Tag Archives: #headstogether

Slippy leaves and ice


It’s early December and we’re on a break near the top of Scotland, we’re at Eagle Brae near Inverness. A fantastic place to stay if you want a quiet remote break, the accommodation is fabulous, it is a collection of wooden cabins, not ordinary cabins, beautiful Canadian log cabins shipped to Scotland, there’s everything in the cabin to have a self sufficient break, it is warm, it was too warm so we turned the underfloor heating down. We have the wood-burning stove on this morning, it has gotten very windy with rain outside, Storm Caroline is here today with possible snow tomorrow, it is December and I’m in northern Scotland. The flames in the stove has made the cabin very snuggly, just what we need for a very stormy, wet day.

What is your thought when I mention snow, rain and cold winds, do you have a physical reaction to these thoughts, perhaps rolling your shoulders forward and rubbing your hands or perhaps scrunching your neck down and lifting your shoulders. Generally making yourself small to reduce your body surface area; these are all natural reactions to the cold but when you are in the cold. Do you or I really need to do all this when you are warm in your room and me warm in my log cabin? I answer is no, we are pre-empting something, we are pre-empting being outside in the rain and wind and also being cold. If we met the cold with what we are wearing now it would probably be advisable to scrunch up to reduce our body surface area.

We pre-empt a lot of things as we move though our day, wondering about what someone might say or do, rehearsing for situations that may never happen. All of these thoughts will produce some muscular action, remember when you thought of the cold. When we think of something we want to be prepared for, we generally tighten muscles or hold muscles so they don’t move. In the case of thinking of going out in the cold you may shrug and shorten various muscles and then hold these muscles.

Held muscles are fine if you aren’t going to do something, if you have plans to do something, held muscles may prevent or inhibit you from doing it with ease. For example, it’s cold outside, you put enough warm clothes on, you’re warm and protected from the cold but you still have the reaction to shrug down, there’s no need for this reaction as your clothes are protecting you from the cold, this reaction may be putting you at risk, your muscles are being held for something that you have already taken action to protect against; you’re wearing enough warm clothes.

With held muscles your body isn’t as free as it could be, so your pre-emptive thoughts may be putting you in danger. When it is cold, wet, in Scotland and in the winter, there may be rotting leaves turning to mulch, something to slip on, there could also be ice, again something else to slip on, having held muscles may be a hindrance. Perhaps another possibility is to notice if you are pulling down into a shrug and then invite a lightness over your body so that your head gentle balances on top of your spine; notice your feet and increase the thought of lightness from your toes to the top of your head.

When you have built up this thought, throw it away and start the thought again. The reason to throw the thought away is if you linger over a thought it will quickly goes into the past – time and tide waits for no man – refreshing brings the thought back to now.

It’s great to have this lightness that you may be experiencing, you need to be grounded as well, notice where you touch the ground, notice and throw away and notice again. These thoughts should help you to release some muscles, many others will be resistant, time and practicing lightness and being grounded will make these muscles less resistant.

Being aware of yourself and then extending your awareness to your immediate environment, you then have options when you encounter the mulched leaves or ice.

Stay safe this winter by being aware of yourself and your environment.

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When depression, anxiety and asthma disappeared!


As I have written earlier, I didn’t know I was depressed and anxious until I noticed, you may think that is pretty obvious, it is, but not when I was in the deep of it. It is hard to listen to others who may suggest or demand that I’m are depressed, how can that be possible, I’m just living my life as I’ve always done, I’ve just more to manage just now!

Salbutamol is just what I need to help me through the day, asthma is something that had just popped up; it’s nothing to do with divorce, separation from my children, trying to find a new job, trying to build my life up again. Trying to be stoic works for a while until exhaustion takes over, then stoicism crumbles into feelings of worthlessness and desperation, luckily I have friends and family to support me and I made it through those dark, dark days which at the moment are just fleeting images; it is only when someone reminds me of a holiday or meeting someone that I can remember those moments. I’ve locked my memories of those times deeply way in the depths of my consciousness, perhaps this is to protect me.

