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.

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Just being here


I did start a blog about Alexander’s secret weapon, but as I do I’ve lost the plot on that blog, so here I go again. Alexander discovered various things about how humans use and think how they use their bodies and there’s been a lot more studies that demonstrate the Alexander was on the right track, on some points he was spot on. So over hundred years have passed and some of us are still going on about what Alexander discovered. He may have borrowed, reused, rebadged someone else ideas but what is important is that he put these discoveries together in a usable package for all of us to use.

There are three main discoveries, I see his other discoveries as subsets of these three, please correct me otherwise.

The three are;

  1. The head neck back relationship
  2. Psycho-physical unity
  3. Touch

The head neck back relationship

My one sentence thought on this relationship is to imagine a garden hose, if it doesn’t have any kinks in it the water flows freely, the same can be said about the head neck back, if there’s no kinks in it, blood and nerve signals will flow freely. There is a warning here, if you have just pulled your head up you’ve just kinked your neck, I may explain in a future blog.

Psycho-physical unity

This seems rather grand so here is my one sentence. We are simply just one which includes the body and everything we think.

My one sentence just didn’t cut it as it’s a lot, lot more, here’s another try. The unity is a point in time when your psycho-physical reality is synchronised into unity. This takes practice as there are multiple dimensions to this unity. These dimensions are powerful and from my experience, they don’t like to be in unity, I get the feeling that they are like magnets, they just want to repel each other. The repelling is self-doubt, thoughts of not good enough and the myriad of other negative thoughts. The secret is to quieten these negative thoughts by doing nothing, allow these thoughts to rise and allow them to pass. Perhaps querying these thoughts by asking if they are true. My guess is that they aren’t true.

There’s even more nothing to do, that is to do nothing about your head neck back relationship, if you notice any muscle tension you are doing too much, just think about your head going up which allows your back to lengthen. Remember it is a thought, if there is any muscular tension you are doing something that you don’t need to do.

Touch

Alexander Teachers are trained to use their hands as another sense so they can notice what is going on with others, they can also use touch to help others to notice and sense what thoughts are like when your head is going up that allow your back to lengthen, perhaps another blog needs to be written.

This blog was intended to write briefly about being here, psycho-physical unity, the sweet spot to life. This unity doesn’t last long but can be continually refreshed by doing nothing, noticing what’s going on and having an intension to achieve something. My intension was to maintain my psycho-physical unity whilst writing this blog.

 

 

 

 

 

When the dog howls


Have you ever walked down a road or in the woods and a dog comes out from somewhere looking menacing and barking. Perhaps they are worried about you, they don’t understand your motives, they may sense your fear so they feel they have the upper hand so they become threatening. I’m only guessing what the dog is thinking but it is responding to its immediate environment and you are in the immediate environment.

Could you make the immediate environment feel safer for the dog and hence yourself, my assumption is that you can. My dogs pick up what I’m thinking and respond appropriately,  other dogs surely must do the same. If you are walking around worrying about things or not being aware of your environment, dogs may see you as an easy target for their aggression.

So the easy answer is to stop worrying about things and being unaware of your environment if you are likely to met a dog when you are out walking. I’m being a bit flippant with that thought but I think you can change your thinking, here’s an idea to practice.

Breaking these habits is a tough nut to crack but is achievable. The answer is in You, me and the dog makes three. Take your time about it, to achieve good results the work and time has to be done. Using the ideas in that blog I would add the thought of being observant whilst I’m walking. When it is safe to do so, I change how I am looking; instead of seeking to see things I just allow light into my eyes, this softens my vision, the muscles of my eyes release and my vision changes, my depth of field increases, colours become more intense and things on the periphery of my vision appear to move as I walk, rather like watching a 3D movie. Surprisingly my hearing becomes more crisp with more clarity but also it appears the local environment seems to quite down, there seems to be more presence around me.

With my softer vision, walking seems to be easy. With lightness in my walking, the worries of yesterday and the anxiety of the future seems to melt away. It’s quite blissful and serene. My dogs also seem to sense the serenity, though they are ranging around me in and out of the trees and undergrowth they seem to be more at easy and just enjoying themselves.

So perhaps when you next notice you are tense or worried about something, soften your eyes and enjoy the freedom that it brings. Perhaps you’ll notice all the dogs that meet you have happy faces and very waggy tails.

Dogs are just humans too, they have feeling but are often mistreated. With love and encouragement they can become mans’ best friend again.

This blog was written for Stefanie a fellow Alexander Technique Teacher.

 

10 things that may indicate you have anxiety


10 things that might indicate that you have anxiety in your life. These are just my thoughts and I’m sure somewhere someone has done an experiment or survey to find these indicators

  1. Worried to go back to work after a holiday
  2. Worried that people won’t like you
  3. Constantly second guessing so that you can smooth the way ahead
  4. Trying too hard
  5. Trying to be someone who you aren’t
  6. Not being truthful to yourself
  7. Loving others before yourself
  8. Giving in to others when you really don’t want too
  9. Saying “OK”or “I’m fine” to avoid what you are really feeling
  10. Worrying about things that are beyond your control.

There must be more as they only took me a minute or so the write. If your notice that you have these thought regularly then perhaps you should read You, me and the dog makes three.

These are natural reactions to life and are habits that you have developed to protect yourself, perhaps it is time to review how you respond to the stimulus in your life.

The first part to manage these reactions is to stop and observe yourself, do you really need to respond that way, perhaps there’s another way.

I know I sometimes is my triggers but when I notice I stop and choose something different.

I’ll explain the something different on another blog.

Happy stopping

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.

The first 5 steps to managing asthma


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I probably do but manage it without medication, so do I really do have asthma?

I don’t really know but I do know that when I get stresses or anxious I notice my chest tightening and I have a shortness of breathe.

