Tag Archives: non-doing

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.

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You, me and the dog makes three


To be content with life, there are at least two ways of doing this.

The first I’ve tried for many years, it seems to work, what do you think?

Here’s the plan, sit back observe everyone and get an idea how to please them. Work out a whole lot of what if’s and maybe’s and set the plan in motion, then things don’t seem to go to plan, so add a few more what if’s and maybe’s. I’ve done this for years, it can be effective but very tiring trying to second guess and please folk.

It works to a point but I didn’t put myself in place I should be, I’ve made myself a slave to everyone and everything else. If I’m at the service first to everyone and myself second I’m not looking after myself and I’ll eventually break.

The second method, you may have guessed, is to:

1.Put myself first,  not in a selfish way but self-full,

  • I care about myself,
  • I’m content with myself,
  • I’m conscious of what I do
  • I’m efficacious in what I do

2. However this isn’t really enough on its own, these on their own are just being selfish, bothers need to be included.

  • I’m observant of my friends and colleagues
  • I accept the support off my friends and colleagues
  • I trust my friends and colleagues

3. However this is still not enough, I interact with equipment and tools, to be inclusive these need to be considered.

  • I understand how to use the tools
  • I’m skilled at using the tools
  • I’m conscious of my use when a use the tools

4. However this is still not enough, I interact with other people and the environment, to be fully inclusive they need to be considered as well.

  • I recognise that I live with other people and the environment
  • I recognise the other people and the environment support me both directly and indirectly
  • I can accept the support of other people and the environment openly

There is a catch to all this, each of the above points need to be in balance with each other, if one has a greater pull then the others will suffer and contentment will suffer.

Here’s an example, I’m a singer with an orchestra, (if only)

  • Point 1 is about myself
  • Point 2 is about the members of the orchestra
  • Point 3 is about my body and voice
  • Point 4 is about the audience and the theatre.

Take a moment or a few moments each day to consider who and what are in your points and in your thoughts.

The set point of Constructive Conscious Control


I’ve been thinking about homeostasis of constructive conscious control and how the set point changes over time.

My thinking is based on Alexander’s discovery of inhibition, direction and intent; through his discovery with eduction, encouragement and empowerment we can improve our constructive conscious control.

Several years ago I knew nothing about this discovery and it took me a while to cotton on to it’s wonderful benefits it brings; simply put, it makes me happy with my life and the choices I make.

But how? – By raising my awareness of my habits in activity, analysing what I’ve been doing and experimenting to see if there is an easier way.

You may have read my previous blog My Story that I’ve been in fright for years. When your in fright as I was/am some muscles shorten and stay there holding on for dear life, in my case for years, other muscles just atrophy through lack of use. It takes time to release from years of fright, Alexander’s discovery certainly helped me. Before I discovered the Alexander Technique my knowledge of constructive conscious control was minimal and set point (the mid point of a swinging pendulum) was low, though my Alexander Technique lessons and then becoming a student teacher, my knowledge of constructive conscious control has vastly increased hence my set point of constructive conscious control has increased. Through this time I’ve had ups and downs as the set point of knowledge of constructive conscious control improved. These ups and downs I see as the end points of a swinging pendulum or of the homeostasis. When an end point is reached something needs to happen, for example, for a central heating boiler it would either switch on or off to maintain the selected temperature. For constructive conscious control it’s inhibit, review why you’ve hit the limit, choose what action to take and then carry on with the intention, be happy if the action that was taken was wrong, if it’s wrong you’ve earned a learning point. This is true for both limits the good and bad, the happy and sad, whatever the ying and yang is.

Over the past months, I’ve certainly had my share of hitting both limits, it’s always good to come back to the set point to review options. I’ve found the set point is a safe comfortable place to be but being there too long may make me complacent so I need to keep the pendulum swinging to keep my set point moving in the right direction to improve my constructive conscious control.

 

 

Loving on a knife edge


This blog was going to be Living on a knife edge but I like the typo!

I guess loving is more apt to what I’m about to write. I’ve been discovering what is being present. I’ve made guesses and forced myself into being present, that’s just cheating and I was just fooling myself though I didn’t know at the time, I thought I was doing it right; ‘doing’ is the problem word in that statement. You can’t do being present, or forcing and cajoling, presence just won’t play. I image that the relaxation brigade think presence is with your eyes shut and allowing your muscles to relax, they are far from the point; it’s pointless lying still with your eyes shut, there’s not much you can do but lie still with your eyes shut.

