‘Trust, The Gold Thread’ by Kirsten Harris
Gold, Copper and Oil on Canvas, 100 x 150 cm
I thought about calling this blog ‘Why the Alexander Technique is Weird’ or ‘Are Alexander Teachers Weirdos?’ Both titles make me smile! Before you think I am completely weird I do have some thoughts on the use of the word for our wonderful work. So here goes – some musings on the weird wonderful world of Alexander Technique …
The word weird’s modern meaning is quite recent and is very different from it’s original Old English meaning. Weird or Wyrd originally meant fate, fortune, chance, destiny, literally that which comes into being.
It referred to the Fates of Greek and Roman myths, three Goddess spinners. These three sisters had different tasks, Clotho spun the thread of life, Lachesis measured its allotted length and Atropos cut if off with her shears. They are the Goddesses of our destiny.
The change of meaning of weird, to strange, odd, different, supernatural, spooky came about when Shakespeare picked up on this wyrd word, that had fallen out of use in England but was still used in Scotland, naming the three witches in Macbeth, The Weird Sisters.
So why is Alexander Technique weird?
If we take the original meaning of the word weird then the Alexander Technique is indeed weird. I believe Alexander Technique has a great influence on our destiny, our fate and that which comes into being in our lives. To me Alexander Technique is all about fully embodying our own being and deepening our understanding of our own unique weird wonderful selves, whilst allowing that which is the destiny of our balance to operate for us.
When we are in balance, life simply goes better! Weird but true!
I think it is why Alexander Technique teachers may occasionally seem like weirdos to the outside world! We get really excited about the discovery that Alexander called ‘primary control’. It is perhaps a bit weird to be so excited about the head, neck, back relationship, but we are! Dressage riders will understand our fascination.
(Do book a lesson with a teacher and find out why we are so passionate!)
So, as we learn to pay attention to how we do what we do, especially in relationship to the balance of our heads, we learn to be more ‘at one’ with our own life, more at ease with ourselves. This in turn I believe effects our destiny – our responses change, allowing balance to emerge and thus what happens to us changes too.
Life in it’s originality is very weird and very wonderful. It is forever coming into being.
Learning the paradigms contained within the Alexander Technique we start to become the conscious spinners and weavers of our own cloth, our own matter, the material that is out body and our life on earth.
We learn to untangle the knotted threads of our life within and without to weave a more beautiful harmonious flowing ‘silken pattern’ for ourselves to live in.
We find we are connected to the whole, the elements. We learn to get out of our way to let our individual thread of experience be a connection to a truth that is greater than ourselves. Alexander Technique is I believe one path to enlightenment. It is both simple and difficult at the same time.
The fabric of our life spirals within the structure of the mobile muscly body suit in which we live and move and breathe.
Learning the Universal Truths taught through the Alexander Technique we learn to stand in our own nakedness. No need to hide ourselves in a clumsy mantle, a cloak of doubt or fear.
The way we use our entire selves effects our functioning. As we open and free ourselves, we unravel a magic carpet on which to fly, a beautiful tapestry unfolds spreading out before us. We learn how to be in the great spinning wheel of movement. The art of many things is revealed to us. We learn to trust ourselves and be open to the vulnerability and aliveness of our being. In the vulnerability of our innate balance we find an inner strength that we can call home.
Our vulnerability becomes our strength. That is a bit weird in itself, but oh so amazing!
We learn to spin our cloth of gold through our thoughts, awareness and direction.
In learning to change our habits and let go of that which is tangled, atrophied or stuck, we sometimes, like the goddess Atropos, need to pick up the metaphorical shears and cut the chains that bind and hold us. We learn to simply stop in order to let go! You could say that weirdly, learning the Alexander Technique helps us learn to cut the crap!
We all live in a weird world these days. A world where the world wide web weaves us into connections and relationships hitherto impossible. It is a fabric of unwoven and interwoven possibility.
We can embrace the weirdness of wonderful relationships with people whom we have never met and may never meet and who none the less bring threads of pure gold into our lives. We learn to stand tall owning a voice in the (virtual) world so we can learn and grow together, connecting with each other, being the change, looking after what matters!
In many ways the web has let us as a population become more in charge of our own destiny than ever before. We hopefully can learn how to use it well and make a difference. I have heard it said that people who use social media a lot are weird. I disagree. If connecting across the planet in an instant is weird then weird is great. Weird is coming into being. Weird is being open to chance, synchronicity and connections from all over the world.
One could argue another weird aspect of the Alexander Technique is that it impassions people from so many different walks of life – scientists, doctors, musicians, actors, athletes, equestrians, dancers, sufferers of pain conditions, educationalists, entrepreneurs, mathematicians, self improvers and like me artists …
I would argue that this is because fate and destiny are interwoven in the teachings of the Alexander Technique, a learning which is on the one hand down to earth, bony, structural, a scientifically quantifiable technique endorsed by the British Medical Journal and on the other other hand invites us into the world of the mysterious, spiritual, psychic and intuitive. A world of possibilities.
So here’s a big thumbs up to the wonderful weird Alexander Technique! I love it!
(Big thank you to Devon based Alexander Technique teacher Jenny Quick, whom I have only met via the weird wise web but feel a lovely sense of connection to. Thank you Jenny for telling me you were ‘celebrating weird’ with your student. This led me to look up the etymology of the word and inspired a blog.)