Tag Archives: personal view

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.

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When the dog howls


Have you ever walked down a road or in the woods and a dog comes out from somewhere looking menacing and barking. Perhaps they are worried about you, they don’t understand your motives, they may sense your fear so they feel they have the upper hand so they become threatening. I’m only guessing what the dog is thinking but it is responding to its immediate environment and you are in the immediate environment.

Could you make the immediate environment feel safer for the dog and hence yourself, my assumption is that you can. My dogs pick up what I’m thinking and respond appropriately,  other dogs surely must do the same. If you are walking around worrying about things or not being aware of your environment, dogs may see you as an easy target for their aggression.

So the easy answer is to stop worrying about things and being unaware of your environment if you are likely to met a dog when you are out walking. I’m being a bit flippant with that thought but I think you can change your thinking, here’s an idea to practice.

Breaking these habits is a tough nut to crack but is achievable. The answer is in You, me and the dog makes three. Take your time about it, to achieve good results the work and time has to be done. Using the ideas in that blog I would add the thought of being observant whilst I’m walking. When it is safe to do so, I change how I am looking; instead of seeking to see things I just allow light into my eyes, this softens my vision, the muscles of my eyes release and my vision changes, my depth of field increases, colours become more intense and things on the periphery of my vision appear to move as I walk, rather like watching a 3D movie. Surprisingly my hearing becomes more crisp with more clarity but also it appears the local environment seems to quite down, there seems to be more presence around me.

With my softer vision, walking seems to be easy. With lightness in my walking, the worries of yesterday and the anxiety of the future seems to melt away. It’s quite blissful and serene. My dogs also seem to sense the serenity, though they are ranging around me in and out of the trees and undergrowth they seem to be more at easy and just enjoying themselves.

So perhaps when you next notice you are tense or worried about something, soften your eyes and enjoy the freedom that it brings. Perhaps you’ll notice all the dogs that meet you have happy faces and very waggy tails.

Dogs are just humans too, they have feeling but are often mistreated. With love and encouragement they can become mans’ best friend again.

This blog was written for Stefanie a fellow Alexander Technique Teacher.

 

10 things that may indicate you have anxiety


10 things that might indicate that you have anxiety in your life. These are just my thoughts and I’m sure somewhere someone has done an experiment or survey to find these indicators

  1. Worried to go back to work after a holiday
  2. Worried that people won’t like you
  3. Constantly second guessing so that you can smooth the way ahead
  4. Trying too hard
  5. Trying to be someone who you aren’t
  6. Not being truthful to yourself
  7. Loving others before yourself
  8. Giving in to others when you really don’t want too
  9. Saying “OK”or “I’m fine” to avoid what you are really feeling
  10. Worrying about things that are beyond your control.

There must be more as they only took me a minute or so the write. If your notice that you have these thought regularly then perhaps you should read You, me and the dog makes three.

These are natural reactions to life and are habits that you have developed to protect yourself, perhaps it is time to review how you respond to the stimulus in your life.

The first part to manage these reactions is to stop and observe yourself, do you really need to respond that way, perhaps there’s another way.

I know I sometimes is my triggers but when I notice I stop and choose something different.

I’ll explain the something different on another blog.

Happy stopping

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 first 5 steps to managing asthma


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I probably do but manage it without medication, so do I really do have asthma?

I don’t really know but I do know that when I get stresses or anxious I notice my chest tightening and I have a shortness of breathe.

Is that asthma, is that like your asthma?  My doctor seems to think so!

I never thought of having asthma, I really didn’t want it; are you like that?

If you’re interested this is what I’ve learnt about managing asthma, this took me a few years, it’s a slow process with many hour practice, keep taking the inhalers.

1. Stop and notice when your asthma rises

Just let it happen as it normally does and take you medication as you normally do, but notice what your thoughts were when you notice your asthma rising.

  • Was something bothering you?
  • Were you about to do something you didn’t want to do?
  • Was something getting awkward?

For the first few times this is probably enough. Remember not to rush, noticing is important, perhaps write a diary of what you were feeling, you may be able to notice a pattern.

2. Do something different

Hopefully you have noticed a pattern; something has bothered you, you have reacted which resulted in your asthma rising. Perhaps you could react differently, not getting vexed or angry, what about having the opposite reaction or just notice you’re being bothered and not reacting, staying neutral. Maybe its worth an experiment to see what happens, remember your inhaler is always available so use it when you need it.

