Don’t try this at home


What a lovely Sunday morning, I like Sunday mornings; the doors and windows are open letting the cool fresh morning air into the house, a nice breakfast, tea maybe coffee later, it is quiet, I have room to reflect and think. I want to, have the need to, write but I haven’t a clue what to write, will it be about Jessica Wolf’s workshop at BAS, or further thoughts about how I feel about not being ready to qualify as an Alexander Technique teacher. The later I’m content with, so maybe this is could be about breathing, in fact about just a few moments during the workshop.

As you may be aware, I manage asthma with thought alone by using the Alexander Technique, no more inhalers for me I haven’t used one for a couple of years. This nearly changed on Friday. We were working though the various activities that Jessica was directing, silent ‘la’s’, whispered ‘ah’s’ and counting on our out breath, I’m not going to go in to detail here about these activities as I won’t give them justice. Jessica suggested that for a moment we imagine what poor breathing is like and perhaps attempt some poor breathing. I CAN DO THAT! I just thought of how I used to breathe and a little more poor use on top. It was a bad move, my chest tightened I couldn’t breathe, I couldn’t count passed ONE , worst of all it was real and I was stuck with panic, fear and thoughts of how the hell can I get out of this breathing pattern. I didn’t have a clue what to do, I was really stuck in my thinking, old thoughts of trying to do something, just do anything so that I can breathe again. The panic was awful.

I don’t know how long it took, in reality probably a few moments. Luckily we were working in pairs, Jane had her hand on my chest and abdomen to notice my breathing during the various activities. I grabbed her hand, she stayed with me, my breathing returned to something like normal and I cried for a long time, tears are with me as I write. I’m not sure about the tears, are they about sorrow and loss of how I was for so many years, was it the panic I used to feel in just doing simple tasks, was it planning my life around an inhaler, ‘ooh thats’s going to be stressful so time for my inhaler’ My life was so reliant on inhalers, I feel depressed just thinking about is and it’s hard to see the screen with my tears.

Those moments of thought about my old bad use has taken me two days and a little more to get over. This has been a real lesson on the power of thought and how old habits can just reappear, it is also a really good lesson again on the power of thought, that’s conscious constructive control of thought, using indirect methods to help myself to breathe freely again.

The conscious constructive control I’ve learnt over the past few years during my Alexander Technique Lessons and my teacher training so I have the skill to return to breathing freely again. Don’t try this at home else you may be in trouble.

 

Advertisements

Bubbles, just bouncing in our bubbles


Continuing on from yesterdays blog I should have been annoyed?. It’s quite liberating to talk about how I feel. For years how I felt was my business, keep it tightly held to myself and its nobody else’s business.

I had the thought that we all bounce around in our little bubbles, it is safe in there with our habits that restrict and constrain our freedom. If there is a chance that the bubble can be burst we just add more layers of habits to protect us, this does lead to the problem that we are even more constrained and restricted with even less freedom. This has certainly been my habits, I did like my bubble, I avoided vulnerability, risk and had a quiet life. IMG_2148It was wonderful. Or so I thought. All these habits are really just thoughts and as FM Alexander wrote: “we translate everything, whether physical, mental or spiritual, into muscular tension.”

So being in my bubble I was generating unnecessary muscular tension. I thought I was having a quiet life but I was busy protecting myself unnecessarily for imaginary problems, I was making things up to keep the dream going. I can only guess that 99.99999% of the population love to do this as well.(I’ve got no valid reason for the percentage, it just looks good)

Well,  I’ve popped my bubble, or rather letting it down slowly. Too quickly and I may just turn into a babbling wreck. I’m starting to enjoy my vulnerability, instead of the thoughts of “I can’t do that” its “let it happen and see what occurs”. Without my bubble, life is a strange place, it’s actually great. But at the moment I’m not ready to go to far from safety but I’m pushing the limits and a little beyond them. I wouldn’t even know this place of vulnerability and wonderfulness existed with my Alexander Teacher Training. I’m not recommending you go on the teacher training course, but a few sessions with an Alexander Teacher may well introduce you to the land of vulnerability and wonderfulness.

I should have been annoyed?


I must have changed, in the past if I was given bad news I would be annoyed especially if I was to blame.

An interesting sentence, bad news, blame, two things that seem to go together in many aspects of life. I was caught in an interesting state, I knew I was at fault but had to wait until someone told me.

My fault was being to reliant on my habits to float quietly through life. This may be fine for the vast majority of people throughout the world but for a certain type of people that’s Alexander Technique Teachers, there may be others, floating quietly through life just won’t do. In my last blog The perfect student or the Alexander Overcoat I’d discovered just this, discovery is one thing, but unwinding my habits are another. This takes guts and trust that my world won’t just crumble to dust if I let my well established beliefs and habit disappear.

