Tag Archives: trying

The crucible of failure


How many crucibles have you been in through your life?

I’ve been in loads, probably more than I can remember!

One of the big ones when I joined the Royal Navy, the UK had a lot of ships then.

I arrived at the new entry training establishment HMS Fisgard, where I started my training to become an artificer. An artificer is someone who can fix anything on a ship; as you may guess that’s a lot of knowledge to know. There were different branches, for weapons, electronics, aircraft, and for me marine engineering. I’m digressing.

We were driven though the main gates to the parade ground, we were all asked to disembark, straight into the crucible, the orders started, get in line, names where called and we put into groups, then the welcome and then off to our mess blocks. My crucible was getting filled with strange orders, new rules, new faces. If they were like me, they were being very brave but scared inside, these thoughts were also added to the crucible. We met our seniors, they had either been in the Navy of a whole 4 or 8 months, they felt so senior, they deserved respect, another thought for the crucible.

After the first scary night sleeping in a room with 30 or 40 others, time for breakfast, I didn’t have a uniform yet and still long hair, ridicule in the dining hall, more for the crucible. Time for a haircut, I liked my long hair, of all the things that changed in those first few weeks, the first haircut was the most shocking, it wasn’t a US Marine cut, it was short but not that short, it was succumbing to someone else’s rules, it felt like an assault on my personality; more for the crucible. Then I had to put a uniform on, more for the crucible.

As you may guess many things were added to my new entry crucible, as with all crucibles the ingredients are heated to extreme temperatures to form something else from the raw ingredients. If it all goes well something uniform will be produced, sometimes it doesn’t work and its discarded. My entry started with 273 young men, after the first year there was only 150 left, the others had decided to leave and pursue another life.

Perhaps another crucible stopped me from quitting, the one that contained the shame and ridicule of failure. I pushed on for 22 years, I was successful in the navy but never felt I really belonged there, that fear of failure crucible just kept me going.

These crucibles that I’m describing are the pivotal points in my life that make me what I am now. If I could revisit them now I guess I would do things differently. In many of these crucibles I did things that I didn’t really want to do, I went with the flow for an easy life so I didn’t get noticed, some never felt right. Unfortunately many need to do things they know are wrong in their societal rules just to survive another day, luckily I have never needed to do anything like that. Hopefully you haven’t either.

I’m now careful what I put in my crucible, in fact I don’t know if I have one at the moment. I guess they just happen without anyone noticing, it’s only on reflection that they can be identified at some pivotal point in your life.

My plan now is to take each moment at a time and be happy to say no if I don’t like or want to do something, be content that I don’t know what is going to happen but have a strong intention to enjoy life, have fun and let the crucible of failure go.

What’s your plan?

 

 

 

 

Falsely Cheerly


Do you ever go into a meeting, get to your desk, visit a friend or relation and really don’t want to be there with them. For some reason you feel that you must push on and show a positive view but deep inside you are screaming NO, NO, NO, I don’t want be here or see these people, well you are being falsely cheerly.

Falsely cheerly was said by a colleague today to describe how they sometimes felt. Being falsely cheerly is hard work, it uses a lot of energy, energy that could be used elsewhere.

Unfortunately being falsely cheerly is the norm for many people, it has its side effects, not just being tiring, effects that effect your energy levels, you may have pain somewhere or even headaches. People will probably see you as the happy go-getter person in your community because that is what you want to present, that is what you want to be. Being the go-getter is you mode of operation, people like you for this but they don’t see you screaming inside.

There is an another way to be the go-getter, it takes courage, you will need to change, it will be scary but you will be a far better go-getter that will get the respect from your community, they will be pleased to see you and you will be happy, that’s very happy with your life.

You need to discover how to become the centre of your own life, nicely balanced in all your dimensions, especially in time and space. My previous blogs detail about time and space. When you are centred you will find your own love, that is the ability to love yourself unconditionally, then you can offer your love unconditionally to others.

If you want to be the go-getter in your community then all you have to do is have the intention of being that go-getter, projecting your thoughts from your balanced and centred self. You will find things will be easier and pleasant unintentional things just happen.

