Friday, 5 September 2014

On 15:27 by Victoria Stanham in    No comments

Hello! You’ve arrived at the blog.

Take a moment to fully arrive.

Allow your body to arrive: let go of the muscular effort you used to arrive here... no need to use that much effort and tension to read.

Allow your mind to arrive: is your attention here, on what you’re reading? Or are you still thinking about what you read a moment ago or of what you have to do after reading this blog?

Allow your emotional state to arrive: your emotions will tell you what your gut feeling this blog is, but only if you react to the present stimulus. If you’re still reacting to what happened before, or you’re anticipating a reaction to what will happen next, how will you know what your true reaction to the present situation really is?

Have you arrived? Good. Welcome to the blog.

This blog is about the sequence used in the Alexander Technique to foster a process of changing habits. The purpose of this blog is to clarify the sequence of overlapping steps involved in a process of conscious change.

As teacher and student of the Alexander Technique I see this sequence develop in my own process and in that of my students. However, since the sequence is not always self-evident, our change process may appear chaotic.

Learning to recognize the inherent direction within the chaos gives us a measure of peace… and a certain degree of control: we are able to then stop interfering with the natural order of things.

I’d like to show you one possible natural sequence in a process of change in the hopes that you’ll be able to recognize at what stage you are today and which is your next logical step to allow.

But first, you must choose your question about your process. You are going to receive a lot of information, both external (from this blog, from your surroundings) and internal (thoughts, emotions, muscular reactions). Having a clear question will help you organize this information, keeping what’s useful to you today, and letting the rest go.

Remember to check periodically your reactions (physical, mental, emotional) to what you’re reading. Your reaction provides you most of the data you need to process and organize. Also, take note of where your attention goes, since your reaction and the focus of your attention are intimately linked.

The structure of this blog follows the structure of an Alexander Technique lesson, and therefore of a process of change.
1)  We arrive. We arrive because we have a question to which we seek and answer. But in order to receive that answer, we need to honor the place where we came looking for it, we need to open up to listen to what is happening in the present moment.

2) We clarify our purpose. This implies coming into contact with our need, but also adjusting our request to what the context is able to provide. In other words, it’s no use asking for a vegan dish at the butcher’s.

3) We dive into the process. This part has two main components. One of them is provided by the seeker: his attention. The other is provided by the person in charge of the practice space: the practice proposal.

The nature of the proposal will depend on the stage of the process which the seeker is at.

First: We establish a common language. We need to familiarize ourselves with the tool before starting to use it.

Second: We apply the language to a simple action. Once we are familiar with the tool we can start using it for simple and controlled tasks.

Third: We apply the language to a more complex action. As we become more familiar and adept at using the tool, we start adding variables, experimenting with combinations that gradually look more and more like “real life” situations, where the stimuli are varied and unpredicatable.

Fourth: We apply the language in “real life”. Real life is where we find out how much we’ve advanced down the path of change; it will throw light on the areas where we’re still in the dark. It is therefore the best field in which to harvest our next question to feed our process.

And every so often, in between stages, or within each stage itself, we stop to rest, to allow the information to settle, to go “click!”. These resting stops are essential, do not skip them. Use them to: a) evaluate your progrees; and to b) decide your next step. But most of all, use them to: c) celebrate your victories, however small they may seem.

So, which stage are You at?

See you next time.


Victoria

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