Thursday, June 2, 2011



Awaken was the word for today that I chose or that perhaps chose me as I completed my Qi Gong practice this morning.  Awaken to the precious moments of life is the aim, but how to achieve this?  By following my breath, and by using various mindfulness of the body practices, including the Alexander Technique, I can waken to the here and now.  Almost immediately I think, will I remember to breath, to come into a relationship with myself?  Why am I concerned about the future opportunities of this day, just be awake and aware right now?  So elusive to remain present.  So easy to be carried away by habit, thinking, or the actions of others.  When I do wake up to this moment, I can touch joy and peace.  When I do wake up to this moment, I conserve my energies and can exercise a choice in how to use myself in the work in front of me.

During a beautiful spring morning commute, I come to rest at a traffic light.   Breathing in the sparkling sunlight in the tree tops, I hear the sounds of The Who, wafting in from someones radio encouraging me with the refrain " You Better, You Better!"  Smiling, I release 300 facial muscles, relishing the beauty of  this simple ordinary moment, With noticing this moment, I transform the moment into one that is alive. My spirit soars as I connect with my body with the AT directions, allowing my spine to lengthen and widen within the confines on my car.  With the subtle release provided by the AT work, my mindfulness is deepened, my body relaxing into driving, without concern for the destination - just driving.

Twice during morning the words of "You Better" arise in my mind.  Enjoying how I can allow my monkey mind to invite me back to this moment with music from my youth.  Usually the concept of monkey mind is viewed in a negative light, but today as this ear worm beckons to me, I see my view of monkey mind shift positively.  During both of these reminders I connect with my breath and my body.  Tending to the necessary tasks of my professional day, while waking to life, shifts my state to one of gratitude.  So much easier to accomplish much, when energy is not wasted in emotional shifts and fits.

While walking down the hall I notice my left hand is tense and possibly assuming "the position" that David uncovered on Tuesday evening during our AT session.  By thinking thoughts of lengthening my left arm, I notice a tightness in my left elbow.  Perhaps this is related to the tension in the hand.  While breathing and connecting with my left arm I sense the long muscle within my bicep that is always tight when I do Qi Gong.  I sense lifetime of holding on is present in this arm.  I wonder how my guitar playing will be affected as I learn to let go of this manifestation of unnecessary tension?

Tonight as I played, I did not notice any shift in my use of the left hand and arm.  I am not surprised by this; habits unfurl slowly.  The memory of the body, besides holding muscular patterns of use, also retains emotional information.  So much there, hidden beneath my awareness.  Perhaps deemed useful at some point in time, most likely developed unconsciously.  Awakening requires patience and dedication, just like guitar playing.  The playing provides the impetus to look and probe, and like the breath provides sustenance for my being.  Tommy, can you hear me?


  1. For twenty years I held a cigarette in my left hand, using my frequently calisthenic index finger to grip it against my middle finger.

  2. Barry I smoked for ten years, but quit a very long time ago. In general I think I held the cigarette with my right hand. Now that's a habit that I am grateful we both have let go of.