Thursday, March 6, 2014

Moving on to The Art of Freedom, with Love

Dear Readers,

NOTE: You can now find my most up-to-date blogposts at http://www.ArtOfFreedom.me

It is with a bit of sadness that I realize how long it's been since I last wrote in this blog.  I had come to really love writing here and sharing my Alexander Technique insights with all of you.  And I have so much appreciated your warmth and positive feedback, as well as your very helpful comments!

However, I have a very good reason for no longer writing here, at least for the time being; I've been shifting my focus for my AT practice towards working specifically with musicians, so I've started a completely new business, website, and blog for that purpose (and I just can't do it all, even with all the miracles of the AT at my disposal, haha!).

I've re-invented what I do, for whom, and how I offer it.  I'm calling my new vision "The Art of Freedom", and I love it.  The Art of Freedom combines my experience as an AT teacher, a long-time professional performer, and spiritual person.  The Art of Freedom integrates all of who I am in a new way, and I feel such joy in being able to offer what I do with more freedom, and in being able to help my fellow musicians that I see struggling all around me.

Even if you aren't a musician, if my writings have touched or inspired you in any way, I very much hope that you will continue to read my new blog.  Come visit, explore my new website, and please sign up for my newsletter!  Here's the link:

http://www.artoffreedom.me/blog/

Another way you can help: please share the link!  And please do let your musician friends know about my work - I'd be so grateful.  I'm also expanding to work with people long-distance, so my work isn't just for Cincinnati anymore. If you know any amateur musicians who struggle with tension, pain, anxiety, or other issues... or professional musicians suffering from the same.... The Art of Freedom programs could very well be exactly what they need.  Why not help them out and tell them?  They might be forever grateful!

Much love to you all, and a thousand blessings on your Journey!
Jennifer

p.s. You can stay subscribed here, too, just in case I come back! :)

Friday, December 20, 2013

An Exercise in Moving from Our Curiosity, with the Alexander Technique

Have you ever watched a toddler toddle through her day?  Where her curiosity goes, her eyes and body follow.  Her head turns towards where her eyes are looking, and often she wants to touch what she sees.  In order to touch, her body must move, so off she goes!

When we are very young, everything in this world is fresh, just ripe for us to discover for the first time.  Curiosity is what motivates and moves us.  As we get older and things become more familiar, curiosity tends to wane, and we slow down.  We become more stagnant, relying on things such as television, conversations, and books to stimulate our curiosity and our imagination.  Gone is the constant desire to touch something new and interesting, and the fully-integrated will to move becomes dormant.

How can we rouse ourselves up out of stuck stiffness, lack of vitality, and poor coordination?

Get curious!  Do you really think you know everything about everything in your space?  Even if you've seen the same things a million times, I bet there is something about every single object near you that you don't know.  Why not get curious, and find out?

The Alexander Technique re-awakens our curiosity and improves our coordination.


  • Without turning around, are you sure you know exactly what is behind you?  The exact color? Texture? What it feels like with your eyes closed?  How it smells?  What it sounds like if you rub another object on it, or tap it gently?  Are you sure you know every possible thing it's useful for?  I bet you don't. Are you getting curious yet?  Do you want to turn around to see what's behind you?  (Wait a moment...don't do it yet....!)
  • First, remember that you're FREE.  You're free to stay put, without any curiosity at all.  You're free to stay stuck.  You're also free to get curious!  And, if you want, you're free to move!  (But wait a moment...don't do it yet....)
  • If you'd like to turn around to look, try this: first let your eyes move all the way to the right, without turning your head, as far as they'll go.  Then let your head turn, too, then your spine, then your whole body.  Keep looking and turning, and feel the urge to reach out to touch whatever it is you see.  Let your body follow that urge to bring your body close to the object.
  • You are free to just look, and free to touch.
  • Now, find something across the room that you could get curious about.  What do you think it might feel like?
  • Let your eyes lead your head to lead your body to bring you over there.
  • Practice like this:
Freedom
Curiosity
Eyes
Head
Spine
   Limbs  

Is the quality of your movement different than usual when you move yourself from a place of curiosity?  I would love to hear about your experience!  

