Tag Archives: fear

The fools errand


Strange old week, was it the alignment of the planets with a lunar eclipse?

Or was it just a coincidence that I was stressed with work and other things were happening with my neighbours. This week has been turmoil for me, to top it off my doctor wants me to see a specialist at hospital.

Today I’ve been calm but earlier in the week not so. It’s taken a few people to say a few curt words from friends and colleagues for me to be to realise that I’m bringing the stress on myself. Keeping things bottled up and thinking the worst. I’m also regretting not going to the Alexander Technique Congress in Chicago this week, perhaps that was a good thing in hindsight.

The past few years I’ve been quite good at keeping myself grounded and centred, being in the here and now or near to it so that I can very quickly return back there. This week has been different, I’ve been anywhere but being grounded and centred. Worrying about the what if’s, I’m rubbish at my job, I’m a fraud, etcetera, etcetera.

Returning to the here and now has been difficult as my old habit of worrying had come to the fore and didn’t want to leave me. It felt awful, I was pulling down and was told that I looked tired. I was a tired in fact I was exhausted, though part of me was enjoying the depression and anxiety.

Falling into this trap has been an eye opener, worrying what others may be thinking is a fools errand, When I spoke to them – eventually – my worries evaporated and interestingly they had similar worries. Perhaps I was right to be concerned but should have broached the subject earlier to save my days of worry.

What I’ve learnt is sometimes it is not enough to be in the here and now on my lonesome, sharing ideas and troubles with others also helps, we then can get a common understanding and learn to work together openly.

 

 

 

 

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Not trying too hard is overkill


This week, after I’d read Gary Ramsey’s book Bliss, One Hero’s Journey, my interest in what in balance means has changed. My thought’s had been about being in balance physically and with time.

Physically I mean being upright with little or no excessive holding up, allowing my postural muscles do their job without my superficial muscles working too much. If I tire when standing I’m using superficial muscles instead of my postural muscles, postural muscles have a very long endurance, superficial muscles don’t.

For time, in balance means to me is bringing in the here and now, not drifting off tot he past or working about the future.

However Gary introduced me to more dimensions of balance that I hadn’t really thought about, understanding these dimensions helped Gary stay alive even with cancer. That seems a very bold statement, read his book and you’ll understand.

The crux of balance is that I don’t need to try too hard to be in balance,

if fact, not trying to hard is overkill,

I just need to be to be in balance.

Do you ever have thoughts;

  • that I must try harder
  • that’s too difficult
  • I must fight that
  • it’s not worth the effort

These thoughts will push you of balance with yourself, you will lose the opportunity to be your authentic self as you energy and engagement is elsewhere.

It is equally with things you love

  • dreaming of the location you love
  • tending to the ones you love at the expense of yourself

These thoughts will again push you of balance.

All these thought are fine however the issue is if you get stuck with one of these thoughts you will lose your balance and you will have to compensate in some form. The compensation comes in many forms, tightening muscles to compensate, eventually resulting in muscle strain and pain.

A chemical imbalance due to being stuck in one of the fight, flight or freeze modes due to a stuck fear response, may lead to a serious illness

Perpetual eagerness to be busy, equally being a persistent sloth and reluctant to work, both these will eventually take their toll. Our bodies will do what it needs to, to establish to be in balance, until eventual burnout.

Find your balance but remember that not trying too much is overkill!

Bliss!


argentine-tango-brussels-couple-358127It has been a while since I last wrote, unfortunately for you blogging hasn’t been my priority.

I’ve been enjoying life.

Seeing friends, travelling around and today enjoying the sun! They say this sunny days will last for several days.

Over the years I’ve been challenging myself with various topics, a few years a ago it was the belief I can’t sing. I’ve believed this because people I know and trust have told me so; they were wrong. I might not be the best singer in the world and lack confidence to perform solo, I can sing happily in a choir and I really enjoy singing there.

