Alexander Discovery, Forest Naturals

Have you lost your gazelle!


Ever feel flat and weary, that Boxing Day tummy that is full and wallows that stops you from moving like a gazelle? Well today that is me…

It may be a combination of good food, too much of it and the being over heated with the beautiful sun. Yesterday felt like August and it’s only April, today is supposed to be the same.

I guess many will feel the same, all I just want to be is wallow and enjoy the sunny weather, the gazelle inside me seems to have gone hiding in the tall grass for the moment.

This is hard; tempting my gazelle out so I can enjoy my aliveness fully whilst wanting to slowly and aimlessly wallow in the mud. Perhaps today is the day to contemplate and do little more.

Yesterday evening I got a message that there is stand available at a show, would you like to attend. In a flash, yes, but what should I do, is it Alexander Technique, I’m not too sure how that could work or is it our beauty product business. We opted for Forest Naturals.

We are off to Stroud on the 6th May, this is our first stand since Christmas, it’s strange how things know when your ready, My wife how who leads on Forest Naturals has been off work for the past 4 months, unable to do very much at home, this week things changed, she has more energy and is returning the way she was before Christmas, then a call from nowhere just at the opportune time. Perhaps my wife has now done her wallowing and her gazelle is ready to spring to life!

Developing the products for Forest Naturals has taken sometime, deciding what to make, attend training courses, not only how to make the soaps, creams and balms, there were the legislation course on how to provide products that are used on skin. Engaging a chemist to review our recipes and then the worrying wait when samples were tested in the lab. We now have certification to produce our products, that’s the ones that have been certified. More need to go away for certification before they are available for sale.

Deciding what raw ingredients to use has been problematic. We only wanted the best, none of the low quality or doctored raw ingredients that are available.

  • Where are they manufactured,
  • where in the world,
  • who manufactured them,
  • are they ethically sourced,
  • does the manufacturer abide with high environmental standards?

Sourcing raw materials to meet our standards is expensive, there are plenty of cheap options that we disregarded. We now have a range of products that not only smell good, they have best essential oils.

The feed back from our customers is fabulous.

I seem to have digressed, that’s because I believe what we produce is fantastic.

Not much about the Alexander Technique today, it’s always there, it’s there when making conscious decisions which recipe to create, measuring out the ingredients, stirring the recipe, there’s a lot of stirring. Potting creams or wrapping soap.

Believe it or not the hardest and most difficulty part of making our products is creating and putting labels onto the products. Please have a look and like our Facebook page.

Alexander Discovery, Alexander Technique, Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire

Being out of control


It is Easter Sunday, it is sunny and looks like its going to be a beautiful hot day here in Gloucestershire. I will enjoy the beautiful hot day but somewhere inside me I feel guilt not for enjoying it but during my life contributing to the global warming. A strange mix of feelings, one is close up; the enjoyment of my day with my family and later on with friends coming around for diner. The other feeling is so nebulous, so unreal, from a personal point of view, unmeasurable and so huge, I feel powerless to do anything. Looking around my desk as I write, I guess as I don’t knows as I’ve never checked, the majority of items have been imported, some may have raw materials that have influenced the change in our environment.

This feels so out of my control, if we all stopped buying we would put other humans at risk of starving, their infrastructure would crumble as the need for product they manufacture would disappear. This has happened before with mass closures in the 1980’s of the UK coal, steel and shipbuilding industries, whole towns and village suddenly became unemployed. I’m guessing again, this has happened all over the world when a method of production has become unprofitable and has moved to somewhere where profits can be made.

Perhaps these closures need to happen again, I really don’t have an answer, I really don’t have a clue on what to do.

What I can do is,

  • reduce my mileage
  • reuse things
  • reduce what goes to the tip
  • eat all the food we buy
  • only buy what is necessary
  • review what is necessary
  • keep things until they are worn out before replacing them
  • leave plastic packaging at the shop

What is your list?

