Life isn’t a piece of cake, or is it?


There’s been a post stream on Facebook on what the Alexander Technique, many AT teachers see that it is something to do with posture or poise, their websites read that way so you have no reason to think otherwise.  You may guess from what I’ve written in this blog already, I don’t agree with them. My view is that posture or poise is just a product of thinking.

What about the bones and muscles you may say!

Your bones and muscles have evolved with our thinking and all our organs for us to survive not only as a person but also as a species.

We’ve evolved to move to catch prey and breed, our bones and muscles allow us to move. I’m being very simplistic in my explanation, there’s much more to it then bones and muscle. We need our senses, we need to recognise what our senses are sensing, we need to convert our stored energy into movement, we need an intention and skill to catch out prey. Not just the skill of the kill but the dexterity, agility and intelligence to out flank our prey. Obviously not many of us now go out and hunt our prey, shopping for food is a lot easier but we still have the dexterity, agility and intelligence, we use these skills now in  different ways.

If the Alexander Technique is not about posture, what is it about?

It’s about what you are thinking, it’s about those thoughts you have when you are confronted by a stimulus. Or rather a technique that you can use to help you to discover those annoying habits that stop you in your tracks then you can let them go and get on with your life with the dexterity, agility and intelligence you were born with.

As the vast majority of thoughts produce a muscular reaction, some of your thoughts may restrict your dexterity and agility. Noticing these thoughts can only be a good thing, letting these thoughts go is even better, this is what you will learn from an Alexander Technique Teacher.

To become an Alexander Technique Teacher you will obviously have discovered the benefits in some way to understand that the technique really works. Many teachers meet the technique because of a physical pain, maybe something to do with their posture, perhaps lower back pain, neck pain, shoulder pain etc.. Once qualified they naturally gravitate to helping people with their old condition i.e. lower back pain. They are the experts in that field after all, as they have been through it already.

To teach people, the first action is to notice what is going on, notice the way they move, speak, mannerisms and the energy they are emitting or not. This energy comes in many forms;

  • they aren’t connected, their body is in automatic.
  • they are nervous
  • they are trying to please
  • they are trying to be nice
  • they are trying to understand – butting in, completing my conversation
  • they don’t want to be here
  • they have a resistance to change

If you are in a safe place then these thoughts may be mis-placed and can be let go of. If you are holding on to a desire or trying to achieve something then you are most probably not doing yourself any favours and inhibiting the desire you are trying to achieve.

This trying to achieve may be your belief of how your lower back works, your shoulder works and you trying to get rid of the pain.

The pain could also be your fear of performing, on the stage, in a meeting, meeting strangers.

The pain could also be your fear of:

  • heights,
  • driving a car,
  • reading aloud,
  • worrying about if what you write will be liked,
  • being liked,
  • being understood.

The list is endless

For a safe place these pains and fears can be experimented with, strategies developed and experimented with to find a new way of managing you fears and pains.

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

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

That Friday Feeling


Yesterday was one of those days, it was Friday, the end of the week. I got home and it was time to say aaaah.

The weekend had begun.

All those tasks I’ve put off all week because I was too busy working can now be done, or is that a dream. Can I really do all those tasks and at the same time chill out over the weekend, it’s only two days no time at all.

What I’ve noticed that looking forward to Friday spoils the rest of the week, the rest of the week is sort of on hold whilst the clock ticks slowly, ever so slowly until Friday evening; the start of the weekend. Then the clock immediately speeds up to fast forward until the alarm goes off on Monday morning, where did my weekend go, I didn’t have time to get anything done, maybe next weekend.

The cycle begins again and again.

Looking forward to something is a good thing but if this a major thought you have every other thought will suffer, wanting something that is just out of reach is just dreaming.

There is an easy way to sort this out, stop dreaming of something better, you will never get there, it is all in your imagination. Start doing something to achieve your dream.

Sometimes the easiest things to do are the hardest to achieve, you may or will need help.

The first step is to get help, either from yourself or someone else. The help you can give yourself is pausing for moments and reflecting on what you are thinking, if you are dreaming change your thought to something you can see or touch, perhaps your feet contacting with the floor. Examine the contact with the floor, if you are wearing shoes the connection between your feet through your shoes to the floor.

