Saturday, January 25, 2014

Spaces I Find Myself

While writing in my journal this morning, I recalled an older Alexander Technique post the essence of which was Up is Up.  Such a simple thought, practice even, but like many simple ideas this requires a sustained disciplined approach. Just thinking Up is Up, I noticed I was huddled over the notebook on the table, not up at all.

Compressing my spine, pulling on my back, my shoulders pulled inward, and my head pulling on my neck.  There was no poise nor ease.  Muscles holding me in place, but why?  I can write while allowing myself to be forward & up, long & wide.  I am allowing this now as I type.  I wonder if "writing in my journal from this place of freedom" might also allow me to more fully examine & engage the thought processes & feelings I probe in my journal?

This pattern of use that I noticed also reminded me of a space I sometimes find myself within when playing guitar. Perhaps another instance of Alexander's observation of how we do one thing is how we do everything.  What I also find interesting this morning was that I was writing about something I've noticed in my creative process with the guitar.  I journal each morning and I generally play guitar six days a week.  While my intent is to be aware when I am practicing guitar, I need to extend this to how I am within the space of any practice, even the mundane of washing dishes or sweeping floors.

Certainly I pay more attention to my use in my "practice space."  But these everyday acts of living as I am taught in Zen are precious opportunities to wake up to what I am doing, or not.  Like Zen, the Alexander Technique is a path for me to investigate mindfulness of the body and allows me to touch the moments of my life. When I allow more freedom in my body, lo and behold I find it easier to follow my breath.  This allows me to observe my thinking which again can allow for more freedom of use. But first I must notice.  How am I using my body?  Am I breathing?  What am I thinking?  Any of these portals invite me into the present moment, the very moment of life. 

Photo by Joann Malone.


  1. Nice post Patrick. Thanks for the reminder the all of my moments are practice. Up is Up: just reading this had me sit taller, breathe easier, experience more spaciousness. If I do everything the way I do one thing, let the one thing be this - creating ease and spaciousness. Really being here.

  2. Love Joann's photo too!

  3. Very nicely said Patrick. I also strive for those momentos when awareness expands and I can occupy all my available space. It has been researched in the positive psychology trend that creativity is only possible in this expanded awareness place, because it opens up more avenues of thought and inspiration.

  4. Totally resonates with me, Patrick; thank you. I too caught myself slumping this weekend during my sitting and playing guitar. Breathing becomes less restricted when I allow my head to extend upward from the neck