Thursday, February 28, 2013

Release What You Don't Need

Release, constant release requires conscious participation.  Requires nourishing my awareness and practicing coming back to the present moment over and over.  Support of other practicioners moves me to spaces I am not capable of achieving on my own.

Release the unnecessary.  How much of my way of moving is unneeded and unrelated to how the system is designed?  Tension, misguided effort, and plain old habit cloud my capabilities.  What am I releasing - the past, the future, the unseen?  Can I allow my body and mind to arrive right where I am?

As I focus on the Alexander Technique direction of width I notice my tendency to hold my right shoulder rolled forward with my arm slightly pressing against my body.  This puts pressure on my breathing, though this pressure is generally below the level of my awareness.  This habit also pulls on my back, tiring & misusing muscles which then pull on other muscles, introducing tension throughout my system.  And I seldom notice this.  Why?

Habits of hurry and inattention.  Years of neglect of how I use myself resulting in well worn pathways in my brain mandating this is how life is.  Mimicking of how others use themselves, for instance in playing the guitar, without my own playing being based on principles.

Yet the simple thought of "wide" without actually doing anything, allows a release of muscles doing unnecessary work.  Allows a release of tension from the strains my habitual unnecessary work produces.  And this simple thought quiets the mind, bringing me into the present.  A new if transitory pattern is introduced, one based on principles of releasing into the design of the musculoskeletal system.  Even though this release is transitory the basis for a new way of moving is being established.

Introducing the thought of the AT directions, over and over, as I remember, allows the release into a new way of being.  Connected with my thinking, my body and the space around me a gentle release like the melody of clouds I saw at sunrise today arises.  Moving with grace and ease, according to the way the design allows.  Release.  What am I releasing?  Habits, judgements, opinions and neglect. 

Release what you don't need was a comment from Pedro de Alcantara's interview with Diana Rumrill.  What is it that I need?  What do I not need?  How do I determine my needs?  The Alexander Technique provides me the framework to see, experiment with, and find what I am doing and more importantly what I need to be doing or not.  The directions allow me to release what I do not need and to lengthen & widen in movement and in life.  What are you releasing?

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Framing the Mind

Red Moon: Time lapse of a transformation

"Things are easy to do" is the first quote on a page of notes from an interview with the Alexander Technique & author Pedro de Alcantara on Harmonious Bodies a couple years ago.  How to arrive at the place where "things are easy to do?'  Pedro goes on to speak of putting yourself in the frame of mind to do so, to work on the frame of mind. Using the Alexander Technique to broaden my awareness is an ongoing part of my musical approach.  A method of connecting the body & mind with what I am doing right now.

These partial scores are accented with recordings of the various works in progress.  Some of the recordings have captured a piece in it's entirety while others like the scores are partial.  Along with a few completed pieces these works in progress will form my next recorded release - When the Ocean Courts the Drop.  As I have a more time this week than usual to devote to music, my focus is on completing the notation of some these scores.

Where to begin I found myself asking yesterday?  The recordings have been organized, the partial scores assembled and now the work of listening and notating awaited me.  This is difficult work for me.  My ear is not developed enough to undertake this work with ease.  One of my favorite Guitar Craft aphorisms - Establish the possible and move gradually to the impossible arises. With this aphorism framing my thinking, I decided to begin with a piece that has a recording that sounds complete and has a partially developed score. 

Ironically in my last Alexander Technique lesson with David Jernigan, he had me singing a song and finding the melody on the guitar.  The musician in him has noticed this musical weakness of my ear before and on this particular evening this formed a good frame to address our AT & musical work.  I am generally comfortable playing for David these days, even improvising.  But singing?  Singing when his family is in the adjacent room with a mere wall between us?  But I did, even though it was a bit of a struggle.  Could I keep the AT directions alive which we had been working with earlier in the lesson while dealing with my internal opinions about myself?  Could I remain free and confront this habit of mine that does not like to expose myself & my inadequacies?  David assisted by his gentle presence, keeping the AT work alive with me. 

I have been working with developing my ear in my practice for the past two weeks and now I confront the limitation of this part of my musicality.  The recorded melodies I am working with capturing and notating are not as simple as what I have worked with.  My pitch recognition lacks and so I struggle.  And I pause and direct.  Pause and breath in, knowing that in making this effort the ear is being developed.  And f I can keep the notion of "things are easy to do" alive I am not quite as overwhelmed as I might be. 

Success smiled on me yesterday, notating a 90 seconds of a two minute and 40 second piece.  A few times I wanted to throw in the towel, but paused instead.  At times setting down the guitar and enlivening my Qi with a few simple Qi Gong exercises.  Gently backing off from end gaining with pauses to direct my thinking via AT.  Connections developed between the ear and the mind, the mind and the guitar, and from where I am to where I wish to be.  May these connections continue to develop and broaden

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Trust in the You of Now

bleu / blue 

Trust in the you of now

One of  my favorite Oblique Strategies formulated by Brain Eno and Peter Schmidt in 1975. What more could I ask of myself? I am always changing; life is always changing.  I'm not the musician I used to be nor am I the one I will become. Thus I need to trust my intuitions, trust when I 'feel' inadequate and arrive back in the here and now.

Knowing where I am right now a bridge from the possible to the impossible resides.  Arriving, trusting, and moving from where I am is an ongoing process.  A process I must reengage with over and over. Wherein lies the source?  Right here.  Right now.

Monday, February 18, 2013


Patterns spiral in 

 Patterns spiral out.

What guides them?




Are our patterns ornamental or fundamental?




Attend one volution fully

and the next step illumines.

Attend again with vigor

and a path has begun.






Sunday, February 17, 2013

Winter Morning Sounds

Winter's sounds isolated within.

Crisp and clear; mimicing the bare trees whose branches reach and connect all there is.

A few moments of clear thinking.

 Connecting life

Bare thoughts

Crackling leaves

Dawn breaks free.

Photo Courtesy of Paul Davis

Saturday, February 16, 2013


Eternally Stood Up
Thoughts to words.

Thoughts to actions.

Thoughts to notes & melodies.

What was I thinking? What am I thinking?

Better perhaps to direct my thinking?

Or quiet my thinking and notice what is going on.

Or reflect on my thinking and notice what patterns are directing me.

By noticing the patterns change is possible.

      Thinking habits breed movement habits.

      Thinking habits breed emotional habits.

      Thinking habits breed how I Live my Life, or Not.

Find silence - free the thoughts.

Free the thoughts

the Heart Opens


Friday, February 15, 2013

Gentle Persistence

Desert Track

Fear.  Always fear.  Why?

There is a piece that has been whispering to me for years.  Recent listening to  various recordings from times when I have been actively working with this piece, has let me hear that there is music there.  Even a beginning, a middle, and an end; just not all on the same recording.  Tonight when I was working with this piece, the struggle to pick up these parts by ear frustrates me.  And this frustration invites the sprouting of fear.

I'm not good enough. I will never figure this out so why not let it go.  God knows what else lurks beneath.  Ah. Now that's out.  Returning to one of my favorite GC aphorisms We begin again constantly, I set the guitar down, breath a bit and return.  Knowing that gentle persistence will yield a few more notes and something positive to build upon. To give in fear is to perish.