It’s surprising how many beliefs begin in childhood; one of my experiences was learning to dance in preparation for a school visit to Germany; put your left leg here and your right leg there, you’ll have probably experienced this for yourself. Very formulaic and BORING for a child forced to learn. I decided  as it was boring so I made a mess of it so I could prove I couldn’t dance. Bingo, I was deselected and didn’t do the performance. Deselection answered several of my fears and I could carry on with my boyish Peter Pan life, enjoying life, I am a Gemini after all!

Unfortunately we seem to be in a culture where dance is very important, many of us like to sit on the sidelines from the safety of our armchair watching more dancing than we think on TV, or dreading those events when we are expected to dance. I’ve found that beer really helps, when I lived in Scotland I really enjoyed Scottish Country Dancing, it was the beer that suppressed my fears of being watched and judged. If I was good it was luck, if I was bad it was the beer, it was never me!

A few weeks ago I decided to challenge my belief that I can’t dance without beer. I went for dance lessons not knowing what to expect. There was no now put your left foot here and right leg there.

Wow, I was in heaven.

It was ‘do a slight sway and when your weight is on one foot move your other foot’, apologies Bärbel you said a lot more than that.

All of a sudden it all made sense, attention to myself and then an intension to move however this time I have a partner to share our attention together and then share my intention to move. When our attention and intension jells magic happens.

So this is dancing!

I know I’m in my very early days and I have a lot to learn, yes there will be “put your left foot here” however I believe it won’t be like that. There will be no putting feet anywhere, we will have a shared attention of ourselves and I’ll share my intension to move and my partner will follow in anyway she chooses.

I can’t wait to learn more and get back on the dance floor. What Tango has taught me is that being in the moment and my partner is also in the moment, my body disappears as we meld together and move as one, it’s quite surreal, when the music ends there’s a sadness, loss and an embarrassment of the intimacy of the dance.

There is definitely a very strong cross over with the way I’ve learnt Alexander Technique and Tango; being in the moment, in balance with time and space, pausing for the right moment to take my partner and myself into movement. Neither of us not knowing what is going to happen next. Bliss!

Go try the Tango or the Alexander Technique or even better both.

 

95% done


What’s happening to me?

It may not be quite Alexander Technique but then again it is?

I’ve done things over the last couple of weeks that I haven’t done willingly for over two decades, that’s quite a long time and for some reading this you may have just been your mothers dream when I stopped doing these things. I didn’t know at the time but when I received a letter from the court my anxiety shot up to full power, this was the start of my divorce. With anxiety I became asthmatic and I guess depressed as well. I manned up to the anxiety and depression and fought on but I could escape my breathing, I could go anywhere without my trusty inhaler. Looking back I wasn’t in a very good state.

Then I accidentally found an Alexander Technique Teacher or perhaps the teacher found me or I was ready to listen and learn. I really don’t know how it happened but it happened.

I believe I now have anxiety, depression and asthma under control by how and what I think about. Thoughts of being in balance with time and space are the keys for me to release my anxiety and depression however some things may remain hidden, these are the things that you and I just don’t want to do due to some irrational fear.

My fear is criticism, I felt I got a lot of criticism when I was a child, I felt I wasn’t good enough, anything I did I thought I was told I could do better, I’m sure these were supportive and constructive comments, however I received them as criticism and I wasn’t good enough. Through this I created a strategy of doing 95% really well and knowing what 5% I didn’t do. Then I was ready when the criticism came as I had a retort for the 5%, I had a good answer why I hadn’t done it, it wasn’t the real answer, it was a staged and planned answer. Pretty cunning ah. Win, win, I did things to my satisfaction and other could criticise.

However the habit of not fully completing, whilst doesn’t really matter for say 95% of the things that you and I do, there are 5% of things that only 100% is good enough. I spoke to someone recently about this, it was the right time, place and person for me. It was a revelation just explaining this lifelong strategy, talking about it made it childish, it was a childish plan after all. It is now a redundant plan. This could not have happened without me being honest with myself to tell my story to someone and also having another plan ready. My new plan is being honest with myself, making conscious decisions and being content that I may make mistakes. This new plan has certainly shifted things, I’m doing things that I’ve put off for a generation!

