Wednesday, 20 August 2014

On 20:01 by Victoria Stanham in , , , , ,    No comments

You’ve arrived at the blog. Welcome.

Before we begin, let us take a minute to come to internal and external stillness.

Sit down as comfortably upright as you’re able. Relax your eyes and your jaw.

Become aware of your breathing. Allow the air to go in and out without trying to directly control it, allowing your breathing to be just the way it is right now.

Little by little we’re going to let go of what we were doing before arriving here: the previous webpage, what we were reading, what we were thinking.

Every action has a certain degree of inertia.

We are like a bucket full of water. We thrust our bodies and minds to and fro, and all our internal environment (physical, mental and emotional) becomes agitated, like waves in a storm.

Now we want to start something new, we’re going to read a new blog, it’s a new action, distinct from the one that preceded it.

Stopping before starting something new allows us to give the new action its due space (physical, mental and emotional)… or to simply realize that we don’t want to or don’t need to undertake it at all.

Do you really want to read this blog? You won’t know until you stop, allow the storm of residual activity inside of you to quiet down, and take a moment to listen to yourself.

That is why we bring out bodies to stillness for a moment, and we bring our senses to our inner environment for a check in. Even though we have brought the bucket to a standstill, the water inside it takes a tad longer to quiet down and pool.

Bring your attention to the sounds around you, those at no more than arms length, and then those a bit further. Take your attention to furthest sound you can perceive. Let go of that sound and bring your attention back to the space around you. Now take it into your inner space. Listen for the sounds of your heart, your breathing, your guts. 

Without losing that connection to your inner sounds, expand your attention up to where you find it adequate and comfortable in order to read the rest of this blog.

With this act of stopping and coming back to your senses, you are preparing yourself for receiving, opening up for perceiving, for taking note of how you are right now and how you feel about what you’re reading.

You are already reacting to the stimulus of these words.

If the water in your bucket is still, you’ll be able to notice what that reaction is.
What wave is stirring your water? Is it the response you want to give? Is your response appropriate for your desired objective, for achieving that which you came here to achieve?

No response is correct of incorrect. All are possible and valid. The question is not one of right or wrong, but one of useful or not for achieving your goal. Does your response help you or hinder you?

Perhaps your response is taking energy away from your objective, funneling it instead towards other needs. Perhaps those needs are valid and deserve to be listened to and heeded. Or maybe they are just part of an old habit, an automatic response whose expiration date has long passed.

If you are able to ‘see’ your response to the stimulus, you’re ready to let it go and give way to the next logical, organic action that is in line with your objective.

Working with the Alexander Technique is based on this premise. We cannot change what we cannot ‘see’. We cannot change what we don’t understand. And the first step to changing something isn’t doing something new. The first step is recognizing what we’re doing and choosing to not do it any longer, and thus give way for the next action.
Some day perhaps, we’ll be able to match the inside with the outside. Bucket and water will move in such harmony that there will be no separation, no storm. We won’t need to stop our bodies first in order to stop the water. Stillness will be part of our movement, and harmonious movement will be present in our stillness.

But we’re not there yet. Today we’re at step one. Today we quiet the external, to give a chance to the internal to come to stillness too. And that’s alright. That’s the first step. All journeys start here.

So go back to your breathing for a moment. Allow the air to come freely in and freely out.

You’re ready for your next action. You’ve prepared the ground, you’ve quieted the internal and external waters. You’ve given yourself time. You have given yourself time and space to decide.

What do you want to do? What do you need to stop doing to allow yourself to go in that direction?

See you next time.


Victoria Stanham, Alexander Technique teacher and Pilates instructor.
I study developmental movement, taking great inspiration from the organic and free movement of the animal kingdom.
My goal is to achieve comfort, efficiency, elegance and balance, both in movement and in stillness, according to our physical, mental and emotional design.


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