Leo is on his way to my house, with sister, Vivi, and their mamma. We will play in the garden all morning, and his 4-year-old-Self, along with my 63-year-old-Self, will delight in games of hide-n-seek, stories to read, and adventures with The Tuesday Morning Friends. (see above photos)
And so life under a pandemic’s terms continues. I have always cherished these playdates, but this spring and summer, they have become a primary event of each week. Life simplifies. What was I doing before that was so important? Seeing friends, meeting up with students, being social. Writing. Preparing for OSU classes. Life is quieter now.
With the exception of weekly jaunts to the farm, travel stopped. A godson’s graduation, a visit to my sister, a trip out west, gone. My OSU teaching contract has not renewed due to the pandemic’s financial toll on the university. Much has been lost.
Gained? Peace. Ease. At yesterday’s Alexander Technique Online class, I found my pace and speech slowing as I directed the participants through an Inhibition practice. A colleague responded, ‘The timing was just right. It gave us the time we needed.’
Playdate Postscript: Leo and I were trying to figure out how long it had been since the dinosaurs were last given their baths. We couldn’t decide, until Leo said, ‘It was a hundred whiles ago.’ Yes. That.
Wishing for you ‘a hundred whiles’; all the time you need and more. Riches of the best kind—–
‘You have brains in your head,
You have feet in your shoes,
You can steer yourself any direction you choose.’
Oh, the Places You’ll Go, Dr. Seuss, 1992.
Morehouse was crowded the day after Christmas. So many people living with cancer, which is who the ten floors of the facility are dedicated to serving. My name is called and I settle into the registration seat. The clerk has photos of her two young grandsons displayed on the cubicle wall, along with a scrap of paper containing the Dr. Seuss quote above. Unexpectedly, while just going through the motions of my annual thyroid cancer check-up, I am delighted to find, in Dr. Seuss lingo, a breezy summary of the Alexander Technique.
I’m considering adopting it as my response at the next dinner party when asked, ‘What is the Alexander Technique?’ As we begin 2020, I wish for you a year of living well with life’s many questions, and the happiness of occasionally discovering good answers—-
Standing at the kitchen counter, I survey the assembled: crock pot, cutting board and paring knives, a large silver bowl for scraps. A motley pile of apples drains in the colander. Not the beautiful orbs purchased in local orchards this time of year, our farm apples are un-sprayed and untended, leaving them much enjoyed by birds and yes, worms. This means plenty of slicing and dicing around imperfections. But, oh, my. The good bits are so good. Tart and sweet all at once.
With vats of apples to process, I can get ahead of myself. This is known in Alexander Technique parlance as ‘End-Gaining.’ Charging to the finish line, so to speak, with nary a thought for how best to get there. This means my wrists hurt, the right hand thumb tight and unhappy from an awkward repetitive motion, until I make the choice to notice.
The noticing is termed ‘Inhibition,’ the pause in the midst of habit. Next is ‘Directions.’ Gentle guidance. ‘Let the hand fan outward.’ Ulna and little finger aligned. So simple, this kindness to oneself.
Thank you, Mr. Alexander.
(photo courtesy of pixabay)
Cory Taylor’s book was recommended by a local librarian, after I told her I was looking for a good read, and appreciate a well-written memoir. What a gift, public libraries!
As a person viewing the world through an Alexander Technique lens, I am always on the look-out for well-expressed descriptions of what Mr. A. called The Self, the body/mind in which we each reside. Taylor provided an excellent one. She is writing about her childhood experience of body and consciousness:
‘I never thought of my body at that time as something separate from the bodies of the dog, or the kookaburra, or the mother cat up in my sister’s sock drawer. And I certainly didn’t think of my body as separate from my consciousness. They were one and the same thing, consciousness being a bodily sensation, just like sight, or touch, or hearing.’
We study the Alexander Technique to recover our childhood connectivity to the natural world, and to restore our body/mind integration. It’s a return to our inherent structure and our place on the planet, and does not require adding on something new. May your Alexander Technique practice bring you the poise of your youth today—–