Category Archives: stopping

Write your own rules


I haven’t blogged for a while and I’m not sure if this blog will be published, however I have the intention to write it but I haven’t got much attention to write it. It may be because we have just returned from a break over Easter meeting old friends and new friends for the first time. It was something that someone said to me during the last week; “believe in myself because it is the right thought”. It was said when I was working with her in an Alexander Technique activity, my fingers where drawn to a point on her shoulder, a point where she was tense. My senses were accurate but I didn’t believe them  and it wasn’t Alexander Technique thinking!

I was holding myself back because of my beliefs, in hindsight I’ve been doing this for years, not believing what I was thinking. I probably need to add that these thoughts rise when I’m calm, content, in a safe place, a state of mindfulness with my senses enlightened with a very strong of presence. Having trained many hours in the  Alexander Technique, I think I’d developed a thought of what Alexander Technique Thinking is. These thoughts have constrained me, they are not real just something that I thought was true, perhaps I need a set of rules to work to, perhaps we all need rules to abide to or is it fail to.

Constraining my thoughts to imaginary rules just sets me out to fail and fail quickly.

What are your rules?

Wow, that got my attention, I write my own rules to fail to!

So why?

  • So I can under achieve
  • So I don’t exceed my limits
  • So people will like me
  • So I can hide in the middle
  • So I get pity
  • because I’ve been caught in some social conditioning
    • being British
    • keeping myself within my social standing
  • So I can be normal

It doesn’t really matter why, the important thing is to notice, pause and do something different, if I want to. I may want to seek pity, that’s fine if I know I’m doing that, the problem is when it become habitual.

The reasons why her point of tension was so important, firstly, she is an Alexander Technique Teacher with years of experience, secondly, I spoke to her about wanting to really push at her tense point and she told me I was correct in my thinking, thirdly, she told me to follow my senses and do what is needed. I instantly realised I had written myself my own rules of engagement for my Alexander Technique work, I let these rules go and the work just flowed.

If all this intrigues you, drop me a line and I’ll tell you more.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stop looking and it will appear


I’ve been studying Alexander’s discovery for a few years now, I’ve visited several schools and I have gotten a different definition of his discovery at each school. This is confusing and frustrating, each school appproaches the same thing from a different direction, but why.

The answer is quite simple, the discovery is very hard to verbalise so different metaphors and physical activities are used to explain this discovery. Some will work for me but not for you. I’ve found that if you go with someone’s definition and it doesn’t suit you will be led down a blind ally, you will pick up useful information on the way but you won’t discover the discovery. I know this as I did it. It’s frustrating, it’s time wasting, made me feel like a failure.

It is some of these but much more, learning that something isn’t for me is a very powerful learning point. I can choose to stop and change direction. I’m glad I did, then the thoughts that I should have stopped earlier arise, perhaps I should but was I in a position to notice that a change was available, probably not, I was thinking that the end of my journey was near and if I stuck with it, it would be over and then get on with the next part of my life.

So what is this discovery, well it’s a rediscovery of youthfulness. If you ever meet an Alexander Teacher, guess their age then add ten years to your guess and you will be pretty close, this discovery lets you look younger and physically fitter than the average for your age group especially as you get older.

So this discovery is the elixir of youth, perhaps it is but it is also the holy grail. If you seek it you won’t find it as it is with you all the time, stop looking and it will appear. The various teaching methods are just the way how someone discovered this discovery and they are telling their way to the discovery.

I’ve written around this discovery for many blogs, perhaps I didn’t know what it really is as I was trying to decipher somebody’s metaphor and it wasn’t working for me.

Unfortunately I’m going to state what the discovery is to me, this may not work for you.

This discovery is about me, and for you, to be the most important person in your universe, being conscious of the environment about you, that’s in the room and then beyond, as far as you can imagine. This thought will only last a moment, this moment can not be keeped or reused, a new thought needs to be generated and then again and again so there is a contiguous flow of thoughts without dwelling on the past nor trying to figure out the future.

This takes some practice, then applying it all the time is some feat. So these thoughts swing in and out. When they are needed I increase their frequency.

