Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Thinking, "I am Free"

If I can think, "I am free" in any situation, no matter how I feel, that is proof enough for me that it's true.

Sometimes, thinking "I am free" is easy.  When I feel happy and free, for instance.
On the other hand, sometimes it seems very difficult to think "I am free," because I don't feel free.

Yet, I am ALWAYS free to think it, no matter how I feel, and that, to me, proves that it's true.
And the truth is, if I choose to think it, it is very easy to think the words, "I am free," whether I feel it or believe it or not in any given moment.

And in my experience practicing this thought, I find that every single time that I find the will to think it, and I try it out, it brings me closer to feeling free.

Why not try the experiment?

Here are some variations I use:

- I am free.
- I am free to feel whatever feeling I am feeling right now.  For example:
- I am free to feel panic.
- I am free to feel disappointed.
- I am free to feel fear.
- I am free to feel confused.
- I am free to feel whatever I want.
- I am free to want to feel differently from how I feel right now.
- I am free to want something.
- I am free to give up.
- I am free to be angry.
- I am free to express myself.
- I am free to collapse and shut down.
- I am free to sit at the computer.
- I am free to stop.
- I am free to do something else.
- I am free to do nothing at all.
- I am free to be patient and wait.
- I am free to think I'm not free.
- I am free to think I'm free.
- I am free to experiment.
- I am free to choose.

As you can see, the list is inexhaustible.
That's because our possibilities are infinite.
We are free.

Of course, you are free to react to this post however you wish!

Would you like to try an experiment?
Why not try thinking "I am free" today, and see what happens?

If you try it out, remember that you are free to comment here -- I would love to hear about your experience!

A couple other posts that expand on this topic:


Monday, February 20, 2012


Why is stopping, REALLY stopping, so difficult for us so much of the time?
When we are in the middle of an activity, engrossed in our task, why is it nearly impossible to tear ourselves away in order to stop and re-organize ourselves so that we can accomplish our task or do something else in a better way?

How do you typically react when you are deeply involved in an activity (or thought process) and you are suddenly interrupted for something which seems trivial in comparison?
How do you react to yourself in the same situation, if it is you who knows you should stop?  Do you listen to yourself?  Or do you ignore yourself and continue on with your task?  Do you stop or do you force yourself onwards, or do you force yourself to stop, or do you allow yourself to choose consciously whether to stop or not?

Stopping is an essential part of the Alexander Technique.
Stopping is an essential "activity" to improving ourselves.
It is impossible to effect real, permanent, fundamental change in ourselves and the way we function without allowing ourselves to stop.

We need to learn how to stop, and then practice stopping often.
Stopping is a skill, and as such, requires dedication to make it easier.

In acquiring a new skill, or to improve a skill, we need to value that skill, and that means we need to understand its purpose.

The ability to stop is essential to an authentically-creative process.
The creation of new ideas (of any nature) flows from deep within us, from a place which cannot be fully accessed until we stop interfering with internal communication to and from that Place.

  • Do you wish participate in a creative process?  Do you wish to have new ideas?  
  • Do you wish to flow with change, or stagnate in the land of the stuck, muddling on habitually towards a kind of death?
  • Are you reacting to these questions?  Are you unsure of the answers?
  • I invite you to stop. I invite you to wonder. I invite you to listen. I invite you to wait for your response.
Here is a chance to notice what is happening in yourself, right now, right here.  Will you take this opportunity to notice and observe?  Will you take this opportunity to practice stopping for just a moment (even a split-second counts as practice!), in order to enliven the creativity, the life, the breath within you?

If not, why is it so difficult?  What is stopping you from stopping?

Why not stop to consider?

Saturday, February 18, 2012

First, Do Nothing

There was a decisive moment, years ago, when I humbly recognized that I needed more help--not just for my neck pain of several months, but for the way I was living my life.  I was immediately led to the Alexander Technique, where I quickly learned that I can't--and don't have to--do everything; in fact, I must learn to do nothing!

To my utter astonishment, my AT teacher, Erik Bendix (http://movingmoment.com/) simply accepted me, just as I was.  He let me be me, he let me be human, he didn't try to fix me or change me, and he willingly accompanied me into the darkness that we all face when we take a good look at our unhelpful habits of living.  He didn't accept me because of how I looked, or because of my talents, it was just because I was me--no different from anyone else. My teacher helped me see that I needed to stop, and go in a different direction.  This was exactly the kind of help I needed, and I have continued onwards in the new direction he showed me, ever since.  He didn't even use many words...the few that he used were enough to give me abundant, rich food for thought--for a lifetime.

I remember one lesson in particular.  I got off the table, thinking, "This is amazing. What a beautiful profession my teacher has...  I could never do this!"  And, here I am, a successful Alexander Technique teacher.  (I consider myself successful because I am one!)  It feels like the Alexander Technique has taught me how to achieve the "impossible".  And it has happened, many times over.

