Post by Category : Constructive Rest

Stuff and Nonsense!

I am sorting out my wardrobe and discovering in the process that my favourite childhood book has morphed into ‘The Try On, The Bitch and The Wardrobe!’

 

My closet is bursting at the seams with fantasy versions of an alternative reality –  a life that is ‘absolutely fabulous darling!’

In truth, I live in paint splattered jeans in the muddy countryside. It also appears most of my clothes have ganged up against me and shrunk. It really is a magic wardrobe!

 

Somehow a clothes purge seems symbolic. A letting go of versions of myself that are outworn, outdated or frankly nowadays delusional!

A kind of shedding of old skins – letting go of the metaphorical onion layers to find transformation.

 

The so called middle age spread has spread all over the house. I begin to understand what the phrase means. Not so much body fat from stuffing your face but a general boundary spilling over abundance stuffing of everything that slows down your energy.

 

I have been decluttering all summer. It has been a slow stuff shuffle, rather than a whirling, twirling, passionate tango.

 

Every now and then a treasure emerges –  a new idea for how to use things, a bit of space made. Happy moments. Little bits of energy release into a punk pogo round the room. An 80’s music radio station has played in the background all summer. Gold!

 

Lots of lying down in-between too. Letting go of stuff is very exhausting!

 

Now beautiful dresses are being banished to the local Breast Cancer charity shop to look wonderful on someone else. It is as though these tiny tight fragile ‘tutus’ of design gorgeousness are mocking entities in the wardrobe tormenting the more fulsome fifties me! Begone, reminders of another era, this is not my life anymore. Stop poking me!

 

They say ’nature abhors a vacuum’. I am trusting the air developing in my cupboard is inviting new possibilities for adventures and freedom. My magic wardrobe, I tell myself, is inviting a magnetic creative force field of possibility and well being –  new doors to walk through will miraculously appear, magic kingdoms revealed to explore. New outfits for new fit outings.

 

As letting go of unnecessary tension in the body takes a bit of conscious awareness and courage, so does letting go of the tight, out-moded, worn out – the clothes and stuff we are holding onto that stops us being the best person we could possibly be right now. Material on the outside matters somehow to the heart of the matter on the inside.

 

Material girl

Slowly she shuffles stuff

Stuff stuff stuff …

‘Stuff and nonsense’ my granny would have said!

Letting Go by Kirsten Harris

 

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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

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Alexander Technique Drawings

Page from The Daily Ease – A Walk in the Wood Colouring Book

 

I have been slowly working away creating images that hopefully express Alexander Technique in a fun way. A task that I find exceedingly challenging, but very engaging.

 

One teacher, who phoned to ask to use one of my cartoons to promote her work within the BBC, said ‘the Alexander Technique needs more images with a sharp wit like these.’ Amazing feedback!

 

Another teacher said I was wasting my time making art to promote our work!

 

An interesting difference of opinion.  I love Alexander Technique and how it can so simply and profoundly transform peoples lives. If I can do a wee bit to bring it into peoples field of attention via a cartoon or a verse or something else, yippee! To me that attempt is not a waste of time.

 

What do you think?

 

I plan to make more Alexander Technique inspired cartoons and drawings next year and I want to plant trees, to do my bit for this beautiful planet we live on!

 

This year I made an Alexander Technique inspired colouring story book for children and adults. All profits will be used to plant trees.The Daily Ease – A Walk in the Woods,  link here!

 

It is the sort of thing as a child I know I would have loved, and I think would have given me a ‘heads up’ on some useful thinking …

 

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‘Hedgehog – Feeling a Bit Prickly!’

detail from ‘The Daily Ease – A Walk in the Woods’

 

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‘News – Skeleton Slumps at Screen!’

FB logo for The Daily Ease – Alexander Technique.

 

 

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Ki – How I Discovered Alexander Technique

Ki

 

Here’s a girl, nick-name Ki

Yup, a verse, all about me

A teenager who slumped and slouched

Growled and groaned, and then BIG OUCH!

My back packed up, could take no more

Age 24, in pain on the floor

 

It happened quite out of the blue

While turning for paper on the loo

That little twist, the final straw

My slumped tight muscles finally swore

 

Muscle spasm, extreme pain

The doctor came, but nothing gained

The collar to hold my neck was thick

The pills he gave me made me sick

Puking with a neck in spasm

My brain to body, there was a chasm

 

One day, a visiting friend, an actor

Showed me what was the matter

‘At drama college we learned Alexander Technique

So simple, profound, amazing, unique’

 

‘Let me show you how to lie

Your head on books, knees to the sky …

Just rest … let your mind begin to go …

Into your body, let it flow … ‘

 

‘The pain is your body shouting ‘KI LISTEN!’

There is no need to stay in prison

For that is what your body’s become

You’re stuck in your head, it’s really quite dumb!’

 

From that moment I could see

That Alexander Technique was for me

‘Let it go!’ I’d found a key

To learn to let my neck be free

 

Opening my thinking as I go

Not to arrive or be perfect, just to flow

To let my life a journey unravel

As freely forward and up I can travel

Noticing habits that put me wrong

Like a clamped up, held tight tongue

 

I’ve learnt this technique bit by bit

And am still learning, come to think of it

For there is no destination, perfect or right

It’s a moving journey, travelling light!

 

That was 30 years ago and I still LOVE Alexander Technique. If you would like o find out more why not check out my download BODY MAGIC here. 2 x 25 minute lessons for semi supine aka constructive rest.

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The Naughty Step!

 

I had to share this insight from a teenager …..

 

Yesterday, during a constructive rest session requested by one of the teenage boys at the high school where I teach Alexander Technique, 17 year old Harry quipped-

 

‘Semi-supine is like a productive version of the naughty step!

When I was little I would be made to sit on the naughty step … I was always all hunched up, elbows on my knee, in a rage … ‘

 

‘Lying down doing Alexander Technique is giving me time out to think about what I have done during the day, the bad decisions I have made and let them go. Yup, it is like the productive version of the naughty step!’

 

He continued –

 

‘I have had some great epiphanies in semi-supine – like where I have been going wrong and just by taking time out I get an idea about how to do it and when I go back to it it works … like learning a difficult piece on the guitar, suddenly I can do it… You wouldn’t think time out this way would be productive, but it really is!’

 

Out of the mouth of babes!

Constructive rest – the productive naughty step!

 

Here is a link to a constructive rest download – enjoy time out on the ‘productive naughty step!’ CLICK NOW

 

 

 

 

 

 

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