Do you have the potential to move your ankles? Please don’t move them but be intrigued that you have the potential for your ankles to move if and when you have the intention to do so.

You may now be a little more in the moment, your dream is quietly waiting to be the centre of your thoughts again. Your dream may well contain an intention to achieve something, now take the opportunity to get on and do something that will eventually lead you to your dream. Perhaps slow the weekend clock down so you can do all this things you promised yourself.

Your dreams can be with you but not at full volume, turn the volume down and increase the volume of being in the present moment, you may discover your dreams are not to far away, they are with you now in this very moment.

Enjoy life now, don’t go looking for it or waiting for it.

If you want to keep in touch and learn more tips, why not join my mailing list.

 

 

 

I’ll have a glass of wine instead


Have you ever thought that you need to do something, you put it off all day, then at a particular time of the day your can’t possibly start it because you won’t have time to complete it, the only decision now is to have a glass of wine instead or may be start it after a glass of wine and finish the job off in the morning.

I’ll start after I finish the first glass, I deserve the treat because I’ve been worrying all day about it and the wine will give me a bit of courage to start the job. The glass empties, maybe a top up then I’ll start?

Oops where has all that wine gone, I can’t start now as it would be irresponsible to do anything serious and important after a bottle of wine. I’ll do it in the morning, first thing – honest!

The next day comes, more immediate things crop up, they aren’t really important but they are better than doing this job, oops where has the day gone, I’ve been busy and productive, I’ll treat myself to a glass of wine.

Does this sound familiar, I’d be lying if I’ve never done this.

I remember writing to a solicitor many years ago and my first line of the letter was an apology “Sorry that I haven’t replied sooner but I’ve been procrastinating”

When do we procrastinate?

You will have your own reasons, here’s some reasons I’ve thought of:

  • They won’t like it
  • I’m not good enough
  • I won’t like their response

My reasons are not about the actual thing but about what I think the response will be, even not being good enough is about their response, they think I’m not good enough!

A glass of wine may help in the short term however some things just need to be done and I know I feel relieved once I get over my procrastination. One of the methods I use is to ask myself if the reason I’ve thought of is actually true. If it is not true then it must be something else. Remember that the vast majority of people as absolutely hopeless at mind reading so how do you know what another person is thinking.

Lets work on “They won’t like it” is it true (you’re not a mind reader) probably not.

If you answer is ‘probably not’ then it’s not true, so no; we only want yes and no as an answer.

How does that make you feel? For me it gives me an opportunity to get on with the job, I’ve lost the thought that they won’t like it.

Second guessing others thoughts is a fools errand, you may force them to change their ideas, if you think they won’t like it you may inadvertently force them to that decision. If you don’t know if they wont like it then you can approach the job honestly and without self judgement. You may be surprised at the positive remarks.

 

 

With a side order of happiness


My last blog My lovely bubbly friend I mentioned about the importance of being grounded if and when anxiety or any trouble arises. The other important part was not to hold onto a thought but be happy to let the thought go and allow the next to arrive, it will, and then let that thought go as well. When I feeling anxious I find setting my attention on something real, in the last blog I wrote about giving my attention to my sit bones if I’m sitting or the weight in my feet when standing. It doesn’t matter which as the important thing is to experience the weight you are applying to support yourself from the ground. I find the sensation of my weight varies depending what mood I’m in.

In this blog I want to move up the spine to the top of the spine. Your spine may be longer than you think, it is from the top of your spine to the bottom, but where is the top and the bottom. Take a moment to think where each end is.

Lets start at the bottom, the bottom of your spine is somewhere very near your sit bones, the boney bits you may sit on. If you don’t know where your sit bones are then whilst sitting put your hands between the chair and your bottom, you should be able to feel two boney bits, they are your sit bones. They are like rocker on a rocking chair, they are something to sit on and balance. Thats the easy part, so where is the top of your spine.

Take a moment to work it out.

