‘I’ve got the sniffles.’ That sounds innocuous. A cold virus is anything but. Two holiday parties and a long-anticipated lunch date missed. A week-end lost to a Benadryl-induced stupor.
With high expectations for December good cheer, it’s extra disappointing when an illness comes to call instead. And after falling ill, we are then admonished by cultural norms to do battle against the bug. As if it wasn’t enough to find ourselves unwell, now we are to rally for a fight.
Be proactive? Yes. Fight? No. How about practicing a few Alexander Technique principles instead? Observe Self. Note unpleasant cold symptoms. Note the mind’s response to them. Pause. (This is the Do-Nothing part.) Choose what happens next. Perhaps choose this-
‘Try a Little Tenderness’ Tea: Boil water. Pour. Add a tablespoon of honey and a squeeze or two of fresh lemon. Cup mug in hands. Inhale to the best of your ability and then sip. Add Rest. Repeat as needed.
Advent. The waiting time. Days shorten, and long evenings are lit by neighborhood displays, crackling fires, and candles. I write this on a dark afternoon promising early nightfall. Gray clouds are scudding overhead, brown leaves swirling in the wind.
We wait. We’ve been waiting for centuries. Waiting for hope, for deliverance, for better days, for wars to cease, for new life to be born, for the light to return.
Consider what waiting might mean for you this season. The lines will be long, the traffic heavy, the duties many. We can resort to impatience, succumb to an agitated mind, or we can simply abide, tarry, linger.
May you linger, perhaps aimlessly delay with a click on this Advent hymn: O Come, O Come Emmanuel. Pausing, even ever-so-briefly, could be the very best gift of the season.
And so it begins, the holiday season, fraught with food issues for many. Weeks of holiday parties, happy hours, and open house events bring to the forefront our relationship with food.
Backtrack to Nov. 5, at the Columbus Cultural Arts Center*. ‘Dare to Be Heard: Women in Art’ was on display for its final day. A Liz Roberts gallery installation titled ‘Mouthfeels’ featured a video of a woman unabashedly eating a sandwich while describing her thoughts. She reflected on the textures and flavors, and wondered out loud about how much was enough.
We are often asking ourselves similar questions in Alexander Technique Land, such as ‘How much effort is just enough for this task?’ Colleague Jennifer Roig-Francoli likes to say that the Technique is a practice in subtraction. Do I need to scrunch up my neck to drive a car or grip my handlebars while riding a bicycle? What can I not do and still get myself where I need to go? What can I not eat and still be nourished? The 4 minute video had become surprisingly suspenseful. Would she eat the entire sandwich?
She did. Which brings us to a powerful principle of the Technique, that of choice. In our moment-to-moment choosing we find freedom and yes, delight. A full belly is a wonderful thing. We can choose fullness at one party and make a different choice at the next. Having gripped the bicycle handlebars to quickly avoid a pedestrian, I can choose once again a light grasp.
Here’s to indulging in the season’s bounty, with a light touch and a happy heart!
*What a gem in our city. Beautiful historic building with a well-curated gallery and a gift shop filled to the gills with artisan jewelry, glassware, paintings, and more. Do your holiday shopping here and forget the malls.