Learning the Alexander Technique has helped me as I am a lot more conscious in what I am doing, I make conscious choices instead of jumping in and making brash decisions as I used to. Raising your consciousness will help you to really enjoy your day, whatever the weather, whom ever you meet, whatever is troubling you. A raised consciousness helps you to take a moment to wait for a decision to manifest, it is strange how it works. I find the right answer is found, or the right situation or person will turn up to help. Many appear to believe that the Alexander Technique is about sitting and standing, about helping physical pain. It does have those characteristics, whoever it is about raising your consciousness so that you can choose how you move and react with your environment in anyway you choose. Stunningly simple in its concept and stunning simple to be.

However the simplicity has a catch,

  • if you want it, it isn’t available
  • if you try for it, it disappears
  • if you pine for it, it hates you
  • if you hate it, it will tease you
  • if you push at it it will push back harder

The secret is

  • if you don’t try, it will appear

The training takes sometime, to teach it can take many years to learn the art of just being and having the skills to show others how to be, I know it as I’m on that journey.

To experience what a teacher can offer and show you that you have the freedom and ease to be can take a few moments. However this will be fleeting, then you may want, try, pine, hate or push it to get is back. It will resist you.

Your teacher will teach and show you methods and techniques for you to notice and act in different ways that brings about the freedom and ease. If you don’t believe it, find an Alexander Technique Teacher, as you have got this far and if you live in somewhere in or near the Forest of Dean, why not contact me for a free session.

Anger

I’m angry


I’m annoyed, it is a strange annoyance, it is an annoyance that I thought I would not be annoyed about.
This week, all of a sudden the environment has become a big issue for me, it has sort of been simmering for years, knowing that us, humans, are wrecking the world we are living in. We’ve known this for years but its always been someone else’s problem. I’ve believed the politicians and industry will sort it out, well that was my belief, they are human as well, aren’t they!

Unfortunately from the politicians and industries point of view it is the other countries and other industries that need to sort it out first, not them. I really do not know if this is true but that is the feeling I get. Walking away from the Paris agreement just to line the pockets of industrialist and themselves without a care for anything else is abhorrent, selfish, and eventually suicidal for them and death to the majority of life on earth.

I’ve just realised I’m not annoyed, I’m angry!

I’m angry at the stupidity of me
I’m angry at the stupidity of others
I’m angry that this has gone on for so long
I’m angry at me for not really doing anything to help
I’m angry at you for not really doing anything to help
I’m angry!

Apparently we have ten years to put our house in order. Can we wait to see if this is true? If this is true the children being born now won’t have a life like we have had.

This is really what has annoyed me, if what has been said is true, I’ve contributed to the impending extinction of the world!

I don’t know what to do!
I don’t know what to do!
I’m angry that I don’t know what to do!
I’m annoyed that I don’t know what to do!?

Alexander Discovery, Alexander Technique, direction, freedom

Strange and Wonderful


I looked in the mirror yesterday and laughed, it was a spontaneous laugh, I didn’t start the laugh it was my image in the mirror. Normally my image is demur and doesn’t like being looked at, maybe for a few seconds, then looks away.

Something changed this weekend, I may get to it later or not. Let’s see!

Well, it’s sooner than later, I had some wonderful words write that have disappeared for a while, they my come back or not.

This weekend I was continuing my training to be an Alexander Technique Teacher, it’s taken longer than most but not as long as other I know. I love the work and rediscoveries that I have made about myself. There has been tears and snot, lots of it. Especially this last Sunday, even before we started at ten. I have a dear friend, she’s an Alexander Technique Teacher in Scotland, we message each other regularly, she’s sometimes my safety valve, she sometimes pushes my boundaries. Last week she wrote some thoughts for horses, “In our Hands“. On Sunday morning I read it again probably for the fifth or so time, I was in the restaurant where I was staying, I had to leave the restaurant to get to the safety of my room and sobbed and sobbed: I discovered for me it wasn’t about horses, it was about me!

The second part was particularly poignant for me.