What are you putting off for another day?

 

The quite loudness of being alive


Double blog day, it’s raining so I’ve retreated from the garage  I’ve been thinking from my heart quite a lot recently, instead of the thoughts of “woe is me” when I’m using my head to think, I’m thinking “what a great opportunity”, strangely these great opportunities are appearing from nowhere without any effort from me.

A few weeks ago I was told my contract won’t be renewed due to funding, I believed them and incidentally got a great leaving present earlier this week. I spoke to someone and in the conversation I flippantly said; “Give us a job”. He replied he was waiting for me to ask. At the interview with his manager, to sum it up very quickly he said, ‘When can you start?” It was all very surreal. Now I have a couple weeks off over Easter to clear the junk out of home and of course my garage. There may be some gardening if the weather is kind.

Not being in my head and being in my heart has changed the way I approach people and things, I have very little judgement, when I notice any judgement I ask myself if I really need it and do they or it deserve my judgement. My understanding of judgement is that it is a difference that we have noticed, a difference from our beliefs to what we sense outside of ourselves. We notice something different and want it to change it to our way (I’m being deliberately vague as we have many facets of what is different), we want others to change to be like us. Being judgemental is one point on the spectrum of division; generally not helpful in its mild form but death to millions on the extreme.

Perhaps judgemental thoughts come from the thoughts of not being good enough, feeling inadequate, etc. These thoughts come from your head not your heart, head thoughts keep you in a safe place with all your comfortable junk, When your comfortable there is no reason to change, you’re comfortable after all! Then, if there is something different out there you are eligible from your position of comfort to complain, be judgemental, get them to change so you can be comfortable again with all your junk. This will work for a while until there is enough inertia in others to ignore you. They will work around you, you will get annoyed, vengeful. It is bad if it is only a person but when it is a country it is a problem. I digress.

Thinking in you head is easy and comfortable, for head thinkers thinking from your heart is plain scary; there’s a need to meet your emotions, it is just impossible. Thinking from your heart is pleasantly vulnerable, thoughts come and go, I have more inertia to get things done, there is no thoughts of not being good enough, there is no judgement on others, they are what they want to be. There’s a quite loudness about being alive, I know I can’t hold on to any moment, I enjoy the moment, it is the best moment in my life and is this one and this one, it is the only moment I’m alive in; and this one.

From my experience, emotions are only around in the transition of thought from head to heart. Emotions are a realisation that the heart leads our thoughts. Comments please as this assumption wrote itself.

It is still raining, time to reflect on emotions, I’ll be really interested in your thoughts. Do practice thinking from your heart, don’t be judgmental when you slip back thinking from your head. Enjoy the quite loudness of being alive.

 

 

 

 

Something not quite right!


It’s one of those days plenty to do then it snowed. Living some way from a main road and  up a steep hill, snow and ice stops travel except for the hardy. So what to do when it snows, the natural thing is to hunker down and do very little. I hate doing very little so I potter, being busy doing very little. Start a job, it’s too hard because … . Start another, it’s too hard because … . Then the day is over, oh good, time to stop being busy and relax. I hate relaxing I like doing. So for the first time in weeks I’m here writing a blog that isn’t going anywhere.

It may not be going anywhere at the moment, that may change, I like to write without knowing the end, the middle of the sentence or the next sentence. I just follow my fingers and the words appear.

The big thing that has changed in me over the past few weeks is that my fretting and worrying has almost gone to zero, things will be things and I understand I have little control over them, It’s actually a relief that I don’t need to worry about things outside of my control, I can now get on about being here without fretting about the future, You should try it sometime.