The next part is that we are continuously communicating with each other and animals. My dogs can read my mind and to some extent I can read theirs. Have you ever known who is calling you without looking at the caller display, or tried to call someone but they are engaged because they are calling you. This is our natural communications, this communication can be enhanced when we are near to each other and enhanced again by touch. Our communication drastically improves if we don’t dwell on the past nor figuring out the future.

The person we are closest to is ourself, we can communicate to ourselves as exceptionally well, we have the best communication within ourselves but we just don’t listen; we can tell ourselves so much to keep ourselves well and healthy but why don’t we listen?

The world is your oyster


In my previous blog A dog with a new bone I wrote about the shield I held in front of me, nobody saw it whether I was hold up or thrown it on the floor, my shield was pretty pointless, I know that now but for the past decade or so I thought it was very important to use, it protected me. In reality it stopped me from doing things I wanted, stopped me saying things I wanted to say, stifled my creativity and most important of all it stopped me from being the real me.

Have you ever thought that I could do that but decided not to because:

  • They won’t like what I say
  • It’s too hard for me to do
  • It’s out of my comfort zone
  • They don’t respect me so it’s not worth doing.

I have and now I regret things I haven’t done.

The thing is, these are your thoughts about whatever the topic is, no one else’s, they don’t know what you are thinking as you don’t know what they are thinking. These thoughts have been my shield, they prevent me from moving on.

What I did was experiment with these thoughts and turn the thoughts around by making them positive, for example ‘they will like what I say’ and get on and speak, notice their reaction, I’ve been pleasantly surprised, no bad remarks and thanks for honestly.

I’d got in the way of my own authenticity.

There is a little more to this, I NEEDED TO BE TRUTHFUL TO MYSELF, if I didn’t like what I was saying, it didn’t work; people know authenticity and they know the opposite.

What I’ve learnt and written in previous blogs is that these skills take time and determination to be developed, there is a shortcut, find someone to help you, I found the Alexander Technique and have since trained to teach the technique.

I learnt that the very first thing is to notice negative emotional and physical reactions to activities, once a reaction is noticed then the change can happen, perhaps turn the thought around to ‘they will like what I say’ then notice what happens. To start to notice things you need to know where you are in time and space, if you are too busy worrying about something else or hurting from physical pain then it will be very difficult to start noticing other things, I can help with this, part of the many hours of training over 3 years is to show people how to rediscover their capacity to be here in this very moment and also to enjoy their own space. From this point the world is your oyster.

I thought it was just chocolate


We’ve had a week of ups and downs and sometimes nothing, it’s been horrible, we have only just survived.

Luckily after several pleading phone calls to strangers it’s all sorted out.

What shocked me was I thought I could live without or live with it when it was in short supply.

I could understand if this was;

  • water
  • food
  • shelter from the weather
  • heating
  • transport
  • electricity

but

broadband!!!!

I struggled because of broadband, I couldn’t do things that I took for granted. I wasn’t just me it was my phone, my music;

  • they wouldn’t play my music
  • they wouldn’t connect to each other, I thought my wifi would look after that, obviously not, its broadband they need.

It was an annoying week but I got used to it, I started reading books made out of paper – whatever next!

Actually I read quite a lot of books print on paper, perhaps not as many as I could if the internet wasn’t so available.

The Internet has been with us for the past decade or so and is now so embedded in our lives it’s difficult to understand how we live without it. Just three or four days without it was initially difficult and annoying but I soon got used to it. I enjoyed not being pulled to my screen to check up on the world, I got a sense of freedom from the chains of the internet.

This did get me thinking about how we cope with change, firstly I was very annoyed and angry then I calmed down and developed a coping strategy. My coping strategy was to stop checking the latency, download and upload of my internet connection and get on with other things. I shed the need to check up on the world every few minutes and let it be.

My behaviour, I suspect, was normal but what I was doing was observing myself going thorough these emotions, where I felt it physically; my anger in my stomach and sensing lightheadedness because I wasn’t in control of my internet, my head pulling down with despair. I must say that these where quite subtile sensations but they were there all the same. When I changed my view and started doing other things these sensations diminished though there was a longing to use the internet again.

