Alexander Discovery, Alexander Technique, Anger, anxiety, Asthma, attention, freedom

We sometimes think too much. 


You may have noticed that many of my blogs are about noticing our habits, more precisely the habits that stop you doing the thing you really want to do, this thing may be  your ambition; it may be singing solo in front of a huge audience, skydiving, running a marathon, reading aloud without stuttering or overcoming a phobia of some kind. Achieving your ambition is firstly to overcome your doubt.

You may have guessed what the first step is; noticing what happens when you think about your ambition. I guess it may feel overwhelming else you would have achieved it  already.  Again notice the thought, probably it was a thoughts of; “it’s impossible’, “I can’t work out the first step,” ” I don’t know where to start”, with all theses thoughts there will be some muscular tension somewhere; mine are butterflies in my stomach. You’ll have something somewhere, sometimes you need to be quiet to notice.

When I sense my butterflies it is time to act, I don’t think, “Oh those butterflies again I’m going to fail again” that was my old thought. I use my butterflies as a moment to pause and do something different from what I habitually want to do; this a hard to achieve as thoughts of “don’t be silly, that can’t possibly work” and other self sabotaging thoughts appear. The harder I try to do something different the louder these thoughts shout out. I’ve failed at this step many times and still do however there is a way to silence these thoughts instantly. It is being here in this very moment and understanding that this very moment can’t be held on to, you need to let go of every moment as you pass through it.

My current thinking is about balancing gravity, space and time; being in balance with all three. We are constantly working with gravity whether we are sitting, standing, lying down, in activity and when we are asleep, it never goes away. We use gravity all the time.   We sometimes sabotage ourselves and think gravity is against us, for one, gravity can’t think, it is our own thinking that is doing the sabotaging.

We sometimes think too much.

When I notice my butterflies, it is a prompt to think about how I am with gravity, I’m probably giving into gravity and letting my body crumble to the ground, even if it’s ever slight. I reverse my thoughts by pausing, noticing how I’m touching the ground is it though a chair or am I standing, then allow my legs and torso to move so my head and body are in balance with gravity. For me this has quietening effect on my thinking.

My butterflies are also a prompt to notice if I’m compressing myself, maybe I want to hide for some reason, and making myself small I might disappear or not be noticed. Again I pause for a moment and invite each molecule in my body to take up its own space and then expand my space into the room I’m in, then out to the local area and on and on into space, this also effects my thinking this time into space, now I’m in balance with gravity and space.

My butterflies are also a prompt to notice if I’m thinking into the future and worrying out the future. When I’m worrying or being anxious I have a sense of projecting my thoughts just in front of me, I pause again and have the same thoughts but this time I have the thought just behind my eyes, where my centre of gravity is. I find this quietens down my worry to nothing, now I’m in balance with gravity, space and time.

There is a catch to this, if you try to hold onto the sensation of being in balance with gravity, space and time you will get stuck and tighten up and loss the freedom, space and the time will return to anxiety. These thoughts only last for a moment, they need to be let go of as soon as they are thought and rethought again and let go again. With practice you will get quicker and quicker and then non-verbal. Then you can take the first steps to achieve your ambition.

 

Alexander Discovery, Alexander Technique, habit

Be your own Santa


It’s that time of the year that many fear, there is so much family pressure to perform family ceremonies that have been enacted over many years, Some of us have avoided these family ceremonies by going somewhere hot over the Christmas holidays to enjoy the winter sun where it is warmer, others have had duvet holidays and stayed at home. I’ve done all these over the years, they don’t feel exactly right, there is something missing, what is missing is my childhood dreams of what exactly Christmas is; unfortunately, reality has never achieved my childhood dream of Christmas.

I’ve had some fabulous gifts from my wife but they never touched my dream. My dream is an impossible dream as I need to be a very young boy, fresh snow in the morning and Santa listened to my dream and delivered the toy of the season to the bottom of my bed. Santa never quite listened, I got loads of presents but never the one I really wanted. Christmas became a time of quiet disappointment, lots of love, family all together, lots of fantastic food but Santa never quite listened. There was an empty space of ingratitude within me.

Over the years this quiet disappointment got louder until I avoided Christmas with excuses of holidays in the sun or having a quite one at home. This year is different, I’m looking forward to Christmas and I might even send some Christmas cards, they stopped years ago.

