Post by Category : Awareness – ease

Drinking Water with a Fork

Am I drinking water with a  fork?

 

This is my new transformational question, a holy grail kind of question, a forking great question!

 

Drinking water with a fork is obviously a difficult, inefficient, unsustainable, energy dripping thing to do. A cup’s a more sensible choice to hold water to quench thirst.

 

Yet I find my self engaged in activities that could definitely be likened to drinking water with a fork. Do you?

 

So now instead of feeling forked off or burnt out I am asking the question – am I drinking water with a fork? Is this action, thought, relationship, behaviour, habit … fork or cup? Draining or nourishing? A simple question that changes my awareness and thinking, more able to see the ridiculousness of my habits and be my own change.

 

A fork and a cup, images for balance, both necessary useful tools, but with very different results.

 

Fork and Cup

Forward and Up!

 

Are you drinking water with a fork?

 

Love Kirsten

 

Body Magic, Lessons in the Alexander Technique click here

Breathe, Lessons in the Alexander Technique click here

 

Share Button

Finding my Inner FUP IT!

Sometimes life is challenging to say the least. People behave in ways that surprise and bewilder … our bodies alter and falter …. loved ones die … loneliness and anxiety can descend upon us like a cloud… to name a few. 

 

In the core of all of this what do you say to yourself to recalibrate, re-member, put yourself back together and walk forward tall and proud with your head in the air, feet on the ground and heart open? How do you find your inner peace? How do you keep on keeping on?

 

These thee words that have been guiding lights to me for years –  Forward and Up – shortened to FUP  or FUP IT! A little bit of devil may care combined with a direction which is for me the only way to go … forwards and upwards!  An Alexander Technique direction or thought that actually co-ordinates the structure too. 

 

So, today a short blog wishing you forward and up into a fupping great week!

 

The last couple of weeks I have struggled to maintain my fupness for a variety of reasons that all came at once, but this morning I decided to make a Tee shirt with this slogan, simply because it makes me smile and I am feeling my inner FUP IT rekindle by doing it.

 

FUP IT is so much more positive and powerful than the traditional four lettered expression!

 

So, FUP IT, it’s Monday … and though things may pull me down or push me over or cause me to doubt or falter, Fup it and Fup you too, I’m not staying there! Are you?

Have a great week.

 

Forward and Up!

Love Kirsten 

 

Link to tee shirt hereFUP IT! Forward and UP… Tee shirt! by Kirsten Harris 

 

Share Button

Rampage of Appreciation – Training to be an Alexander Technique Teacher

RAMPAGE OF APPRECIATION – TRAINING TO BE AN ALEXANDER TECHNIQUE TEACHER

 

At the age of 24 the Alexander Technique changed my life! That first hands-on lesson with it’s gently encouraging profound words from my first teacher, Astrid Cox, are moments I will never forget. Light bulbs switched on in my mind like a Disney cartoon with heavenly choirs of birds and angels rejoicing! It was a visual wonder movie in my mind’s eye and a giant relief to my entire being. I knew in that first lesson that, not only was I going to be OK from the incredibly painful spasms that I was experiencing in my neck, but that I wanted to learn to teach The Alexander Technique. I had found my calling.

 

It took another few years of thinking about and practicing the Alexander Technique and having lessons before I started my training with the late, great Don Burton. It was the most wonderful three years of my life. 1600 hours of experiential bliss! I loved my fellow trainees with all my heart. Our year group was nicknamed the The Fellside Pack of Dogs with our one for all and all for one love for each other, and the teachers were fantastic and inspiring. The three years worth of hands-on work and all that went with it, quite simply transformed everything. Alexander Technique hands-on work is like no other that I have experienced and will always open doors of perception and increase one’s knowledge on many levels.

 

Over the 3 years my artwork blossomed. Some evenings I would stay late at the school, alone in the movement studio, and by morning the whole studio would be filled with a new exhibition of art work. My creativity was releasing along with everything else. That was over twenty years ago. Since then I have worked as an Alexander Technique teacher and artist in equal measures, and for me, one would not have been possible without the other. It has been a lot of fun and moved me forward in ways I could never have imagined.

(Jamie McDowell recently sent me a photo of this art piece that I made at the time. So brilliant that he kept it. Thank you Jamie!)