“2. Can you sit in balance on a chair, easily for a prolonged period of time without discomfort? If not, learn to do so before you sit on a horse. You are only bringing your inbalances to your riding and teaching your horse tension otherwise. You will create imbalances. Find your own poise first and then you will find the poise of your horse. It’s magical when it happens and totally worth the work on your self.”

Kirsten Harris´╗┐

The learning I’ve been doing for these years is summed up in the last sentence ” It’s magical when it happens and totally worth the work on your self.”

Sunday was the third day of the weekend training, I’d discovered things that I wanted to explore, I usually have things to explore but normally I can’t seem to express them verbally, they normally disappear deep inside me, this weekend I let them all out, there was no resistance, well maybe a little with some things, Kajsa helped me with her kind and skilful words and touch. I was suddenly in the here and now without effort, I didn’t try to get there, I was just there and I wasn’t going anywhere else! I’ve experienced this a few times before but then it was fleeting, not the persistence I discovered on Sunday and that is still with me now.

My image is content with me as I am with my image; a strange and wonderful space and time to be in. I’m getting used to it and loving it!

Peter at South Bank has been training me for a few years to help me rediscover myself, this rediscovery brings naturally freedom and aliveness in everything I do. It is utterly fantastic, even when I’m angry, confused, happy or sad.
You have got to here in my blog and may be fasinated by my discovery, if you don’t know anything about the Alexander Technique, go find a teacher. Rediscovering you freedom and aliveness is easy with the help of a teacher, it will be fleeting. The skill is freedom and aliveness with persistence; knowing that if something or someone knocks you off balance, your freedom and ease can return in an instant. This takes practice, loads of practice, as Kirsten wrote “It’s magical when it happens and totally worth the work on your self.”
Love to you all that have helped me this far on my journey, there have been many.

Alexander Technique

If it’s clear, then cross the road


It’s been a while since I’ve written here, I’ve sort of stopped for a while to consider what to do next! Stop, look and listen, if it’s clear then cross the road was advertised a long time ago on road safety adverts, comes to mind. I’ve been stopped whilst looking and listening, this is my first step off the kerb!

Stopping was the hard thing to do as I wanted to plough on regardless and at the same time knowing it is good stop. I guess I stopped but I don’t know, we all play games on ourselves; I may have played at stopping and instead just waited to continue irrespective of what I’ve seen or heard, that’s pretty dangerous when crossing the road and could be also in life. What I’ve come to discover that I continually play these games on myself and as we both are human you will be playing the same sort of games to a greater or lesser extent. Then to the next discovery; be content with who you think you are, for me this has only happened when I noticed and stopped the games I’ve been playing at stopping. Who I think I am changes by the minute of everyday, I will meet somebody and change, I will see, smell, touch or sense something and will change. We all react to our environments in some way all of the time, just be content that this happens; notice and learn. Noticing my reactions to my environment has been interesting, by noticing I have a greater choice, firstly is my initial reaction true, if it’s not I could do something different or nothing at all. A surprisingly simple concept but ever so difficult to enact as I’m fighting against my habits that have protected me for many years. However fighting, whatever fighting means to you, will make your moment with your environment more complex and not appropriate to you; your body will push back and put the brakes on, producing that knowing feeling or pain somewhere.

Looking and Listening, I guess, during my time out, I’ve been noticing and asking questions to myself and others, accepting what I hear and see. Again noticing when my ‘fight’ pops up. Is my fight real or imaginary, do I trust the person, do I trust what I hear, does it content matter to me? When trust and truth line up everything becomes easy, life is good.

It is clear to cross the road, when I’m open with myself and the trust and authenticity of others shines brightly, then I can make a decision to cross the road or not; it’s my choice. If trust and truth are missing it’s not safe to cross, stop and wait by the kerb until trust and truth come to help or walk on to find another route.

Alexander Technique

Boundaries and walls


Boundaries, boundaries, boundaries we want more boundaries, they could be walls, fences, border controls, there seems to be a worldly desire recently to keep what we have from others. Do these state boundaries scale down to our towns and cities, keeping others at bay, equally do we do it to ourselves, thoughts of we can’t do this and that, keeping this and that at bay. Is what we think and do constrained with own imaginary walls, fences and border controls?

