Thursday, August 12, 2010


Having a relatively good practice session tonight. The last few days I have been hampered by effects of a recent medical procedure complicated by tiredness. But tonight I was ready, willing, and able. I began with a 20 minute Alexander Technique lie down. So delicious after a days work to release the muscles of my neck, back, arms, & legs. This also serves to quiet my mind But of course there was resistance to beginning my practice session with the lie down.

Why is this? I know from experience that when I begin with one I am engaged with my body and thus my playing on a different level. But my habit is to rush and to dive in. So I remind myself of my intent to engage with my guitar in a qualitative manner. By the end of the lie down I was asking myself why do I ever resist doing what I know works?

As I moved to the guitar I explored an exercise for my right hand and then addressed some issues in three pieces. Two of these pieces share a similar issue with harmonics. While working with the first harmonic related issue I found myself thinking "release" as my hands moved to invite the harmonic to sound. Success. I continued with this and sensed a freedom in my neck & shoulders. Moving onto the other related issue I again thought of "release" as I moved to play the harmonic. Success and ease spread through this section.

As I moved onto playing through a different piece I found myself thinking about what had just transpired. Wondering if I should write this up for the blog. When I noticed that my playing was being adversely affected I told myself to be quiet and pay attention to what I was doing. Yet the internal dialogue persisted. Why is this happening and why now? I knew I needed to stop playing and re-center myself.

I can not change this problem of internal chatter while playing from within the problem. I must pause, find my breath and body and allow the chatter to dim. I know this from experience, yet over and over again I attempt to "muscle through" in a sense and continue to play and continue to chatter. The acot of pausing is another form of releasing. This particular release took me to my computer to begin capturing and examining this experience. Now I may resume my guitar work.

What are you releasing?

Photo by Ian San.


  1. Funny you should ask ... I'm letting go of having to let go. It will leave when it's time.

    I'm discovering and releasing (as in giving it the walking papers) my hyper vigilant judge.

    I suspect that will impact my muscles greatly.

    Love reading about this, Patrick. I completely get the resistance to beginning a practice with 20 minutes of "lying there." It's not dissimilar to initial resistance to beginning one's day with meditation or qi gong.

  2. None of us need that judge Kathy, yet mine remains in the shadows patiently waiting for an opportunity to interfere.

    Funny how the resistance manifest again and again also. Perhaps release the resistance is in order.