It is now nearly 5:00am, and I've been pondering this question for hours now, regarding a choice I have made that I am convinced is the "right" choice for me, and considering how I will best stick to my intention. Eventually, after considering many options, I was led here to write about it, as I so often am, since writing is an important part of my Alexander practice.
Remembering the wise words of my esteemed Alexander teacher and friend Helen Hobbs (AmSAT, Cleveland), I would like to share some of the wisdom that she has gained through her many many years of study, mainly from her teacher Patrick MacDonald, who was a student of F.M. Alexander. Last week, I was fortunate enough to have a series of five daily lessons with Helen.
In considering the Alexander Technique, we realize again and again that we must make a decision and then hold firm to that decision, renewing it again and again in every moment. We must pay no attention to the result; only to the means whereby we are to achieve our goal. How to do this?
By absolutely refusing to do "the usual", and aiming Up.
That is all.
So simple that it becomes elusive and slips away as soon as we've grasped it.
And then, we remember, and we practice again, by renewing our intention and following through.
I know that I want to go Up, above all.
Nothing else is as important to me as this Goal.
Sure, there are many other ways I could put words to this Goal--infinite words, actually. But it doesn't change the fact that my Goal is to be Up. Part of my "usual" is to make things much more complicated than they are...to think and think and explain and analyze and get caught up in how things feel...until I'm lost in a maze of words and thoughts and ideas and feelings...and I've completely forgotten about the essential simplicity of what I want, which is to Be Up.
So I come back to that Goal, and I say "no" to "the usual".
This is a very strong, powerful, essential NO, as you can see.
I refuse to forget... I refuse to do "the usual"... I refuse with my whole being to fall into habit.
Instead, I remember to open Up.
I remember my roots, I let myself fall, I surrender to this One Idea, I give Up.
I stay with what Is.
I remember, and I aim Up, with every cell of my being.
No "doing", no forcing, no extra effort.
Just remembering, just Being, just saying Yes to Up.
This is what I want.
And then I find that I'm making too much of an effort in my remembering, in my aiming, so I ease up a bit, and remember to be gentler with myself. I soften, I have compassion, and I modify my effort. I let up a bit on my striving. I take a break, and I wait. I trust that this is the right way. And then, I begin again.
Aiming Up with clarity of intention, while refusing to do "the usual" brings me great happiness.
This is the best of Me, and this is where and how I want to live.
No doubt about it.
And the more I practice this way, the happier I become, and the stronger I become.
I know that I can stick to any specific intention when I remember to practice in this general way.
When I look at it this way, my choices are no longer overwhelmingly infinite; there is only one choice: either to continue on doing "the usual", or to stop and remember to aim Up.
Realizing the simplicity of my task now makes it easy.