Category Archives: present

The power of intention


Someone asked me it if was back on track with my writing, I answered “well, yes and no. I’ll explain later.”

Both yes and no are correct but needed sometime to think.

Yes, I’m back with my writing but no, not the way I used to write, having the need to write for someone else, forcing myself to write. A few months ago you may remember I promised myself to write every day, the promise petered out after a few days, just like New Years resolutions, I set myself an impossible task to achieve with just willpower to be successful, unfortunately willpower will eventually run out of steam.

I was trying too hard to achieve my promise, when trying I lose my authenticity, you may do as well.  Then things don’t feel right, then willpower fades quickly, then followed by the promise.

So what’s different now?

I’ve changed my focus, I write for myself and you are welcomed to read what I write. I’ve eventually started to understand what looking after myself means. It’s being open with myself from a point of safety, observing and reacting to thing in a nonjudgmental way. This point of safety I find myself quiet and content. It’s a point where time and space converge. I know where I am physically and I’m not thinking ahead in time; I’m in the here and now. I’ve mentioned this point of safety in my last two blogs, though I described it in different ways each time.

From my point of safety I can choose to write or not to write, I can choose or not to do anything. That sounds a bit wishy washy, it is; I also need to add some energy to the decision. The energy needs to be authentic and honest, this is the intention I mentioned in my previous blogs. With this intention you can decide to do or not to do but if it’s authentic and honest for that moment it’s the right decision. And you can change your mind if the authenticity or honesty changes. These decision can be as small or as large as you want. Having the intention to travel to work may be a large intention, you choose which road to travel, a smaller intention, but you discover a problem with the road so you pause for a moment and choose another route. Life is a continual list of intentions that continually change thought your life.

Did you ever think years ago you would be doing what you do now?

I didn’t.

I now write because I want to write with the power of intention and I’m happy to pause to allow my thoughts to generate what I write. When I started this blog I only had the intension to write something, I didn’t know what the outcome was and I was content for the content to evolve to what is it is now.

Get writing with freedom.

 

 

 

 

 

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Dogs are a mirror of your thinking


You may be wondering how you can have a quiet home with dogs, it’s easy. Dogs pander for the quiet, they can sleep or rest for most of the day but they also need exercise and mental stimulation, rather like us. We need all three, sleep, exercise and mental stimulation as well. When out walking with dogs you also get the exercise and mental stimulation.

Dogs pick on our moods and habits and try to do something about it to mimic or please us, they can’t vocalise so it’s normally something physical. If you can’t settle then you may find your dog running around or misbehaving, remember they are doing something that they believe you want, shouting at them could also be a greater stimulus to continue what they are doing. You are getting excited and angry by their behaviour and they think you want more of the same.

Remember, dogs are a mirror of your thinking.

The best action to quieten down you dogs is to be calm yourself, this could be a problem if you don’t know how to calm down. If your head is full of stuff that you need to do, you have things to worry about and now I’ve asked you to calm down for the dogs sake, probably the last thing on your mind and being calm is just impossible.

Your dog probably treats you as an alpha member of their pack even if there is the two of you. As you are the boss they will do as you say even if you don’t verbalise it, they just want to please and be a member of your pack.

Unfortunately the onus is on you and your family to have a happy well behaved dog. Have well defined boundaries, which of course, they will try to break. You just have to reassert the boundaries when they are broken, over and over again, just like with children.

Be a calming effect on your dog, here’s some tips.

Know where you are in time and space

  1.  Check out what you are thinking, if it’s worrying about something in the future or in the past, change your thought to being here at this very moment. Admire a  painting, a view, your dog, anything, the choice in yours, stay with those thought of wonder. Here’s some more ideas.
  2. Check out how you are standing or sitting, raise your awareness of your head, neck, back, shoulders arms, legs and feet. Notice any pain you have, do you notice anything else? Be inquisitive about how you move.
  3. revisit 1 and then 2, keep going around these two points over and over again and you may start to notice yourself quietening down, your breathing may soften, your dog should sense your quiet and settle down as well.

Repeat these points when you have a moment or if you notice being stressed, you’ll find that with practice these thoughts will only take a moment, nobody will notice and you will be back on track.

If you want to know more you can join my mailing list.

 

The trug of success


I’ve been set a challenge, that is to write a blog everyday, the time limit hasn’t been set, so everyday could last a day or infinity.

So lets see how the challenge goes, by the way if I miss a day or so I’ll just start the challenge again, I do have until infinity to achieve my challenge.