How about giving it a try, stop doing something that you habitual use or do for a couple of days, it could be not using the internet for a couple of days, or my other habits; chocolate and coffee.

You will have your own habit you could experiment with.

So to remind you, it is not about stopping whatever you choose to stop, it is noticing the thoughts and what happens in you physically when you can’t have what you want. It is best to note what you are feeling as and when they appear and also what you did when you noticed.

Please be safe and if gets too much, stop the experiment. I’d love to hear about your experience.

If you want to know more you could always join my mailing list.

Alexander = Simplicity


I spoke to a friend tonight about my recent decisions, she didn’t know until I told her, just before I left on my new journey.

She was very unset in that moment but I didn’t have time to explain. I tried to call, but her phone number had changed, it wasn’t until tonight I got her new number and we chatted. I was concerned and worried that I had upset her by my leaving. I got the impression that it was not only me that found it difficult, everyone one else felt the same; I left a hole in the team. The team will heal and move on, as will I.

Sometimes decisions have to be made to benefit yourself, this one was for me no matter what disruption it caused.

I’ve learnt over the past few years that I need to look after myself first then and only then can I look after others. It gives me a grounding to do other things, it gives me a grounding that allows my authenticity to evolve and grow. It gives my authenticity the authority to notice and be confident to stop things that I’m uncomfortable with. My authority allows my to make choices that meet my authenticity. My authenticity helps me to get grounded.

So being true to myself develops a virtuous circle of empowerment.

We chatted, we chatted for a long time, it was a good talk, an open honest discussion.

Above was written several weeks ago and now with time to reflect I now have some more thoughts I’d like to share

So what next for me and them, they will do whatever they do, I will have my own things to do. In fact, I now have started my new plan and it is my plan instead of working to someones schedule, expectations and beliefs.

My decision was made because I was trying to be someone I wasn’t, I was trying to be someone I thought they wanted me to be. I don’t know if they wanted me to be that person, probably not, I did’t know but still tried. By leaving I broke the cycle of trying.

I’ve now discovered that I only need to be one person and it is the authentic person I mentioned above. Discovering how to be authentic was what I was trying to do by modelling myself on a vision of myself.

This just doesn’t work,

  • I thought I knew better,
  • I was taking a shortcut,
  • I was avoiding the truth,
  • I was scared of the truth,
  • I was scared what the authentic me looked like,
    • behaved like,
    • spoke like,
    • thought like.

I was unwilling to look for my authentic self so I applied my deception and deflection tactics in the vain hope that nobody including myself would notice.

Oh joy, how I’ve been deluding myself!

I’ve got an email string with someone, it’s about Alexanders discovery and the email title is “Alexander: Simplicity” I can’t remember how it got that title, it doesn’t matter but it does sum up quite succinctly Alexanders discoveries. What I’ve been doing all my life is trying to understand how things including myself work, it is fantastic as a marine engineer fixing equipment on ships, but trying to work out how I work just puts too much load on my thinking and things just stop working as efficiently as they should. This thinking includes trying to be someone I think I should be.

It is just a waste of time and effort.

So what to do instead, very simply: do nothing and wait.

That doesn’t read too well, it’s a little more than nothing, it is allowing your psycho-physical unity and your head-neck-back relationship to work as it should; it is applying Alexanders discovery, if you want to know more, then please subscribe to my mailing list where I go into the discovery in more detail, it is free and you can unsubscribe at any point.

Alexander = simplicity

 

 

 

 

 

Happy 10th Birthday


Tonight I thought it would write another blog but Facebook notifications and texts keep pinging. I do a report on Monday evenings so the plan was do the report and then blog.

Those pings just distracted me. I see this all the time, someones phone make a noise and the only thing them can do is to respond to their phone, it doesn’t matter what was going on in the real world next to them the phone is the most important thing in this moment in the world.

It’s scary how we have suddenly changed in only ten year (it’s the smart phones tenth birthday today) to be slaves of our smart phone.