You may be aware that I’ve been training to become an Alexander Technique Teacher, 1600 hours over three years, quite a commitment but seems quite easy, learn some procedures, read some books and do some writing, the usual for a training course. Alexander Technique Teacher Training has all those aspects but includes one other huge aspect, we need to get to know ourselves from the bottom up, this is the honest, truthful, beautiful self. As I mention in my previous blog I got somewhere in discovering myself but got stuck ‘doing the do’ instead of ‘being the be’. This has been a hard lesson to learn but essential for me to move on. Unfortunately my discovery is at the right time for me but not for my Alexander Technique Teacher Training so I’ll have to stay on longer than my expected 1600 hours.

When I was told, I was relieved as I knew I wasn’t ready. It would have been different if I was still wearing my Alexander Overcoat, blame and anger would have been to order of the day.

Acceptance of myself is a powerful tool that the Alexander Technique has given me, this only comes with practice and patience.

 

 

 

 

 

Ah – The Whispered Ah the antidote to asthma


Alexander in the Forest

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

My Alexander 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 haven’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…

View original post 157 more words

The perfect student or the Alexander Overcoat


I recon I’ve been the perfect student for the past couple of years whilst studying to become an Alexander Technique Teacher, 1600 hours over 3 years, it’s quite a journey that I’m still on. My other blogs describe some of the discoveries I’ve made during my training, they are well worth a read.

I’ve listened, discussed, read, written and learnt the various Alexander Technique activities to help me get ready to teacher the Alexander Technique to my future pupils. Being the perfect student I’ve really thought and worked hard at discovering what the Alexander technique is all about, so much so that my thoughts have developed into doing them; a big no-no in the Alexander world.

The Alexander Technique is about being free, free to make choices, conscious constructive choices that allows freedom of movement. DOING just won’t DO. By doing the perfect student the edge of the chair had become my friend, the only place I could sit to engage my sit bones so that I could go forward and up, I thought I was free but I was as stiff as a board; the perfect student being stuck in the Alexander Overcoat.

I wasn’t until I met another Alexander teacher and she asked me to slump down and then slowly come out of my slump to my full stature but stopping me early so I wasn’t DOING my usual pulling up that I realised I’ve been trying too hard, something that I’ve been DOING for most of my live, trying to please others at the detriment to myself. I was the perfect student, trying to please my teachers with my pulling up and a whole host of over things.

You’re probably the same, trying too much to please others and the horrible thing is that they probably won’t even notice all that trying. So why not be kind to yourself and notice your habits, ask yourself if you need these habits. Better still find an Alexander Technique teacher so they can help you to discover your real you.

My Alexander Overcoat is now hanging up, it does come out of the wardrobe occasionally but when it does I put back in the wardrobe as who needs an overcoat on a sunny day.

So be nice to your habits, you needed them once but maybe not today. Put them back in the wardrobe or better still send them to your favourite holiday destination, they may like it and as just stay.

I need to get my bones lined up


I’m in Blakeney in Norfolk having a break with my wife and celebrating my father-in-laws life, he loved Norfolk especially the North Nolfolk coast, he made an annual visit every year of his life. We are staying at the Blakeney Hotel, a hotel that I’ve stayed at a few times over the years. I love the north Norfolk coast as well (don’t tell the wife).

The hotel is a little expensive, not too expensive, nice and quiet. The clientele are quite senior with a sprinkling of younger adults, I haven’t seen any children. The pool and sauna so far I’ve had to myself, ideal as I’m enjoying my solitude and being reflective. This afternoon I intended to take some photos, taking my time arranging the image, setting the exposure, depth of field and focal length. My heart wasn’t in it, so instead of forcing myself I’ve decided to drink coffee in the lounge and just enjoy the view. I did wake myself with a snore.

People have come and gone in the lounge, quietly talking to each other some are not so quiet, some of conversations I could hear others not. There was a couple of women nearby quietly talking, when they decided to leave they planned to meet later to go for a walk.

One said, “I need to get my bones lined up before I go for a walk.”

This got me thinking, was she in pain, was she planning to get in pain during her walk, was she thinking as she was becoming a little senior in her years she should feel not as free as she used too. I haven’t spoken to her so I don’t know. Why is it  just her bones that need to be lined up, why does she think that way. Is this fatalism, I’m getting old so I can’t now do … .

I guess that a few years ago I had the view that I’m getting old so I can’t no do … but not anymore. I not need to get my bones lined up as my bones are always lined up and I have freedom between my bones. I’ve got a secret that I’m willing to share, I want to share, I want to shout about. We all have the capacity to have our bones always lined up. The secret can be free, but you’ll get on your journey much, much quicker with the help of a guide.

All you need to do is to think of freedom and space within yourself without any doing, it is just a thought. I’m being rather simplistic but that is all it is, but you will discover it is a lot more than that.