What are these for, are they to keep the status quo inside and stopping new ideas coming in upsetting the status quo?

I know what my border controls are, they are for me to keep doing the same old thing out because of the fear of the past, I did it that way once, I was convinced it was the right way to do it, it wasn’t, if I keep trying it’ll work eventually, surely! This is stupid, I know it’s stupid but I keep on doing it, some things are so strong that keep on doing it is the only way. Sometimes I want to build a bigger stronger wall just out of the fear of what’s on the other side. I know it’s stupid but its the only way, isn’t it?

Some borders are the other way round, you want to get inside; the grass is greener over there, it seems to be better it I do … . Envy is just another border, something that you are pining for that is just out of your reach, you can see it but can’t get to it, you are convinced the streets are paved with gold, if only you could get there to see these streets.

For most things I can let my internalised borders melt away, some I have real difficultly with, some I don’t even know I have.

The borders I have some control over I can always climb over and take a look, take the rose tinted glasses off and take a real look. Pause and really look around.

Many years ago on my first trip to the USA, I discover the delights of sour cream and chive crisps, (chips in the USA), I hated cheese and onion crisps in the UK, I brought a packet back for my family to taste, I got home and they were discussing, they tasted just like cheese and onion crisps. Being in the USA I was living the dream of milk and honey, everything was great and tasted great, coming home reality hit, the crisps were just the same!

It was very grounding of me, the realisation that I made up beliefs and dreams that didn’t meet reality. I guess we all do this.
We live a dream of our own making, some dreams may be nightmares.
Some dreams are about wanting something but the wall won’t let you get to it. The wall is also part of your dreams, what would it be like without the wall? Would the need to dream about what you want disappear because it is so easy to get or would you build another wall to keep the dream of wanting going?
Trying and needing I find are ever so tiring, there is a more successful way to get what you’re trying for and that is not trying but allowing things to happen. Taking the wall down and allowing your dreams to manifest.

Sound stupid but it works, you may not get what you really wanted but something better will appear.
Recently I’ve been wanting, really wanting something, this blog has open-end my eyes about it, time to take the wall down.

This blog and nearly all my other blogs I don't know what I'm going to write about, I let my fingers do the typing with an open and free mind. I'm sometimes shocked what appears, as I am today!

I’ve been getting more and more uptight recently but I didn’t know why, I do now, now I can do or rather non-do without my wall and let it manifest in whatever way it happens – I feel ever so grounded and positive, thank you for reading.

If you want to know more about how I work, then please contact me.

Alexander Technique

No more reading between the lines!


I may have maligned the working class but I guess everyone who loses the trust of someone, loses trust in what that person says and then they read between the lines to ensure their own survival. Unfortunately the way our brains work we may well transpose the lack of trust onto somebody else that has what your brains think have similar attributes to the person we originally lost trust with. We do this all the time, it is part of out nature to ensure that we can survive. It is the immediate response to someone we meet for the first time, sometimes we utterly trust the person, sometimes we have no trust, our gut feeling tells us so.

As with everything we have choices, let your gut tell you who to like or not, your gut may well be telling the truth, or tell yourself that you have never met this person before and start with a clean slate. Start with trust, perhaps not fully open trust but enough trust to start a relationship, just because they have similar attributes to someone you didn’t trust doesn’t mean you shouldn’t trust them. Let this person earn your trust, you can only do this with an open heart and an observing mind then your gut will settle. There is another important choice we all make and that is the choice between giving and withholding consent.

  • Giving or withholding your love
  • Giving or withholding your friendship
  • Giving or withholding your time
  • Giving or withholding your connection to others
  • Giving or withholding your touch
  • Giving and withholding consent to yourself

Choosing whether to give or withhold consent takes only a moment, it is just a thought, we even do it to ourselves many times a day; you may be on a diet and you walk down the sugar canyon to the checkout at your store, I guess your consent switches many times with all the temptations whilst you wait to pay. Let’s move on, there’s another blog about sugar, obesity and greed.