Why is it much more interesting somewhere else than just here and now?

Could we be missing something somewhere?

Do we crave for distraction from the real world?

I don’t know your answer, so one of mine, I think I have a few but this one is tonights. Simple it is procrastination, a way of avoiding things by getting involved with a distraction. I’m good at it, I even blog to procrastinate.

By the way I’ve just had a flurry of pinging and I’m still writing, they’ll have to wait until the end of this blog and I’m chuffed with myself. This is the power of noticing my response to a ping, stopping my habit of going to see who has messaged me but instead deciding that they can wait until I’m free and ready to see what’s going on. Of course I could have decided to go and look who is messaging me, then I have another decision to either respond or not (just been pinged again, oh the temptation).

That comes on to another point, it’s all well and good to notice and decide to do the “good” thing every-time, if you continually do this, life does become evangelical and boring.  I know, I’ve done it. As all things in life, living should be fun if it’s any other way you’re trying to hard, lighten up and have fun. So perhaps go with the temptation but only with a conscious choice.

Happy 10th birthday

Why not click here to discover more

Play with my thoughts


Another day and another dollar, doesn’t that sound depressing, it does for me, I have thoughts of just slowly treading along doing meaningless, unfulfilling work year in and year out.

The slow trickle of depression sucking you down and down until you can’t function anymore until there isn’t a dollar a day, cast on the heap of worn out workers waiting for your maker. Is that what life is about, I think it is for some but it doesn’t have to be that way. I was being suck down with depression for years without even knowing it, it effected my breathing, how I behaved with people, I did enjoy the effects of alcohol as it hid my problems each evening, it helped me sleep then the day started again.

Another day and another dollar. 

This happened for years until recently when I discovered that the only person how was allowing the slow trickle of depression to suck me down was ME. It was hard to believe that I was causing myself to hurt myself, nobody has ever told that I could just hurt myself by thinking, but it is true.

So a started my slow journey from depression to where I am today: I don’t know where I am on the scale from 1 to 10 but I know I’m not at rock bottom though I was there once. I was probably lucky as I disguised my depression as asthma so I got inhalers instead of anti-depressants. I guess my slow journey would be a very slow journey if I was stuck with anti-depressants.

I discovered that my habits effect how I function and how I function effects my habits. So by doing something new I learn a new habit then I use the new habit to do that something again, the habit and the activity added together to create an improved habit, this cycle continues infinitum for depressive habits things just get worse and worse.

The secrets are firstly you need to notice that your thoughts are causing these thoughts, there may be relationships with people and organisations that trigger these thoughts but it is you that has the thought. Noticing is really difficult as you have nurtured these habits to survive and you won’t be willing to let them go so you will keep them we hidden from yourself however others have skills to expose your habits and help you to deal with them.

The way I learnt was to become more observant in my daily activities, simple thinks like when I get a nervous cough, I ask myself what was I thinking just before I started to cough. I may be because I was thinking of an awkward situation later on in the day and this triggered my cough. Once I’ve identified my thoughts I can play with the thought and ask myself if it happening now, No it’s later on in the day. If it’s not happening now then it may never happen, so why worry, why cough. I don’t have any control over others thoughts and actions so again so what I’m thinking about what they my say or do may never happen so why worry, why cough. This play on my thoughts brings me back to reality and I also have a physical feedback to check if i’ve stopped worrying, may cough.

This play can be done on any physical action but first you need to notice the action and the thought that triggered it.

If you want to now more I’ve a mailing list where you can receive more useful ideas

 

Something new for the better


It’s nearly the end of the year, so perhaps it is time to ponder.

What I’ve realised this year is that I have for many many years wanted to please others, even when it felt wrong, awkward, something that is not useful to myself.

I have a worry alarm in my stomach, a sensation that makes me more aware if something feels wrong or awkward or strange. Unfortunately it is very close to the ‘something new for the better’ warning they both have very similar sensations but there is a subtly; this subtly is easily missed and the wrong choice could be made.