The change has been slowly forming over a few years and ever so quickly in the past few months, I’ve discovered that I’m my own Santa, nobody else’s. My dreams are my dreams, nobody else can see them, if I want something from somebody I need to ask them. They need to ask me if they want something from me, I can’t read their dreams. If I want the toy of the season at the bottom of my bed in the morning Santa needs to know.

My ingratitude to the gifts I received or to the gift I wanted but never got was of my making, I didn’t drop enough hints and clues, I kept my dreams to myself. Perhaps because I didn’t feel worthy of the gift or if I got what I wanted others wouldn’t get what they wanted or the family finances could be spent more wisely. All these thoughts are my thoughts that have never been expressed to anyone, so they never knew why I was ungrateful.

Being my own Santa I’ve discovered that I really don’t need much, that is materially, but what I need loads of, is my love and support for myself in every moment of every day. This isn’t a selfish love but a self-full love that emits from my core through me to others. Such a simple statement, such an impossible statement; it has taken me a long time to realise it, I’m still working on it and will for many years to come.

To be self-full I need to be honest with myself, to remove my armour that has protected me, or so I thought, so that I can be my authentic self. You and I are continually adding the our armour as we meet people, things and ideas each day. This reaction to daily situations is a natural response, however to make things easy we turn it into a habitual response, we do it without noticing and overtime we have added far too many layers of armour, many are just the same, the armour gets heavier and heavier until we can’t move. Then we crawl to a stop; we break.

There is a way to stop adding armour and even to start removing it. The only person who can do it for you is yourself, of course there are people you can use for support.

You need to have the willingness to help yourself and look after yourself, again many others can help but they don’t know your dreams. They many not give you want you want unless you tell them.

Be your own Santa and tell people about your dreams, they may have similar ones or they may have been waiting for you to say it, if that is too much, write your dreams down, keep what you have written or throw it away. What I would like you to do is to notice any tightening in your body when you do any of theses activities, the activity may be just thinking about doing one of them. My tightening is in my stomach; that butterfly feeling. I use my butterflies as a trigger to notice what I’m doing, I use my butterflies as a trigger to pause and possibly do something different. Using your butterflies to pause and possibly do something different is a very courageous and brave thing to do, you won’t succeed every time, don’t be hard on yourself, celebrate that you noticed and paused, celebrate that you noticed your butterflies, celebrate that you were willing to notice your butterflies.

Each time it will get easier,

each time you will notice more,

each time you will  get more choices,

each time you will be loosening your armour,

each time you will be rediscovering more of your authentic self.

This Christmas be your own Santa, perhaps your Christmas present from Santa is to loosen up your armour so you can rediscovery that wonderful person that has been shackled within your armour for far too long.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Alexander Technique

Slippy leaves and ice


It’s early December and we’re on a break near the top of Scotland, we’re at Eagle Brae near Inverness. A fantastic place to stay if you want a quiet remote break, the accommodation is fabulous, it is a collection of wooden cabins, not ordinary cabins, beautiful Canadian log cabins shipped to Scotland, there’s everything in the cabin to have a self sufficient break, it is warm, it was too warm so we turned the underfloor heating down. We have the wood-burning stove on this morning, it has gotten very windy with rain outside, Storm Caroline is here today with possible snow tomorrow, it is December and I’m in northern Scotland. The flames in the stove has made the cabin very snuggly, just what we need for a very stormy, wet day.

What is your thought when I mention snow, rain and cold winds, do you have a physical reaction to these thoughts, perhaps rolling your shoulders forward and rubbing your hands or perhaps scrunching your neck down and lifting your shoulders. Generally making yourself small to reduce your body surface area; these are all natural reactions to the cold but when you are in the cold. Do you or I really need to do all this when you are warm in your room and me warm in my log cabin? I answer is no, we are pre-empting something, we are pre-empting being outside in the rain and wind and also being cold. If we met the cold with what we are wearing now it would probably be advisable to scrunch up to reduce our body surface area.

We pre-empt a lot of things as we move though our day, wondering about what someone might say or do, rehearsing for situations that may never happen. All of these thoughts will produce some muscular action, remember when you thought of the cold. When we think of something we want to be prepared for, we generally tighten muscles or hold muscles so they don’t move. In the case of thinking of going out in the cold you may shrug and shorten various muscles and then hold these muscles.