Giving and withholding consent sounds very simple to do; there is a warning. It is how you go about it, if you choose out of greed, vengefulness, revenge or to cause pain then you will be hurt others and yourselves, your negativity will flow, if you are doing it to yourself you need to rethink what you are doing.
If you are choosing your consent to help others even if it is out of love I’d suggest that will not help you in the long run, you will be giving too much and eventually wear yourself out.

The only healthy consent is choosing what gives you a healthy boundary between you, yourself and others. You are neither a pusher or grabber or observer in what ever relationship you have. Of course you will tend towards pusher, grabber, observer continually changing in all your relationships. What I ask is for you to notice which one you are in a moment of your choosing, does it feel like a gut feeling, out of love, or is it your mind telling you want to do.
If either gut, heart or mind is overpowering the other two then I suggest that this choice is out of balance. You need to find another way that helps you with your healthy boundary with this relationship.
What helps me is pause for a moment, notice where I am, notice my feet on the floor, my bum on the chair and my arms on the desk as I write, I notice that I’m in balance with gravity, I’m in continual movement and my joints are free to move now. Now I have my attention to myself and surrounding.
I’m now open to giving consent, you may notice, I do, that my head, heart and gut come into sync and the quality of consent is contented. Hopefully that makes sense!

This pausing and resetting is ever so powerful, it give me clarity and finesse in what I give or withhold consent to, I can give or withhold trust in that moment or person because I know what I choose will maintain my health boundary.
With this, there are no more reading between the lines!


Alexander Technique

Reading between the lines


I’ve been pondering what my last blog was about, the crux of it is be myself, be my own self worth, be who I think I am, be comfortable with my thoughts, however being all that does sometimes offend others as they have differing views on life or they may be on a different scale of measurement to mine.

The trouble with words is that they, more than often, become a form of measurement, a judgement, a criticism and that can very easily have a negative context to them, if not negative they get on the scale of judgement. This may be my view on life, being brought up to keep quiet and don’t show my face else I might get noticed! Very working class!!!

Being brought up as working class, every word is important, what is more important are the words that aren’t spoken, the look in the eye, the wry smile, this conditioning spoils the beauty of the spoken and written language as the trust is lost in the words; I’m on guard looking for what is REALLY BEING said. I guess most of the time what is being said is what is said, there is no sinister undertow of intent. I’ve noticed when I’m not comfortable with myself I default back to me working class roots and I start reading between the lines.

This is a hateful thing to do, to the person who communicated to me but more importantly to myself. I wrote, I’m more important, as it is me that is doing it. I believe that this is an anxious response to a stimulus, I’m getting ready for something that most probably will never happen, it’s in my thoughts and no-one else’s.

I do all this in a blink of an eye and I can also choose not to do all this in a blink of an eye. The trick is to notice first, something we can do with some practice. If we don’t notice what we are doing we are pretty well stuck until something breaks; sometimes we are so stuck in our habitual mess we can’t see a way out, we think we may as well just continue in the mess and see what will happens, I’ll let you into a secret, it just gets messier and messier until something breaks.

Stopping and having time to notice may seem the completely wrong thing to do when there is an urge to do something, in fact do anything; flailing around in the hope something will stick that will help.

Luckily now, I notice pretty quickly and can choose to return to balance by being an observer of the words spoken or written without reading between the lines for some sinister subtext.


Alexander Technique

2018


The end of the year is very near, it’s just a couple of hours away; I’ve been thinking and reflecting on the past year. It’s been a busy year and it has flown by.

The end of the year is very near, it’s just a couple of hours away; I’ve been thinking and reflecting on the past year. It’s been a busy year and it has flown by.

I’ve written 39 blogs, there are a few blogs that may be worth reading again. The first comes to mind is when I visited the vets and I talked to a vet nurse about the Alexander Technique and demonstrated with her and the dogs in the kennels. This is better than smoking dope.