As with step 1, this will take time and you will get it wrong, remember getting thing wrong is a learning experience that you can learn from.

Remember this takes time so don’t rush or put yourself in danger.

3. What are you thinking

Where are you when your asthma rises? This is a time question.

Was it just the thought of doing something stressful. Perhaps you notice that you were thinking into the future, instead could you think about now instead. The future may be less stressful if you think about what is happening now.

This does take practice, notice your surroundings, become interested in something you can  see, hear, smell or touch, just enjoy being here now. Did you notice a change in your asthma rising. Don’t rush anything, and be safe.

4. Let the ground support you

I noticed with my asthma attacks I don’t really know where I was, sort of floating around in a panic and not feeling to well. Perhaps ask yourself if the ground is supporting you, it could be a chair or bed, the thought is that I can feel my weight being supported from the ground, feel nice and heavy.

5. Let my head be light on top of my spine

Now that you can feel your weight being support by the ground perhaps you could have the opposite thought that my head is free to move on top of my neck. This will activate your postural reflex, you may notice a lightness in yourself and your breathing may become a little easier. Remember this all times time and you need to keep working thought the steps starting at 1.

Only practice these steps when it is save to do so and always use your medicine as prescribed.

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99 Balloons well only 87 really


A great weekend, sailing on Saturday and then this morning I left to go to the Bristol Ballon Fiesta, up at 4 am, a drive to get there for the gates opening at 5.30 and I wasn’t the only one there! My intention was to take some photos, in the end just short of 400 shots. The weather was perfect for photos, not so much for the balloonists, I think they said 87 balloons took to the skies this morning, they didn’t go very far as there was little wind, so the hung around, ideal for photos.

I got me thinking as I clicked away, how conscious was I taking photos, do I need to be that conscious as I’ve taken tens of thousands of photos before, I know how to use my camera, which setting to set, which lens to use. For framing the camera, I’ve a good eye, so I know what to take, but for my own personal use, I did check myself out quite a few times; is my neck free, etc, etc. How I was bring my camera to my eye?

I guess some others would do anything to get the picture.

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As with everything, it’s the time spent training, there’s a number of hours, in the thousands when you may become proficient at your chosen skill, be it being an olympian, photographer or just plain you. You will become acclaimed at anything you spend enough time at. We generally think of the good things, Mo Farar just getting a Gold at Rio, Bradley Wiggins on his bike with more Gold. The UK does punch over its weight when it comes to sport.

We can also be acclaimed at other things that are not seen as good, but you have been very good at spending time at. There are many things but anxiety and stress come to mind, it’s the constant rehearsal of the what might happen and making sure it does happen the way you want it, for me it was in a negative ways, practice makes perfect, it certainly does when it comes to anxiety and stress. Both are self made conditions but may have been invoked my others to keep you under control; that’s little dark but for some its life.

Choosing freedom seems to be my thought over the past week or so, a hard thing to achieve when in a bad place but giving yourself time and space to be in the here and now. When your in the here and now it a safe place to be, as you can see what’s going on without the troubles of the future, a good place to practice being free.

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If you can’t find some friends to cuddle up to at a balloon fiesta perhaps a few lessons with an Alexander Technique teacher could be the safe place be, Alexander Technique teachers aren’t trained in enquiring about personal or psychological issues, so they won’t ask. The strength in the Alexander Technique is inviting you to be more conscious in your everyday live, teaching you new tools so that you can have conscious choices.

Go find an Alexander Technique teacher and experience and live a different life.IMG_0868.jpg

The heart of the matter


An Alexander Technique Teacher once told me that I need to look after myself first before I can look after anyone else. I replied “surely that’s just being selfish!”, “no it’s being self-full”they replied.

It took me a while to believe this, being selfish I was told many years ago was a bad thing and you should care about others before yourself. Being selfish and caring about others are just the ends of a scale; neither is good for you and the people in your community. If you are selfish you will take from the caring and if you care you will give much to the selfish. Being self-full is in the middle of this scale you neither give or take too much, just the appropriate amount of giving and receiving.

I believe being self-full is the heart of the matter for life including the Alexander Technique. Being self-full you will look after yourself first so that you have the appropriate and purposeful energy for others. Have you ever worked with someone and felt absolutely wasted after, well you where either being selfish or giving to much – holding back and not allowing what needs to be allowed or pushing too much as you want to give them a good experience instead of allowing what needs to be allowed.

