‘People do not decide their futures, they decide their habits and their habits decide their futures’, said FM Alexander.
Information and knowledge are useful. Putting these into action is even more useful. Committing to doing this action one, three, or ten times a day – then you’ll really start to notice the benefits.
As many of you know, one of Alexander’s major discoveries about us mammals is that the relationship between the head and spine govern the coordination of the rest of us. Yes – all of us! Physical, mental, emotional, spiritual – we don’t separate – its all one thing – our Self.
Model of a right hip joint
“I am free to receive help”
I’ve been reminded to finish my story about the Alexander Technique Teacher with a sore hip, who didn’t want to ask for help.
It would seem that I ‘forgot’ to tell you yesterday. Hmm I think I got hijacked by myself for not wanting to be too transparent about my failure to ask and fell into a little shaft of shame.
But since you are one of the 200 or so people who receive my emails each day and are accompanying me through this lockdown period… I’ll be honest with you and come clean.
So I have a dodgy left hip – perhaps genetic, certainly my mum experienced pain in this joint and the surrounding muscles and soft tissue. I’ve known this for a long time, it is one of my pre-existing conditions before I even came across the Alexander work. And I have asked for help from many people over the years, and it improves in leaps and trickles.
So this is a different story as it was my right hip area that was hurting!
I experienced sharp pains when getting out of the car, whilst sitting cross legged, whilst getting up from the floor.
I have some stories which play around and around in my head and sometimes these are so quiet I don’t hear the words, or notice the tune – but my body responds with a certain feeling tone.
- “I shouldn’t have joint problems – I am an Alexander Technique Teacher!”
- “I should be able to sort this out myself.”
- “How embarrassing, I’ll be judged as a bad teacher if I ask a colleague for help”
- “My pupils will stop coming if they find out I am not perfect”
- etc etc
Do you have a voice like this?
I think we all do, unless we were somehow exclusively held and received with warmth and welcome in every moment of our life. Our Default Mode Network is what runs along in the background of our brain whenever we aren’t consciously choosing our thoughts – this part takes over.
This is useful and tries to make sense of our selves and how to make us fit into our life and daily experiences. It is the part which reviews the things we wish we’d remembered to do. I wish I had remembered to write this story yesterday – this thought points to how much I value contribution, honour my word and learning. The DMN is the part of our brain which also wishes we hadn’t said that daft thing to a friend – which points to our desire for Care of others.
Now I have been working with the voice and tone and language of my critical inner voice for some time now, with the help of Sarah Peyton and her book Your Resonant Self. So I know, that there is a gem hidden in what the voice says, even if they say it in my somewhat harsh mother-tongue of blame and criticism.
“dear Lucy – Of course you think like this. Would you love to be seen and known for all of who you are? Would you love to have the same levels of care and skills for your body that you bring to others? Do you love to be touched? Do you love to receive warmth and care for your bones, muscles and each and every cell?”
“YES I do” and my body relaxes with a sigh.
So a name pops into my head, a colleague who I have worked with many times over the years, someone I am comfortable enough with to turn up with my aches and pains and vulnerability, and I make an appointment. I go and get the care, learning and clarity I need and, lo and behold, the acute pain in my hip joint is relieved.
This Alexander lesson (yes I still have regular work-exchanges with friends and colleagues) helped me see that I had been compensating for my left hip and doing a small squiggly movement to avoid activating the pain on the left – which then led to this discomfort and pain on the right side.
Quite often one problem can hide another, and another layered within this.
These elements may be boney, muscular-ly and nervy and even emotionally (if that is a word?)
It has got me thinking a lot and becoming more of a detective to watch with greater care and increasing clarity about how I move my head, trunk and legs when getting in and out of the car, whilst riding my bike and standing up from the floor. I am beginning to see the moment before I do the little squiggly movement and choose not to let that Do Me as a default. Just like the voice of my Default Mode Network – this mode gets in charge of my movement patterns and sets me off on a certain circuit.
If this is a pleasant and useful circuit – great, keep going. If it isn’t and you can’t find your way out – please ask for help.
Please let yourself receive help. None of us have to do this alone. None of us are so perfect that we don’t need help sometimes.
Anyone heard of the singer Pavarotti?
Well he had weekly voice and singing lessons right up until his death. He was brilliant – world-class artists – and he still recognised that he needed help, to see the things he couldn’t see about himself and his voice and performance. And also it is good as mammals to do this learning and growing in the company of others.
I have been working exclusively online for the last 6 weeks and even have some calls on an old fashioned land-line and clients are learning lots and receiving great value.
I am confident that you too can learn via imitation, exploration and with guidance and accompaniment.