For the past few years I've been grappling with some health issues. While I'm making significant progress, some of my symptoms still reoccur — bouts of intense abdominal pain that include leg spasms, or all-over joint/muscle pain that feels as if every cell of my body is constricted. Of course these episodes usually happen in the middle of the night, when I'm mildly delirious. In times like this, the Alexander Technique has been an immeasurable blessing.
Last night was one of the all-over aching ones… likely a food reaction (I've experienced similar consequences when I eat nightshade vegetables). After getting out of bed around 2am to move around, I realized this was a reaction I would just have to let pass through. So, lying in bed in a dull constriction of pain and sleepy fog, I set to Directing.
“Gentle wishes” are how my trainer describes Directing. It's a process of expressing an intent, without making any effort to DO anything about it. You cannot force this kind of outcome, you can only invite it — and wait.
So with kindness, I began to wish a softening upon my cells — a sort of opening to the pain. Opening to the pain itself, or opening in response to the pain? I can't say. I just went about visiting all my limbs, digits, skin, torso, face, head, neck with the lightest of mental touches, wishing for softness.
I know that I drifted back off to sleep, and also awoke finally with a reassuring sense of delicacy. Not of fragility, but an experience of myself and of all the objects I'm now touching with lightness. I don't have to grab a cup I'm taking from the cupboard; I can lay my fingers sweetly on its surface and expend the least amount of energy to lift and move it. I can hold the spoon lightly as I stir my breakfast. It takes hardly any weight at all to slice through butter, to pull a sweater over my arms. I like meeting my world in this way… Thank you, Alexander Technique — AND pain.