An offering

Body Project Blog, Where Thought is the Active Ingredient, by Elyse Shafarman

Body Project Blog, Where Thought is the Active Ingredient, by Elyse Shafarman

Everyone likes to be seen, heard, and invited. This is the basic truth of the human animal. We are communal creatures and we thrive in the warmth of our friends and loved ones.

Can you offer the same warmth to yourself? In the Alexander Technique we use inner speech, or directions to optimize our movement. We become aware of tension, we pause to stop the tension and we give our “orders” – directional thoughts that bring the body into optimal alignment. But sometimes this process can bring up fear, shame, or resistance. Rather than simply noticing that our neck is not free, we feel bad about it, and then pile on the self recriminations for not practicing enough, or not being able to learn the technique fast enough.

I suggest a different approach.

Switch from awareness to listening. Listen to you bones and muscles and joints. Let them know you are ready to hear what they have to say. They might be shy from many years of neglect, or they might be quite talkative. Be prepared to listen to your body.

Similarly, see yourself the way you might view a friend, a child or an animal. Do the flaws fade when you acknowledge the person’s worth and effort? Can you give yourself credit? You have shown up, and you do a lot of work. Give yourself your fair due.

Invite your head to move freely on the top of your spine, your bones to dance and wiggle apart from each other. Invite your ribs to move freely with the breath, and your back to support back and up. Invite yourself into presence. You belong here! But if you and your parts can’t show up to the party, that’s just life. No need for anger or recriminations. Offer, and be ok with the the offer not being accepted this time around.