Tag Archives: freedom

It’s what people tell you!


How much control do we have over our life?

We live by our habits, if our habits say something we obey, that’s right or is it that our habits are fooling us.

I think our habits are fooling us, we listen to others, family, friends, acquaintances, the media. When we hear whatever, we process it and save it for a response for another day.

  • We get good news – let’s have a drink to celebrate
  • We get bad news – let’s have a drink to commiserate
  • A friend does something that someone you dislike does – you don’t like your friend anymore
  • The media divides people up in to groups – you only like particular groups and distrust the others

There are many more habits that quickly cut in when you meet a particular stimulus. Suddenly you realise you can’t understand why you dislike someone and didn’t previously. What happened, you probably don’t know but your subconscious habits do.

You may have been worrying or fretting about something, either reminiscing the past and worrying about the future, then all of a sudden a subconscious thought, triggered by you worrying or fretting, jumps in and decides because your friends behaviour to someone you dislike you shouldn’t like your friend. Doubtful thoughts about your friend manifest and quickly turn into a belief, then separation and your friend disappears.

This may happen to you, you may wonder why someone hasn’t contacted you for a long time, you’ve may have behaved like someone you don’t know. Of course there are many other reasons friends drift apart, some stay whatever the circumstances,

What I’ve discovered is that I can let these sub-conscious thoughts in (I want to say ‘when I let me guard down’) when I’m distracted with thinking too much about and going there in my thoughts. Instead of staying in balance with the here and now, allows these thoughts about the future come to me.

  • Being in balance I have choices in what I do,
  • Being in balance my old habits don’t seem to be able to get to me

If you were in balance and your friend did whatever it was, your would let it pass after all it was your friend that did it not someone else.

Being in balance is more than you think it is, however once your understand what it is, you will discover it is something you where born with, you have been hiding it with all your habits you have developed over time.

Go find an Alexander Technique teacher to rediscover your balance.

 

 

 

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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.

 

 

 

 

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!

I panic, I get breathless


I used to be really bad at breathing, just one thought that worried me and I was on my inhaler. Tight chest, panicking and couldn’t go anywhere, life was shit, if it wasn’t for my loving wife and support from friends I guess it would have even been worse, I definitely wouldn’t have been writing this now.

I’ve discovered that I wasn’t alone with these thoughts and the utter dependency on asthma inhalers. What really annoyed me then and still does is the reliance our doctors have on drugs to cure all. I didn’t need drugs to cure me as there is nothing to cure, I was panicking because that is what I’d learnt was the best thing in these situations. I panic, get breathless, get noticed then I get love and support. Unfortunately getting drugs is no replacement for getting love and support.

Perhaps a better medical workflow would be I get breathless, see the doctor and they proscribe drugs for the immediate problem and also help to identify the root cause.

I see the issue is that doctors are expertly trained however the training steers to a pharmaceutical solution to most issues the patients bring, I may be completely wrong in my understanding but it is very rare that when I see the doctor I need to call by the dispensary to pick something up. Perhaps many like myself as patients also expect to call by the dispensary to pick something up.

Unfortunately I’ve never had the support to identify the root cause, my meeting with various asthma nurses never went well, I didn’t believe what they said as they were employed independently from the surgery, I may have been cynical but they alway wanted to try another drug. I don’t see the asthma nurse anymore nor take asthma medication.

Someone noticed, I don’t know what they noticed, that I behaved in a certain way that suppressed my breathing when I became anxious. This was my habitual response to the stimulus, if you remember, if I suppressed my breathing I received love and support. As a very young child it was a win-win situation. However in the adult world the love and support isn’t always there, instead it is a lose-lose situation, once started it is very easy to spiral down to very dangerous place, the asthma drugs do slow or stop the spiral for a short time. Drug don’t address the root cause.

The art is to notice when the response to the stimulus starts or just before then you then have a very good chance of not starting the spiral, in fact with practice the habitual response changes to something else instead of I panic, I get breathless, my panic increases, I get more breathless… .

This skill takes a time to grasp, I’ve grasped it but not without having the support and love of others, I did seek professional help, they helped me to notice my response to the stimulus and that I could choose to do something else.

Please let me know if you want to know more.

 

How to maintain your painful habits!


When I meet new people one of the many questions that are asked are;

  • Where do you live?
  • Questions about my family and relationships
  • Why are am I here
  • Of course the weather

then the terrifying question arrives, what do you do!

I do have two roles, I’m a business analyst, most guess what this is without asking too many questions – they probably don’t know but their guess will do and I’m happy with that.

We can move on.

My other role is an Alexander Technique Teacher, well I will be soon. People either know or think they know, they are the ones that tighten their back to become erect and tall or they mention that it is something about sitting and standing.

The others want more information.

I really don’t know which ones are worse to explain what the Alexander Technique is; those with preconceived ideas or those without a clue.