I did slip into the need for alcohol for a few years, this was easy as I’d had plenty of practice when I was in the navy, bars around the world were always welcoming and I believe it was a necessity to survive the stress of servicing at sea. I still drink but drink when I want not when alcohol dictates. I’m now such a lightweight when I go out.

What changed my decline was the discovery that I was in charge of my life, my destiny and I don’t need to rely on others, this was really hard to achieve, it is not the understanding that is hard, I found that relatively easy but it was the actual task of being in charge of myself.

I accidentally discovered what I needed to do through working with various people, some didn’t directly help, though they helped indirectly, in fact on reflection I think there was only two who have helped me directly; I know who they are, you may find out later.

I’ve written accidentally as I wasn’t my intention to discover that it was me who is in change of my destiny, I was content where I was. Hopefully I can accidentally change your view on life.

I’ve written many times the secret of my change, firstly it is honesty, authenticity with an openness to change. I know I’m not getting everything right, in fact I’m ecstatic that I get things wrong. If I have the openness to accept my errors then I can do something else next time, instead of what I did wrong last time.

The second part is that I’m seeking to be in balance, again I know I’m out of balance most of the time so I need to make adjustments, I need to keep moving. Balance has two meaning to me, there are probably more to discover. The easy one is being in balance with gravity, I understand this to mean using the appropriate muscles to be in balance, being efficacious, efficient and effective in how I move.

The second balance is being in balance with time, not worrying about the future or reminiscing about the past; there are times and places for those thoughts but not all the time.

Being in balance with time by being in the present, if a thought of doubt appears let it go. Being in balance with time is what really changed my life, depression, anxiety and asthma disappeared. They do reappear occasionally, I’ve now learnt how to keep then quiet.

I believe to relieve yourself of your doubts and worries the fundamental thought you need is being in balance in all the dimensions, the paradigms, you understand. Balancing with gravity and time are my first two paradigms, there may be more, I don’t know.

If you believe that you are the only one who can make the change for yourself but are stuck then perhaps you might what to read more of what I’m writing.

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Depression hides the years 


Sometimes it is hard to be a man, there is a lot of expectation from others.

  • Your reliable
  • The stalwart of …
  • The bread winner
  • Stoic
  • Trustworthy

All these things and more eventually get men down, they just want to be themselves but don’t know how to be themselves.

From a very early age they have learnt to be men;

  • they don’t cry
  • they are tough
  • nothing hurts them
  • they club together doing manly things

This is what separates men from women!

However all this trying to be something they are not eventually gets to much and something snaps. Then,

  • Divorce
  • Family separation
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Physical Illness because of the above
  • Alienation from the manly clubs

All of a sudden the things that us men have been trying to achieve are now valueless, we are valueless, we are middle-aged with all our dreams broken. In the UK this is the point many men commit suicide; their dreams are shattered and there is nothing to live for.

I’ve survived and I’ve been through all this, it’s not nice but luckily I can’t remember much as depression hides the years.

One of the things that has helped my, especially in the last few years is that I am good enough as I am. A hard thing to grasp when self hatred is everywhere, please believe me, you are good enough. So you are good enough, so you don’t need a try.

I’ve discovered trying is such a no no, We are brought up to try at everything.

  • Trying to be reliable
  • Trying to be a stalwart
  • Trying to be the bread winner
  • Trying to be stoic
  • Trying to be trustworthy.

We can be all these things and more without trying. Life is easier without trying and life is fun, people treat you differently when you don’t try, they can see your authentic self without sifting though all the layers of trying. They smile at you, they are comfortable near your space, life is just happier.

Breaking the myths about men would be great, so men

  • can cry
  • are tough but also tender
  • things do hurt them
  • can club together doing manly and other things
  • can be their authentic selves

Changing the habit of trying is extremely difficult as we are deeply conditioned to try. It takes time but is achievable, I did it so it’s not impossible. Start at the small things, notice something that you do that annoys you, something that won’t change the world but you will be pleased as its one less thing that annoys you.

Notice when it happens and don’t do anything about it, just notice and observe. Notice and observe a few times, you should get better at noticing it and you may notice the urge before you do it. When you notice the urge perhaps sometimes do something different or don’t follow urge by doing it, you have given yourself choices , make the most appropriate one each time, you may want it scratch the itch or not. You now have options.

