Thursday, May 6, 2010

Finding The Space

Very challenging professional day. Many demands from a variety of people, several carrying an emotional charge. Compounded this with the environmental stresses of heat & noise that are present in my day and I was worn out both physically and in my spirit.

I came home and immediately did an Alexander Technique lie down for nearly 25 minutes. Good to allow my back to relax, to find my length and width, to let my emotions drain into the earth. Towards the end I fell asleep a couple times, to be awakened by my snore. An uncharacteristic turning on the TV and watching Law & Order for an hour. Just needed a bit of an escape. A delightful dinner of chick peas and apricots with cous cous prepared by my loving wife began to right my mood.

I sat for a bit and then did Qi Gong for 20 minutes. I began this with very vigorous shaking to dispel the energies still within my system. Followed by refreshing gentle and restorative movements bringing my body and mind back together in the same space.

I moved to the basement, sitting on my stool with the intent to review the work from my AT class with David Jernigan this week. As I was standing, getting my guitar from the case I decided to experiment with the "Critical Moment" game that I have engaged in with David recently and with Frank & Sandra previously. This continued to center me, to keep me in my body and continuing to allow my mind to quiet. When I put my guitar on I continued this 'game' a bit. When I finally played notes from the second part of "Here We Are" I was pleasantly surprised with the quality of my tone and the energy of my right hand.

I moved back to my stool and reviewed the AT work of using the primary directions, the secondary directions, and thinking of lengthening through my fingertips. Allowing my elbows to open is a direction I an experimenting with also.  I began with the third part of Steppin' Stones which contains meditative arpeggios. Taking in the room, enjoying the tone I was producing, playing just a few bars, then resting and directing. I moved onto the first part of this piece with is energetic and rhythmically active.

Good to arrive in the space where I am quiet and in my body prior to playing. I do not always allow myself time for this, time is precious in many of my days. Many times I need the guitar to bring me the quiet, other times I find the space first. Tonight I wonder if I should always find the space first and then move to the guitar. Rather than superimposing my guitar practice on a noisy brain and a body that is not yet available to  be supportive of the music.

I moved onto other parts of my practice. Turned on the amp and taped myself. Toying with ideas for beginning my set when I open at the house concert with Bert Lams and Tom Griesbraber on May 22nd in Virginia.


  1. I love exploring the length and the width as you put it. You are completely selling me on AT. I also love the question you are living in - guitar to quiet the mind - quite the mind to play guitar. Beautiful stuff, Patrick. Lucky you to have a wife who makes you such yummy, nourishing food too - give that woman a hug!

  2. Fortunate in so many ways. May I remain open to this question, to all questions.