This first AT teacher taught me so many things.  This one I will always remember:
Whenever I ask myself, "What should I do?" the answer is ALWAYS: "First, do nothing."
Of course, that "do nothing" can certainly look like activity on the outside!  It's more about an inner attitude.

There are so many choices, so many decisions, infinite possibilities.  How on earth could little "me" know what would be the very best thing to do in any situation?  It is obvious to me that I am not the Doer, and I am not the Knower--even though I know that both the Doer and the Knower are within and part of Me!

"Doing nothing" is so much more than it seems! It is very far from collapse or indifferent hardening.
"Doing nothing" means, in part, giving up trying to control, to know, or to fix what seems wrong.

It means:

I don't and can't know, so I give up trying to know.
I can't control, so I give up controlling.
I can't be perfect, so I give up trying.
I can't fix myself or anyone, so I give up interfering.

Only after I stop this kind of "doing", can something new--more in accordance with my best intentions--occur.

What I CAN "do"/think, are the following:

I know where I want to go, and that is up.
I know I'm made to go there.
I trust the design of myself, and of the world.
I trust the Designing Principle.
I know there is order, so I allow it to be.
I know IT will work everything out by ITself.
I know if I get out of my own and everyone's way, things will work exactly as designed, exactly as necessary.
If I stop interfering, I WILL go up,
And my true Self will show Itself.

I cannot change anyone else,
but I can aim to be Myself, and let this Self shine.
I can only BE that which I AM,
And that is all I can offer to those around me.
The best Presence of the Self is always here,
Whether we are aware of It or not.
And I trust--yes, I know!--that deep inside,
There are others who ARE aware,
And that whatever is "done" or "not-done" with awareness helps.

So all I can "do" is to lend my presence
And keep myself free of interference.
That presence, the Essence of the Self, is made of Pure Love,
And THAT is what those who are suffering need.

My friends, you are THAT, too!  So do not forget!!!
You have exactly what everyone wishes for and needs most, within you!!!
Don't cover it up with fear or worry, though sometimes that is terribly hard!!!
Don't shut down, don't close yourself off,
Refuse to succumb to the habit which hides YOU, the Self,
No matter what form you take on today.

It is in our nature to shine out what is Real,
To give what comes through us,
To see the Self in all and to LOVE ALL.

You can hear the Self best when your mind is silent.

But...one more thing...
Don't TRY to silence the interfering chatter of the mind.
Simply have the intention,
Leave your thoughts alone,
And return to non-doing and simply Being.

I am forever grateful to all of my life-teachers,
yet I know that the best Teacher is the Self within.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Intelligent Self-Care in Education

Intelligent self-care should be taught as an integral part of any educational process.

As a certified Alexander Technique teacher and active professional musician, I see far too many professionals suffering from unnecessary chronic pain and stress, both of which interfere with optimal performance and threaten career and personal fulfillment.  A huge percentage of students and professionals experience tendinitis, back, shoulder, and neck pain, performance anxiety, burnout, and blockages in the development of their technical skills and creative expression.   After a student graduates and takes on the pressures of a demanding job, it can be very difficult to remedy these types of issues, and quite costly once the discomfort becomes severe enough to seek out therapeutic attention.

I strongly believe that stress and pain prevention should be addressed and taught early on as part of the formal educational process.  Students need to develop an array of self-care tools in order to recognize when pain and stress are threatening well-being and optimal performance, and learn how to change the unhelpful habits of living and using mind and body that cause these problems, so that they can enjoy their full potential without falling into the downward-spiraling traps of overuse and misuse of themselves.

The Alexander Technique is a resource that is recognized the world over for improving well-being,
health, and productivity.  Over a century old, it is used by performing artists and people from all walks of life to improve mind-body coordination, prevent pain and stress, and to increase constructive, conscious control of the individual.

Having my feet firmly in both the professional world of the arts and in the educational wellness arena of the Alexander Technique, I have a unique perspective on the issues that face students as they prepare for a career after graduation.  It is my wish to bring my knowledge of the Alexander Technique to as many people as possible, to encourage a new culture of intelligent self-care which will help students ease into healthier and more joyful ways of living, with successful, fulfilling careers.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Being free!

I am free!
No matter what it feels like,
No matter what it looks like,
I know it's true.

I am free.
The mind/body/being/Self is free!

Freedom is open to all directions.
Freedom means I'm allowed to be Me.

I am free.

Open mind, open heart.
Thinking free, loving free.

Head free.
Neck free.
Torso free, breath free.
Legs free, arms free.
Fingers free, feet free.

Stillness free, movement free.
Thinking free, stopping free.

Image free, face free.
Feelings free, smiles free!

Up free, down free.
Inside-out free.

Time free, space free.
And everything else free!

I am free.

You are free!


Our freedom is a miracle. An even greater miracle, perhaps, is our realization of it.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Sitting Here, Stopping

sitting here
not knowing what to write
why am I here?


I look out the window
brilliant dazzling white snow in sunlight
I smile

breathe again

I see my cat
I see You

I breathe again

I hear the laundry machine
I feel my arms



can I love what is?

