Tuesday, March 24, 2015
Developing the Power to Choose.
Between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.” ― Viktor E. Frankl, Man's Search for Meaning
How to allow myself to find this space of which Frankl speaks? Finding my breath and observing it a few times is one way. Using the Alexander Technique concept of inhibition is another. Slowing down our habitual responses to life's activities, allows an opportunity to see what one is doing and to maybe even have a choice in how the activity is carried out. This is paramount for a musician. Habits useful or not are so easily formed, but not so easily released. I want the time remaining to play my instrument to be effective, to serve music and this musician in a sustainable manner.
As I pick up my guitar case I decide that I will focus on practicing Alexander Technique Inhibition throughout this session. When I place it down I pause, first to calm my thinking, then to direct my thinking about how I want to open the case. Is this important? Yes. When I begin my practice with quality, then this can spread and grow throughout the session. As I sit on my stool, I hold the thought "I am not holding onto any outcomes for this session." For a goal directed person, this tweaks my being. But I want the freedom to see, learn from and develop how I am playing. And yes, I want certain pieces to be ready to record next week, but if I allow this goal to be the key rather than how I get there, the goal may be compromised.
As I begin playing through The Call I notice mental chatter. If there must be chatter then let's direct it. Slipping in thoughts of length and freedom between the phrases I'm working with, rather than judgements seems an informed use of chatter. Sensing this blog post was developing I reach for my clip board to make notes. Then I inhibit my need to do. I see how I am holding the clipboard, guitar about my body, leaning to the right. I make different choice and remove the guitar. Inhibiting again and directing my thinking along AT lines I then make notes. Noticing the extent of my awareness I am grateful and continue to inhibit after I put the clipboard down. May seem trivial to some, but the aliveness in my being was a sign to me to continue.
As I reach for the guitar, I think of my edges - the fingers, toes, head, skin - are they alive right now? Free? I include my mind and heart. Can I approach unity in my action? I continue in this manner as I practice bringing my thoughts back to how I am using myself as I play; as I take off the guitar; as I walk to the kitchen to get coffee. The reward is heard in the notes. As I reflect at the end of the session I formulate this thought. Change will happen - am I directing the change or merely devolving into old habits? Are you?
Photo by Sammiblog