Those of you who think the Alexander Technique is about posture you are wrong, Alexander Technique is about thinking.

If you want know more then please join my mailing list.

 

 

 

You can have alacrity in everything you do


Understanding the Alexander Technique can be quite difficult, even Alexander Technique teachers have difficulty in explaining what it is, I find I look in their eyes and try to guess what they want to hear, the answer is normally garbled and unauthentic. It’s best not to look in to their eyes and guess what they want to hear, I’m not a mind reader

I could go on about psychophysical unity and looking into your eyes, your eyes may start to roll with a touch of glazing over. Alexander technique, psychophysical unity that’s enough big words, good day, perhaps could you explain another day or never.

So what is your elevator speech?

I don’t have one, I have many but I only want one, ugh.

The problem with elevator speeches is that they must work every time, or is it they must work when I want them to work, oh I don’t know, I have so much trying in me to force people to listen and understand, my authenticity disappears and I create an annoying noise until the elevator door opens and they can escape.

If you are still reading here’s todays elevator speech.

I guide you in making a paradigm shift in your thinking so that you become authentic and true to yourself. You still do the same things as you have always done, now with clarity and alacrity.

Did you try to escape the elevator or do you want to know more?

I hope it was the later.

Anyway add a comment to the blog to let me know either way; I’m looking forward to your comments.

John

 

 

9 steps to help you breathe


We take breathing for granted unless you have a breathing condition, then every breath is watched carefully.

If I was going to do some strenuous activity I would get my breathing ready for it.

Ugh

Funnily enough I can now take my breathing for granted because I’ve relearnt to trust my breathing and I know it won’t let me down.

Trust is the key!

This took me a long time from watching my every breath to allowing my breath to happen all on its own.

I didn’t do this on my own, I got help from several people – all Alexander Technique Teachers, now I’m an Alexander Technique teacher so I can now help you as well.

The secret of relearning anything is to notice what you have learnt to do it another way. In the case of breathing, I had many beliefs that were different to how my body actually works.

1 – Body mapping

This is relearning where your body parts are really are they are and not where you think they are.

2 – Understanding that you are probably wrong about some things

Again this is relearning but I found this difficult to grasp because it worked but it is wrong. I knew how my diaphragm moved but I was wrong, I was thinking the wrong way round.

3 – Being non-judgmental

Especially for point 2 Understanding that you are probably wrong about somethings, I just got plain angry and very judgmental – being judgmental you are just stuck, simple because you aren’t listening to sense. This took me a while to grasp, there are no half measures, you have the choice of being judgemental or non-judgmental – there’s nothing in the middle.

4 – Noticing things

Noticing muscular tension, what muscular activity do you notice when you become judgmental, is it

  • butterflies
  • shoulders flinch
  • tightening of your jaw
  • a frown
  • you scratch your favourite scratch

There are plenty more.

What’s yours, when you think about breathing?

5 – Doing something different

If you are getting anxious about your breath perhaps breath out a little before you breath in. Your lungs are probably full of air already and the air many be a little stale, I found when I was anxious I just wanted to cram in as much air as possible so I was ready for that moment that never came. So a breathe out before a breathe in then you will get some fresh air.

6 – Breathe in through your nose

There’s lots of benefits,

  • You warm the air before it gets to your lungs
  • You filter the air
  • You smell the air for odours, these could be dangers or good things
  • I get a sense of calming when I breath in though my nose, do you?

7 – Take your time

Take your time to change anything, if you force a change then there will be some judgment somewhere and this judgment will trip you up.

8 – Practice, Practice, Practice

There’s no such thing as practice, life is real, so treat every moment as a real moment.

9 – Seek help

Seek help to get you on your journey to natural breathing.

Why not contact me?

Stop looking and it will appear


I’ve been studying Alexander’s discovery for a few years now, I’ve visited several schools and I have gotten a different definition of his discovery at each school. This is confusing and frustrating, each school appproaches the same thing from a different direction, but why.

The answer is quite simple, the discovery is very hard to verbalise so different metaphors and physical activities are used to explain this discovery. Some will work for me but not for you. I’ve found that if you go with someone’s definition and it doesn’t suit you will be led down a blind ally, you will pick up useful information on the way but you won’t discover the discovery. I know this as I did it. It’s frustrating, it’s time wasting, made me feel like a failure.

