Wednesday, June 14, 2006

directions


"Let your neck be free. Let your head forward and up. Let your back lengthen and widen. Although Alexander's directions may begin as a verbal formulation, eventually they become part of one's attitude toward life. Our direction becomes a matter of merely thinking up."
--Michael Gelb, Body Learning: An
Introduction to the Alexander Technique
I've spent the better part of my life in my head: reading, drawing, dreaming, designing--a scope sadly limited to slumping activities. Only photography asks movement of me, the arrangement of tangible objects beyond the reach of my computer or sketch book.

Enter the Alexander Technique.

I've been studying the AT over a year now. In lessons I'm asked to think in terms of my skeleton: sacrum, spine, skull. (Puzzled by what the sacrum might be, I googled it--see here--although I'm still not sure what it feels like inside me).

Only recently has this learning become a bit embodied. I'm awed by how simple it is to feel, how close at hand this beauty waits, and yet how distant and cumbersome the physical world often remains. I take joy in that which, however rarely, receives my attention: the feeling of heel bone against the rubber sole of my shoe and, through it, the concrete sidewalk pushing up at me; the wooden slats of my kitchen chair against which my ribcage rests; the wondrous revelation that I own two sit bones that do naturally help when sitting.

I wonder at all the space offered me, and how many ways there are to move through it. I am a three-dimensional thing that walks, thinks, prays--a balance of muscle and bone moved by electric impulses from the brain.

I give myself simple directions: Let my neck be free. Let my head forward and up. Let my back lengthen and widen.

2 comments:

Jenny said...

Hey Lucy,

This is awesome. Okay, I'm sold. Sign me up for the Alexander technique. You're totally right--this seems to be the next step in the natural sequence of things--Geneen Roth, Anne Lamott, Daniel Ladinsky, Alexander technique. All of it seems to be inviting us to inhabit our bodies more fully and freely. What a gift it is to discover these things with you.

Charlie Brown said...

Ah, I marvel when I reflect on your words: The end of vacations are opportunities to take new places home with me. Yes and more yes. And, for me, the end of a day is an opportunity to take new places and people home with me, into the home of my heart.
Charlie Brown