Posts for Tag : Habits

Is Your Head Screwed On Right?

Anatomy and Art, Cartoon by Kirsten Harris 

 

Is your head screwed on right?

 

I love the way our language and the phases we use reveal so much on closer inspection! We might say ‘so and so hasn’t got their head screwed on right!’

It’s a cheeky way of saying someone’s thinking is out of balance – faulty!

Someone with their head ‘screwed on right’ is conversely seen as balanced, sensible and wise.

 

I love the suggestion in this common phrase that the balance of the head is key to our ability to think clearly, rationally!

 

Anger, frustration, trying too hard or slumping and other distortions of the physical balance etc can all lead to a sense of not having your own head screwed on quite right! A kind of feeling or emotional condition where you know that there is nothing really wrong, but don’t feel quite right.

 

The Alexander Technique is a fantastic way of discovering how the balance of the head atop the spine facilitates freedom and ease emotionally, mentally and physically.

 

The compromised shortening of the muscles in the neck when your head isn’t ‘screwed on right’ aka in balance,  can lead to many unhelpful conditions that are commonplace in this modern world.

 

The lack of balance of the head and accompanied tightness in the neck and domino effect through your entire system can lead amongst other things to feelings such as anxiety or worry, defensiveness and anger,  as well as of course, pain.

 

To end, I question as a society in general, whether we have our heads screwed on right?

 

Body Magic by Kirsten Harris

 

www.kirstenharrisart.co.uk

www.kirstenharris.co.uk

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Please Your Self!

Cartoon ‘Zoned and Boned’ by Kirsten Harris

 

Please Your Self! 

 

‘Oh just please your self!’ 

Have you ever had that said to you in anger or annoyance, or in judgement of your behaviour? Or perhaps you’ve said it to someone else, said in disagreement. Does ‘pleasing your self’ sound like a criticism or something that a narcissist or a really selfish person would do. Does pleasing your self make you question yourself as being someone who is selfish, worthless, not deserving of friends, someone who doesn’t think about others? 

 

Here is my take on it. First a few dictionary definitions of the words involved- 

 

Please 

  • cause to feel happy or satisfied
  • take one’s own wishes into consideration in deciding how to act or proceed
  • a polite way of saying yes
  • to have kindness

 

 

Your Self

  • a persons essential being that distinguishes themselves from others
  • the evaluation by oneself of one’s worth as an individual in distinction from one’s interpersonal or social roles. 

 

 

If you look at the meaning of the words than pleasing your self seems like a very worthwhile activity and one can make sentences from these short definitions such as-

 

 

  • Having consideration for your true self
  • Taking the wishes of your essential being into consideration before deciding how to act or proceed
  • Being kind to yourself 
  • Saying yes to your own self worth 
  • Feeling satisfied with your essential being 
  • Being happy with that which distinguishes yourself from others
  • Evaluating yourself kindly
  • Being happy and satisfied in your social roles

 

 

As a seasoned people pleaser I know it can be tricky to learn to please your self. And when you do … sometimes people don’t like it!

 

From an Alexander Technique point of view I would suggest simply stopping as a good starting point. We can learn how to ‘inhibit’, find a pause in the moment, and notice our thoughts and habits. We can learn to stop criticising ourselves or take on other peoples criticisms. I could go on …

 

Taking time out and lying in semi supine aka constructive rest does more than just sort the physical body out, it suspends the habits of our activity, meaning that our personality constructs can have a bit of time out too. Pausing allows layers of social behaviour to float away and the jewel of our true self to be revealed.  This is a psycho-physcial technique after all! Making space for yourself is a very satisfying thing for your true self. 

 

As an artist I value my time alone. I enjoy being solitary, though I am probably quite extrovert in many ways and like being with people too. But truthfully, really pleasing myself at this point of my life is being creative, and being at home and in my garden. I have been criticised for being a workaholic and not going out or being sociable enough. Pleasing your self definitely takes a bit of practise!

 

I find myself making excuses not to do social things and I realise that instead of feeling guilty about this and wondering what is wrong with me that I don’t need to rush around the planet to be happy. I just really enjoy being alone a lot to paint and draw and be with my animals.

 

I remember as a child being given a desk and an angle-poise lamp for a birthday by dad and being delighted, seeing myself monk-like filling a book with wonderful illuminated drawings and magical things and then realising I had nothing much to say and the desk had been bought to do my boring old homework on anyway! But that moment of delight was some aspect of my true self that is still present.

 

I wonder what pleasing your self means to you? I wonder if it makes you feel selfish even thinking about pleasing yourself? Does it make you think other people will think you are selfish or won’t like you? If so, spot the people pleaser! Maybe it is time to give the gift of you to you. Notice do the words ‘please yourself’ make your heart harden or some other tightening or constriction in your body because it resonates as a criticism? This is body magic information for you.

 

I wonder if taking a bit of time out this solstice to please yourself, your essential being, will reveal a hidden gem or two. I wonder if you will find a gift of gold lying underneath the magical Christmas tree – that true gold that is you!