It is some of these but much more, learning that something isn’t for me is a very powerful learning point. I can choose to stop and change direction. I’m glad I did, then the thoughts that I should have stopped earlier arise, perhaps I should but was I in a position to notice that a change was available, probably not, I was thinking that the end of my journey was near and if I stuck with it, it would be over and then get on with the next part of my life.

So what is this discovery, well it’s a rediscovery of youthfulness. If you ever meet an Alexander Teacher, guess their age then add ten years to your guess and you will be pretty close, this discovery lets you look younger and physically fitter than the average for your age group especially as you get older.

So this discovery is the elixir of youth, perhaps it is but it is also the holy grail. If you seek it you won’t find it as it is with you all the time, stop looking and it will appear. The various teaching methods are just the way how someone discovered this discovery and they are telling their way to the discovery.

I’ve written around this discovery for many blogs, perhaps I didn’t know what it really is as I was trying to decipher somebody’s metaphor and it wasn’t working for me.

Unfortunately I’m going to state what the discovery is to me, this may not work for you.

This discovery is about me, and for you, to be the most important person in your universe, being conscious of the environment about you, that’s in the room and then beyond, as far as you can imagine. This thought will only last a moment, this moment can not be keeped or reused, a new thought needs to be generated and then again and again so there is a contiguous flow of thoughts without dwelling on the past nor trying to figure out the future.

This takes some practice, then applying it all the time is some feat. So these thoughts swing in and out. When they are needed I increase their frequency.

The next part is that we are continuously communicating with each other and animals. My dogs can read my mind and to some extent I can read theirs. Have you ever known who is calling you without looking at the caller display, or tried to call someone but they are engaged because they are calling you. This is our natural communications, this communication can be enhanced when we are near to each other and enhanced again by touch. Our communication drastically improves if we don’t dwell on the past nor figuring out the future.

The person we are closest to is ourself, we can communicate to ourselves as exceptionally well, we have the best communication within ourselves but we just don’t listen; we can tell ourselves so much to keep ourselves well and healthy but why don’t we listen?

The crazy thing these thoughts just feel normal


Working, working, working, I never seem to stop, I don’t want to stop because I’m enjoying my life. What I do like to do is writing something that I don’t know the end to. Just like this blog. I used to really worry when I was at school as I was told that I needed to know what I was going to write before I started writing. I didn’t write much in case I wasn’t very good, because if I didn’t know where the story was leading now could it be good! This stifled my creativity, I didn’t do very well with English at school as I developed a belief that I was rubbish at writing and reading, so I was rubbish.

Our beliefs we developed from people in power, like teachers, form what we are going to be, I gravitated to science, maths and engineering because I had a belief at school that there was only one precise answer to a question in these topics, If I knew the answers to the questions then I would get full marks, I did, well most of the time.

I’ve just thought of two directions this blog, is going to be either “pleasing people” or “how people influence others”; they are really both the same but from the opposite ends of the spectrum, so I’ll see where I get.

We learn by copying and being guided by others, this can be either a good or bad thing.  The person teaching may not know what is being learnt was received in a good or bad way. Take my writing all those years ago, I don’t know what was said or taught but I developed  a fear of writing, I feared criticism, possibly ridicule. It wasn’t nice in the English class.

Being observant when working with people is very important as it is very easy to lose direction when random thoughts fly in off tangent and whatever you were doing can result in bedlam, you may be able to laugh it off  or not.

Wouldn’t it be easier to keep focused and keep with the job!

Keeping focused seems like hard work, it sound like juggling for a long time, maintaining and forcing you intension. I would say this way is false, forced and will eventually fail.

How about being observant about yourself, notice where you are, what you are doing, what mood you are in, being observant about your thoughts about other people or situations other than this moment, are you fretting about something, do ideas keep popping into your thoughts. If you have a busy mind on other things then you are not giving the person you are with the service or attention they deserve. I can only guess my English teacher probably had some of these thoughts.

