“I take care of my objects”
‘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.
My treasured Dart Pottery teapot
used often, unchipped 30+ years
“I take care of my objects”
Today I am celebrating my beautiful Dart Pottery teapot. I have had this since I was 20 and was a music student at Dartington College of Arts, studying the trumpet and Balinese gamelan. (And as I write this, I have Classic FM on and they are broadcasting Haydn’s Trumpet Concerto in Eb major, which I used to be able to play!)
At one stage I shared a house with two potters from Dart Pottery – Melon was a thrower, Bob was a decorator. I loved using the plates and bowls they made, some unique designs which never went into production, some seconds with tiny blemishes I didn’t always perceive, some where the colours mix wasn’t as planned. The mix of patterns, within the same family of pots continues to delight me in my own kitchen.
Yesterday I was noticing this teapot, an everyday object in my kitchen and was enjoying its pattern, its slightly raised texture, the colours, how one colours meets and melts into another, how the spout has such a lovely pursed lip shape which makes it an excellent pourer. I realise I use it a couple of times every week and have done so for 30 years and it is unscratched, unbroken, unshipped and in excellent condition.
Initially I was a bit surprised.
Why am I surprised?
Well after 30 years, there was some hidden belief or expectation that this could easily have been broken. I have moved from house, to flat, to home many times over the years, and It got me thinking.
How is it that this object has survived so well?
Because I take care of it, each and every time.
I use it with such pleasure and enjoyment and delight each time. So I am enjoying it with all my senses, afresh each time.
Because I am mindful of how I move it from its high shelf down to the counter, how I pour the boiling water into it, each time I pour from it, I let my hands take its shape, I notice the weight of it.
I look as I pour the liquid into my mug. (Hand / eye coordination.)
My beautiful Dart Pottery Black Poppy decorated mug – a design only used commercially for Special Ware, the larger scale objects – fruit bowls and lamp bases. I have a rare mug and plate!
My muscles know how to calibrate the changing weight as the teapot gets lighter as I pour tea into this mug.
I just do one thing at a time as I:
- take the lid off
- empty it
- rinse it
- wipe it
- put it back on the shelf
The kinder we are to the objects we use, the better we are using ourselves too.
I had the teapot on the counter next to the kettle yesterday, and my son was reaching up to get some chocolate spread from the cupboard and another pot jumped out too and landed close to this treasured teapot !! I was alarmed. I could feel the heat rising in my chest, my eyes staring, my heart racing, my temper shortening. I was scared that this teapot would be broken.
I spoke sharply and told him to STOP and wait a moment as I quickly picked up the teapot and moved it to safety. I scanned to check he was safe and nothing further was going to drop or fall.
Then I began to attend to my body, reminding myself of the support from the ground, noticing the end of my out breath and having a deliberate look around the kitchen to remind my nervous system that I am safe. Gradually I returned to some more calm. Pleased that the teapot lives to be enjoyed another day. And I attended to our relationship and explained why I had spoken sharply and of my fear, and my love of this teapot and desire to continue to take care of it.
I invite you to notice how you make your next hot drink.
Choose the cup or mug. Are you really seeing it? Can you notice the temperature and weight of it in your hand. What is the texture like? How does it fit into your hand?
How do you lift the kettle? Have you predefined how heavy it is likely to be, or can you be here now and just lift what weight it actually is?
Are you in balance within your wider self as you lift, and move and pour?
When you pour from the kettle, are your brain and eyes, interest and hands all working together here and now?
When our mind wanders (and it will) gently and kindly bring yourself back to this present moment – reuniting your mind and muscles.
See if you can notice what ease and pleasure there is in moving in such a coordinated, whole-being way?
I marvel at the quiet pleasures of the mundane anyway. Now we are in our houses more and our world has changed or shrunk or got busier – here is an everyday game to delight your senses, and retrain your habits, one moment at a time. Your body, objects, clothes and house will thank you!
I am really enjoying reading your discoveries, so thank you to everyone who shares something and writes an email to me. Let me know what you have noticed, what you are enjoying, what your challenges are. And if there is anything I can do to help – a topic to cover, a conversation, an online session? Please let me know. I feel very privileged to be having such an easy time, and want to use this to be helpful to as many people as possible.
“I take care of my objects and myself”