 

Go on –  really please your self for a bit today and see what happens! What do you really want to do?

 

I am beginning to think that perhaps the only way we can truly move forwards and upwards as humans is when we realise that being kind to our individual essential being is the way. Pleasing our true self and letting go of all the shoulds, oughts and demands that we have absorbed that diminish our capacity for love, truth and fearlessness. Perhaps then we will bring more kindness, friendliness and thoughtfulness into the world, for when ‘please your self’ i.e. be happy is a criticism perhaps there really is a need for change!

 

And if you are not sure how to start the change be like Maise and me in the drawing and start by lying down in semi supine for 20 minutes and just let the magic happen as you let go.

 

With love

Kirsten

 

Body Magic – audio link here

www.kirstenharrisart.co.uk

 

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The Opposite of Creativity is not Destruction, it’s Stagnation!

The opposite of creativity is not destruction, it’s stagnation.

 

This thought came to me yesterday as helpful. 

 

Creativity is defined as the use of the imagination or original ideas to create something: inventiveness.

 

Destruction is defined as the act of destroying something.

 

Stagnation is defined as the state of not flowing or moving. The lack of activity, growth or development. 

 

My thought is that we as individuals are disempowered when we see the opposite of creativity as destruction. We feel helpless to do anything about terrible events like the destruction of the rainforests, for example. We are not encouraged to use our brilliant creative minds by this definition. How can I take on the force of destruction on my own?

 

However, if we see the opposite of creativity as stagnation, perhaps there is a calling here to see our innately creative selves more clearly, and to start to move from a state of not flowing or moving into activity growth and development in small ways that collectively might make a huge difference.

 

To me this change of definition is empowering. Are my thoughts and actions stagnant becomes a useful question. 

 

My interest in the brilliant Alexander Technique these days is how it informs and releases creativity in the individual. I truly believe the world needs more creative thinkers and a population that is not sitting passively stagnating!

 

If I look at the concept that the opposite of creativity is stagnation it becomes clear to me that Alexander Technique definitely encourages a deepened creative state as it teaches the individual to remember and reconnect with their natural and harmonious easy flow of being and encourages free movement through life in our deepened understanding of our own original inventive self.

 

****

 

My small act of creativity for our lungs of the planet – an Alexander Technique inspired ‘story’ book called The Daily Ease , A Walk in the Woods with the intention that all profits will go towards planting trees. 13 black and white plates that can be coloured in too. Suitable for adults and children

 

www.kirstenharrisart.co.uk (Art)

www.kirstenharris.co.uk (AT)

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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

 

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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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The Weird Wonderful World of Alexander Technique 

‘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!

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Tongues!

Tongue Tied
by Kirsten Harris

 

Here’s a funny little question
That left unchecked will cause congestion
Let me ask you, ‘Where’s your tongue?’
Clamped to mouth’s roof you’ll be high strung!

 

It’s best to let your tongue go south
Resting in your lower mouth!
If yours is held and pressed up tight
You will never feel quite right!

 

Tongue Up’s part of the startle pattern
Best let it loose in the oral cavern
If it’s up, you’re stuck in fear
Let it rest! I hope that’s clear?

 

Up tongue’s reacting from a fright
Neck, shoulders, back become too tight
Horrid habit! Be aware
Down with tongues to clear the air

 

The tongue up habit clamps your jaw
At night your teeth you may well gnaw!
Your neck will tighten, your face will fix
This grimace habit is best to nix

 

Your shoulders seize, that clamps your lungs
All from an up held uptight tongue!
Tongue tied to the roof right now dispense
Immediately you’ll feel less tense

 

Just rest it in a ‘low jaw’ place
Think a smile and feel the space
Your tongue will widen when you smile
Your face will soften in a while

 

Breathing opens, energy increases
What do you notice when your tongue releases?
It may at first feel big, weird and wet …
Have you got the message yet?

 

The world will feel a better place
When tongue’s at rest in smiling face
Ask your friends ‘where is your tongue’
To change the habit is good fun

 

EPSON MFP image

Growl now if you’re a stress puppy?
I bet you’re habit is tongue ‘uppy!’
Family rows, disputes and fights?
Perhaps the family tongues not right

 

You’ll see it when friends thinking’s grim
Tongue up, jaw locked, tension within
‘Psychic glimpse’ of things not right?
Friends minds you’ll ‘read’ with this stress insight

 

The good news: things will change right now
With this wee gem of tongue know how
So down with tongues! You’ve heard me right
The tongue up habit’s just uptight!

 

 

Facebook – The Daily Ease Alexander Technique
www.kirstenharris.co.uk
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65 Life Lessons from My Dog

65 Life Lessons from My Dog

by Kirsten Harris

 

1. Have a good stretch and yawn first thing in the morning. It feels great.

 

2. If there is a human being about lie on your back and get your tummy tickled. Tickling is happy.

 

3. Morning grooming sessions make you feel good for the day. Nobody likes a smelly dog.

Especially look after your feet. You can’t walk without them.