Setting unrealistic goals is very easy to do, I’ve done it, I’m going to lose a stone (14 pounds, 21 kg) in a month, on the outset it seems achievable but as the end of the month draws closer the challenge gets steeper and steeper, then I have two options, morn at my failure or hope the challenge is forgotten by others and myself. In reality my memory will linger with the other bucketful of failures, empowering my sense of failure at anything I set a challenge on, others may remember and remind me of my bucket of failures further empowering my sense of failure.

Perhaps trying too hard is my failure, setting unrealistic challenges is my success.

The other part of failure is self criticism , being judgmental about myself.

This time the way I’ll be coping with this challenge is that I know that there are days that I’m nowhere near a computer or have a very busy day so writing my blog will be impractical, so I’ll be non judgmental for those days, also there will be days where my focus will be elsewhere, so again, I won’t beat myself up about not writing.

You may think that this is setting myself to fail, it is not, this is establishing a realistic goal, something that I can meet without my judgmental self criticism jumping in. I know I can miss my daily challenge, let’s face though I accepted the challenge from someone, it is me who sets the terms of the challenge.

I may write everyday, I may not, these are my decisions. There will be a sense of failure when I don’t write and this is a good opportunity to reflect on yesterday’s blog, I thought it was just chocolate.

I don’t know who’s reading this blog, setting myself a challenge I feel obliged to fulfil my challenge for you, this has been a common trait of a people pleaser, putting others first. It feels selfish if I do it any other way. However putting others first is not a healthy approach as others will just take until I have nothing more to give. They don’t know what the anguish I’m going through to satisfy their needs and wants. They don’t know me, as I suspect you don’t know me.  From my view I don’t even know if I’m providing what you really want.

So supplying someones needs is futile, but being authentic and offering what I have you then have the opportunity to receive or not.

Looking after myself is paramount then I can offer to others or not, I now have the choice.

By caring for myself I can add to the trug of success instead of adding to the bucket of failures.

So will I be successful at my blog a day challenge, a clear resounding YES, will I write very day, a clear resounding NO; as I’ve set my rules for the challenge, clear realistic rules.

Everyday I’ll be adding to my trug of success, blog or not.

Do you want to know more then you can always join my mailing list.

On your next challenge how about setting some realistic goals with the permission to break them, then you can have a trug of success instead of a bucket of failures.Please let me know how you are getting on.

Pass your beauty on to others


Christmas is almost over, it’s a time when people either love it or hate it. I’m one of the later. It brings back memories of lost loves and lost families. I wonder what they are doing,  why don’t they contact me, why don’t I contact them? I seem to be stuck in my stubbornness to resolve these contacts, perhaps I like the hurt that this time of the year brings, perhaps it’s because I’m a bad person and deserve to feel this way.

I’ve hated Christmas for a couple of decades, I’ve tried many coping methods to live through this week; getting drunk, going away on holiday, food and TV for the week, being busy and walking. Some years a mix of them all, some years it works and I get through the week without any sadness, some years it is a week from hell.

This Christmas has been a particularly good time for me, I did have a dull point on Boxing Day morning. I spoke to my wife about it and she reminded me that we have friends that support us as we support them. Reminiscing of what could have been doesn’t help me or anyone else. I don’t have control of the past as I don’t have control of the future, so perhaps I might have control of what is happening now. Maybe, maybe not; I really don’t have the answer to this, I find this is a profound and impossible question to answer.

Being present has so many facets, so many habits, beliefs and behaviours it is really difficult to know if I have control of what is happening in this very moment.

Take typing, some people can touch type and don’t have a care where their fingers are going, they know that what they think will appear on the screen. They have had years of constructive training to magically get words appearing on the screen, I’m jealous. I’m partly trained, I know where the keys are but I still have to check the keyboard that I’m typing correctly, it’s so annoying.

A proficient typist has a different view on whats happening in the same moment than me, I’m concentrating on typing words correctly and they may be thinking about the sentence structure and story.  These comparisons can be applied to an athlete and a spectator watching the athlete. They are both in the same moment, at the same location but they are having completely different experiences. We don’t know what mental anguish anyone is going through at any one moment. We may see things physically but psychologically things may not be visible. You may see my eyes moving from the screen to the keyboard but you may not my annoyance of not being able to touch type.

You may see the athlete beat their record but you may not see the pain they are in. The spectator may be enjoying the athlete get their personal best but can you see the anguish they are suffering and they are only watching the athletics to get away from their suffering. The same is for Christmas, just because you are enjoying the festivities others may be there quietly and politely suffering from memories of the past, these make Christmas a painful time of year.

From my point of view, don’t get involved in the memories of those who are suffering but instead offer them love and support, dwell in the moment and make every moment you are with them a moment to remember. Be your authentic beautiful self and pass your beauty onto others then we will all have fun over this festive season.

