Tuesday, 13 January 2015

On 11:35 by Victoria Stanham in , , ,    No comments
It’s difficult to change what we don’t know exists. To change we need to know “what” to change, and for that we need to have an experience that contrasts with our habit: the experience of another possibility.

But once we have that new experience, how to we make it into a new habit? In general, the sole experience of a new possibility does not establish the change. It is necessary to record in your brain the new option as a stronger neurological connection than your old habit.

For that we need three tools: desire, inhibition, and memory.

The tool of desire moves us to recreate the new experience, even when it would be “easier and more comfortable” to indulge in our habit. Change is destabilizing. Therefore we need to become familiar with this power of “I want”: What do I want? Why do I want it? How do I achieve what I want? What consequences would come with getting what I want?

The tool of inhibition allows us to choose which actions to allow manifestation and which to deny said permission. Inhibition is intrinsically linked to desire, for it implies “saying no to” that which we don’t wish for anymore, and being able to “say yes to” to the new wish. You need to know “what things” to inhibit. Therefore we need to know: What elements make up my habit?

The tool of memory allows us to remember what we want and what we don’t want when it really matters. The ability to recruit your desire and your power of inhibition to change your habits rests on your ability to remember. F.M. Alexander once said that our greatest problem when it comes to changing habits is that “we forget to remember.”

Remembering what we want depends, above all, on 2 factors: the strength of our wish and external conditions that help us to remember our wish. How can I be more mindful of my wish throughout the day? How can I make it easier for me to satisfy my wish instead of my habit?

To sum up, the first step to being successful in changing habits is to become familiar with your three basic tools: Desire, Inhibition and Memory.

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

On 09:00 by Victoria Stanham in , , , ,    No comments

This means first stopping to give ourselves the chance to “say no” (inhibit) to our habitual way of moving and reacting. This habitual way is made up of our ongoing and ingrained tension patterns which make for an inefficient “starting place” or “set point”. 

So, after recognizing the stimulus to action, you give yourself a little pause, some space to stop your habitual reaction and really consider “how” you want to respond.

What you want is a better starting place; so you get your “primary movement” going. This “primary movement”, which concerns itself with the dynamic relationship between head & spine, leaves you in the best possible conditions for any action: a dynamic sense of poise and balance.

Still, you haven’t yet gone anywhere. And it’s the getting going, and the continuing to go, in the manner you decided that is the issue at stake here.

You’ve got to get the primary movement going first. But then you need to keep it going as you go into movement, when your brain recognizes what you’re up to and wants to insert the old habit of tension.

So how do you keep the primary movement going during all subsequent movements? You need to use your mind: mindfulness of movement and awareness of the body as a whole throughout all movements. In Alexander jargon this is called: “keeping your primary directions going”. F.M. Alexander himself once said, “You think that the Alexander Technique is a physical thing; I tell you it’s the most mental thing that’s ever been discovered.”

It’s a persistent, continuous state of monitoring progress, of mindfulness of movement and awareness of yourself and your relationship to inner and outer space. You want to catch yourself when the habit pricks up its ears, so you can let it go before it completely takes over your system. Your persistent, continuous monitoring gives the drive, the force, the energy to the new way.

This is how you build a new “habit”.