Time for a bit more pointing and prodding. Just below your ears there is a hollow between the back of your jaw and your skull, The top of your spine is pretty close to these points but obviously in the centre line of your body; how about putting a finger in each hollow and then nod your head then you will get the sense that your head actually can nod from the top of your spine.

That the top and bottom of your spine identified, there is a catch, you may know the top and bottom of your spine but your habits will deny this knowledge and you will continue to move from where your habits think is best. Change take time and belief in the new knowledge. I might be able to help but first a little more body mapping. Your spine is made up 33 vertebra, the top 24 vertebra are movable. For this blog the important thing to know is that the moveable vertebra are moveable. We have flexible spines, the flexibility is made up of bones, intervertebral disc, muscles, ligaments, connective tissue and most importantly how we think. If we think we have a stiff straight back, that is what we will have, if you think you have a bendy spine, you have a bendy spine.

Your body will obey your thinking.

Our thinking can make our movement in our daily lives tiresome or our thinking can make our movement in our daily lives free and easy. The choice is yours.

This is part of what I do to have free and easy movement with a side order of happiness which comes free with the order.

Gently rock on your sit bones, allow your spine to be connected altogether so it moves as one; not a rigid spine, your spine working in unison but in a thought could be free to some different movement. If you notice you have any excessive muscle strain, this experiment should be without staring muscles, pause a moment, perhaps you are holding on to a thought, let it go and another thought will appear let that thought go and the next one. Just give attention to rocking on your sit bones. Reduce your rocking to the point that feels like you are upright, you should now have your sit bones and top of your spine vertically aligned, don’t worry it they aren’t, we all suffer with faulty sensory perception, your habits want to tell you something else.

On top of your spine, you’ve guessed it, is your head. Put your fingers back in the hollow under your ears, nod your head. allow lightness in this movement, rotate your head a bit with the same lightness.

Now to experiment with this lightness, allow this lightness to cascade down your spine to  your sit bones, remember not to hold on to a thought, let them go, practice a few times.

Allow your sit bones to support the weight of your body and with the lightness allow your spine to lengthen away from your sit bones and allow your head to lightly sit on your top of your spine. Repeat this thinking, letting each thought go and be refreshed.

When things get tough experiment with this thinking, you will find that your troubles will lessen.

More to follow

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

 

My lovely bubbly friend


Do you find that being happy, being a life and soul of the party tiring?

Do you ever wish for quiet but you too scared to go there? If you’re bubbly and loving then everyone will love you. If you stop being bubbly and lovely they won’t like you anymore.

I’ll let you in to a secret, your friends will love you for who you are and not what you are trying to be, trying to be lovely and bubbly is just a front, a front that hides a lovely bubbly person.

Trying just gets in the way of life, just STOP IT.

Stopping may be hard cruel thing to say; STOP IT.

Emotions can be like a pendulum, when with friends the trying starts and you are lovely and bubbly however when you are alone the pendulum swings the other way, the trying moves to an upsetting way, the opposite to my lovely bubbly friend.

STOP IT.

STOP IT doesn’t really work, STOP IT is the goal, the end state, there is a journey you need to travel on to reach your goal. This takes time and commitment, non-judgmental commitment.

With all journeys you need a plan on how you are going to get there with the acknowledgement that the journey may go down dead ends and detours until you reach your goal, oh the goal may change as well as you learn things along your journey.

Once you have your plan, the first activity you need to do is to notice what’s happening within you when you feel uneasy. Live with the unease for a few moments so that you can better notice it the next time it appears. My trigger is a tightening in my stomach, yours may be that, it may be something else, perhaps eyes glazing as you start thinking about what may happen in the future.

When you notice pause for a moment, and make a decision. The decision can be anything, carry on with thinking about the future, cuddle your dog, or something completely different.

You may need a distraction from your worry, you may need a distraction from trying to be lovely and bubbly, slowing you pendulum down so that all your trying slowly disappears, it’s scary but you will discover your authentic self; I know who you are, you are a lovely, bubbly fantastic person witha personality that just emits love to whoever you meet. You need to rediscover this person, your authentic self.

I have some ideas that may help you on your journey.