I suppose that is a choice
I suppose I'm free to choose to love what is or not

do I?
no, not really, and that's why I'm sad

I want to stop notloving what is


whatever I'm doing to interfere with love of what is...I am stopping it now

I laugh
I smile

can I continue with that thought?  habit wants to creep in again, immediately!
I choose to continue thinking this thought
which thought? where did it go? what was it again?

ah, yes...
I do not like this present moment, as it is
I am choosing to stop whatever I'm doing to interfere with my loving what is
I am stopping that 

it works: I am smiling again, and another laugh escapes
and another
and another

I want to continue with this
I ask for help to continue with this


letting myself not know many many many things
letting myself not understand

just stopping what blocks me from loving what is

again and again and again.


the above thought process was a spontaneous application of the Three Simple Steps outlined in this blogpost:  http://balanceandharmonyat.blogspot.com/2011/06/three-simple-steps.html

Friday, February 10, 2012

Positive Directions for Mind-Body Freedom

Without moving the body to try to feel whether the following thoughts have an effect on your system or not, just go ahead and think them.  Slowly, one at a time, with awareness of the meaning of the words, and in the specific order suggested.  As you add each new direction, continue to be aware of the previous direction(s) at the same time.  Alexander said, "One after another, all together."  We pay attention to parts (analysis), and we also pay attention to the whole (synthesis).  This activity is the best kind of concentration, leading to a unified field of attention, one which aims to include everything.

  • I am free (the will is free, the mind-body is free, I am free to be)
  • I know where I am in space  (I know where all possible directions are in relation to the body:  I know where up is, I know where down is, forward, back, left, right, left, inside, outside, etc. )
  • The neck is free (to be as it is)
  • I am aware of forward & up (particularly in relation to the head)
  • The torso is free (to be as it is, to breathe, to expand)
  • The knees are aiming forward & away (from the torso)
  • Heels to the ground, crown to the sky (aware that everything in between is free to be)
  • I am free

Go back to the beginning and repeat as often as desired:

  • I am free
  • I know where I am in space
  • The neck is free
  • I am aware of forward & up
  • The torso is free
  • The knees are aiming forward & away
  • Heels to the ground, crown to the sky
  • I am free

Here's an abbreviated version:

  • I am free
  • The neck is free
  • Forward & up
  • Torso expanding
  • Knees forward & away

It may also be helpful to add the following after "I am free":  

  • to choose
  • to be ... as I am ... right now ... here ... Me
  • to love ... to live ... to be energized
  • to smile ... to enjoy mySelf ... to be happy
  • to breathe ... to move
  • to experiment ... explore ... wonder ... create
  • to feel any feelings, no matter what they are
  • to be conscious

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Sharing Love

We humans are beings capable of enormous--even infinite--Love.

To actively share the experience of this Love with others is the source of our greatest joy.
To feel that our expression of this Love is not fully received by others is the source of our greatest grief.

In order to experience the greatest heights of joy, we must be willing to share our Love freely, and take the risk that it may not be fully received.
We must be willing to endure the greatest depths of grief in order to live the most beautiful life of Love.

Alexander Technique can help us become aware of the many ways that we block the experience of Love within ourselves, both the giving of it and the receiving of it.

When we are afraid to feel, we block some of the flow of Love within us; we contract, shrink, fight, flee, and freeze...all to avoid feeling the extreme feelings borne of Love.

In order to Love, we must know that we are free to do so.
To live a life of Love is a choice.
To share Love is a choice.
But the price of choosing anything but Love is a choice away from living the full richness of life, towards deadening and hardening, numbness and pain.

The way to escape the suffering of the human condition is to live and love for the sake of Love, not for the sake of having it received or shared or returned.  That kind of "end-gaining" inevitably leads to disappointment and suffering.

We can choose to inhibit the desire/need for Love to come to us from without.
We can choose to allow/direct Love to flow and live within and without, for us and for others...in every moment.
These choices bring real happiness that is always accessible, always reliable, always trustworthy.
This is "good use" of the self.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

One Simple Thought-Drop

One thought at a time is enough
One simple thought, simply thought, is most effective

Aware of thinking
I can choose my thought

I wish my mind to be still and clear
So that I can simply think one simple thought most effectively

Aware of a jumble of thoughts in my body-mind
Like a turbulent lake tossed about by a stormy wind

I am the lake, I am the wind, I am the turbulence
Now I stop the jumble

I think one simple thought at a time, each of the above

One after another
All together

The waves slowly stop their tossing and turning about
And the lake becomes calmer, calmer

I am not sending more thought-waves, just this one
And the lake-mind-body becomes still

One thought-drop at a time, dropped into the calm lake
Sends orderly ripples to all sides of the lake

Slowly, the ripples of this one, simple thought
Reach every corner of my body-mind

This is true con-centration
One simple thought sending circular ripples in all directions

Ordering the universe of my being, which lies at the center of the Universe
Because Infinitude extends out from my center in every direction

I become organized
Around One Simple Thought

Dropped into the silent stillness
Of Infinite Being