

Do you ever reply to someone talking with “and”, “but”, “however”?

I do sometimes and I’ve found it not very helpful, I’m joining in their conversation, supporting their ideas, possibly trying to please, possibly trying to be them.

All these thoughts aren’t very helpful for myself and the relationship with that person. You may lose their respect, you may lose your respect for yourself, they may misuse you by steering you down a path not to your liking.

So what to do?

You may have guessed if you have read my previous blogs.Firstly notice that you are trying to butt in, if that’s not possible ask a friend to give you the nod when it happens, with practice you will start to notice and naturally move on to the next step which is to stop butting in.

So what to do instead, for the moment nothing, may be a nod or agree in some other way. In that moment while you are doing nothing have a thought of why you want to butt in. Are you seeking approval that you understand, are you trying to please? It may be something else.

During the urge to butt in do you get any muscular tension, does this tension feel familiar, can you remember other times you felt it? Remembering the tension may bring back early memories when it was necessary to butt in to get attention, you were a child then seeking attention and love from an adult, this was a learnt method to get the love you desired and completely appropriate for a child learning how to get on with life. Some habits though life need to evolve or lose there usefulness and become redundant. Perhaps butting in is one of those habits.

So what to do if you can’t butt in? Nodding and agreeing could be a start but I guess it you’ll start getting annoyed with yourself, I do, so you need a plan. So again it is time to stop, you may notice I mention a lot of stopping. It is like coming to a junction of a road, the way ahead isn’t clear so you need to slow down, it’s still not clear so the only option is to stop and observe. For the moment, just like learning to drive it is best to stop and observe before moving on, if it vexes the driver behind, so be it, that is their problem.

Now you have stopped, take a moment to find out where you are, physically and psychologically.

Physically, where are you, sitting or standing, what parts of your body are touching something. Do you have an awareness of touch at these point? Can you feel any muscular tension anywhere.

Psychologically, what are you thinking? Can you recognise that you want to butt in? Do you have an urge to do something, can it wait a moment. Who are you in the relationship, we have many personas that we use everyday and every time we meet and converse with someone. The simple relationships are based on the adult and child perspective. Are you butting in  with an equal or the child in the relationship. If you are the child then you are not serving yourself well, stop and behave as an equal.

So how do you behave as an equal, I guess this can be over done and you may swing to being someone trying to control the relationship without knowing how, I know because I’ve done that, the secret is not to swing either way, you need to be in the middle, neither being submissive nor dominant.

Again the secret is to stop and do nothing, it not quite doing nothing but it will look like that from the outside; the other persons view, you will be very busy doing nothing. A whole host of thinking to get your psychophysical being in the middle.

My thoughts about being in the middle.

Sometimes I find it hard to be in the middle, I get drawn out of myself with outside factors, the election or two, what I’m doing today, sometimes I get drawn into myself because I think I’m not goood enough. What ever the reason the steps to change my thoughts are the same.

You’ve probably guessed it, the first step is to stop, the take a moment to get myself in the middle, my psychophysical unity.

Getting in the middle has various aspects and can be approached from any direction so the list of thoughts are my order for this moment, tomorrow the order may be different.

  1. How am I sitting?
    1. I have a thought of my;
      1. feet
      2. legs
      3. Sit bones
      4. my spine
      5. my head
      6. my arms
      7. my hands
    2. I have a thought of the whole of me
  2. What am I thinking about?
    1. Can I quieten down thoughts that are pulling me a way?
    2. I develop a thought of just being here, I develop a sense of weight in my body and let this sense to become heavier (allowing myself to become heavier is allowing some muscles to release from holding myself up).
    3. If my mind is still distracted or wooly, I let my eyes soften to allow light in, if I notice that I’m staring or focusing on something look else where and soften my eyes.
    4. I notice my breathing, I allow my breathe to ebb and flow, I just let it happen. When I notice my breathing, my breathing gets deeper and the quality of breath improves.

I keep going around these thoughts as they arise over and over again. This sounds like a lot of effort, it is when you start but gets easier and easier and fast and fast.

Give it a go.

When your ready and practiced with these thoughts, notice the next time you want to butt in, can you stop and get yourself in the middle. When I practice this, my ideas of trying to please and be in the conversation melt away and then have the opportunity to add my comments in a mature appropriate way. You may notice this will happen to you.

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Happy stopping and being in the middle