I want you to do nothing, there’s a lot to do to do nothing, I want you to notice any excessive muscular tension during these thoughts and ideas, if there is you’re are doing to much. Pause and restart the idea.

If you are sitting slide your hands between the chair and bottom, you have two boney bits, these are your sit bones, wobbly around so that you can notice and develop some feeling sensations around these bones, take you hands out and wobbly again on the chair, you should now be able to feel more weight going though your sit bones on to the chair.

You first activity when you notice your worry rising, find your sit bones, you don’t need to use your hands again just the contact with the chair will do, if you are standing wobble around so that you can notice your weight passing thought your feet to the ground.

Thoughts just last a moment then they are no use, they are history. Let the thought go and another will appear, let that one of again, keep your attention to your sit bones, if standing, your feet, let that thought go as well and the next thought and the next, just have your attention to where you are being supported by the ground, let that thought go as well. You may notice that your worries have disappear. There is no space or time from them, if they do arise go back to where you are being supported from the ground, let the thought go, let it go over and over again, faster and faster. I find I have greater clarity and authenticity in my thinking, how is it for you?

This is the first step in discovering your authentic self, my lovely bubbly friend.

Remember if a worry appears, focus your attention your sit bones and let the thoughts go over and over again.

More to follow.

With a side order of happiness

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

Freedom and easy; psychophysical wellness


I’ve been thinking about what I’ve been training for over the past few years, I signed up for the training because after my many sessions I was free and at ease with myself each time, I wanted to pass this freedom and ease on to others, it is a wonderful skill we all have, some of us just need someone to show us where we hid this skill and let it blossom.

I’ve never been comfortable with the term Alexander Technique Teacher it either means nothing or something what it is not. In the Sun, a UK newspaper (the link goes to the article) it was stated as “a specific stretching programme called the Alexander Technique are all great ways to improve your posture”. From my view that is totally wrong however I understand where the writer is coming from, I surmising they had a session with a teacher and the teacher invited them to lengthen some muscles hence the stretching.

So if you want a good stretch find an Alexander Technique Teacher, perhaps some may get a referral from the newspaper article, what do you tell the client?

I didn’t know what the Alexander Technique was when I started my teacher training, I knew its output, which was freedom and ease. The process was a mystery and was for a few years of my training, lots of tools, games and techniques but it didn’t join together. I know now or I understand now, the Alexander Technique Teachers is to help people to improve their psychophysical wellbeing by helping them discover their hidden skill of being free and at ease with themselves hence with life.

A tall order, this is why there is a need for all the tools, games and techniques; we all learn in different ways. I guess it is easy for the client and the teacher to get stuck in the tools, games and techniques and lose the purpose of helping others to discover their psychophysical wellness.

We are all creatures of habit and Alexander Technique Teachers challenge the strong beliefs that have helped us to survive until now. The newspaper article got it the wrong way around, it’s nothing about stretching and everything about releasing,

Doing less so the right thing can take over.

During a session we can invite muscles to release, the feeling of freedom and ease appears but is quickly lost after the session, if this is repeated over several session I would suggest the benefit is only therapeutic and not a learning experience. The Alexander Technique is about learning to discover your own psychophysical wellness.

If you are stuck in this therapeutic cycle, you may be very happy to not explore, I was for years, it was very comfortable and nice.

A weekly top-up of niceness.

To learn anything there is a simple trilogy

  • Learning needs a learning plan and passion to achieve the learning plan.
  • Learning needs an observer to observe and ask non-judgmental questions about how you are executing your learning plan
  • Learning need trust and belief in what your are learning, the observer also needs trust and belief in what they are observing to achieve your learning plan

If any of these are missing then learning will be a struggle.

There’s many reasons to not to engage with this trilogy, I suspect the main reason is that you will need to step out of your comfort zone, stepping into the abyss, to make a change. It seems scary, it is but it is also wonderfully scary, opportunities just open up.

In the abyss there is time to choose, time to notice, time to say no to habits, time to do something else, time for contentment, time for psychophysical wellness.

Many people come to the Alexander Technique to discover how to control/manage pain somewhere in their body.

They have a passion with a plan to be pain free. They probably don’t know about the process but they trust the teacher knows and trusts the process.