With practice you should be able to notice more and make more choices in what you want to do. As I wrote this takes time and you may discover that you are the one in control of your own life, you can make your life happy or sad, vengeful or forgiving, You have the choice.

This is my journey, if you want to know my, then please join my mailing list to find out more.

It is not just men who have these problems, women do as well.

Balanced Consciousness


It’s getting closer to Christmas, this year I’m looking forward to it, I normally want to ignore it, shy away from it. It’s just too commercialised, I still believe it is too commercialised but this year I’m looking forward to it.

The past years I’ve been waiting for resolutions to happen, I’ve been waiting for someone else to make these resolutions happen; things have changed over this year, I’ve changed. I’ve discovered that my resolutions are up to me, if I want them to happen it is solely up to me to discover ways to achieve my resolutions, this stuff has been lingering in my life for far to long.

I’m empowered and I have the authority to make these things happen: pussyfooting around just delays the things and they may never happen, I want these things to happen so I better get on with these things. I know what they are and I guess you have things you want to resolve and aren’t to eager to disclose.

What has changed this year is that I have my authority to do what I want and when, of course things that are within the law.

What has happened is that I have a constant sense of calm and if calm wanders a little I have the tools for my calm to return. I’ve had years of self doubt, not being good enough, being quiet, being in the middle so I don’t get noticed, you get the idea.

I’ve only achieved this by undertaking some very serious and difficult training in learning how to do nothing and to be me.  That is what I understand the Alexander Technique to be; learning how to remove the layers of worry and doubt that I’ve collected offer the years, I’ve been around for plenty of years so I’ve got a lot of worries.

What I mean by ‘to do nothing’ isn’t quite true, I still need to drive, walk, eat, work, sleep, etc, now I do all those things with less effort as I’m more conscious in what i’m doing.

Noticing annoying habits, the big one for me at the moment is getting ready for something, going into that holding position and locking my muscles at the moment they should be free to engage in an activity. Do you ever notice getting ready to catch a ball, your hands involuntary go forward and freeze waiting to receive the ball. I see this and preempting and it probably will increase the likelihood of you not catching the ball or even more seriously hurting yourself, perhaps pulling a muscle.

The simple act of catching a ball can be represented as how you respond to life, if you are tense and worried when responding to a particular situation like one of my resolutions I want to resolve things may not go to well. However if you are calm and conscious then making the decision will come from a point of freedom which will allow  freedom to respond more appropriately to the situation.

For this freedom to happen you need to be in balance, not just with gravity but also balanced consciousness. Being conscious for your surroundings, what is happening within you whilst responding to the situation and steering the situation for your satisfactory conclusion. Perhaps the definition of the Alexander Technique is a method to discover freedom and balance.

I’ve written a lot of words here but words will never beat the experience of what I’m trying to write about, it is amazing that why I keep going on about it; go seek me out or an Alexander Technique Teacher in your locality.

Something snaps and anxiety appears


I’ve noticed that I’m drawn to people with anxiety, perhaps that is because I’ve been there, I may be still there, I now feel so much better and thats because I’ve found my here and now. Anxious thoughts can’t get me if I’m conscoiusly present, being in the here and now.

I’ve discovered that there is trying to be in the here and now and being in the here and now. They are totally different, one works for a time and is tiring, the other effortless and  continuously works.

Trying is tiring and being is effortless.

I’ve done loads of trying, it is hard work and develops muscular pain. Being is some much better.

Trying is desperately seeking the end goal at the detriment of the journey to get there.

Being is enjoying journey and noticing how the journey changes to get to your goal, sometimes the goal posts change as you discover what you are looking for wasn’t really for you.

When you finally notice that yo have anxiety, there may be years of not noticing, life was just getting more and more awkward, then something snaps and anxiety appears.

When the snap happened for me I immediately wanted to try and get rid of it, I tried and tried which compounded the anxiety, It wasn’t until very recently that I could be free of anxiety by trying to be in the here and now, it worked for a few hours then I tired and anxiety created back. I’d recommend trying to be in the here and now if only for a respite and the knowledge that you can control your anxiety. This could be a stepping stone to being free of anxiety. This takes practice and more practice, practice of noticing muscular tension and releasing the tension, when you start you will notice large areas of muscular tension and with practice you’ll notice the slight tightening of a muscle.

