Sunday, July 8, 2012

Maintaining Freedom - Is It Possible?

We move according to how we think we are structured not according to how we are actually structured. -  Bill Conable

Here I am, a mass of habits.  Many good habits and some bad ones, with most of my habits engaging below the level of my consciousness.  Yesterday at an Alexander Technique workshop with Bill Conable, he introduced a great level of comfort and freedom into my left arm in particular and my whole self in general.  Bill has been working with AT for over fifty years and has an amazing ability to transmit freedom with his hands coupled with an astounding ability to see one's self-imposed limitations.

The freedom he took me through was and is still very palpable.  How may I maintain this freedom?   Certainly by use of the AT process. Using inhibition of an action and directing myself.  Noticing what I am doing and then working through the technique to let go of what is not useful.  Lie downs and more lie downs.  But what of those habits that might lie outside of pure movement.

As I began to move about my kitchen this morning the urge, habit really, to grab a few handfuls of granola stuck me.  At this time I also noticed how free and up I still was from yesterday's work.  The unity of my system is a sum of the parts.  Habits form and shape these "parts."  What if I inhibit this particular habit of early morning snacking and choose to direct my thinking instead.  After all this "grabbing a handful of granola" generally lies within my automatic behavior.

When ever I can disrupt my automatic behavior my entire system benefits.  One small act can and does influence the whole.   Pausing to direct my thinking right now and introduce length and width to myself as I type will positively impact how I use myself with the guitar.  These moments of freedom are fleeting and rare, yet powerful.  When one continues to comes back to the moment to notice and direct what one is doing, change becomes possible.  And this act of coming back to the body and unifying my actions with my thinking strengthens the ability to notice again later.

As I learn more about how the human system actually is designed to work and choose to direct my use along these lines rather than my habitual way of doing, a small measure of freedom is obtained.  Vigilance in observing how I move and taking the time to direct my thinking maintains these small freedoms.  Change is possible, freedom is possible; it requires a gentle persistence.  Just now I paused again to notice how I was sitting with the computer.  Bringing my actions within a conscious intentional act changes everything, if only for  a moment.

1 comment:

  1. A great post! During Summerflute, I began moving with such ease by the end of the week. I've tried to preserve that ease in the week since arriving home again. As you said, persistence...

    Also, Bill's quote at the top of this page is awesome. The work he and Barbara Conable have done has been monumental. I'm sad that I missed his class.