 

5. Eat your food with gusto and pure pleasure.

 

6. Drink plenty of water.

 

7. Be totally delighted to see your friends. Greet them with enthusiasm and joy.

 

8. Be fascinated by the sights, sounds and smells around you. The best things in life really are free.

 

9. Playing or going for a walk with someone is better than on your own. Run for Fun.

 

10. If you need to howl. Do it!

 

11. Smile and wag your tail a lot, it will keep your back free. Dance like a dog everyday.

 

12. It is OK to have a snooze in the day time. Dogs loves it when you lie on the floor. Be more dog and rest inbetween activity. It’s good for your back.

 

13. Get some training. Practise makes perfect. Being skilled is pure pleasure for you and the people around you.

 

14. It is possible to be totally relaxed and alert at the same time. Alexander Technique’s constructive rest (semi-supine) is the human equivalent of your dog sleeping with one eye open.

 

15. Worry Less. Muddy floors can be cleaned. Enjoy getting muddy feet in the first place.

 

16. Dont compare yourself with the other bitches! Be accepting.

 

17. It feels good to give and get strokes from others. Give and receive praise.

 

18. Make yourself pant breathlessly from having fun in the world at least once a day.

 

19. ‘NO!’  is a really important word. Use it.

 

20. Go outside several times a day to refresh yourself.

 

21 Have boundaries. Your space is your space, protect it from invaders.

 

22. Don’t pick fights. Stand up for yourself if necessary. Don’t cower, but exiting fast or going around something to avoid confrontation is often the best strategy. Fighting doesn’t occur if you know how to look after yourself.

 

23. Commitment brings joy.

 

24. Trust your instincts.

 

25. Everyday is an adventure. Going on trips is an adventure. Trust the unknown. Dogs never know what you have planned.

 

26. Ball games are fun.

 

27. Have a sense of humour and be a bit naughty sometimes.

 

28. Bugs, flies, moths and bees are fascinating.

 

29. Staying a dancing hands length away from being captured is a good game.

 

30. Have your own space, where you find peace and ease.

 

31. Sofas are great but sometimes it really is more comfortable to lie on the floor. Rolling around on the floor is really really good too.

 

32.  Different dogs have different energy levels and personalities. They are all loveable. Accept yourself.

 

33. Develop your listening skills.

 

34. Sitting at someone else’s feet is a mark of respect.

 

35 Be aware.

 

36. A little treat for a job well done makes life flow and brings happiness and joy.

 

37. Keep a little treat ‘up your sleeve’ at all times, you never know when you might need a reward.

 

38 Be loyal and honest. Dogs don’t lie.

 

39 A good companion and friend is the best thing in the world.

 

40. Walking everyday keeps you in good shape.

 

41. Some humans make better leaders than others and get more respect.

 

42. Slippers are great.

 

43. Toys that squeak must be destroyed as fast as possible.

 

44 It is important to respect cows, sheep and horses, but it is OK to chase crows out of the garden.

 

45 Some ‘cats’ are weird and need assessing before approaching.

 

46. Humans are a bit slow and clumsy but are generally nice and like to be loved

 

47. Humans that spend too long on the computer are boring and missing out on great opportunities for adventures and walks.

 

48. Humans don’t like arse licking.

 

49 Don’t chase cars.

 

50. Always look for the most comfortable place to sit. Sit nicely.

 

51 Find a favourite relaxation spot outside to watch the world go by.

 

52. Dogs are happy when you are happy. Be happy

 

53 The countryside is freer than the city.

 

54. You can communicate with everyone, even if you don’t speak the same language. Be friendly to strangers.

 

55. Don’t hurt people. People don’t like being bitten.

 

56. Don’t steal other people’s stuff. Slippers are fair game!

 

57. Trust people unless they hurt you. Then refuse to go near them.

 

58. Breathe out deeply with contented pleasure when letting go into rest.

 

59. Explore your surroundings with new eyes and enthusiasm everyday. It is full of wonder and delight.

 

60. Respect the environment. Don’t ‘shit’ in someone else’s paradise. If you do, clear up the mess.

 

61. It is possible to be poised in activity. The eyes lead the body follows, watch a dog catch a ball, it will teach you how the body is co-ordinated.

 

62. It is OK to drop the ball.

 

63. Don’t worry. If you think it’s a dog’s life, be more dog.

 

64. Get messy. Use your body. Explore. Get your feet wet. Run into the sea. Dig in the earth. Enjoy Life.

 

65. Love is unconditional.

 

(65 Life Lessons from my Dog – copyright Kirsten Harris July 2016)

 

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Hurry Up Habit!

Hurry Up! Hurry Up! Hurry Up!

HURRY UP!!!!!

Can you feel the pressure in the words?

Do you give yourself hurry up instructions?

Is it really necessary?

Slow down

slow

slow

slow down

for a breather!

It might just speed you up…..

Now there’s a thing!

Breathe Media Download – Here to help you!

 

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