Rain. Wind. A bumpy Chicago O’Hare landing. Hoofing it to next flight, I grab a rice crispy bar and scurry on.
As the packed plane pushes away from the terminal, I say to myself, ‘Only a 40 minute flight. Almost there.’ Brain ahead of body. This is called end-gaining* in Alexander Technique lingo. Our pilot then informs us of weather delays. And there we sit in the dark, rain pelting against the tiny window.
Time for some Inhibition.* I call it The Pause. In pausing, I notice my head jutted forward. (Thank you, seat backs.) Bloated belly. (See rice crispy treat above.) I simply quit with my habitual response to discomforts. They remain, but I am no longer fighting them.
Next is the gracious giving of Directions* to oneself. Head on spine. This thought brings with it a gentle movement into length. Full contact of sit bones with seat. Let the cushion receive gravity traveling through the body. Soften. And so forth.
As the plane descends through cloud cover, a glittery scene presents itself. Columbus Ohio comes into view; a shimmering jewel, my home. We touch down, and I am grateful for the means-whereby* to have traveled with a bit of ease on subways, trains, taxis, cars, boats, and planes—-
- *end-gaining: to go directly for an ‘end,’ causing a misuse of the self, making the end unattainable.
- *Inhibition: to inhibit is not to consent to a habitual reaction which causes a misuse.
- *Directions: use of words as an aid to organizing kinesthetic experience
- *the means-whereby: Creating and using the best possible means to achieve any given end; pause, observe, choose, direct.
(Indirect Procedures: A Musician’s Guide to the Alexander Technique. Thanks to author, Pedro de Alcantara, for his AT vocab. definitions.)