Enjoy! :)

"Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici / FreeDigitalPhotos.net".

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Are You a Creative / Performing Artist? 10 Questions for You

Hello!

I'm in the midst of an arduous and thrilling process to re-design the Alexander Technique programs that I do.  That means doing some market research - for the first time ever!

If you are a creative or performing artist, I would LOVE to receive your feedback on an important survey of ONLY 10 QUESTIONS that I've put together.  Your response is important, because the programs I'm designing are for you, and other people very much like you.

HERE IS THE LINK:

What are your challenges as an artist?  What keeps you awake at night?  What kind of programs would you be interested in taking part in?  What do you want to learn?

Please take a few moments to answer the survey questions - I would be most grateful!

I'm also offering a free Breakthrough Session to ten of the respondents who complete the survey.  Maybe you'll be one of them! :)

Thank you in advance for your time and thoughtful response!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Teaching, Gratitude, and the Alexander Technique

What does it mean to me to teach with the Alexander Technique? 

Above all, Gratitude.

I've written about Gratitude before (see this post: Embodying Gratitude).  I do not have enough words to express the All of Gratitude, but here are just a few more.

Gratitude, to me, is an experience that feels enormous, huge, wonderful, fantastic, awe-inspiring, essential, and infinite.  Gratitude is about receiving down to generously offer up and out, with endless expansion. It is such a key to the best of everything that I am confounded about why I forget so often to live in awareness of this gift!

Teaching...

to be one who is open to receive, and ready to pour
to be in the presence of one who is open to receive
to see the one before us open to receive, waiting for us to pour
to receive what comes to us from above, knowing that ego has no place here
opening up the whole self to the Grace that is constantly pouring, waiting for us to open up to It, taking off the lid-covering of ego
letting Grace pour down from on high, filling the chalice that we are
letting It stream down through this body that is lived in, dripping through feet to the floor, spreading
realizing that in order to contain this Grace, we must rise up, growing strong, grand, and great
a chalice of malleable gold, with strong, sturdy walls and a very high rim



in order to receive infinite Grace, the chalice must grow infinitely large
ready to pour out a faceless Generosity

Grace - full
Full of Grace

there is no smallness in true Gratitude, because everything is here
no smallness in true Generosity, because everything is given
no smallness in true Humility, because nothing is left

simple awareness of the awe-some greatness, the enormity of Grace that descends
to full-fill the original design, the intended space of the mind-body-person that is lived in

the other side of the sense of greatness is the disappearing expanding space of humility
ego-I becomes nothing, no longer interfering
leaving a chalice, royally and divinely rich with nothingness
empty, clean and pure
ready to be filled and poured again and again and again of eternal Bliss

true teaching must be the receiving and pouring of the most subtle Grace
which illuminates the world
in the instant the teacher disappears






Saturday, November 2, 2013

Rising Above Feeling Bad, with Alexander Technique

Here's another practical application of using AT "Freedom Directions" (see recent blogpost) in response to an unpleasant incident, in which I felt put down by a friend.  My process:

First, I felt bad in response to the incident, but there were no conscious negative thoughts at the time - I just realized that I felt bad.  When I sat down to work through it, I quickly wrote down the first thoughts that came to mind, without censoring them:

she shouldn't have said that
she isn't nice to me
she doesn't respect me
she doesn't realize or acknowledge or appreciate what a positive thing I did
she puts me down
she makes me feel bad

I am free to be nice to me
I am free to respect myself and take care of myself

she is free to say whatever she wants to say
she is free to think whatever she wants to think
she is free to not respect me and to not be nice to me
she is free to not "get it"
she is free to put me down
she is free to make me feel bad
she is free to offend and criticize me

I am free to feel put down
I am free to feel disappointed that she doesn't get it
I am free to feel bad
I am free to feel hurt, offended, and criticized

I see that I am putting myself down by reacting, causing myself to feel disappointed, to feel bad, and to feel hurt and offended
I am free to do that, and to keep doing that if I want to
I am free to stop putting myself down by reacting/thinking in certain ways
I don't like this feeling, and I want it to stop
I want to feel good and be happy

I am free to stop doing what puts me down
I am free to feel good
I am free to think good thoughts about myself
I am free to think that I am good, in order to feel good

I am free to smile and be happy
I am free to celebrate that I have overcome this challenge
hurray!