Remember some people don’t like New Year, so here’s another opportunity to pass your beauty on to others.

I’m just trying but unfortunately sabotaging myself


I hated using the peak flow meter, it never felt right, I never felt like it was producing the right result.

It is years since I used a peak flow meter as I don’t have asthma anymore, so I can now reflect on why it didn’t produce the right result. I was trying to produce the right result, the instruction or what I thought the instructions were, got me to focus on my breathing and I really tried to exhale. Unfortunately trying to exhale with a good strong exhalation got me doing a host of things that didn’t help me get a good result.

I fixed my diaphragm, I closed my throat, formed a shape in my mouth so that I could blow, I thrusted my stomach out and then was upset with the result.  I discovered that I was holding my breath whilst trying to get a good result on my peak flow meter.

I wasn’t aware back then of what I was doing with my diaphragm, stomach, mouth and throat, it’s only now I can reflect and now mimic myself and understand what I get up to.

I was doing all these things as I thought these were the right things to get a good result. Little did I know, even whilst being observed by various asthma nurses, that I was sabotaging myself.

I wonder if you do these sort of things, perhaps the next time you use your peak flow meter you could look at yourself in a mirror and see what you notice. But first perhaps watch this video to understand what looking in a mirror means. Many people including myself fail to see what you see in a mirror this video really helped me to see myself in a mirror.

My initial interest, if I observed you, is how your neck moved when preparing and when using your peak flow meter. My guess is that you moved your head backwards and your chin went upwards, this will narrow your throat and reduce your peak flow result. Now here’s a catch, your initial obvious thought, I’m guessing now, is not to move your head back but to keep it in the right position, you can try this but my guess is that you will get a similar meter result.

So what will help.

Simply put, by doing nothing, just stop trying to get a good result.

How about just having a fun happy thought, move the meter to your mouth and just blow.

Whilst I’ve been writing this blog I’ve noticed habits that I have when I use the meter, I move my tongue back but his constricts my airway, I raise my shoulders; we generally don’t need our shoulders to breath, I focus on a point just in front of me; we generally don’t need our eyes to breath, I forcefully suck in air to get ready; again we generally don’t need to force ourselves to breath, breathing happens naturally.

These habits I’ve used set my correct position hence best result to use the meter, do I really need them, I don’t think so they don’t work. It’s just trying to be good, just trying to get the best result, just trying but unfortunately sabotaging myself.

I would really recommend that you watch yourself using your peak flow meter and possibly  your inhaler in a mirror.

Notice what you get up to without any self criticism, be kind to yourself. If it hurts stop.

So be kind to yourself

Find a quiet space, either on your own or with someone who supports you

Don’t worry about the rest of the day

Don’t worry about getting a better result.

Breath out and allow yourself to breath in

When your ready use your peak flow meter.

Notice what you do without any self criticism, allow things to change at their own speed and you may notice your breathing will change for the better.

These thoughts worked for me.

If you want to know please follow this Link.

Thinking this, is what freedom feels like.


Do you ever do deep thinking, so deep that you can’t do anything physical?

The garden is ignored

The car needs a wash

Planning goes out the window

The only thing that matters is deep, deep thinking.

Well, I discovered last night I’ve been doing it for the past few years. It was a shock but it answered at least one question that has been lingering with me.

I thought that learning to be an Alexander Technique Teacher was all about thinking, I did a lot of thinking, thinking about being present, thinking about being in the here and now, thinking about where my body is in relation to gravity, thinking about my head neck back relationship, thinking about not doing anything. There’s more but that will do and you have got the idea.

I was thinking about far too much.

My blogs past will probably say as much.

Last night I discovered that there are two parts to Alexanders discoveries,

In reverse order there is an activity plan.

This is how you do something, playing golf, running, singing, brushing your teeth, you name it you have an activity plan. To become professional or just good at something, unless you have natural talent, you will seek out a coach to learn the why’s and wherefores to the activity you want to learn. Have a coach is a fast track to your success, they help you to miss the short falls on the way to being good at your dream. This is the second part and I guess you will be familiar with it

The first part of Alexanders discoveries is

The co-ordination plan

This is how you use your body in your activity plan, this has two basic parts, firstly you need to know how your various joints operate and where they are, not where you think they are but where they physically are. Secondly having thoughts about how you move your body in space freely without any undue stress or strain.

Putting the two plans together, and hay presto your activity is undertaken with a lot less stress and strain.