There distracting thoughts can mess up your day, weeks months and years, I developed these thoughts sometime at school, the fear of not being good enough sort of sums these thoughts up. The crazy thing these thoughts just feel normal, they are because they were my habits, something I developed during my life.

I’ve now learnt to notice these thoughts and now put them to one side when they pop up, I ask myself if I need then at this moment and then decide if I want to use these thoughts, I’ve never said yes to them yet. It takes practice, constant practice, practice when I’m writing this blog, practice when cooking a meal, practice at anytime.

If you want to know what I do to notice these thoughts, I’ve got hints and tips that could help you via my mailing list. See you there .

 

 

 

 

 

The world is your oyster


In my previous blog A dog with a new bone I wrote about the shield I held in front of me, nobody saw it whether I was hold up or thrown it on the floor, my shield was pretty pointless, I know that now but for the past decade or so I thought it was very important to use, it protected me. In reality it stopped me from doing things I wanted, stopped me saying things I wanted to say, stifled my creativity and most important of all it stopped me from being the real me.

Have you ever thought that I could do that but decided not to because:

  • They won’t like what I say
  • It’s too hard for me to do
  • It’s out of my comfort zone
  • They don’t respect me so it’s not worth doing.

I have and now I regret things I haven’t done.

The thing is, these are your thoughts about whatever the topic is, no one else’s, they don’t know what you are thinking as you don’t know what they are thinking. These thoughts have been my shield, they prevent me from moving on.

What I did was experiment with these thoughts and turn the thoughts around by making them positive, for example ‘they will like what I say’ and get on and speak, notice their reaction, I’ve been pleasantly surprised, no bad remarks and thanks for honestly.

I’d got in the way of my own authenticity.

There is a little more to this, I NEEDED TO BE TRUTHFUL TO MYSELF, if I didn’t like what I was saying, it didn’t work; people know authenticity and they know the opposite.

What I’ve learnt and written in previous blogs is that these skills take time and determination to be developed, there is a shortcut, find someone to help you, I found the Alexander Technique and have since trained to teach the technique.

I learnt that the very first thing is to notice negative emotional and physical reactions to activities, once a reaction is noticed then the change can happen, perhaps turn the thought around to ‘they will like what I say’ then notice what happens. To start to notice things you need to know where you are in time and space, if you are too busy worrying about something else or hurting from physical pain then it will be very difficult to start noticing other things, I can help with this, part of the many hours of training over 3 years is to show people how to rediscover their capacity to be here in this very moment and also to enjoy their own space. From this point the world is your oyster.

Tricks and Techniques


A few weeks ago I wrote a blog about how simple Alexander’s discovery is, well it is but if you are like me it is hard to understand its simplicity. It is in all of us if you are willing to find it and let it blossom.

Simply stop getting in the way of yourself and you will find yourself, that’s more difficult than you think hence why you need the likes of me to help you on your journey, show you the tricks and techniques that have helped me over the past few years in my training to teach his discovery.

So why is it so difficult and why has it taken me so long to grasp it all. If it’s so simple, why so long.

Not allowing myself to change is the simple answer, not allowing my habits to change that were stopping my elegance to shine.

It’s the elegance of freedom that is available in all of us but knowing this is a completely different thing to being this. My difficulty was transitioning my understanding to actually allowing myself to be my elegance.

The trick is knowing where you are in any single moment of time and being comfortable in not knowing what is going to happen with your intension to achieve something.

This is scary!

But when I have this trick working, I have a clarity, a very clear clarity, of what is happening as I move towards my intension and time seems to slow down and I can enjoy the clarity and elegance of the activity in undertaking.

These tricks and techniques are available to everyone, you just need to slow down your busy lives and become aware of what you are doing, noticing your reaction to things and people and challenge yourself to think that there could be another way, an easier way, an elegant way to approach these things and people.

Once you start noticing yourself and your reactions then you may be ready to learn these tricks and techniques.

These tricks and techniques are like the one’s you used many years ago when you learnt to ride a bike. Stabilisers, first two then one, then the one raised up. A hand supporting you under your saddle, then all of a sudden no stabilisers or helping hand and you are off on your own, slowly your skills improve with practice and plenty of hours.

How did that happen?