There are many phrases about just being yourself, you may have heard “You are good enough”. This phrase in particular has been with me for a few years as someone said it to me to placate me, help me, guide me, however it was the wrong person for me who said it, I didn’t believe or trust their deep down authenticity. This observation has been with me for a few years, I spoke about it today to someone and the jigsaw started to fit.

Our work in the Alexander Technique world is a very fickle thing. We are connecting to people in a unique way which is vastly different way to other practices. It is not just the teacher reading the pupil, the pupil can also read the teacher through our connections of sight, hearing and touch. If the pupil can read something not quite right about the teacher, the relationship can breakdown and the learning may fail to progress. I believe this happened to me a few years ago.

This situation can be devastating for the student as I found out myself; I started to blame myself for my lack of progress. Equally the teacher couldn’t fathom out what the problem was. I believe it is the responsibility of the teacher to notice, fathom out and come up with an alternative way to teach. This didn’t happen in my experience though the teacher may had thought they used alternative methods. I was left banging my head against the metaphorical wall for quite some time. In fact it probably wasn’t the teaching methods that were holding me back, it was my a lack of trust in the teacher. This lack of trust wasn’t obvious, we talked and were sociable, it was a recurring deep down feeling that kept saying; “Be wary, step carefully, they are hiding something”. Of course I may have been creating these thoughts through transposition from someone I met in the past who had similar looks or behaviours to them however I doubt it as others have told me they had the same issues with this person.

This experience has taught me well, when we connect through our senses we give more that we think, if we are trying to hard our hands shake, if we hold back some thoughts we put doubt in our touch which may manifest as lack of trust in the one who is listening. On reflection I sense they may have not been in the here and now and allowed their ego to be with them when they taught me; I then started copying their way of working when I worked with other students as I thought this was the norm. Learning the Alexander Technique is learning empirically; learning through experience, my experience at that time was skewed, luckily I found someone else to teach me.

To truly learn from a teacher, the teacher must be utterly in the here and now whilst instructing the student to be in the here and now. From that position things change, from my experience; pain disappears, I’m more movable, I have sense of lightness with great clarity, my worries and troubles vaporise,  all this with freedom and aliveness. What a wonderful time and place to live in. It’s available to all, why choose anything else. The skeptics may have excuses not to be in the moment, those excuses are not valid. You can live in the moment and do normal things, working, going on holiday, watching TV etc.

We all have choices and I choose to be in here and now where everything I do has a vibrancy in the activity, even boring mundane stuff is fun.

Once you have learnt these skills you have power to choose the intensity of your own here and now, from gently simmering to full power, once learnt it is difficult to turn off and ignore or even turn the power down, why should you, isn’t being authentic, with your own freedom and aliveness what everyone really wants?

Life is good and you can have it as well.

PS.  You may be wondering about the teacher I mentioned, I was angry with them for sometime but not now.  I now realise it is their journey and when they are ready they will be able to let go of those emotional thoughts.

 

 

What a wonderful day


I’ve noticed something recently, I’ve been stuck in thinking for the past few years, the thinking has been thinking about how to learn the Alexander Technique. I’ve been thinking so long and so hard that things around me are starting to suffer from my thinking, I’ve been to busy thinking to care for the house; in four years the trees and shrubs have grown. Today I’ve been working in the garden cutting them back to some sembelance of order, I’ve cleared gutters, got muddy and dirty, then fell asleep in the bath.

What a wonderful day!

I was caught in one of the most addictive habits – thinking too much. My thinking had me frozen, I could hardly function for trying to think. The trouble with most additions, the addiction tells you that you are doing just fine and you also need the addiction to survive; your addiction has to tell you this to survive however it is a downright lie. Nobody needs addictions, we have everything we need without them. My turnaround was a reading Eckart Tolle’s books, something in his book got me thinkings, I was thinking too much and I didn’t need to do so much, if any at all.

If you don’t know what the Alexander Technique is, it is a collection of games, activities and techniques to help you rediscover your freedom and easy you had as a child. You will become more balanced in gravity and have greater presence in any activity you choose to do.

