Thursday, September 1, 2011

Pushing Hard

Water in Blue

Monday night I was playing around with the Alexander Technique directions while I was brushing my teeth.  Having a sense of myself I slowly extended my left arm toward the mirror.  Then I brought the hand towards my body as if I would be moving to the guitar neck.  There was space within and beneath my shoulder that I do not usually sense when I habitually bring my hand to the guitar from my lap.  I was excited and played around with this a few times.  Though the hour was late I wanted to go and check this out with my guitar.  But I was tired.

I had already let go of blogging that evening because it was after 10 pm and I was beat.  As I felt the pull in me to go back to the guitar I recognized an old habit of mine.  The ability to push myself hard.  In general, I and others, have seen this as an admirable trait.  But this "pushing myself" is a habit.  Looking at this from an Alexander Technique perspective I began to wonder about the effectiveness of "using" myself in this way.  What are the long term affects of this "pushing hard?"  Certainly I have sustained injuries from pushing too hard with the guitar.  What has been the psycho-physical toll from a lifestyle of "work hard/play hard?"  This is a habit I must look at deeply.

While I did not go and play my guitar that night I did jot down some notes before turning in.


  1. So true! Where does that energy of pushing ourselves past our physical, emotional and spiritual limits come from? Is it a basic human trait to always want to do more? Is it a working class habit we need to examine on Labor Day?

    Do we rest enough?

  2. Now you've put your thumb on the pulse of one of my great challenges as a musician: How to sustain creative intentions without becoming overwhelmed by desire. As you said, this is a habit. I deal with this habit by always asking "why?" when I don't want to stop pushing. I'm often surprised by my own answers, but when I do this I always feel that I have clearer choices.

  3. Many thanks for sharing your experience Bill. Tonight I was working with improvising while aiming to maintain freedom with the Alexander Technique. A couple times I found myself asking "why?" Very useful.