Monday, January 10, 2011
Arriving in the basement at 8pm to practice tonight. Beginning with an Alexander Technique lie down, I recalled that in a lesson with David he slightly increased the height of the books I was using. This increase allowed a slight "stretching" of the spine. So tonight I added another thin paperback. Today has been a productive day with very little emotional charge. I was subject to the usual environmental stress of a professional kitchen, but mindfully connected with myself many times throughout the day. These quiet moments of connection are when I give myself the AT directions, or focus on my breath, and allow myself a brief rest in the moment.
When I began my lie down tonight, my back did not ache and my mind was relatively quiet. After 10 minutes I thought of getting up and moving to my guitar. Instead I stayed on the floor and contemplated my body. Towards the end of the lie down, I noticed a lengthening in my arm muscles that was similar to what has been achieved under the direction of an AT teacher. The energy was freely flowing through my shoulders, arms, hands, & fingers. Enjoying this sensation, I stayed down for a few more minutes and during this time I again noticed a movement in my chest below my rib cage. Is this noticing of the movement below the rib cage the result of increased kinesthetic awareness or from tension being released and freeing up this movement? Perhaps both.
After writing about the lie down, I began exploring a single note, an A. Suddenly I played this note so gently that I thought of Morton Feldman and began a soft improvisation in the spirit of Feldman's work. After enjoying this for a few minutes, I began working with the ending of Aftermath. A respectable reliability is developing, and for a few attempts I extended my playing to the 32 bars preceding this. Then I let go and moved onto Dancin' Free.
On my second run through of DF, a mild chatter developed in my thinking. Should I write this in the blog, or what about that phone call ... Certainly not the first nor last time, that thinking of other than what I am doing, entered my practice. My usual approach to this is to look to go inward, focusing on my breath, and while this certainly has merits, tonight I decided to think " I'm free," while playing. This worked for a while, bringing my attention out into the room while also having a sense of freedom in my body and playing. Enjoying this I moved to play Gathered Hearts. I wish Tony had been here to capture this take, this wonderful piece being beautifully played, as if for the first time. How will I continue developing my freedom? Back to the guitar.