The D… word

I’ve noticed that my previous entry doesn’t really say what the Alexander Technique is. It’s funny-when something becomes so ingrained in your life, that it’s no longer a ‘separated activity’, you don’t need to call it anything. However, for the sake of this blog, I will attempt impossible and put in words something that is much wider than what I can describe. Definitions – we need them, but at the same time, they limit us. Words like ‘love’, ‘God’, ‘compassion’, ‘hope’ mean so much and so little in comparison to their real meaning. Do you get what I say? Definitions are useful and useless at the same time. When it comes to things that really matters something, the meaning of the word is shaped by the real life with its many depths and many layers. For example: right now my little one is lying across my chest-she has just finished feeding. The room is dark-lit only by the fairy lights. If I had to describe what a motherhood is, I would find it tricky, as it is so many things at the same time. Right now it’s something about closeness, peacefulness, warmth and being very much in a present moment. Tomorrow I will think other things, I will add to this description more words that will come from my experience of being a mum. The definition is complex in one way and very simple in the other. Same with The Alexander Technique. Nevertheless I should, no, I want to say a few words about it.
Back to definition then. So… hmmm.. it’s, how shall I describe it? Its being with the thing I am doing at the moment in the most alert and engaged and kind way I can manage, but without extra stress. And then being with the next thing in the same manner. It involves observing what I am doing, thinking about it and coming up with the easiest way to go about it. Sounds rather vague? Or rather like nothing special? Sounds rather obvious? Let me give you an example.
I’m feeding my daughter. I notice that she is unsettled and cannot latch properly. I notice my anxiety rising a little as I want her to eat properly. Now, for most mums that would be it-just the way a normal mum react to a stressed baby. For the mum that does the AT, it’s just the beginning. As I notice my anxiety, I go on to observe my breathing-a bit shallower. The muscles of my neck are getting more tense and my arms are being so tight, that they start to hurt. I REALISE what is going on and I decide to make life easier both for me and for my baby. I consciously breathe out, I change my position, so that I am more supported and comfortable. I think ‚SOFT’ about my muscles-all of that when my little one is still crying. And the most important thing-I turn tension into compassion. I look at my daughter with soft eyes, not trying to make her stop crying but allowing her to be as she wants to be, listening to what she is ‘telling’ me with her crying. I am ready to soothe her when the time is right. Usually she senses that I am more relaxed and she follows my example.
I feel better. She feels better. Life is better.
I have noticed. I stopped. I changed myself without fighting the situation. It is an Alexander Technique in a nutshell.
Last time I mentioned SLOW-being in a slow gear, allows me to perceive things as they come to
me, to really see them. Thinking SOFT helps me to think and move in an easy and relaxed way.
It’s just one example. I know I know, you still don’t know what I’m talking about:) Well I will keep bringing more examples, more shades, more depths hoping that this practice will be useful for myself and perhaps for some of you.
Today I will practice softening myself- softening my voice and softening my walk. Softening my arms when I hold my baby..even softening my thoughts.
Can you have a soft week too?