Is that asthma, is that like your asthma?  My doctor seems to think so!

I never thought of having asthma, I really didn’t want it; are you like that?

If you’re interested this is what I’ve learnt about managing asthma, this took me a few years, it’s a slow process with many hour practice, keep taking the inhalers.

1. Stop and notice when your asthma rises

Just let it happen as it normally does and take you medication as you normally do, but notice what your thoughts were when you notice your asthma rising.

  • Was something bothering you?
  • Were you about to do something you didn’t want to do?
  • Was something getting awkward?

For the first few times this is probably enough. Remember not to rush, noticing is important, perhaps write a diary of what you were feeling, you may be able to notice a pattern.

2. Do something different

Hopefully you have noticed a pattern; something has bothered you, you have reacted which resulted in your asthma rising. Perhaps you could react differently, not getting vexed or angry, what about having the opposite reaction or just notice you’re being bothered and not reacting, staying neutral. Maybe its worth an experiment to see what happens, remember your inhaler is always available so use it when you need it.

As with step 1, this will take time and you will get it wrong, remember getting thing wrong is a learning experience that you can learn from.

Remember this takes time so don’t rush or put yourself in danger.

3. What are you thinking

Where are you when your asthma rises? This is a time question.

Was it just the thought of doing something stressful. Perhaps you notice that you were thinking into the future, instead could you think about now instead. The future may be less stressful if you think about what is happening now.

This does take practice, notice your surroundings, become interested in something you can  see, hear, smell or touch, just enjoy being here now. Did you notice a change in your asthma rising. Don’t rush anything, and be safe.

4. Let the ground support you

I noticed with my asthma attacks I don’t really know where I was, sort of floating around in a panic and not feeling to well. Perhaps ask yourself if the ground is supporting you, it could be a chair or bed, the thought is that I can feel my weight being supported from the ground, feel nice and heavy.

5. Let my head be light on top of my spine

Now that you can feel your weight being support by the ground perhaps you could have the opposite thought that my head is free to move on top of my neck. This will activate your postural reflex, you may notice a lightness in yourself and your breathing may become a little easier. Remember this all times time and you need to keep working thought the steps starting at 1.

Only practice these steps when it is save to do so and always use your medicine as prescribed.

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99 Balloons well only 87 really


A great weekend, sailing on Saturday and then this morning I left to go to the Bristol Ballon Fiesta, up at 4 am, a drive to get there for the gates opening at 5.30 and I wasn’t the only one there! My intention was to take some photos, in the end just short of 400 shots. The weather was perfect for photos, not so much for the balloonists, I think they said 87 balloons took to the skies this morning, they didn’t go very far as there was little wind, so the hung around, ideal for photos.

I got me thinking as I clicked away, how conscious was I taking photos, do I need to be that conscious as I’ve taken tens of thousands of photos before, I know how to use my camera, which setting to set, which lens to use. For framing the camera, I’ve a good eye, so I know what to take, but for my own personal use, I did check myself out quite a few times; is my neck free, etc, etc. How I was bring my camera to my eye?

I guess some others would do anything to get the picture.

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As with everything, it’s the time spent training, there’s a number of hours, in the thousands when you may become proficient at your chosen skill, be it being an olympian, photographer or just plain you. You will become acclaimed at anything you spend enough time at. We generally think of the good things, Mo Farar just getting a Gold at Rio, Bradley Wiggins on his bike with more Gold. The UK does punch over its weight when it comes to sport.

We can also be acclaimed at other things that are not seen as good, but you have been very good at spending time at. There are many things but anxiety and stress come to mind, it’s the constant rehearsal of the what might happen and making sure it does happen the way you want it, for me it was in a negative ways, practice makes perfect, it certainly does when it comes to anxiety and stress. Both are self made conditions but may have been invoked my others to keep you under control; that’s little dark but for some its life.

Choosing freedom seems to be my thought over the past week or so, a hard thing to achieve when in a bad place but giving yourself time and space to be in the here and now. When your in the here and now it a safe place to be, as you can see what’s going on without the troubles of the future, a good place to practice being free.

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If you can’t find some friends to cuddle up to at a balloon fiesta perhaps a few lessons with an Alexander Technique teacher could be the safe place be, Alexander Technique teachers aren’t trained in enquiring about personal or psychological issues, so they won’t ask. The strength in the Alexander Technique is inviting you to be more conscious in your everyday live, teaching you new tools so that you can have conscious choices.

Go find an Alexander Technique teacher and experience and live a different life.IMG_0868.jpg

The heart of the matter


An Alexander Technique Teacher once told me that I need to look after myself first before I can look after anyone else. I replied “surely that’s just being selfish!”, “no it’s being self-full”they replied.

It took me a while to believe this, being selfish I was told many years ago was a bad thing and you should care about others before yourself. Being selfish and caring about others are just the ends of a scale; neither is good for you and the people in your community. If you are selfish you will take from the caring and if you care you will give much to the selfish. Being self-full is in the middle of this scale you neither give or take too much, just the appropriate amount of giving and receiving.

I believe being self-full is the heart of the matter for life including the Alexander Technique. Being self-full you will look after yourself first so that you have the appropriate and purposeful energy for others. Have you ever worked with someone and felt absolutely wasted after, well you where either being selfish or giving to much – holding back and not allowing what needs to be allowed or pushing too much as you want to give them a good experience instead of allowing what needs to be allowed.

The art is to allow what they need without holding back or pushing, letting them have the Opportunity for freedom with your guidance.

This all sounds rather grand and idealistic, I’m work in progress but I know my intension; my offering is to guide whoever in their discover of their own freedom.

If you don’t live near me, find an Alexander Technique Teacher in your area and they will help you to find your freedom.

 

 

 

 

 

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.

 

 

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.