There is a catch, probably only available to Alexander Trainee Teachers, they turn the second part of the co-ordination plan into their activity plan. Everything eventually crawls to a halt and deep thinking emerges and physical activity stops, a vicious circle. The thoughts of freedom turn themselves into tight muscles as the vicious circle rotates whilst you are using your senses to notice freedom. Tighter and tighter until your stuck in the perfect Alexander Student position, straight back, tight neck. All the time thinking this is what freedom feels like.

I’ve been there and done it. I even got the badge!

The co-ordination plan should be a light touch over the activity plan, they work together not inside each other.

If you want to know more about co-ordination plans you can always sign up to my mailing list and I’ll send you the next blog by email.

Happy planning

Walking on Cornflour


You know, sometimes after banging your head against the brick wall it’s sometimes best to stop.

I’ve had a sleepless night trying to work out why something isn’t working, You may get to know what it is later or maybe not. It’s early in the morning, the sun is a few hours away, it’s quite and my solitude is writing this blog. I’m not in my usual buoyant mood, I’m angry, I’m annoyed but surprisingly quite chilled about what’s going on. Perhaps it’s because I’ve made a decision to stop, I just need to tell people now.

I’m at the point before the point of release and celebration, I’m saddened by my decision but can see it is for the best for me.

Have you ever played with corn flour and water, if its squeezed it goes solid and it returns to liquid when you let go. There was a science programme once TV a few years ago, they filled a swimming pool full of corn flour and water. The challenge was to walk from one end to the other without sinking, the presenter was successful, they then demonstrated what happened if the presenter just stood still or moved to slowly, you guessed it, they sank.

I’m the one sinking now and it is time to get out of the pool.

This isn’t a nice place to be, it is uncomfortable, it is strange, it is empowering. My past few years have been preparing for this point, learning how to be present, inhibit, direction, plan a way ahead and apply my intention. I’m doing all that now, of course in a non-doing way. This thinking is a wonderful way to work though difficult times. Sometimes the way ahead isn’t what I’ve expected.

I never expected this.

So it is time to re-plan my  way ahead and apply my intention. I’m in the inhibition stage at the moment, it may last a while but I don’t know how long, so many options, perhaps let life just lead me.

Sorry, you will have to wait for another day to find out what this is about as it isn’t right to let you know before I have a few honest discussions with those it will impact on. Some of you may already know as I’ve discussed it with you and thank you for your guidance and support.

Something about nothing


My Alexander Technique odyssey continues, it has become an adventure where I don’t know the start or end and even where I am, I wouldn’t say I was lost as I know my intent but the events of my odyssey keep taking me in different directions. Take a few days ago, I discovered I can be angry and annoyed with complete presence, I was there grounded and really being in the moment, I had control of my thoughts, I had time to answer, my emotions and habits tried to rise, I stayed with them but didn’t respond to them, I was present and in control, it was wonderful to angry and annoyed knowing I was right*.  I haven’t had this experience for many years, my normal reaction is to capitulate and succumb to the others point of view and be wrong, I’d leave broken, desperate and not knowing what to do and what is really authentically right.

The trouble with capitulation is that I succumb to the rules and beliefs of the vanquisher, they are not my rules and beliefs, they probably don’t suit me but as I’ve capitulated so I try to make them fit. It is the trying to fit that is the problem.

Trying never works!

This not just my problem in my own little world but it is constantly happening throughout the world on a massive scale, country against country, opposing political parties and millions of people everywhere.

Perhaps what I recently discovered on my odyssey could help others,

  • Stop
  • Ground yourself and be really in the moment
  • Observe
  • Then make a decision
  • Test the decision, it must be authentic for you
  • Stop if necessary and make another decision
  • Repeat as necessary

Of course with many decisions you may come to an impasse with someone else, you don’t see eye to eye. If both of you have both come to an authentic decision for yourself but the decisions are different, that’s fine, now you have something to work as you and I understand each others authentic beliefs and boundaries. Sometimes the relationship can be maintained and the differences respected, for others building space between each other is one of the answers.

For me I much prefer to respect the differences of others and work together.

As with most of my blogs, the intent is to write a blog and not knowing its content and its end, I’ve done it again. The subconscious is wonderful, it is full of stories that just emerge if I allow, give it a try, I’d love to hear your stories. Here’s a plan

  • Stop
  • Ground yourself and be really in the moment
  • Observe
  • Make a decision to write a blog and POST it
  • Test the decision, it must be authentic for you
  • Stop if necessary and make another decision
  • Repeat as necessary

Today may not be the day for you to blog, maybe tomorrow will be the day for you.

Happy bloggingimg_2299

*Of course, this was from my perspective.

You, me and the dog makes three


To be content with life, there are at least two ways of doing this.

The first I’ve tried for many years, it seems to work, what do you think?