The art is to allow what they need without holding back or pushing, letting them have the Opportunity for freedom with your guidance.

This all sounds rather grand and idealistic, I’m work in progress but I know my intension; my offering is to guide whoever in their discover of their own freedom.

If you don’t live near me, find an Alexander Technique Teacher in your area and they will help you to find your freedom.

 

 

 

 

 

Blocked Paths


In the part of the forest where I regularly walk, one of the paths is blocked by a tree, the tree probably blew over in a gale. The paths in the forest had been there for a very long time and have been established by animals and people choosing to walk a similar route. This tree is a particularly beautiful part of the forest, a beech canopy with the sun breaking through, in early May before the bracken appears fields of bluebells that disappear in to the distance.  I walk this path quite a lot, a time to reflect, my dogs to range around having a good time. I’ve been stepping over tree for several months, refusing to walk around it as many others do. Why do I step over the tree trunk, is it because I can, is it because I don’t want it to get in the way of my journey; in the Alexander Technique world this behaviour could be construed as end-gaining, just pushing on regardless and a disregard to my safety.

Perhaps it is safer to walk around but why should I. Perhaps I could use another path in the forest and avoid the fallen tree. I want to enjoy my walk and this is a beautiful part of the forest so I’ve chosen to walk on this path. A conscious decision to face the blocked path as the benefits outweigh the difficulty.

The tree trunk is easy to stride over with little risk but somethings in life may be more risky. Taking time to consider and make a conscious decision to act, sometimes to take that risk, sometimes not, the choice is yours but you can always stop and reconsider.

Perhaps the stopping and reconsidering needs a little more explanation; you can only reconsider if you know what you are doing in the first place, a skill that I’ve been developing for sometime and will be developing for sometime more probably a lifetime of development. Knowing what I’m doing during every moment in my life is taxing and near impossible but tuning up my awareness when it is needed, for example making those important conscious decisions. This awareness takes time to practice and put into operation, for me it’s been years. It’s difficult, upsetting, emotional, fantastic, freeing. Peeling back the blocked paths that stop me from thinking freely, from me being me. It’s a real challenge but worth it.

In the Alexander Technique world this is inhibition, the inhibition of those thoughts and actions that prevent me being really me. Every thought manifests itself onto some form of  physical activity, this is where the Alexander Technique comes into its own, by noticing this physical activity when it happens I can ask myself what was the thought, this takes practice, a lot of practice, I’m the same as you, full of habits that I’m not aware of. The quickest and easiest way to notice these habits it to work with an Alexander Teacher, as was are trained to notice these physical responses and they will be able to help you. For example, if you have asthma you may notice at times of stress you will have greater need of you medication, I certainly was. Over time and working with my Alexander Teacher I learnt to notice the trigger events and instigate a countermeasure to the trigger, early on it didn’t always worked, but slowly I got better at noticing the trigger earlier and earlier and I now control these triggers without medication.

The countermeasure is very powerful and simple, it is to inhibit the trigger by being present, in the here and now, quietening the what if’s, stop worrying about the future. I’ve got little control of the future especially if it involves other people. There’s not many mind readers around and I’m definitely not one.

The Alexander Technique is not just about posture as may people think, it is about thinking and the physical activity from that thought.

 

 

Making considered choices


There’s something about blogging I quite like, I don’t know what is really is but it’s enjoyable, in the last blog I decided to write about what ever come to me whilst I was writing, I’m going to de the same again.

I do have a plan, well sort of, something about me and my journey with the Alexander Technique, the past couple of blogs have been about how I’m a specialist in end-gaining, I’ve had plenty of years to develop these skills. At the Bristol Alexander School I’ve read Alexanders four books and others, it was difficult to read and understand especially as I was reticent to fully engage with the technique whilst learning to be a teacher, not a very good admission, the thing is I didn’t know I was being like this, I was being normal; I mentioned this earlier in Touching reality. However recently I’ve dipped into CCCI and read a few pages about mind wandering, he gets the point across and I enjoyed and understood it a lot more this time, I guess this is the classic view of you can only understand something when your ready to understand it, something I’ve never really understood until recently. I thought I was always ready to understand and learn, I guess I was, well to a limit. If my learning hit my boundary I would stop and pretend to carry on, rather like Bryon Katie’s ‘judge your neighbour worksheet’, I’ve read her book and she say’s if you have any issues with anyone including yourself complete a worksheet, read it and then throw it away. I haven’t done a worksheet yet, that’s beyond my boundary, I might discover something unexpected, something I don’t like, something that may upset the dynamics of my boundaries hence something to avoid.

