Category Archives: stopping

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.

Advertisements

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.

 

 

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.

 

Absolutely knackered


I’m on the train home after a couple of hectic days with AT Success. I don’t know if I’m coming or going, I’ve got brain ache on the train. I thought I should get some sleep on the train but with my buzzing brain I’ve got no chance. Jeremy’s ideas in running an Alexander Technique are inspirational. It’s all about getting people interested indirectly in Alexander’s discovery. Introducing the discovery to strangers of the discovery, is full of traps;  we speak a strange vocabulary and we put hands on people. To strangers this can be quite strange and abnormal in society.

Jeremy’s ideas, that’s from someone who in absolutely knackered, is to stand back a little and explain the discovery by vocalising and student participation. Getting the students involved from the start so that they can start their own voyage of discovery from the very beginning. Students can do a lot of things during the workshops without the involvement of the teachers hands. Getting students to work together in activity and then discussing their discoveries from the activity is empowering and they own experience and discovery, they can take it home and develop further.

Today we worked though how our ideal students would be, the simple answer is the ones that are seeking answers to what I was seeking answers for when I started my journey of discovery. To understand what I was seeking starts with writing my own story so far. Difficult to start but from a place of safety and me being present, it became quite easy and the words flowed, I was shocked and emotional at the outcome. Yes, there where tears.

The workshop on Sunday was about how to create my niche, I discovered that my niche is to release people from the constraints of anxiety and allow them to develop into happy wonderful people. Some may say that’s approaching a shrinks type of work; it may be if I approached their problems directed, but Alexander discovered that these problems can be approached indirectly  via their use; the way they move, the way they react to stimuli. By observing the way they move and asking them why they move that certain way will start a chain reaction that will release something in themselves and the problems that anxiety will be lessened. There is a caveat; they need to want to go on this voyage of change, I’m only the catalyst or facilitator, it is their journey of discovery. It all sound so simple, it is, but it’s not. To have any chance of working I need to be there in the room, not dreaming of being somewhere else. Then I can and only then invite them into the room with me; what I mean in the room is not physical, they already physically there with me, it’s not dreaming about somewhere else or worrying about what I’m going to say, what I’m going to ask them to do , etc. I just want them to be present in all ways in the room with me.

I’ve discovered that the only place worries can be resolved is in the present. It’s a bit difficult if you’re thinking is the past or future, these places don’t exist. You can’t address issues from a place that doesn’t exist. I’ve found it quite easy to get people to be present for a moment, anything longer takes practice and it takes energy and trust to stay there for any length of sometime.

  • It’s a place of vulnerability, people can see you for what you are.
  • It’s a place of strength, people can’t hurt you as they can’t reach you.
  • It’s a place where you are naked, your personas have been removed.
  • It’s a place of beauty, time slows down and you have time to enjoy every moment.
  • It’s a place of joy, peace and happiness just appear.

I normally like to have a flow and story to my blogs, tonight is just a rambling, I have an excuse I’m absolutely knackered.

I should have stopped


This week I’ve had and still do have a stinking cold, enough to stay at home and miss a few days at work, but not enough to miss my Alexander Teacher Training; how wrong was I!

On Friday I decided to attend but just receive any helping hands to be worked on, it was great, my symptoms dissipated, I guess the cold was pulling me down and the teachers and fellow students work got my directions going up again, I thought I was over the cold.

So yesterday, time for school again, I forgot Friday’s decision to receive but instead worked on my teachers and a couple students. I was like working with brain full of cottonwool; AT and a brain full of cottonwool just don’t mix.

I should have stopped working with my fellow students

I should have stopped working with my teachers

I should have stopped going to school for the day

I should have staying in bed!

The moral to the tale is to listen to my body and not push on regardless it just doesn’t work.

Bed

My groundhog day


My 2nd February has probably lasted as long as Phil Connors, the synopsis IMDb > Groundhog Day (1993) > Synopsis recons Phil’s was around 10 years; i may be still be in my Groundhog Day loop how knows.

My 6am call wasn’t  Sonny & Cher singing “I got you babe” but me knocking on my Alexander teachers door for another lesson, the lessons are now a blur but they seemed to be repetitive initially as I was learning to stop, though I was probably told to stop, I didn’t take the instructions in, neither did I stop. Rather like Phil’s suicide attempts then his 6am alarm again/ my knocking on the door again and again.

I then realised that I had to do something about something, it was time to understand something but what?

Stopping seemed to be a good idea, but I only paused really, I know that now but I thought I was really stopping. There’s a bit difference between stopping and pausing, when I stop I have a choice to do something else, with a pause I was just waiting to continue the same old thing, just like pausing a video.

Choices, choices, choices, is the name of the game: once you understand that is what life is about then you can live. Watching your favourite soap in TV is not a choice, it’s a habit thats stealing your time.

Understanding about choices isn’t the same as doing the choices, you need to be the choices.

Phil’s went through this realisation, finding out what Rita liked and loved and he became the expert in them; Jazz piano, French, ice sculpturing, but Rita still didn’t want him. He gave up with trying and became himself, and in response became the most beloved man in town, and in the morning it’s the 3rd of February and Rita is by his side planning to live together.

I had my first realisation of non-doing and stopping a few weeks ago, the difficulty is doing the non-doing, its so hard not to do and allow. Not doing and allowing is such a wonderful place to be in

The moral of the movie is to be honest and love yourself and then people will respond to you and may even love you back. Rather like the Alexander Technique.

Ah – The Whispered Ah the antidote to asthma


I’ve never felt so awkward and silly pulling a funny face, breathing out and making a strange gravelly noise.

That was my introduction to the Whispered Ah!

After my first few attempts my Alexander Technique teacher asked me how wide open I thought my mouth was. I answered “very wide”; so go and look in the mirror; to my surprise I’d barely opened my mouth. How could that be, the answer may be possibly in a later blog.

My Alexander Technique teacher was introducing me to an alternative way to breathe from my usual shallow gasping asthmatic breath. Little did I know that I couldn’t breath in as I hadn’t breathed out, so all I was doing was  trying to top up my lungs that were already full!

The Whispered Ah was developed before FM Alexander included in his repertoire but I believe he modified the activity to suit his technique.

The Whispered Ah is an activity to bring your breathing to your consciousness, namely the activity of breathing out, allowing your lungs to empty as your diaphragm rises and your ribs move together, then waiting for the in breath to happen and experience your diaphragm move and your ribs move outwards as your lungs fill.

There is a lot more detail in how to experiment with the Whispered Ah on YouTube and elsewhere, please search them out.

I’ve recently been experimenting with flaring my nostrils to initiate the in breath, I sense a reflex between my nostrils, sternum and ribs, do you have a sense of this reflex?Once you have experimented with the smiley face with soft eyes, tongue resting just behind your bottom teeth, jaw leading forward and down from the TMJ … then initiate the out breath you will have experienced the Whispered Ah, for an asthma sufferer it’s a breath of fresh air.

If you want know more then please join my mailing list.