I wrote above I didn’t need to think; you and I don’t need to think to be in balance and have a strong presence, it comes naturally, let it happen and it will appear. I was thinking too much to achieve something that I didn’t need to think about, I was just being stupid but nobody told me in words that I could understand.

When you and I think we mix together thoughts of the past, dreams of the future, habits and beliefs that we hold. All these thoughts get in the way of being present in the NOW, they skew what we can achieve. These thoughts hold us back, make us clumsy, make us stutter, sing the wrong note, beliefs that we aren’t good enough, thoughts of ‘I can’t do that’. My ‘thinking too much’ stopped me doing any physical activity unless it was about thinking, my thinking was happy to walk the dogs then my thinking got some quiet time in the forest to do some thinking, if I went with someone my thinking didn’t like that, my thinking wanted solitude to think.

I’ve discovered I can think and do things at the same time, my thinking has been changing over the past week or two, I’ve been noticing when my ego has been strong this is when my habits and beliefs emerge, I then pause my thoughts for a moment or two and quietly notice my balance and presence, in a flash my ego disappears and I can carry on with what I’m doing.

My garden has been a really good experiment to try this thinking, I’ve surprised myself with the amount of work I’ve done, I’ve had many thoughts of ‘that’s tiring’ or ‘that’s too heavy’ or some other excuse, each time I’ve paused and quietly notice my balance and presence, each time my ego disappeared and I carried on, each time my ego remained silent for longer.

I think I deserved a hot bath after all that.

I’m looking forward to the next opportunity in the garden.

What is you additive habit, does it have you under its spell?

Who are you trying to please?


Keeping in line with my last few blogs

I’d thought I would keep the theme going for a little longer. We all have grand plans to change; cut down on the booze, coffee, sugar, cigarettes so we are healthier happier people. I know I’ve done these changes many times, some have been very successful but the vast majority eventually fail.

You don’t fail because of the books you’ve read about the change or the equipment you have bought to help you or the community you have joined to help you change, it is something else that forces the failure.

It is something in yourself that says: “Enough is enough, I like it how it was, lets stop this stupid change as you won’t like what you will turn into”. You can change these word to your own.

Everyone welcomes change as long it is someone else doing it!

We fail because we tell ourselves to fail, we may be encouraged to fail by someone else however it is your decision to listen and choose to fail. It is something in your ego that is stopping you make your choice to change. Your ego has many facets to defend, it may be ridicule, failing to change, fear of success, being noticed, not being noticed, loss of friendship, alienation by colleagues … .

I see many changes that we attempt as quite boolean, we are doing something we don’t like so we stop doing it, we instantly switch to on to off. Rather like the facets of your ego,  each facet has two sides. We have a difficult task trying to please our egos as our egos are always on the move. If you’re on a diet and lose a few pounds your ego is joyful and you have the will to carry on, then the following weight in you have gained a few pounds, it’s the end of the world, lets give up. It is the same you but your ego has switched sides. The problem seems to be the reaction to the weigh-in, one solution is not to weigh-in or another is not to react to the results of the weigh-in. I went to the slimming club once, it was all praise and blame; a perfect place to hone egos.

Not reacting probably needs more explaining, it how you react to news, you could be vengeful or joyous basically overdoing the emotional response. This triggers the thought to I must try harder or it’s not worth it anymore. Quietening down the response may be better and even better stopping your ego in its tracks. You can stop your ego in its tracks by being consciously present and in balance. It is hard at first, with practice it gets easier and will become part of your day, turning the power up when it is needed.

To start on this journey to quieten your ego, you first need to notice when your ego gets noisy and demanding, pause to really listen to what your ego is saying, quietly ask your ego “why” or “what” or “when” or “where’ or “how”. You should notice your ego quieten down, if your ego rises again ask the questions again. Whilst your ego is quiet you may discover what you really want.

For now, notice, pause and ask the questions. You may discover something wonderful.

 

Why hurt yourself because your angry with someone!