You will need help by someone who’s used Alexander’s discovery to help themselves. Alexander Teachers have to undertake a 1600 hour teacher training course plus many more hours to understand how to pass this discovery to others. For me it was a life saver, it could be for you as well.   How about challenging yourself to keep your bones always lined up so that there’s freedom between your bones.

There’s always two sides to a story


Twenty two years ago, give or take a few months I decided after a lot of arguments I left my wife and two sons, it was her or me to leave, we argued over this for a few months. I decided that my sons would be better off with their mother so I left. Not the brightest decision I’ve ever made but it is what had to be done at that point in my life. I don’t know if it was my ex’s thoughts but I got the feeling that she wanted me home to do her bidding, get a dead end job and be content with being Mr average. I suppose after being in the Royal Navy travelling around the world and having a good life I had no intention of being Mr average. I didn’t want to be tied to anyone’s apron strings. 

This decision as you can imagine broke my family apart and from my view it’s still broken. I don’t know what my sons thoughts are as I haven’t seen them for many years. I’ve suppressed my feelings, denied that I haven’t had children all in the hope that I could cope with live without them. I’ve been very successful at this suppression, I just got asthma and loads of anxiety. Locked in fright and unable to breathe is not a good place to be, but I deserved it for leaving my sons.

Suppessing love just hurts in so many ways, it turns into self loathing and things just get worse and worse. I’ve tried several times to contact my sons but deep down I wanted to fail each time, so guess what, I failed each time. I’ve been too ashamed to meet them. It’s taken me 22 years to let my feelings out and write my thoughts. My love of my sons had never deminised and a long to welcome them into my life even after all this time. 

I imagine I’m not alone with these thoughts, many thousands of estranged parents and child still have love for each other but are too scared to take the first step in making contact. I certainly was and I still am. May be sometime this year it could happen, I could make the first contact, may be my sons will contact me. 

My journey in getting this far has been painful and I never thought I would get this far. For a while I didn’t know this was my journey at all. You may have read some of my blogs and how Alexander’s discovery has helped me to get to know me. 

I started my Alexander Teacher training thinking that I could get away with just learning about the physical parts of the training, and avoiding the psychological aspects, I’ve was quite successful in my avoidance, I now think my teachers have been just waiting and waiting like the master in “The art of archery” until the right point in my training.  

The right time started a few months ago, psychophysical unity really works, understanding that from my viewpoint that I’m number ONE, if I don’t look after myself no one will do it for me. Once I can love myself unconditionally then I can love others. There are no shortcuts to this discovery and it’s very real. There’s no faking it, you may be delusional at playing that you love yourself but others will notice your shallowness. It just doesn’t work. Truly loving yourself brings out the real you.   

If I didn’t love myself, I would be using my asthma inhaler to keep me breathing and constantly fighting anxiety instead, with the help of some great Alexander Teachers, I’ve found happiness, love and just want to live my life. It would be even better with my sons and my new grand daughter.

I have two wishes for my readers, please discuss and maybe offer help to your friends that have estranged parents or children. 

If your struggling with your life find an Alexander teacher, they may be able to help you. They certainly have helped me. It’s not an easy journey but well worth it.

A bucket of troubles


Over the past few years I’ve been troubled with what end-gaining is. End-gaining is the habitual response to astimuli without any conscious thought or control. I’ve until now thought this was mostly about physical activity, how I walk, speak, run, stand; yes standing is an activity. These and many more physical activities can be sabotaged by how we think we should do the activity; “do” is the key word here, by doing we are not allowing ourselves to use ourselves appropriately. 

There’s another layer to all this end-gaining and that is stress, anxiety, stage fright, thoughts of not good enough, etc have a part to play in the end-gaining game. This was my discovery this week during my Alexander training; it’s taken a long time to realise that I’ve been sabotaging myself in my training with negative thoughts of ‘I’m not good enough’ and a host of varieties of self doubt. 

If you’re like me,  when I have a doubt about something I get the sense that the back of my neck is tightening, a handy indicator for me at the moment, this gives me the opportunity to do something about the anxious thought.

I like visual thoughts, I know not everyone does, but I have an imaginary bucket that I put these anxious thoughts in and then treat them in the same manner. I’ve experimented with various thoughts on how to treat the anxious thoughts in my bucket. Having aggressive thoughts makes them more aggressive and they fight back, it’s not very nice vicious circle. Being kind, thanking the thought and deciding not to use the anxious thought really works for me, it releases me from my habitual end-gaining response and now I have constructive conscious control of what ever activity I decide to undertake.   

So be kind to yourself, if and when your form of self doubt, self worth raises its head, thank the thought, be kind to it; you did create it sometime ago when you needed it. Tell it that it’s not needed at the moment and let it go.

Enjoy the freedom this brings.

 

Now this is a rather large bucket, any ideas what it is?

 

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.

Have you ever thought it should be easier than it is, I've got some secrets I'm willing to share on how to make your activities easier.