Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Releasing One Small Habit

Canadian goose
When I woke on Monday, there was a familiar tightness in the area of the right elbow.  A stiffness was present in part of the right side of my neck and as I moved my arms about, a tightness in  a muscle of the upper right arm.  Some position I had assumed during my sleep had aggravated the muscles and tendons that comprise my condition of "tennis elbow."

Part of the great relief from the Bill Conable workshop on Saturday was having this situation alleviated.  Now I knew it was possible to have freedom in my right arm, I had experienced this on Saturday and Sunday.   So what to do?   I needed to pay attention to my whole use of myself and to direct my thinking.

That morning at work, I sat in front of my computer.  I noticed a slight pulling in the right side of my neck.  Pausing to observe, my head was slightly tilted to the right as I looked at the monitor, pulling & shortening this area of my neck.  Meanwhile my right arm was also "shortening" to accommodate my relationship to the keyboard.  Later while carrying a few sheets of paper back to my office, I noticed that my right arm was "shortening" again.  Back at my desk, I went to close my right hand and saw that when I would go to close the hand there was a "pulling back" of the arm and a slight "scrunching" of the right shoulder.

Carrying a cup of coffee with elbow bent, I again saw this "shortening."  Is this a result of strategy I developed to "protect"the injury?  More likely this is a pattern of use that has been unconscious to me and contributed to the injury.  I took this information to my Alexander Technique session with David Jernigan last night.  Through the use of his hands and suggestions my freedom in this area was once again restored.  The possibility of this habit of shortening being let go is real, but I need to cultivate the awareness to allow this to manifest.

When I came home I went to play guitar.  Pausing to direct my thinking,  I came back several times to my arms are long.  Thinking about my recent work with negative directions, the thought "I am not a short guy" arrived.  Laughing as my 6'4" frame played with this direction.

In the 45 minutes that I have been writing this, I have paused several times to notice how I was using myself at the computer.  In taking the opportunity to direct my thinking and introduce a small measure of freedom I have noticed small scrunchings  and tweakings of myself and let them go.  But habits are persistent and as my awareness withdraws from my use, the habits reassert themselves.  As Thomas Jefferson said "The price of freedom in constant vigilance."  I have my work cut out for me.

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