Another blog I liked was when I was in Bordeaux on a Alexander residential course. I discovered the essence of what the Alexander technique is; It’s all about love. I’ve just read it a gain, I was inspired through the work we did there.

In October I was feeling particularly anxious and could sleep so I wrote a blog exactly how I felt at 1AM. I find writing very cathartic, this blog helped me sleep that night.

And finally, yesterday I really enjoyed my coming out, this took a lot of courage and encouragement from a friend for me to write and then to post.

I hope you have enjoyed my blogs over this year and the previous years. I’ve enjoyed writing them and as I wrote above they are very cathartic for me, I’ve also come to learn that many have similar life issues and I’m not alone. I do encourage you to speak, write about the things that are holding you or find someone to help you, obviously I’m biased but find an Alexander Technique teacher to help you to rediscover your ease.

Let us all have a fantastic 2019. Please keep reading, you can always join my mailing list then you’ll get my blogs via email then you won’t miss any.

What was your favourite blog?

Alexander Technique

The Christmas Conundrum; the great expectation!


It’s early on Christmas morning, I wanted to sleep on but the dogs had another ideas or did they sense I’d woken. Anyway I’m up, the dogs have gone out and I’m drinking tea and writing far to early in the Christmas Day morning.

I’ve had many a Christmas morning, firstly with great expectations when I was a child, Santa was going to deliver the toy or game of the year, he didn’t, I got something else not quite what I wanted, I was disappointed but held a brave face; perhaps next year I’ll get what I want.

It never happened.

When I was with my children, they got the toys I’d always wanted and more. Christmas was fantastic but I still had an underlying feeling I didn’t get what I wanted.

Was I chasing a fantasy?

Divorce happened, my children and I separated by distance and financial cost, then parent alienation syndrome cut in and I was well and truly separated, I pined for the Christmas’s I had with my children. Nothing has helped with the sense of loss I’ve had for many years. Christmas has become the focus of my pain of loss. I’ve played games with myself by

  • ignoring Christmas,
  • having extravagant holidays at Christmas,
  • being thoroughly depressed at Christmas
  • being over generous at Christmas

Nothing seems to work, I’m still expecting the great expectation but I don’t know what it is. The separation from my children has made it even worse.

How can I not know what it is if I’m expecting it?

Christmas is a sad time of year as are their birthdays. Christmas is worse as everyone is ‘enjoying themselves’. Not everyone; there are many like me who brave the festive season with stomach churning pain. The pain is the loss and regret of others. This year I’m playing at ignoring Christmas, I’m too old for it, Christmas is for children, Christmas has gone commercialised.

Any excuse to ignore Christmas.

Reflecting on why Christmas is a great expectation. I think it all starts by being told to be good else Santa won’t bring you what you want. I was good and he didn’t, he broke his promise!

As a child my heart was broken every year because my great expectation didn’t materialise. In reality my parents could afford the latest and best presents for their children. Our society and commercialisation has a lot to answer for, I imagine there have been millions of children disappointed on Christmas morning and equally millions of parents spending beyond their means to satisfy the expectations of their children.

I have and you have been caught in the maelstrom of lost expectations that are the promises and dreams of Christmas’s past.

There is a simple present that everyone can have and give if they so wish.

That is love.

These great expectations are expecting something that is not love, the expectations are given in place of love, they are supposed to express love but they are only tangible gifts that can’t support love. They can support a memory of the time the gift is given. Love is in the person not the gift. There is a catch; to offer love you need to love yourself first, you need to be able to look yourself in a mirror without flinching away and tell yourself that you love the person you see in the mirrors reflection.

Loving yourself allows you to love others, then your gifts are tokens of your love.

Great expectations are an expectation of what others will provide you, they will never meet your expectations.

How about having no expectations from others and enjoy the shear joy of receiving their tokens of love.

This is what I’ve done this Christmas morning, it’s been wonderful with tears of joy, love and contentment with no great expectation.

Have a wonderful Christmas and pass your love on to all you know.