Here’s the plan, sit back observe everyone and get an idea how to please them. Work out a whole lot of what if’s and maybe’s and set the plan in motion, then things don’t seem to go to plan, so add a few more what if’s and maybe’s. I’ve done this for years, it can be effective but very tiring trying to second guess and please folk.

It works to a point but I didn’t put myself in place I should be, I’ve made myself a slave to everyone and everything else. If I’m at the service first to everyone and myself second I’m not looking after myself and I’ll eventually break.

The second method, you may have guessed, is to:

1.Put myself first,  not in a selfish way but self-full,

  • I care about myself,
  • I’m content with myself,
  • I’m conscious of what I do
  • I’m efficacious in what I do

2. However this isn’t really enough on its own, these on their own are just being selfish, bothers need to be included.

  • I’m observant of my friends and colleagues
  • I accept the support off my friends and colleagues
  • I trust my friends and colleagues

3. However this is still not enough, I interact with equipment and tools, to be inclusive these need to be considered.

  • I understand how to use the tools
  • I’m skilled at using the tools
  • I’m conscious of my use when a use the tools

4. However this is still not enough, I interact with other people and the environment, to be fully inclusive they need to be considered as well.

  • I recognise that I live with other people and the environment
  • I recognise the other people and the environment support me both directly and indirectly
  • I can accept the support of other people and the environment openly

There is a catch to all this, each of the above points need to be in balance with each other, if one has a greater pull then the others will suffer and contentment will suffer.

Here’s an example, I’m a singer with an orchestra, (if only)

  • Point 1 is about myself
  • Point 2 is about the members of the orchestra
  • Point 3 is about my body and voice
  • Point 4 is about the audience and the theatre.

Take a moment or a few moments each day to consider who and what are in your points and in your thoughts.

Blocked Paths


In the part of the forest where I regularly walk, one of the paths is blocked by a tree, the tree probably blew over in a gale. The paths in the forest had been there for a very long time and have been established by animals and people choosing to walk a similar route. This tree is a particularly beautiful part of the forest, a beech canopy with the sun breaking through, in early May before the bracken appears fields of bluebells that disappear in to the distance.  I walk this path quite a lot, a time to reflect, my dogs to range around having a good time. I’ve been stepping over tree for several months, refusing to walk around it as many others do. Why do I step over the tree trunk, is it because I can, is it because I don’t want it to get in the way of my journey; in the Alexander Technique world this behaviour could be construed as end-gaining, just pushing on regardless and a disregard to my safety.

Perhaps it is safer to walk around but why should I. Perhaps I could use another path in the forest and avoid the fallen tree. I want to enjoy my walk and this is a beautiful part of the forest so I’ve chosen to walk on this path. A conscious decision to face the blocked path as the benefits outweigh the difficulty.

The tree trunk is easy to stride over with little risk but somethings in life may be more risky. Taking time to consider and make a conscious decision to act, sometimes to take that risk, sometimes not, the choice is yours but you can always stop and reconsider.

Perhaps the stopping and reconsidering needs a little more explanation; you can only reconsider if you know what you are doing in the first place, a skill that I’ve been developing for sometime and will be developing for sometime more probably a lifetime of development. Knowing what I’m doing during every moment in my life is taxing and near impossible but tuning up my awareness when it is needed, for example making those important conscious decisions. This awareness takes time to practice and put into operation, for me it’s been years. It’s difficult, upsetting, emotional, fantastic, freeing. Peeling back the blocked paths that stop me from thinking freely, from me being me. It’s a real challenge but worth it.

In the Alexander Technique world this is inhibition, the inhibition of those thoughts and actions that prevent me being really me. Every thought manifests itself onto some form of  physical activity, this is where the Alexander Technique comes into its own, by noticing this physical activity when it happens I can ask myself what was the thought, this takes practice, a lot of practice, I’m the same as you, full of habits that I’m not aware of. The quickest and easiest way to notice these habits it to work with an Alexander Teacher, as was are trained to notice these physical responses and they will be able to help you. For example, if you have asthma you may notice at times of stress you will have greater need of you medication, I certainly was. Over time and working with my Alexander Teacher I learnt to notice the trigger events and instigate a countermeasure to the trigger, early on it didn’t always worked, but slowly I got better at noticing the trigger earlier and earlier and I now control these triggers without medication.

The countermeasure is very powerful and simple, it is to inhibit the trigger by being present, in the here and now, quietening the what if’s, stop worrying about the future. I’ve got little control of the future especially if it involves other people. There’s not many mind readers around and I’m definitely not one.

The Alexander Technique is not just about posture as may people think, it is about thinking and the physical activity from that thought.