Over sessions they develop more and more trust in the teacher with a few ahh moments, the ahh moments are when something changes, trust in the process starts. Real change happens regularly with your passion, with the aid of your teacher and trust in the process.

Freedom and easy is rediscovered; psychophysical wellness, ahh.

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My replacement salbutamol


That old friend, asthma came visiting this week. I met someone over the weekend, they said their cold was over and that it had laid them up for 3 days; thanks for the warning. What they had hit me on Monday, today is Thursday and I now feel like I can function now, their 3 days was spot on. Now my wife is enjoying the pleasure or not!

In the past, with a chest infection like I had and it’s still lingering, I would have used some salbutamol to ease my way. Instead I used some thoughts, very particular thoughts. Thoughts of freedom and aliveness with the possibility to move at any moment. This may read as crazy but these thoughts really worked. I did have rasping breath, I was dizzy when I changed from lying to standing, my temperature was hot and then cold however my breathing was free and alive.

I didn’t move my breathing to the top of my lungs like I would have done in the past.

So why is this? If you are like me, my asthmatic response is to really try to breathe with a belief that breathing is best done from the top of my lungs, this is a really bad way to breathe but in those moments it seems so true, it’s the only way.

It’s not!

I’ve had years believing this is the best way in moments of stress or anxiety,

It isn’t!

I know how to breathe without trying to breathe, I do it every night when I’m asleep, perhaps it could happen when I’m awake?

What I did, was to cut off my stimulus to a reaction at the pass. It was highly likely that asthma would visit again if got a chest infection, it did, but I didn’t react in my normal way, this time, I gave asthma space, aliveness with the opportunity of move at any moment.

This takes practice, a few years for me.

Don’t be without your inhaler when you need it.

The freedom and aliveness is not just for the asthma, it is for me firstly then anything want to use freedom and aliveness for. This week it has been for myself to help me breathe with freedom and aliveness. I must say, this is the first time for a heavy cold, it worked, it worked extremely well.

The freedom is trusting that my body will look after itself if I allow the freedom then my body can be alive to do whatever it needs to do. My asthmatic reaction is to tighten my chest and force my breathe, this time I chose my body to be free. This sounds trite but it really does work for me.

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

P.S. I was going to put an image of an inhaler but my dogs look a lot better. Harry is the old boy, sadly gone a few years ago, Flint is now the old boy.

P.P.S My wife now knows what man flu is like. It’s real and hurts!

 

 

 

 

The missing elephant


I’ve been in the Alexander Technique community for over ten years, my question is “What is the Alexander Technique?”

Over the years I’ve thought I’d known what it is.

I thought it was moving in and out of a chair and somehow after I felt more at ease, sometimes I got a treat with some table work, I just laid there on the table and the teacher freed up my shoulders and hips. That was good.

The early years it was just a therapy, they loosened me up and I tightened myself up between the sessions.

I like what they did so;

I started my teacher training, I was taught sitting and standing, working with the other students on a table, oh of course the “monkey’ and hands on the back of the chair. We read Alexanders books, gave presentations, and a whole host of other activities. I really enjoyed my time at this school until the last two terms, however for me there was something fundamentally missing, non of it really joined up together, I felt we were skirting around the elephant in the room, It may have just been me, I was missing something,

I was missing the elephant.

I moved school.

I discovered that what was missing was psychophysical unity,

I read about it,

I understood it,

But I wasn’t it and didn’t want to be it!

I guess it was the approach the school went about it, their approach wasn’t for me, I just didn’t get it.

I get it now.

What has changed is that the Alexander Technique is about being your authentic self, it is not about chairs and tables. This is a huge difference, if you focus on chairs and tables you’ll just get good at chairs and tables, if you teach others to discover their authentic self, you may or may not need to use chairs and tables in this discovery.

The Alexander Technique is being your authentic self with psychophysical unity. You can replace psychophysical unity with freedom and aliveness.

If you want to learn the methods to rediscover your authentic self with all the freedom and aliveness you need, perhaps you can like this page so you will get a reminder when I next write.