 

What I love about the Alexander Technique is it opens doors – one gets the chance to work with all sorts of amazing people in all sorts of amazing places. What a joy. What an adventure. But what I most love is that at the heart of the work is a principle, a truth, a paradigm, that is as simple as it is profound, and works. Truly works. The word art is often used with Alexander Technique because one’s understanding and skills deepen and reveal more and more over time. As the saying goes, you get better at getting better. It is why people become passionate about it, or perhaps Alexander Technique opens up peoples passion. When you do start to find the lessons of the Alexander Technique, and that can start to happen in the first lesson, it reveals all. Alexander Technique is, I believe one way to the truth – a practical, loving, principled way, that sits well with all sorts of other disciplines such as music, the equestrian arts and dancing.

 

The reason I am writing all this is that I truly believe that training to be an Alexander Technique teacher with the rigours of a 1600 hour hands-on, in person training, is truly worthwhile. In this age of quick fixes and online courses I want to give a big cheer for a personal training that is life changing, educational, encourages responsibility, deepens ones awareness and self knowledge and has a principle at the heart of it that is both reliable, time tested and endorsed by the British Medical Journal.

 

Committing to an Alexander Technique Teacher training course was both the hardest and best choice I ever made. All other choices have just got easier!

 

So to all the people who I have ever worked with … a massive thank you and a big recommendation to anyone considering committing to a training course – yes, it is a three years of your life, but you will LOVE it.

‘Letting Go’

Cartoon by Kirsten Harris

Share Button

On Being Wiggly – part 2

I’m wiggly

You’re wiggly

It’s wiggly!

 

Thinking about what is wiggly and what is straight has really been influencing my relationship with the world around me and my thinking. I guess one of the great joys of teaching is that you end up teaching yourself!  On Being Wiggly (part 1 here.)

 

On wiggly walking –

Until recently wiggly walking might have been a bit Marylyn Monroe, ‘let those hips wiggle sexy lady’,  but now being a wiggly walker is more than that.

 

When I walk in the countryside my body has to wiggle to constantly adjust to the environment in a mobile way. The bones and muscles of my body are shifting and flowing to cope with the wiggliness of an uneven ground. My whole self is in a constant state of adjustment and refinement to the environment –  heightened awareness. My body moves not just in a forward and upwards way, but in a wiggly forward and upwards, downwards, roundabout, blending, absorbing, changing, readjusting kind of way.

 

When I walk in the city, I notice my innate wiggliness is largely lost. The linear, flat, straight, man made environment is influencing the way I use my body. I am no longer being called upon to allow the wiggle of planet earth up through my body in order to adjust to the terrain in such a mobile elastic contour shaping way. In the city there is no need to allow such freedom in the expansive way that the countryside demands. The flat pavement flattens and possibly hardens both my movement and my thinking! Walking is easier in one way, in that you have to think less to stay balanced, but is it really easier if the body is not moving and adjusting in the way that it is designed to do in a wiggly world?

 

A couple of weeks ago I visited a fairly recently abandoned traditional village in Oman. The houses were a direct reflection of the wiggly mountain landscape. Hand built not machine built. This was a wiggly higgledy piggledy organically constructed man made world. This is how our ancestors lived until relatively recently – in a more naturally formed architecture.

 

I realise that both my thoughts and movability change as I think about the differences between the wiggly and straight worlds that I inhabit. I have started to notice when my thoughts are ‘flat’ and ‘straight’ and when I allow my thinking to move in the wiggly flow.

 

It is really rather lovely living in a wiggly world!

 

 

A Mountain path, Oman

Mountains, Oman

Abandoned village at the base of the mountain

 

 

 

 

For more blogs you could subscribe to The Daily Ease!

or try my media downloads www.kirstenharris.co.uk

Or check out my artwork

www.kirstenharrisart.com

 

 

 

Share Button

How do you make decisions?

How do you make decisions?

 

Ever since I started working with the Alexander Technique as a stressed out ex art student, I realised that this technique is an amazing tool for decision making. It is a tool that I have used ever since that has not only informed my art but made my life better too.

