Tag Archives: #oktosay

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?

Advertisements

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.

We sometimes think too much. 


You may have noticed that many of my blogs are about noticing our habits, more precisely the habits that stop you doing the thing you really want to do, this thing may be  your ambition; it may be singing solo in front of a huge audience, skydiving, running a marathon, reading aloud without stuttering or overcoming a phobia of some kind. Achieving your ambition is firstly to overcome your doubt.

You may have guessed what the first step is; noticing what happens when you think about your ambition. I guess it may feel overwhelming else you would have achieved it  already.  Again notice the thought, probably it was a thoughts of; “it’s impossible’, “I can’t work out the first step,” ” I don’t know where to start”, with all theses thoughts there will be some muscular tension somewhere; mine are butterflies in my stomach. You’ll have something somewhere, sometimes you need to be quiet to notice.

When I sense my butterflies it is time to act, I don’t think, “Oh those butterflies again I’m going to fail again” that was my old thought. I use my butterflies as a moment to pause and do something different from what I habitually want to do; this a hard to achieve as thoughts of “don’t be silly, that can’t possibly work” and other self sabotaging thoughts appear. The harder I try to do something different the louder these thoughts shout out. I’ve failed at this step many times and still do however there is a way to silence these thoughts instantly. It is being here in this very moment and understanding that this very moment can’t be held on to, you need to let go of every moment as you pass through it.

My current thinking is about balancing gravity, space and time; being in balance with all three. We are constantly working with gravity whether we are sitting, standing, lying down, in activity and when we are asleep, it never goes away. We use gravity all the time.   We sometimes sabotage ourselves and think gravity is against us, for one, gravity can’t think, it is our own thinking that is doing the sabotaging.

We sometimes think too much.

When I notice my butterflies, it is a prompt to think about how I am with gravity, I’m probably giving into gravity and letting my body crumble to the ground, even if it’s ever slight. I reverse my thoughts by pausing, noticing how I’m touching the ground is it though a chair or am I standing, then allow my legs and torso to move so my head and body are in balance with gravity. For me this has quietening effect on my thinking.

My butterflies are also a prompt to notice if I’m compressing myself, maybe I want to hide for some reason, and making myself small I might disappear or not be noticed. Again I pause for a moment and invite each molecule in my body to take up its own space and then expand my space into the room I’m in, then out to the local area and on and on into space, this also effects my thinking this time into space, now I’m in balance with gravity and space.

My butterflies are also a prompt to notice if I’m thinking into the future and worrying out the future. When I’m worrying or being anxious I have a sense of projecting my thoughts just in front of me, I pause again and have the same thoughts but this time I have the thought just behind my eyes, where my centre of gravity is. I find this quietens down my worry to nothing, now I’m in balance with gravity, space and time.

There is a catch to this, if you try to hold onto the sensation of being in balance with gravity, space and time you will get stuck and tighten up and loss the freedom, space and the time will return to anxiety. These thoughts only last for a moment, they need to be let go of as soon as they are thought and rethought again and let go again. With practice you will get quicker and quicker and then non-verbal. Then you can take the first steps to achieve your ambition.

 

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.

If you want to know more then please sign up for my mailing list

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.

If you are interested in more why not join my mailing list.

 

 

 

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.

If you want to know more you could join my mailing list to learn more

Getting caught out


I’ve just got back from my walk with our dogs, put the kettle on and my wife said, “I suppose your are going to write then” I was thinking it but I didn’t know I was so predictable.

I was tempted not to write as I’d been caught out, my wife noticed one of my habits before me. I expect she knows more of my habits than she lets on.

Habits sometimes have bad press, they get blamed for things, they can put me and you into danger, they can be annoying. However without habits;

  • I wouldn’t be writing this blog as I wouldn’t know where the key on the key board are,
  • I wouldn’t be able to read or write
  • I wouldn’t be able to walk to the computer
  • I wouldn’t be able to understand what is being said

I fact without habits I wouldn’t be able to function as a human being.

Habits aren’t so bad after all, but I guess if you are like me you also have good and bad habits.

The knack is recognising which habit is good and bad.

Unfortunately putting habits in the good or bad buckets just doesn’t work.

I created all my habits for a purpose, as did you. My assumption is that my habits were developed to help me to survive at a particular time of my life, the habit was successful so it is kept it to be used again at some point.

My thoughts on habits are that they are a series of shortcuts that can be automated to make life a little easier. If you search around you’ll find volumes of books describing what others think about habits.

The habit may remain but the situation and environment when it was useful will have disappeared or changed, the habit is stuck in the past and is no longer relevant. We just keep using these habits over and over again, I’ve a few, probably loads; writing after a walk, is one I’ve just been told about.

It is very hard to notice your own habits; biting nails, a nervous scratch, a stutter, lower back pain, anxiety, writing after a walk, … .

Noticing is the first step in observing your our habits, sometimes you may need a prompt from someone, but what next? If the habit is stopping you getting on with your life then perhaps you may need some help so you can learn some simple techniques to allow you to fulfil you dreams. If you may want to know more then why not join my mailing list and I’ll let you into some secrets.

 

 

I’ll have a glass of wine instead


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

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

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

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

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

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

When do we procrastinate?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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