*Image courtesy of anankkml / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Direction of Universal Energy with Alexander Technique

We don't know much, but it seems that there is agreement in the scientific world that universal energy expands.  (Please correct me if I'm wrong on this, and enlighten me with anything more specific you might know about it!)

If that is so, then I can use that within myself (since I'm alive, and this mind-body energy within me is part of this universe).

Sure, you could say that's very abstract.  But how can I make it immediately practical?

Here's one way, which I am experiencing right now, so I know it works for me.

- I become aware of a very strong emotion at work within me - I feel its energy.
- I notice that there is direction to it.  What do I mean by that?  Well, I notice a sharp constriction in my solar plexus and throat areas (chakras, according to some).  As I pay attention to the sensation, I realize that there is a constricting, narrowing, tightening, compressing, contracting energy that is aiming inwards.  It is not expansive.  It is therefore aiming away from life and towards death - if we define life as the universal energy (I know I'm on shaky ground here, but bear with me - I'm doing my best to make it simple and practical).
- I don't like how this feels, in fact it is quite unpleasant.  I can almost say I hate it (but not quite, because I'm interested in it.....hmmm....that's interesting......as soon as I notice this, I realize that part of me actually loves it, and suddenly my face smiles and I breathe)
- I could just stay with the above realization, but something in me wants to investigate my first idea, which is a bit different.  So I notice the constriction again.  I want it to go away.
- Noticing the constriction, I choose to stop doing whatever it is I'm doing to cause that.  (Interesting again - as soon as I think, "I am stopping," it goes away!  ... but then it comes back as soon as I stop thinking that.....)
- Again, I could stay with the previous discovery, but I really want to try out the spatial direction of energy idea...
- So as I notice the constrictive inward direction, I remember that I want that to stop, and I choose to aim this energy in the opposite direction; what I mean is, I want those areas in the middle of me to aim outwards instead of inwards - I want the energy in me to be re-directed into expansion, like a shining sun. 
- Ah, that does work.

...So many ways to Rome.....with Alexander Technique ideas of observation, inhibition, and direction.

Smiling, breathing, shining out again.  And balanced, too, because the inward energy still lives in me, too, even as I am aiming out.....

Always more to explore!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Putting Alexander Technique Freedom Directions into Practice in the Now

I love my work.
I love when I practice what I teach, and to share my experience.

Here's an example of how I am using my Freedom Directions (see last post), right now, in real-time.

I notice that I'm feeling sad, and I don't like it.
Well.....

Now, I remember that I'm free to feel sad.
And I'm free to let sadness move within me and through me.
It moves me, emotionally, mentally, and physically..... I move.

I am free to move.
I am free to be moved by something I do not understand.
I am free not to understand, and free to simply experience what is happening right now.
I am watching the experience of this body-mind-person.
I am free to let the body take on whatever shape it moves into.
I am free to wonder about it...I am free to think whatever I think about it, and feel whatever I feel about it.  I am free to continue wondering and watching.
I notice that I am breathing freely.
I am free to breathe.
I am smiling....free to smile.
I want to aim up.
I am free to aim up and out and long and wide.
I remember that my body is free because I am free, and that includes my neck.
My neck - this neck that I am aware of - is free.
My head is free to aim forward and up, free from the spine, free to be poised above.
My torso is free to move, to breathe, and to free up.
I am freeing up.
I am feeling happy.
How nice.........