‘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.
Tree angel from the Fairy Track, Buddhafield Festival 2019
“I am free to sway”
Here is a little exploration for you to do, if you like.
Sitting free from any support behind you, or standing in the middle of a room – imagine you have a paintbrush coming out of the top of your head, and it is painting a shape on the ceiling.
What shape is it? Allow yourself time to tune into this subtle observation. Don’t try and make anything in particular happen. Leave yourself alone, and see what you can sense.
- Is it a straight line – back and forth, or is it side to side?
- Is your line more of a circle, or oval?
- Square anyone?
- Do you make a figure of eight shape, or an infinity sign (8 on its side)?
Could you discern some pattern, without trying, or choosing?
Here is another way to observe the same thing, this time from the point of view of your feet…
For this, I will ask you to stand up.
As you stand, you are free to sway. Don’t ‘do’ the swaying, but see what you can notice is going on. Even when we think we are standing still, we are never really still. Life is movement. And since we don’t usually move in one direction and then fall over, we must be doing some sort of going and coming back around a central point.
If you can keep your attention with your feet, lets start with the left foot, and notice how your weight and the pressure of your foot onto the floor moves – sometimes you’ll travel more onto your heels, sometimes more on the outside edge, and sometimes more on the inside edge.
Where do you normally rest? Is it most familiar to have more weight on the front of your left foot or on your heel? The inside edges or the outside edge of your foot?
Can you sense a pattern as you let yourself sway. Do you rock forwards and outwards one way, then backwards and inwards the other way?
Our mind-body is always trying to keep some balance going, so we don’t go rigid and stiff (this is very hard on our muscles and joints) so that we can stay upright and look after our precious brains and senses mostly centred around the face and head. We have developed a great mechanism to help us keep balancing.
We are never exactly balanced, it isn’t a place or a destination. Balancing is an active state, an ongoing series of movements, noticing when we’ve gone too far, and re-directing us back to the centre.
When we go too far left, we notice and stop and return towards the balance point, and overshoot a little, then course-correct and point back to the centre again.
If you are well balanced, or balancing well, your body will move forwards and left, then back and left, then forwards and right onto the other foot and back and right – making an infinity sign on the floor between your feet, and on the ceiling above your head.
We don’t need to ‘try’, or try and ‘do’ this. The work here is to see if we can leave ourselves alone and allow this gentle swaying movement to re-emerge. It isn’t our job to micro-manage our movement like this, more than we can stop interfering and allow the body to make its incredible calibrations all by itself.
We can re-learn to trust our body’s intelligence and wisdom.
Start with this thought throughout the day if you like.
“I am free to sway”
I’d love to hear from you. What did you notice? What did you learn about yourself? Is this interesting?