Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Negating History

The T-prism is a snub triangle

Continuing to explore the use of "negative directions" within the Alexander Technique and how this may influence how I use myself.  Yesterday while reviewing an older musical idea I arrived at "I am not holding on to my history."  How might this apply to AT?  How might it apply to my musical pursuits?  How might this "not holding on to my history" apply to my life? 

Currently I am on vacation, which many times in the past means that I have time to explore new musical ideas.  I was torn about reviewing an older idea that has merit but which is incomplete.  So why the hesitancy, just because I am on vacation.   This was when the " I am not holding on to my history," arrived.  As I have worked with this direction over the past two days, I also see how this might penetrate my actual physical use.  A subtle shift in the thinking aspect of what Alexander refers to as our physcophysical function.  What "history" of mine might lead to the manifestation of physical tension? Where might the tension then lead my thinking, reinforcing my historical use of my whole self?

So the application of a simple thought, may crack the door open, revealing a possibility of a different relationship to space.  Today I added "I am not a guitarist" to these oblique directions.  The "not a guitarist" was being complemented by being open to constantly shifting plans that kept me away from the guitar.  Back to the music of life.  How I live one small part of my life, affects all the parts of my life.  Paying attention to the needs and desires of loved ones that support my life is no cause for turmoil over less time than originally anticipated for practice.

When I did practice in the late hours of the evening, the fruits of releasing my history and my expectations resulted in spirited improvisations and the joy of running through a few pieces.
As T. S. Elliot said "History is servitude.  History is freedom."  For me the conundrum resides in making the choices that allow for the release from the servitude of habits which lead to the freedom of making new choices.  Slowly, with gentle persistence, a different way of thinking evolves and supports a different way of movement.  One based on understanding and allowing the body to move from the whole structure, supported, free, and connected.


  1. I love this. Thank you, Patrick. I have used the direction, "I am not holding onto my past" to good result, too.

  2. Great post Patrick. Don't forget, while your playing, "I am not playing the guitar." I think you'll like that one too

  3. Robert beat me too it, well I did follow his link; great post