In our presentpolitical/societal climate, the stimulus of blaring headlines is powerful and the impulse to track news stories throughout the day overwhelmingly compelling.
And here is where I can practice The Pause. I did it just a few moments ago, when sitting down to my office computer. It’s Election Day. Wondering how the polls are being attended, I almost chose to go down the News Story Rabbit Hole.
But didn’t, choosing instead to access my wordpress site and do some writing. Here I am, with you, instead of with the endless news cycle. Yes! This is what practicing The Pause is all about. We catch ourselves in a habitual response, and with a slight pause, we can then choose what is best for us in this moment.
In earlier days of activism, I marched the streetsof New York City, chanting for the Nuclear Freeze Initiative. I served on a Columbia University board promoting a national peace education program. Closer to home, collaboration with others at the The Interfaith Center for Peace resulted in the creation of a mediation program for use in schools and churches.
Huzzah for me. And then…..I burned out.
There is a particular energy to activism consisting of equal parts fear and anger. Not exactly the ideal emotional state, and certainly a burden on the body. Is it possible to be an activist and an Alexander Technique practitioner?
Here’s what I know so far.It’s hard. It’s possible. A few recent opportunities:
Observing my body’s startle pattern while marching past yelling bystanders at the Ohio Women’s March to the Columbus Statehouse.
Choosing to return to the balance of head-on-spine while attending a high energy start-up meeting of 600 for a local Indivisible chapter.
Noting (over and over again) my body in downward pull, usually while at the computer or phoning offices of elected officials. Once noted, choosing to ‘Think Up,’ and gently give myself some space.
Please wish me well, and may we all respond to current political and social realities with courtesy and kindness, resolve and commitment.