Like making a purchase, say a car. You go into the showroom, you know what you want but as you discover more the worry alarm switches on, it doesn’t feel right so its time to stop and leave, however you’re caught by the sales person who explains why you need this car and it does have an easy payment plan. Little do you know that the sales person has the skill to move your worry button over to the ‘something new for the better’ warning and your hooked with a car you nearly wanted but didn’t, you now own a car you but you didn’t really want it.

This happened to me this year except I didn’t buy, left the showroom really tempted. I thought for a while in fact a couple of days, I needed time to reset my worry button. In hindsight my worry button was correct and I’m still looking for a replacement car.

Our feelings are emotive and sometimes don’t reflect reality, we all know this and some use this knowledge for their own benefit, the benefit of their employers and sometimes to the detriment of the customer.

It can happen the other way as well, the ‘something new for the better’ warning can start flashing, so you go with the opportunity, really enjoy the opportunity but something changes over time and the worry alarm starts, firstly there is denial as I know this opportunity is right so the worry alarm is just plain wrong. Then just persisting in suppressing the worry alarm until eventually it just gets too loud.

Time to change tack and do something else.

This also happened to me as well, I left the Alexander Technique Training school I was training in to seek another, my worry alarm was persistently ringing that something wasn’t right with my relationship with the school, I’d become stuck in the habits of the relationship between the school and myself. This is a difficult worry alarm to accept but once accepted it’s a great release.

The art of identifying the difference between the alarm and warning is to turn off all the  hype, bling and noise associated with whatever sets the alarm or warning off, if the alarm is still ringing walk away, if the warning is still there you now have the choice to go with it or not.

So whats happened to me this year is that I’ve started to listen to myself, my worry alarm and my ‘something new for the better’ warning. In the past I just ignored the warnings and just got on with doing what I was being told to do by others. Stopping and reflecting give me time and opportunity to do what I want to achieve, it is very empowering and freeing. Being my authentic self really helps, thought it is taking time for my family and friends to come to terms with the new me as I now say  what I think, well most of the time.

Have a great 2017.

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

I pushed on until I saw sense


I tried too hard yesterday, I decided to write a blog and got to preachy, then got stuck with it and couldn’t work out where it was leading me. I deliberately wrote ‘it’ as I normally let my thoughts lead my thinking. Yesterday I was steering my thoughts and not letting my thoughts develop organically.

So why was I like that? I was in a good mood and wanted to write something, I wanted to use my mood and energy to write something. Unfortunately I had an idea but I forced and constrained the route to get a conclusion I wanted.

I wanted and wanted and wanted, I was pushy with myself, I forced the journey.

These are dangerous thoughts and generally fail, if they are a success they are a success at the cost of something else.

So I stopped writing and left it alone, it’s not the first blog I’ve abandoned, there’s a few but this is the first one I know why I’ve abandoned it.

Life is like writing a blog, skills are developed and honed and used in various ways. There’s a goal to do something and a plan to reach the goal. Unfortunately things get in the way and the plan needs to change to meet these interruptions, and maybe the goal needs to be modified as well. Not everything is achievable or is it?

How about having an intention instead of a goal, it might make it easier and less onerous. How about breaking the plan into smaller achievable bits then it might be less of a challenge. The other important thing is to keep checking that things are going the way you want them to go. This is the bit that you can fool yourself, I did yesterday. I pushed on regardless of my thoughts, I wasn’t comfortable in what I was writing and I wanted to stop but I also pushed on until I saw sense.

It’s difficult to stop, stopping is a failure, wasting time and effort, money in some cases. It’s an embarrassment, it’s lots of negative things.

It’s difficult to stop, stopping is a success, it saves time, effort and money, things are cut short because they were going to fail. To notice when to stop you need to be in a position to notice, I wrote about this the other day and it’s so so simple to understand.

So if you authentically sense that isn’t going well, stop and choose another way. You don’t always have to stop and start for scratch but sometimes this is for the best. I’ll leave yesterdays blog alone. The stopping got me to think differently and this blog was created. For more of my blogs, have look at my web site and if you want to hear about my blogs as they are written you can subscribe to my mailing list.