Monday, June 4, 2012
Finding the Wrong Thing
If you stop doing the wrong thing the right thing will do itself.
Such a simple notion - stop doing the wrong thing. But at least in my case, finding and understanding "the wrong thing" is an elusive and complex task. I had the good fortune to be working at the Guitar Circle Course in Massachusetts recently and during the six days of the course I was exposed to much quality Alexander Technique work. With the guidance of the skilled hands and directions of Sandra Bain-Cushman; her two assistants, Garnett Mellen and Thea Schenck, I was able to release and find a greater presence within my movements. Alas all things pass, and I returned home to perform at two gigs.
With each passing day at home, those small everyday habits of thinking and use of time began to clutter my mind. Is any habit really small I wonder? Developed over a lifetime, any habit has a power over me. To release a habit, takes understanding, motivation, work, and frequently assistance from the beyond. But since once again the stiffness was appearing in my right elbow, along with tension in certain muscles of my right neck I knew I need to find this "wrong thing" and to stop doing it!
This morning I returned to my professional duties, rested, invigorated, and grateful for the opportunities this employment affords me. Wearing a compression bandage on my right elbow and a magnetic bracelet I took to my duties. At one point I was walking down the hall with a clipboard when I noticed that my right shoulder was slightly elevated. Why is my shoulder "helping" my arm carry this item that does not weigh more than a few ounces? Smiling as I had detected a similar pattern of use in my left shoulder years ago in relation to "holding" the strap and hence the weight of the guitar. Now I knew I had something to work with on my own.
During lunch I perused Alexander's chapter Evolution of a Technique from Alexander's , which still happened to be in my computer bag. His employment of his reasoning processes which he lays out there spoke to me in a new way:
(1) to analyse the conditions of use present:
(2) to select (reason out) the means whereby a more satisfactory use could be brought about:
(3) to project consciously the directions required for putting these means into effect.
So tonight with guitar in hand I began my analysis. Reflecting on tendencies I observed during Qi Gong class yesterday, I knew I was onto something as I decided to play with and inhibit this action. This will probably take continued attention on my part to release this and more will be detailed as time permits. Currently I am smiling as I realize that for months, I have been trying to do the right thing, without understanding nor even seeing the wrong thing that I have been doing with my use. C'est la vie.