The real being present is being present in activity, I’d need my  eyes open for that.

Being present in activity is like having your stars aligned, having all your duck in a row. Difficult but not impossible, the ducks that help are;

  • having your head nicely balanced on the spine
  • your spine being supported by your pelvis
  • and your pelvis being support by the ground
    • either via you legs and feet or via the chair you’re sitting on

All this balancing and supporting is with freedom and no pain

That’s the physical bit, now for the hard bit, you need to be present in time and space as well. Allow any anxiety or stress to go and a sense of expansion into the space around you.

Simple.

Now you are present in activity, moving around and applying yourself to tasks become easy and free, time slows and you have time to think before acting. It’s a lovely place to be. It’s a place of ying and yang, it’s loving on a knife edge.

It may be simple but it has taken me several years of practice using Alexanders discovery just to be there on the knife edge for a few minutes.

If you ever fancy a challenge find an Alexander Teacher, warning there will be tears on the way even for grown men. It’s not for the faint-hearted.

 

Down to one stabiliser


I’ve nearly completed my second year of Alexander Technique Teacher training, one more week to go, and time for the summer break.

It sounds like I’m looking forward to the break, I am but not. I think I need some time to reflect and absorb my training and personal changes over the past year. I need some rest as well. What I’ll miss is the contact and encouragement my teachers have given me over the past year.

I’m also looking forward to going to Limerick in a few weeks where I’ll meet loads of Alexander Teachers, if you want to meet and work together, please contact me.

Alexander Technique Teacher Training, is very much like learning to ride a bike. You can’t ride a bike unless you can, your need practice and hours and hours of practice to refine the art of riding a bike, just the same as the Alexander Technique.

If you just theorize about riding a bike you may become an expert in the observation of bike riding but if you try to ride a bike with just theory you will probably have a few falls and give up.

My learning journey has now past the theorizing stage, I finally realised a few weeks ago, that to understand the technique I have to be the technique; there’s no shortcuts, I was dearly hoping there was one somewhere!

I hung on there waiting for the shortcut until there was nowhere else to go, then I jumped or rather collapsed into a heap, confused but then I was free to move on.

At about this time my first stabiliser was removed, I’ve learnt in detail the various activities we practice on our own and working with other student and teachers however I still need one stabiliser and sometimes my teachers help to keep me balanced and to stop me falling off.

‘balanced’ in this context I mean; maintaining my thoughts and directions for myself and managing the volume of my thoughts and directions so others can sense them when needed.

Hopefully very soon I’ll be stabiliser free, then I can start learning the Alexander Technique for proper!

My Hand, My Hands


In the last two years my hands have changed shape, one of the many changes that have taken place within my body during my Alexander Technique Teacher Training. I’ve also become more bendy, that’s not my bones becoming flexible but my flex and extension range in my joints have increased; not bad for someone nearing state pensionable age.
If nothing else, this is a great reason for practicing the Alexander Technique.
But there is much more.
My hands, my hands, are far more sensing that they have ever been. It’s a skill, sensation that is available to all. It just needs time, patience and practicing my mind-body connection and just allowing the senses to work without interruption. The last two years I’ve been trying too hard to be good, it just doesn’t work, it just blocks senses, tightens inappropriate muscles, just doesn’t allow thing to be things.

Discovering that nothing is to be done, we have the capacity and skill within us, all takes time to realise and accept. The realisation is easy to grasp, it’s the acceptance that nothing is to be done is very difficult and even elusive; acceptance flies around like a butterfly, the more you try to catch it the more it moves, being still and waiting it may land near you and you can observe it’s beauty, Try to catch it again and it’s off.

My hands now have three roles;

  • normal working hands, writing, chopping vegetables, washing, lifting things
  • listening hands, just being quiet and observing by touch, there’s an awful lot of information to pick up and I guess my listening will improve with more practice
  • directing hands, giving my hands an intension with just a thought to move, with my hands on somebody and they will react to the intension and they will, say, stand up from sitting on a chair. For a newby this is just fantastic.

My perpetual pupil, my wife, gave me a back handed compliment by saying one day, will you please stop directing when you hold my hand. I didn’t know she could tell, i was so pleased 🙂

I should have stopped


This week I’ve had and still do have a stinking cold, enough to stay at home and miss a few days at work, but not enough to miss my Alexander Teacher Training; how wrong was I!