Do you ever get angry but just can’t let the anger drop, it just goes on for hours and hours?

I think this isn’t a very helpful response mainly because a recon you are, I am, hurting ourselves. These negative thoughts that keep going around in our heads, each time around the problem just gets worse and worse and before you know it you are in a vicious cycle that you simply can’t get out of. You are in a vortex anger, pulling you down in to dispair and desperation. Not only are you tightening your anger you will be tightening your muscles somewhere, probably where your normal pain is, your lower back, a shoulder perhaps and once the anger has subsided the physical pain remains, maybe for days.

Perhaps next time you have a real long lasting anger notice if you are hurting somewhere a few days afterwards.

We have a few cliches – calm down – don’t get angry and stay calm, there are more. When the moment hits you anger will appear so these calming thoughts just won’t work. Anger is healthy, you want someone to stop or someone has encroached your safety zone, you need to tell someone to desist quickly so they get the point and stop. It is when anger lingers on getting more and more vengeful were the problems start.

Why hurt yourself because your angry with someone!

The other day I caught myself doing all this. However I have a trick that helped let me be angry without the getting caught in the vortex of vengefulness, though I did start on the downward spiral. I paused a moment, not pausing in movement, pausing in my thinking so that I could come back into balance and recover my presence. I became an observer of my thoughts, I listened to my vortex of thoughts, and suddenly these thoughts went quiet, I got the feeling that these thoughts were embarrassed to be around, they were silly, they were overbearing, they were pointless. I was left with stillness even though I was angry, my head had cleared and I knew what to do: that was to let my anger go, it wasn’t needed and was also pointless.

A while ago I would have fumed for a long time, even breaking friendships that didn’t need to be broken just because of a stupid infantile action by either someone or myself. What has changed in me, is that when I notice a trigger, normal a tightening stomach, as I wrote above is, I pause my thoughts for a moment. This has taken some years to get to this point through my training to be an Alexander Technique Teacher and through practicing what I have learnt. In a nutshell, what I practice is noticing what I’m doing, noticing what I’m thinking and noticing where I am in relation to time and space. With this practice my life is more content and happier.

If you want to discover more, you can either wait for the my next blog or you can receive a copy of my blogs via email.

A pleasurable outcome that leads to other opportunities


Of course with all this contentment I’ve been writing about I still have to get on and do things; working, driving, keeping the house tidy, planning events and holidays, etc, etc; life still needs to go on whilst being contented and grounded. But these things are somehow easier, I don’t have, it does pop up occasionally, the doubt, worry and I’m not good enough thoughts. When they do pop up I know I’ve slipped out of balance somewhere and I bring my balance back and these thoughts just vaporise, some of these thought may be persistent then I pause for a longer moment, sometimes they don’t want to leave me, I then continue with the knowledge they are there with me, I may be doubting myself as I continue; at the moment I have this doubt, I guess I’m touching a nerve in that I am opening up to much to whoever is reading this blog.

Writing this blog is my choice and clicking on the ‘publish’ button is another choice, I’ve got plenty of blogs that haven’t been published for some reason or other.

Life is full of choices and they can be changed at any point, there are even more choices the more present you are, ugh you may be thinking, I’ve got enough choices already and why do I want to be conscious and get more. I’ve noticed that the choices are different, I’m not making choices that I don’t want to make, I’m not bending to someone else’s will. Sometimes life brings the inevitable, a flat car tyre, it will need to be fixed if you want to continue on your journey then acceptance can be brought into the activity. There’s no need for anger though you may be annoyed, there’s no need to be embarrassed for something that is out of your control. Being accepting of the situation you maintain your balance and contentment and you may find a more pleasurable outcome that leads to other opportunities.

How about noticing when you next get angry or annoyed let the vengefulness slide away and disappear. You can still be angry or annoyed and grounded and contented at the same time. I find at that moment there are plenty of more opportunities and choices to be made though your authentic self.

Please give it a go when you have the opportunity.