 

Yesterday in a conversation with a friend, who seems to have been going round and round in circles over-analysing the same situation for months but never making a decision, I shared my process in the hope that it might give her a useful tool, and so I share it here curious if this works for you too.

 

The wonderful life transforming direction ‘I let my neck be free’ is a barometer for me. If my neck is not free, why not? What is it about the situation, thought, person etc that my ‘true’ self is not happy with. An instant neck tightening (a bit like a dog putting his hackles up) is giving me information about my emotional (psychco-physical) reaction to a situation.  My job is to notice. If I ignore and proceed anyway it usually takes me out of the flow and gets me into trouble in some form or another!

 

If my neck is free I am in the flow and I can proceed.

If my neck is not free, it is like an amber light, slow down, stop, recalibrate the thinking. Notice what I am thinking and feeling.

 

If I need a yes/no answer I ask my heart – ‘Is it in my/the highest interest to do this?’

If the answer is ‘Yes’ I get a nice warm melty feel in my neck and heart area.  If the answer is ‘No’, my body hardens or tightens in some way. Easy peasy. Decision made. My response – ability allows me to take responsibility for my decision and my choices.

 

Of course I am not discounting analysing data and facts etc, I just know for me I would get stuck in my head doing that as my only way to move forward. I have to feel whether something is right. If my neck is tight it is not right, If my heart is soft and my neck is free and easy, decision made … forward flow.

Horsemanship has a word for it – Feel.

 

When I am in the flow there are no wrong decisions, just a life lived with an open heart.

 

How about you? How do you make decisions?

 

‘If Wishes Were Horses’

by Kirsten Harris

 

This drawing and others in the series exploring lightness and freedom are available as Limited Edition hand signed, titled and numbered black and white prints via my website www.kirstenharrisart.com

A4 £20 / $28

A3 £30 / $48

Free postage worldwide if you purchase more than one print.

 

 

 

Share Button

Why the Alexander Technique can be Likened to Farting!

OMG!’ Oil on Canvas, by Kirsten Harris

 

Apologies to the easily offended, but I am likening the Alexander Technique to farting in this blog. Call it British humour or bad humour, but a girls gotta amuse herself somehow! Anyway, I am not talking about bad smells or feeling embarrassed, I am talking about something that is entirely natural. Farting is natural. No one choses to fart or makes themselves fart, it just happens. Or as we say in Britain ‘Even the Queen farts!’

 

So, this blog is about natural freedom, the bodies natural abilities. The poise that Alexander Technique seeks is a natural state. A state of suspended animation a bit like floating in water. It is not something you do or make happen.

 

You can not hold onto water to float in it. You can’t grab at the water or put yourself into a posture to find buoyancy. You will drown if you do this. You have to let go. You have to trust. Let yourself breathe out. Allow. Let go and go for it. Float. Go with the flow. Know that the next breath will find you.

 

Poise is letting our predominantly watery bodies float in space, so that we are free to move and live with ease and balance. Poise is a natural state of being. Poise is as illusive as it is addictive! We happen upon it, and we lose it again. Poise is a life times adventure in being.

 

Too often for my liking the word posture is associated with the Alexander Technique. Truthfully I think it is a misleading and inaccurate word. Posture suggests a position, something you do and hold, somewhat forced. Posture is like grabbing at the water. That is never going to work. As soon as you try to hold onto water it’s essence will slip through your fingers. You are just left with wet hands, a surface experience of what is.

 

Why would Alexander Technique teachers be so passionate about this job with a strange name if we were teaching posture?  Boring!

 

We are seekers of something mysterious, eternal and natural – a freedom that is, in it’s essence, nothing. Like water, you can’t hold onto that freedom. This is why it is hard to explain the wonders of the Alexander Technique. It is why people say you have to experience it. Alexander Technique takes us closer to the mysteries of being. It is just one way to seek truth, a rather wonderful way.

 

You can’t really explain floating in water. You have to be in the water, be of the water. You have to find the state of mind – let go of fear of drowning, that allows you to let go and trust the water will support you. Trust that floating and moving in water or up into space on dry land is a natural state of being. Perhaps it really is letting go of a fear of death that allows us to live freely.

(Ah, the inadequacy of words! So much to say so hard to say it!)

