Jan 092017

We want to be happy.

Isn’t that the point of every effort we expend, whether it’s work or play, self-improvement or self-punishment, relationship or isolation?

If I might paraphrase Forrest Gump, “Happy is as happy does.” Happy is the word we use to describe a certain quality or characteristics we see in ourselves and others.

My class today listed some observable characteristics of “happy”:

expansion                     spontaneity, freedom                  calm energy

movement and thinking are light, easy                          quietness in mind and body

freedom from resistance, drag, complications; less expenditure/waste of energy

seeing things without the thought “I need to do something about that”

Wouldn’t it be fair to say that “happy” is characterized by less effort? THAT is what the Alexander Technique makes possible. The reason to take Alexander lessons is to learn where you are unconsciously exerting excess effort, engaging resistance, tangling yourself up in being busy or thinking you need to “do” something about whatever. Once you learn how to stop doing that, you can start embodying the characteristics listed above.

When your thinking and movements are characterized by the qualities of “happy”, reaching for your coffee mug can be a joyful experience. Standing in line can feel like relief. Everyday movements can be a chance to lighten up.

You don’t need special circumstances to be happy. You don’t need Alexander lessons, either! But if you find yourself unable to access the observable characteristics of happiness, taking lessons is a great place to start 🙂

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Sep 132016

Sometimes wonderful phrases come to me in the middle of the night. I’ve been musing over this one, and realize that my latest post perfectly exemplifies it! (Funny how I keep learning the same lessons, in myriad ways, over and over 😉

“Healthy movement and healthy thinking require giving something up.”

cuffsWhen we act and think as if we already know what’s happening, we’re absent from the present moment. We hurry (because we’re already in the future), we hesitate (because we’re in a future that’s a projection of the past), we don’t listen (because we’re already sure of what they’ll say — and we’re practicing our retort for as soon as they finish). In order to be healthy in mind and body, we have to give up this idea that we already know, that we’ve done this before, that we “have to” do something (that isn’t what we’d prefer to do). We believe that to get where we want to be, we have to do more, figure more out; but actually, what will get us there is giving up — the struggle, the effort, the attachment to an outcome that’s distracting us from being in, enjoying, allowing us to fully appreciate, the present moment (ha, I started typing “present movement“!).

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