On Friday I decided to attend but just receive any helping hands to be worked on, it was great, my symptoms dissipated, I guess the cold was pulling me down and the teachers and fellow students work got my directions going up again, I thought I was over the cold.

So yesterday, time for school again, I forgot Friday’s decision to receive but instead worked on my teachers and a couple students. I was like working with brain full of cottonwool; AT and a brain full of cottonwool just don’t mix.

I should have stopped working with my fellow students

I should have stopped working with my teachers

I should have stopped going to school for the day

I should have staying in bed!

The moral to the tale is to listen to my body and not push on regardless it just doesn’t work.

Bed

My groundhog day


My 2nd February has probably lasted as long as Phil Connors, the synopsis IMDb > Groundhog Day (1993) > Synopsis recons Phil’s was around 10 years; i may be still be in my Groundhog Day loop how knows.

My 6am call wasn’t  Sonny & Cher singing “I got you babe” but me knocking on my Alexander teachers door for another lesson, the lessons are now a blur but they seemed to be repetitive initially as I was learning to stop, though I was probably told to stop, I didn’t take the instructions in, neither did I stop. Rather like Phil’s suicide attempts then his 6am alarm again/ my knocking on the door again and again.

I then realised that I had to do something about something, it was time to understand something but what?

Stopping seemed to be a good idea, but I only paused really, I know that now but I thought I was really stopping. There’s a bit difference between stopping and pausing, when I stop I have a choice to do something else, with a pause I was just waiting to continue the same old thing, just like pausing a video.

Choices, choices, choices, is the name of the game: once you understand that is what life is about then you can live. Watching your favourite soap in TV is not a choice, it’s a habit thats stealing your time.

Understanding about choices isn’t the same as doing the choices, you need to be the choices.

Phil’s went through this realisation, finding out what Rita liked and loved and he became the expert in them; Jazz piano, French, ice sculpturing, but Rita still didn’t want him. He gave up with trying and became himself, and in response became the most beloved man in town, and in the morning it’s the 3rd of February and Rita is by his side planning to live together.

I had my first realisation of non-doing and stopping a few weeks ago, the difficulty is doing the non-doing, its so hard not to do and allow. Not doing and allowing is such a wonderful place to be in

The moral of the movie is to be honest and love yourself and then people will respond to you and may even love you back. Rather like the Alexander Technique.

I thought a was OK but little did I know


Sometime years ago my Alexander Teacher gave me a questionnaire to fill in, I think it went of the STAT for analysis. One of the question was about why you choose the Alexander Technique. I replied about something about that it improved my wellbeing.

Improving my wellbeing was the truth but not the full truth, it was the only truth I could see. The real reason was well hidden in layers of protection and denial. I enjoyed the calm, peace and space I received during each lesson.

Looking back, I must have been a difficult student but I kept going back for more lessons.

On reflection, I was a bull in a china shop, I just wanted to plough on no matter what, I couldn’t stop as I would be found out that I was a fraud, I didn’t deserve the life my wife and I have built from scratch, something bad would happen if I stopped, I must keep going. My Alexander lessons were a 40 minute sanctuary where I could hide and be safe.

When the questionnaire appeared I was in a state of self loathing though successful in my work and my personal relationships. I had difficulty in breathing apart from the 40 minutes a week. I recon I was a mess.

Perhaps improving my wellbeing was right, when I started of this blog the plan was to get around to saying, “I use the Alexander Technique to manage my asthma”. Asthma was just a subset of my problems and at the time wasn’t accessable during a lesson. I seem to remember the majority of lessons were about stopping and non-doing but I didn’t really do the non-doing, I just paused for 40 minutes. I must have gotten something out of the lessons as I’m now doing my teacher training. It’s from what I know now I can reflect on the past. Stopping and non-doing have been a real challenge for me, i’m a doing sort of person, I like to get my back into things.

This non-doing stuff, can’t I just bypass it get on with things?

Changing from a doer to a non-doer takes time, for me a few years. I’m on the brink of becoming a non-doer, hence this flurry of blogs; I’ve been holding in for years and I want to let it out now. Being a non-doer gives me time to reflect and get things done, a real oxymoron. Having time to reflect gives time to plan and do with efficiency, effectively and efficaciously just as FM envisaged. And whoever or whatever was chasing me has given up the chase.