 

So on that note, I will raise the tone and share a verse my late, much loved Uncle Ken of Worsall Farm in Wiltshire, used to say to us as children to make us laugh! This is best read in the broadest of broad Wiltshire accents –

 

‘Where ever you be

Let your farts go free

For the want of a fart

Was the death of me!’

 

     

OMG … Kirsten Harris, I can’t believe you wrote about farting!

 

 

 

Share Button

Friesans to be Cheerful!

‘I want to be a lovely cow

Chewing on the cud

Ruminating all that’s wow

Even mucky mud!’

 

‘The Alexander Technique is a way of transforming stress to joy!’ Juliet Binoche

 

‘Moo, moo, moo’ moo the cows..

Freeing their breathing…

Letting go of stress….

MOOOOOOO

 

‘Moo Squeak Up!’ says a little mouse, your voice is important …

‘Think Up’ – says another …

‘Up! Up!’

‘Be up!’

‘Forward and Up!’

‘Spring up!’

The mice share important knowledge… little spiritual warriors… the mice know their mind effects their movement through life…

 

The band of happy mice see lots of reasons to be cheerful….

Their thinking makes them cheerful…

Moo says the cow… Friesians to be cheerful… Moo….

It’s a choice….

Wow Wow Wow!!!

 

A fun page from The Daily Ease 2017 Calendar –

A daft blog with an important message about releasing the out breath to let go of our inner cow…..

And the power of thinking up…

The empowering choices in the moment that the wonderful Alexander Technique give us here and cow!

It’s the power of cow!

 

To buy The Daily Ease 2017 Calendar for your Alexander Technique journey

click here

 

Have an easy day…. I love MOO!

 

12963675_648592518626739_7664321887485285383_n

 

 

 

Share Button

Mystical Creatures

JAN DOC012(5)

 

The Unicorn

by Kirsten Harris

 

In Ancient Myth lived a beautiful Unicorn

A fabulous horse with a pointing uni-horn

What is the symbol of this mysterious feature?

Forward and Up points the mystical creature!

 

************

 

My thoughts about the illustration..

 

The unicorn balances on a ball…

Planet earth…

A planet in balance…

The unicorn invites us to look for and find our own balance…..

‘Forward and up’ is the key he gives us….

Hares fly around the planet…we are spinning…

Man moving so fast he forgets to think, to listen, to respond…

The hare in flight…

Fright and flight or forward and up?

The unicorn maintains his direction, serenity, awareness, feet on the ground, spine lengthening, an inner smile….

Forward and up into cosmic space…

A mystical direction….

An invitation into the mysterious….

‘Giddy Up!’ says the little mouse, enjoy the ride…

 

Illustration for January from my gallop around Alexander Technique in verse and cartoon.

The Daily Ease 2017 Calendar available to buy here. £10

Click this link

 

Very limited stock.

I hope you like it

: )

Kirsten

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Share Button

The Girl with Two Necks

I have two necks. No really I have, and so have you!

No need to pat your under-chin and worry if you’re developing a wattle. I’m not being insulting! Me? Well maybe I do have little extra chin or two, but I really do have two necks!

 

One of my necks has seven bones. This neck is sometimes described as swan-like or Shrek-like depending on how it’s used and can be a pain in the neck or free and graceful. Are you rubber necking now to find out where your second neck is…

Your second neck has five bones, lumbar vertebrae. This neck is at your waist. Like the one above it it’s very mobile when free but can be tight, stiff and restricted and hurt a lot when not.

 

I want to keep my first neck free as it holds my oh so brainy brain up.

I want to keep my second neck free as it supports the balance of my heart up in space.

I want a heart and brain that are not constricted. Makes sense to me. I might be a little more successful at everything that way. Life is tough enough without having two bottle necks to contend with.

 

So today, how about spending a little time thinking of being a girl or boy with two necks and explore the enormous range of mobility and movement sensation they both give you. Two connected necks talking to each other in your thoughts.

 

I wrote the first half of this blog before getting on a flight. Every time I reminded myself that I have two necks whilst standing in the many airport queues or sitting in my not so easy jet seat I felt comfortable again.

 

So with a little daily ease and a wonderful anatomy of abundance – welcome to the world of having two necks. Mythical!

 

 

Share Button