I’ve been experimenting with my boundaries recently or should they be my walls, noticing what I’m thinking and how the thoughts manifest physically, for example what makes me anxious, if I catch the thought early, I ask myself:

  • why am I having this thought, probably a response to some stimuli
  • why does this thought attach itself to a habit
  • why does the habit have a particular physical response
  • was the physical response helpful in this moment
  • can I soften the physical response?

If I miss my thoughts but notice my physical response:

  • was the physical response helpful in this moment
  • can I soften the physical response?

The answers to the questions above really don’t matter,the important act is to recognise that I can have these questions and they stimulate a response. If I have a response I can work with it. Working with a response using the Alexander Technique is pretty simple on the outset but quickly becomes complex as I will be asking myself to change, if you are anything like me that is hard. The Alexander principle I use is the 5 point plan, have a search on the internet for a fully definition and it’s in chapter 1 (page 46) of the The Use of the Self by FM Alexander.

My take on the 5 Point plan is

  • inhibit – i.e notice whats going on
  • work out what I want to do
  • maintain my intent to do, get on with the activity, if I notice I’m not following my intent, stop and back to step 1
  • check if I really want to do what I planned, if not, back to step 1

I’ve only 4 points to the 5 point plan and if you read the fully script I’ve also a lot of words missing.

Alexander based his plan around speaking but as you my guess, my thoughts are that it is about life. This plan can be used anywhere and at any time, in fact I believe if has an infinite timeframe sometimes in picoseconds, second, minutes and possibly years, the choice is mine and yours. The art of life is to realise that I’m the centre of my universe and you’re the centre of your universe, from our centres, that’s our real centres, we can make considered choices and also observe ourselves dispassionately and others dispassionately and allow your love to evolve for ourselves and then on to others.

Touching reality


It’s Saturday and I’m not at AT teacher training, well it is the summer break so this is my first free Saturday for quite a few weeks, today I’ve managed to get the lawns back under control: my life seems to have been put on hold without I’ve been training. Did I put my life on hold or was it a conscious or unconscious choice that I’m just doing AT trying so nothing else mattered.

(I’ve decided to write this blog with no intension of what the topic or conclusion will be, an experiment to observe where my thinking goes.)

I think it was my habitual behavoiur to focus on the most important and ignore the rest, some my say end-gaining. End-gaining to train as an Alexander Technique Teacher, SURELY NOT! Where was my unified field of awareness and my presence, surely I could apply these to include the rest of my life whilst training. I guess many of us just get focused on what they think is important and ignore the rest, the rest is just a sideline that will interrupt what is really important.

Or is it?

I think the sideline is very important it’s the bit lost when you round things down, remove the n from XxX+n when you differentiate (or is it integrate) to make 2X. It’s what makes us human. Being too focused is bad for your health, focusing and trying to fix things by doing things that have always been done just makes things even more worse: surely doing the thing that made it worse in the first place and then keep on repeating it is not a good idea, I know, I’ve been rather good doing the same thing over and over again thinking that things will change, eventually the penny drops or someone shouts loud enough for me to understand that I need to change. The latest shout was (there wasn’t any shouting, I was just told over and over again) that I wasn’t ready to go it alone and teach the Alexander Technique. I did believe it but somewhere deep in my thoughts is still didn’t believe it. I didn’t know how to stop and change these thoughts, there was a belief that all will be fine by graduation day (that was last week), my belief was squashed when reality struck. Thinking about it now, I need that, I needed to meet reality so that I knew my believes were unfounded. Without this reality I would have just carried on in my dream.

Reflecting on this, though I really love the training and the changes I’ve made over the past three years I haven’t been 100% honest with the training and the Alexander Technique, I’ve kept it at an arms length, a habit that I’ve recently discovered, the habit has recurred in many parts of my life maybe the whole of my life once I developed it. It’s based on the fear of criticism; if I don’t commit fully then I can explain that I failed because I wasn’t fully committed. This has worked really well for most of my life but unfortunately the Alexander Technique only demands 100% of myself, nothing else will do. I only wish that I had learnt this earlier in my training but then I wouldn’t have learnt it as I needed to touch reality. For those Alexander Technique teachers reading this, I did have a thought of going though the basic principles and the five point plan overtly but I recon most of these principles are hidden in this blog.