You learnt to trust in your own abilities in riding a bike. The tricks and techniques are only aids to get where you want to go; ride a bike, sing, swim, type or being content and pain free. The learning process needs to fit with the student and not the teacher, the teacher needs plenty of tricks in their back pocket that could help their students. I’ve collected a few over my years of training. But remember these tricks and techniques are only an aid to move you on to the next step, some will be lost on the way, some you will keep, and some may come back to help you later.

If you live in or near the Forest of Dean you may want to learn Alexander’s discovery face to face or you can alway subscribe to my mailing list

 

 

Happy 10th Birthday


Tonight I thought it would write another blog but Facebook notifications and texts keep pinging. I do a report on Monday evenings so the plan was do the report and then blog.

Those pings just distracted me. I see this all the time, someones phone make a noise and the only thing them can do is to respond to their phone, it doesn’t matter what was going on in the real world next to them the phone is the most important thing in this moment in the world.

It’s scary how we have suddenly changed in only ten year (it’s the smart phones tenth birthday today) to be slaves of our smart phone.

Why is it much more interesting somewhere else than just here and now?

Could we be missing something somewhere?

Do we crave for distraction from the real world?

I don’t know your answer, so one of mine, I think I have a few but this one is tonights. Simple it is procrastination, a way of avoiding things by getting involved with a distraction. I’m good at it, I even blog to procrastinate.

By the way I’ve just had a flurry of pinging and I’m still writing, they’ll have to wait until the end of this blog and I’m chuffed with myself. This is the power of noticing my response to a ping, stopping my habit of going to see who has messaged me but instead deciding that they can wait until I’m free and ready to see what’s going on. Of course I could have decided to go and look who is messaging me, then I have another decision to either respond or not (just been pinged again, oh the temptation).

That comes on to another point, it’s all well and good to notice and decide to do the “good” thing every-time, if you continually do this, life does become evangelical and boring.  I know, I’ve done it. As all things in life, living should be fun if it’s any other way you’re trying to hard, lighten up and have fun. So perhaps go with the temptation but only with a conscious choice.

Happy 10th birthday

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I pushed on until I saw sense


I tried too hard yesterday, I decided to write a blog and got to preachy, then got stuck with it and couldn’t work out where it was leading me. I deliberately wrote ‘it’ as I normally let my thoughts lead my thinking. Yesterday I was steering my thoughts and not letting my thoughts develop organically.

So why was I like that? I was in a good mood and wanted to write something, I wanted to use my mood and energy to write something. Unfortunately I had an idea but I forced and constrained the route to get a conclusion I wanted.

I wanted and wanted and wanted, I was pushy with myself, I forced the journey.

These are dangerous thoughts and generally fail, if they are a success they are a success at the cost of something else.

So I stopped writing and left it alone, it’s not the first blog I’ve abandoned, there’s a few but this is the first one I know why I’ve abandoned it.

Life is like writing a blog, skills are developed and honed and used in various ways. There’s a goal to do something and a plan to reach the goal. Unfortunately things get in the way and the plan needs to change to meet these interruptions, and maybe the goal needs to be modified as well. Not everything is achievable or is it?

How about having an intention instead of a goal, it might make it easier and less onerous. How about breaking the plan into smaller achievable bits then it might be less of a challenge. The other important thing is to keep checking that things are going the way you want them to go. This is the bit that you can fool yourself, I did yesterday. I pushed on regardless of my thoughts, I wasn’t comfortable in what I was writing and I wanted to stop but I also pushed on until I saw sense.

It’s difficult to stop, stopping is a failure, wasting time and effort, money in some cases. It’s an embarrassment, it’s lots of negative things.

It’s difficult to stop, stopping is a success, it saves time, effort and money, things are cut short because they were going to fail. To notice when to stop you need to be in a position to notice, I wrote about this the other day and it’s so so simple to understand.

So if you authentically sense that isn’t going well, stop and choose another way. You don’t always have to stop and start for scratch but sometimes this is for the best. I’ll leave yesterdays blog alone. The stopping got me to think differently and this blog was created. For more of my blogs, have look at my web site and if you want to hear about my blogs as they are written you can subscribe to my mailing list.