Dear OSU Students: We have yet to meet. I am preparing a place for us—-a place to be, to learn, to explore the Alexander Technique. And yes, we will do so online, in Flatland. Looking forward to meeting you there soon, Diana McC.
This week, it’s online meetings with Alexander Technique colleagues, as we negotiate the parameters of online teaching/learning. Asked to gaze softly on the little squares holding colleagues’ faces, my eyes fill with tears. Relieved to be with them figuring this out, compassion for the world in a pandemic, affection. I learned the Technique in community, and a recurring theme of yesterday’s workshop was how to create fellow-feeling, safety and support online, so that our new students, too, can learn in connection to others.
Much ofAlexander Technique teacher training is about giving students the space they need, learning not ‘to fix,‘ but ‘to be with‘ and assist in the student’s discovery of body/mind integration. We spend countless hours learning how to teach with our hands, which for me, was mostly about learning how to be with my students by not imposing my will, my agenda, my Teacher-Self onto them.
How about re-writing My-Story-of-the-Pandemic, suggested by Tommy Thompson in the opening workshop session? Instead of giving my attention and energy to the confinements of online AT teaching, I might consider the space between us as a gift, an opportunity allowing for self-discovery and change, both for the students and myself.
the library. A few online purchases and re-reads of home library tomes does not compare to the endless and varied supply of books-on-loan. I love the thematic displays librarians creatively provide, and long to browse the shelves.
happy hours. Zoom has sufficed, but prefer my people to be in-person. Plans are afoot to meet in P.J.’s lovely garden, sipping beverages in the open air. Can’t wait.
proximity. It’s the ability to catch another’s scent, to occupy the same multi-dimensional space, to avail myself of non-verbal cues and gestures, that I miss.
thrifting. It’s been too long since last strolling the aisles, treasure hunting, and the thrill of a ‘find’— the batik summer skirt, an exquisite cream and sugar set.
Leo. Ruffling his hair. Snuggling on the couch for a book read. Working side-by-side to give his dinosaurs their bath. (So messy, and so delightful.)
I miss being with others. I miss the America I thought I lived in, but probably never did. Perhaps racism and lack of civility are just more evident now, certainly more obvious to me. For all gathering to protest peaceably, thank you. Wear a mask.*
*And Thanks to Alicia’s friend and to Susan, for The McCullough Mask Collection.
Nephew Evan is graduating high school today. And it is also the day the baby wrens took flight on the hill!
The baby wren, its outsized feet clutching the perfect circle of the bird box opening, lengthens out to look up, down, and all around. ‘Wow. Just wow. There’s a world out here.’ And still those talons hang on to his known universe; the fusty nest of his hatching, complete with bright white fecal sacs.
One of his parents is latched onto the side of the bird box, a novel approach. Typically, they fly directly in, a marvel of precision and speed, bringing the next feeding. But now, as Mike and I watch from our perch inside the cabin, the parent seemingly cajoles the baby into emerging just a bit more. There is a tease of a food offering, but no, the parent flies away, making cries of encouragement.
With a call of surprise? celebration? wonder? the baby bursts out of the box in a flash and makes his inaugural flight into a nearby oak. Cheers all around! And there’s another one! This baby is smaller, but bolder, and quickly takes flight, landing in the meadow grasses. The wrens have fledged! So has the nephew. Congratulations, Evan.
The grand world awaits. Stretch those wings and fly—-