Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Improvised Directions

Sunset balloon flight
The summer solstice, our longest day of the year.  Suffice it to say that my dealings with business concerns today certainly felt very long, dark, and unending.  What to do when finally confronted with truth, after months of negotiated deceit?  Despair was looming, probably even fear.  Yet anger did not approach the surface.  A tinge of gratitude for the decent person who at possible personal cost, put an end to this calculated disaster.

Chocolate cake, ice cream, and conversation with my favorite person in the whole world certainly helped when I arrived home.  Reflection, letting go, and directing my thinking from dwelling in the muck allowed me to inch forward.  The laughter of children celebrating the solstice pointed me to faith in life.  Then, finally, I took my guitar from her case.  What to play?  Why play?  The latter easier to answer, because I know the act of playing almost always supports positive change  within me.  But what to play in this somewhat fragile state was important as I needed the support of what the guitar offers me, not the sometimes judgemental critic that can still arrive after all these years to dampen the playing.

I began to improvise, to stretch, to just see what might be there for me to find.  Then drawing upon my recent experiments with negative Alexander Technique directions I arrived at "I am not playing the guitar."  Smiling as I played,  just enjoying improvising, even noodling.  Noticing the hint of the judge arriving, I directed my thinking with "I am not playing any wrong notes."  Relief.  Twenty-five minutes later, having invited this thought back a few times, I let go of the playing.  Having tasted freedom, possibility, and a gentleness with myself I thought I might play a piece or two when I return to the guitar.  And then again, maybe I'll inhibit this notion and just see what arises.

Life is precious, too precious to allow this moment to slip away. Many thanks to Robert Rickover for the great work he does with the Body Learning podcast series on the Alexander Technique.  The podcast on Using Negative Alexander Technique Directions is well worth a couple listens and has been informing me for months. Hopefully tonight's use of Negative Directions was not too great a distortion but it sure was useful. Listen sooner rather than later.  Plenty of other very informative interviews there also.


  1. Hi Patrick,

    I just recently came across these negative directions. It was the focus of my my AT & Guitar practice last week, and what an exciting discovery! Looking forward to explore them more...

  2. Jacek,

    I am finding "negative directions" to be very powerful & freeing. Not enough time to document all that I have been experiencing by applying them, but will post as time permits. I do have written note to return to in my journal.