This month, Freedom In Motion Alexander Technique turned three. This occasion led me to reflect on not only how grateful I am for all of the wonderful people I've had the chance to learn with over the past three years, but also how much my perspective on the work has changed. Here are three chestnuts I've garnered from my first few years of teaching.
1. A Playful Attitude is the Key to Self Discovery
If you want to get serious about change, get light with yourself. Trying hard to change tends to create tension and reinforce pre-existing patterns--the remarkable thing about play is that it allows us the possibility to step outside of ourselves with curiosity and non-judgement and try on something new without the pressure of analyzing it. I have learned not to go anywhere deep with a student until a sense of play is established--play is, in essence, both courage and safety. If you can say 'that was fun' rather than 'that was right', you are working in a useful way.
2. You Can't Control Release
I often say one of the paradoxes of this work is that it attracts clients who are searching for more control of some aspect of their lives--and instead challenges them to give control up. The fact is, you can't force release, and trying to let go of tension or habits while remaining firmly in the drivers seat is an irreconcilable contradiction. This work requires a remarkable amount of trust in yourself and in the universe to conspire with you to keep you safe and thrive when stepping outside of your box. In the end, you can only create the best circumstances for release to occur and try to get out of its way.
3. There is No Difference Between Technical and Personal Change
One of the key foundations of the Alexander Technique is what F.M. Alexander termed 'Psycho-physical Unity'--the idea that there is nothing mental, physical, or spiritual that is not reflected in both of the other aspects equally. When I first started teaching, I would often see two types of students: those who were seeking the changing of something technical, and those were seeking deep personal growth. I enjoyed both types, and as I have gone on I have found that they have merged: often somebody who comes for a technical issue (back pain, musicianship) end up growing tremendously personally alongside the shifting of that issue, and those who come seeking connection and growth end up creating technical structures that allow that depth to thrive. In the end, its all the same thing!
Thoughts on what is going on in the work and the world right now. Many posts to come.