Rediscover your elegance


When I go to London, I sometimes meet a woman sometimes I don’t; Last night I did. She was doing her usual thing being very busy, being very efficient. She always stops what she’s doing and we have a chat and a catch up from last time we met.

This blog is about her.

What I see is a very capable woman however she doesn’t know how capable she is;

  • she tries to hard,
  • she works too hard,
  • she tries to please to hard.

Her trying stops her true potential to shine through, I’m just the same as are many others.

Trying is a vicious circle which is maintained by the doubt of not being good enough, not being good enough make you want to try harder and harder, becoming a slave to your own self doubt.

Once stuck in this circle of trying and doubting it is very hard to see a way out, some may want you to stay in it as become a reliable employee or so they think!

Trying and doubting are exhausting, wouldn’t it be better to be good at what you do without all that effort!

The first thought is to notice your surroundings whilst going about what you are doing, you may have an intention to get somewhere but enjoy the journey. It probably won’t take anymore time and you maybe quicker however you’ll get there happy, contented and more at ease.

Enjoy the space that you are in, we all occupy space as we move around, have a thought about how eligant you are as you move around in your space. However don’t float around in your elegance, you need to use the support from the ground, enjoy the touch of the ground with your feet as you elegantly move in your space.

Now include your surroundings with your elegance, so your space now includes the room you are in, the people, table, chairs, just everything. There is a catch however, if you feel doubt then you are holding on to a thought. Thoughts are like a film reel with on image for each frame. If the projector stops on a frame the projected image will freeze

My two big feet


I feel good today,

I’ve apologised,

I’ve apologised for something that I didn’t want to do in the first place,

I’ve apologised for a side effect that had happen because something else had to happen.

It all happened over twenty years ago,

it only feels like yesterday.

I was in such a mess,

I thought my world was coming to the end,

I couldn’t,

I didn’t want my life to follow what I thought was planned for me,

I needed to change,

I made a decision and jumped with that decision with gusto and my two big feet.

I knew there would be after effects  but I didn’t expect them to last this long.

Two decades and a bit, is a long, long time.

One way I found to cope was to just deny it ever happened,

that worked for a few years, may be a decade.

Birthdays and Christmas’s were when denial failed.

I got grumpy and angry.

I began to hate Christmas,

what’s the point without family!

You may have guessed, I forced a divorce, I could face living with my then wife another day, it very quickly became very acrimonious, I went into a melt down and for the sake of my children’s sanity I broke contact with them. They were getting a good strong dose of PAS parent alienation and with me sticking around it was only getting worse.  I paid for their support and for their university fees but never got a thank you or any recognition or any contact at all, they’ve married but I only heard that through the grapevine, now their children are being born, still no contact.

PAS lasts along time. Thankfully others have influenced my children and have discovered that what they have been told over the decades isn’t exactly true, most probably made up by a furtive mind trying to maintain their status quo.

I’ve was told they are just waiting for an apology, this morning I wrote and sent the apology via someone we both know.

Now I’m just waiting. It’s strange, I’ve tried to write and send letters before, they were never sent, there was too much anger in the words, now I’m quite content, the letter flowed, it was honest and truthful. I’m overjoyed by writing a letter so freely and open. This could have never happened in my days of denial and anger, angry that things didn’t happen in the utopian dream that I had. Life is real, life is in the moment, if you force things to happen then it just won’t go the way you planned; the end of utopia.

The best made plans never survive first contact with the enemy: Someone is quoted this or saying something like it.

The greatest influence in getting to this point is working with Alexanders discovery, in fact being aware where I am in time and space not only helped me with asthma, it’s now disappeared, anxiety depression and just living. I still have episodes of doubt but now I can catch them early, well most of the time by asking myself if my doubt is real or imaginary. The doubts are always imaginary therefore I don’t need them so I can let it go. As I’ve written in previous blogs, this isn’t a quick fix it takes time, don’t be hard on yourself. It has taken a several years to allow my anger to subside so that I can now write an apology. Also seek help from someone you trust, this is difficult to do on your own.

If you want to know what happens next, you could like my blog and you will get a notification when I publish next.

 

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.