I’ve shuffled around many ideas on what to say at this point, my current words are about rediscovering your lost freedom and ease, changing your habits that give you pain to habits that allow you freedom and ease; regressing back to being an 6 year old.

You may think that is impossible,

I’ll tell you it is not,

it is only a choice like the choice you have to maintain your painful habits.

Changing habits is a little difficult as you have to go against your norm, your norm has helped you throughout your life, if you are not careful every time you choose to make a change your norm will be resistant and win over your well intentioned choice. If you are like me your norm will win every time. What needs to be done is approach change indirectly then your habit can claim it for itself. Your habits are like your manager at work that keeps stealing your ideas. If you know that they do this then you can steer them to what you want. Habits are the same.

You need to show your habit the benefit of the change so that your habit can steal your idea.

Do you ever get out of breathe when you do a particular activity, mine was walking up hill. I’d see a hill and get ready for the incline; hunker down and lean into the hill – this is absolutely stupid, it is making the incline even more onerous.

Being an engineer I have an understanding about levers and weights, leaning forward I need more energy to move myself than if I was upright therefore getting ready for a hill by leaning forward is a waste of effort and pretty stupid.

The other thing I noticed I was doing was making sure I lifted my knees higher than normal and putting more energy than I needed into moving my legs. Unless it is a very steep incline the height you normally lift your feet is enough to go up a hill.

I’ve almost forgot, not only did a get ready by leaning into the hill, I’d hold my breathe for some strange reason. I’d be breathless in a few steps.

Obviously something needs to change, being breathless did have it’s benefits I’d have to stop walking. I find working on breathing can be a difficult experiment as I get drawn into breathing, my view breathing should just happen so I avoid working on my breathing.

Going back to basics always works for me. whether it is a hill, or any other activity.

Get to know your environment, notice what you are touching, your feet on the ground,  your skin touching your clothes, the sense of the wind passing your skin, the heat of the sun. Be there with your environment. Allow yourself to receive whatever you can see, don’t go searching and focusing on anything. Keep refreshing these thoughts, these thought indirectly quieten down my breathing and magically I become more upright without any effort – remember in the beginning of this blog people tightened their back to become erect, there is no need for this, it happens naturally when you allow it to happen. Now I can carry on with my walk up hill. whenever the need to hunker down to get up the hill appears I can either stop for a moment to get to know my environment and refresh the thought on every step.  At some point awhile back my walking up hill habit changed from hunkering down to noticing the environment, walking up hill is now a breeze.

Perhaps you could experiment or find an Alexander Technique Teacher to help you to rediscover your 6 year old self again.

Being 6 again is fantastic.

Happy experimenting.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When things are getting to you


You know I’ve never really liked dancing, just too many rules to obey, though I enjoy watching people dance. I mentioned this in my last blog Bliss!

To my surprise I’m enjoying learning to dance the Tango, I’m learning Argentine Tango which from what I understand is a social dance without many rules. What happens between my partner and myself is our business as long as we move counter clockwise around the dance floor. I have steps to learn or what I feel I’m learning are the various options my partner and I have when we make a step together.

You can to do a little experiment in a moment. The experiment is ‘when is the moment when your step is committed, i.e. you can’t pause and change your mind?”

Please take a few steps and experiment.

What did you notice?

I noticed that when my gait is wide, which is my norm, I committed my step very early, probably before I moved my foot. Closing my gait helped but I also support most of my weight in my heels, when I moved my weight forward I could remain in balance on my standing foot for a lot longer, I can move my other foot forward, pause and move it back again. My decision to transfer my weight to my other foot is now when my foot is in its new position.

Please take a few steps with a closer gait and you weight forward, now experiment.

What did you notice?

Each time I experiment with this, things quieten down and I become more aware of my surroundings, noticing when I can pause and change direction, I’ve found with practice, pausing and changing can happen at any moment.

This is a great skill for dancing, I also see it as a great skill for those moments when things are getting to you. Next time you have one of those moments, stand up, close your gait so there is 2-4 cms between your feet, move your balance to the soles of your feet and wait until you want to move, take a small step and tease yourself whether you are going to finish the step or not. You will commit to something wait until the intension rises, commit and move to your new step or you may have committed to returned to where you were. Have fun experimenting, if you live in the Forest of Dean you could come along and learn the Tango, or search for somewhere else. feet 013

You can practice these steps wherever you are, even on the beach!

Do let me know how you get on!

 

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.

 

Reach for the sky


I sometimes, it used to be almost all the time, get those nagging voices in my head that doubt what I am doing or about to do.

  • Do you?

I find they stop me from doing things I want to do; they just stop me in my tracks.

  • Do you get stuck as well?

What works best for me is to notice where I am, notice my feet, notice my head, notice space then these voices disappear and I can get on with things.

If you want to know more I’ve written a booklet how I quieten down my inner voices, It’s yours for free, just click on this link and it is yours.

Let’s quieten our inner voices together and reach for the sky!

 

 

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.