The muscular activity I’m referring to, is a tightening when something uncomfortable triggers anxiety. Noticing your reactions to a stimulus, and having techniques in improving your presence will mitigate your anxiety.

It has worked for me so why not you.

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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.

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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

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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.

Humans think too much


My last few blogs have been about the here and now and the habits that just love to hold me back from being in the here and now. You could say this is the mindfulness part of Alexander’s discovery, what makes Alexander’s discovery different to mindfulness is his discovery works on the whole psychophysical self; you can’t have one or the other. Splitting ourselves into parts, whatever the parts are, we lose the point of the self.

We are more than the sum of the parts.

What I’ve started to understand is that the less I try to do the better I can do the thing I was trying to do. Letting go of the need to achieve and I can easily achieve what ever it was doing.

When letting go using Alexanders discovery there’s more clarity of purpose, the intention I’ve written about is intense.

Alexanders discovery is about the head, neck and back relationship, how the head leads and the rest of your body follows, it’s as simple as that. Simple for fish, tigers, lions, dogs, cats, hamsters and maybe all other species to achieve naturally but for humans it seems  difficult to grasp.

Humans think too much.

For humans to move freely we need to let go of unnecessary and obstructive thoughts. In many cases it is these unnecessary and obstructive thoughts that give you pain somewhere in your body. Letting go whilst allowing your head lead so that my body can follow is a wonderful calming thought, it contains the mindfulness part ‘letting go’ with Alexanders discovery ‘head body relationship’; the psychophysical self.

Give it a go, gentle rock on your chair if you are sitting, can you notice a change in the quality of movement. Try walking allowing your head to lead. Be safe. Did you notice a quietness and a change in you movement. Perhaps you couldn’t or didn’t want to move because what I asked is so different to your normal habits. Whatever happens, it is observing what has happened psychophysically, observing without judgement.

Somethings are hard to spot by yourself even when watching yourself in a mirror or video, on many occasions it takes the trained observation senses of an Alexander Technique teacher to notice and offer  nonjudgmental observation.

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The power of intention


Someone asked me it if was back on track with my writing, I answered “well, yes and no. I’ll explain later.”

Both yes and no are correct but needed sometime to think.

Yes, I’m back with my writing but no, not the way I used to write, having the need to write for someone else, forcing myself to write. A few months ago you may remember I promised myself to write every day, the promise petered out after a few days, just like New Years resolutions, I set myself an impossible task to achieve with just willpower to be successful, unfortunately willpower will eventually run out of steam.

I was trying too hard to achieve my promise, when trying I lose my authenticity, you may do as well.  Then things don’t feel right, then willpower fades quickly, then followed by the promise.

So what’s different now?

I’ve changed my focus, I write for myself and you are welcomed to read what I write. I’ve eventually started to understand what looking after myself means. It’s being open with myself from a point of safety, observing and reacting to thing in a nonjudgmental way. This point of safety I find myself quiet and content. It’s a point where time and space converge. I know where I am physically and I’m not thinking ahead in time; I’m in the here and now. I’ve mentioned this point of safety in my last two blogs, though I described it in different ways each time.

From my point of safety I can choose to write or not to write, I can choose or not to do anything. That sounds a bit wishy washy, it is; I also need to add some energy to the decision. The energy needs to be authentic and honest, this is the intention I mentioned in my previous blogs. With this intention you can decide to do or not to do but if it’s authentic and honest for that moment it’s the right decision. And you can change your mind if the authenticity or honesty changes. These decision can be as small or as large as you want. Having the intention to travel to work may be a large intention, you choose which road to travel, a smaller intention, but you discover a problem with the road so you pause for a moment and choose another route. Life is a continual list of intentions that continually change thought your life.

Did you ever think years ago you would be doing what you do now?

I didn’t.

I now write because I want to write with the power of intention and I’m happy to pause to allow my thoughts to generate what I write. When I started this blog I only had the intension to write something, I didn’t know what the outcome was and I was content for the content to evolve to what is it is now.

Get writing with freedom.