Held muscles are fine if you aren’t going to do something, if you have plans to do something, held muscles may prevent or inhibit you from doing it with ease. For example, it’s cold outside, you put enough warm clothes on, you’re warm and protected from the cold but you still have the reaction to shrug down, there’s no need for this reaction as your clothes are protecting you from the cold, this reaction may be putting you at risk, your muscles are being held for something that you have already taken action to protect against; you’re wearing enough warm clothes.

With held muscles your body isn’t as free as it could be, so your pre-emptive thoughts may be putting you in danger. When it is cold, wet, in Scotland and in the winter, there may be rotting leaves turning to mulch, something to slip on, there could also be ice, again something else to slip on, having held muscles may be a hindrance. Perhaps another possibility is to notice if you are pulling down into a shrug and then invite a lightness over your body so that your head gentle balances on top of your spine; notice your feet and increase the thought of lightness from your toes to the top of your head.

When you have built up this thought, throw it away and start the thought again. The reason to throw the thought away is if you linger over a thought it will quickly goes into the past – time and tide waits for no man – refreshing brings the thought back to now.

It’s great to have this lightness that you may be experiencing, you need to be grounded as well, notice where you touch the ground, notice and throw away and notice again. These thoughts should help you to release some muscles, many others will be resistant, time and practicing lightness and being grounded will make these muscles less resistant.

Being aware of yourself and then extending your awareness to your immediate environment, you then have options when you encounter the mulched leaves or ice.

Stay safe this winter by being aware of yourself and your environment.

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Alexander Technique

When depression, anxiety and asthma disappeared!


As I have written earlier, I didn’t know I was depressed and anxious until I noticed, you may think that is pretty obvious, it is, but not when I was in the deep of it. It is hard to listen to others who may suggest or demand that I’m are depressed, how can that be possible, I’m just living my life as I’ve always done, I’ve just more to manage just now!

Salbutamol is just what I need to help me through the day, asthma is something that had just popped up; it’s nothing to do with divorce, separation from my children, trying to find a new job, trying to build my life up again. Trying to be stoic works for a while until exhaustion takes over, then stoicism crumbles into feelings of worthlessness and desperation, luckily I have friends and family to support me and I made it through those dark, dark days which at the moment are just fleeting images; it is only when someone reminds me of a holiday or meeting someone that I can remember those moments. I’ve locked my memories of those times deeply way in the depths of my consciousness, perhaps this is to protect me.

I did slip into the need for alcohol for a few years, this was easy as I’d had plenty of practice when I was in the navy, bars around the world were always welcoming and I believe it was a necessity to survive the stress of servicing at sea. I still drink but drink when I want not when alcohol dictates. I’m now such a lightweight when I go out.

What changed my decline was the discovery that I was in charge of my life, my destiny and I don’t need to rely on others, this was really hard to achieve, it is not the understanding that is hard, I found that relatively easy but it was the actual task of being in charge of myself.

I accidentally discovered what I needed to do through working with various people, some didn’t directly help, though they helped indirectly, in fact on reflection I think there was only two who have helped me directly; I know who they are, you may find out later.

I’ve written accidentally as I wasn’t my intention to discover that it was me who is in change of my destiny, I was content where I was. Hopefully I can accidentally change your view on life.

I’ve written many times the secret of my change, firstly it is honesty, authenticity with an openness to change. I know I’m not getting everything right, in fact I’m ecstatic that I get things wrong. If I have the openness to accept my errors then I can do something else next time, instead of what I did wrong last time.

The second part is that I’m seeking to be in balance, again I know I’m out of balance most of the time so I need to make adjustments, I need to keep moving. Balance has two meaning to me, there are probably more to discover. The easy one is being in balance with gravity, I understand this to mean using the appropriate muscles to be in balance, being efficacious, efficient and effective in how I move.

The second balance is being in balance with time, not worrying about the future or reminiscing about the past; there are times and places for those thoughts but not all the time.

Being in balance with time by being in the present, if a thought of doubt appears let it go. Being in balance with time is what really changed my life, depression, anxiety and asthma disappeared. They do reappear occasionally, I’ve now learnt how to keep then quiet.

I believe to relieve yourself of your doubts and worries the fundamental thought you need is being in balance in all the dimensions, the paradigms, you understand. Balancing with gravity and time are my first two paradigms, there may be more, I don’t know.

If you believe that you are the only one who can make the change for yourself but are stuck then perhaps you might what to read more of what I’m writing.

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