Most people these days are busy – VERY busy. For women in business we’re not only dealing with the many and various jobs necessary to do our work; more often than not home and family, children and parents are competing for our attention too.
The most prevalent response to this busy-ness is multitasking, which is the perfect subject for the first in a series of posts I have lined up on busy-ness and productivity.
We’ve become a multitasking society. The constant calls for our attention, not least of which come from our devices beeping and alerting us to every email, text, and message notification that comes our way, exacerbate this and further distract us from the task (or tasks!) at hand.
Beginnings are tough for me. I’m all about order, but beginnings tend to be for me all about chaos.
Most of the chaos stems from the fact that I haven’t fully closed the previous actions. I’m dragging the dregs of yesterday into today and tomorrow, and getting them all jumbled up with the new stuff that wants to emerge.
What to do about it?
If I followed my own advice, I would quit doing stuff about it. I would find a bit of space on the floor to lie down on my back, with my head supported on a few books and my knees up. If I did this every day, morning and evening, I’d be making space for change to happen.
The littlest bones of the human body are inside the ear.
But there are a set of small bones that make up a section of our body also referred to as the ‘wrist’.
Carpel Tunnel Syndrome is one of the conditions affecting the wrist area and causes much pain and discomfort.
In the blog I will attempt to clarify some the kinaesthetic language that underlies the explanation of CTS. This may prove useful towards clarifying our mental image of how the wrist functions as part of the rest of our structure. By gaining more clarity, we can then take useful measures to avoid or move towards recovering from CTS and other common conditions of the wrist area.
Firstly, if you are experiencing tingling sensations in your hand or wrist that may be shooting up the rest of your arm, please seek medical advise. As there are many contributing factors aside from overuse. That being said, most musicians who suffer from CTS have found that by investigating their movement habits, they have been able to overcome CTS.
Technically, this pigeon is playing the English horn. [Artist unknown]
When I was training as an Alexander Technique teacher, Vivien Mackie—the well-known Alexander teacher and cellist—came to Urbana to visit the Murray’s training course. While in town, she gave a master class to undergraduate musicians at one of the local universities. I had never seen an Alexander teacher teach a master class, so I decided to sit in and watch.
One of the students was an oboist. The oboe can be richly beautiful. But this young man would puff himself up like a pouter pigeon before he began playing, and the sound that emerged from his instrument was harsh and laser-like—I imagined it peeling the varnish off the floor of the stage.
Vivien Mackie let him play for a bit and then had him stop. “I want you to try something, just as an experiment,” she said. (I’m paraphrasing.) “Just try once to begin playing without taking a breath.”
Originally posted February 18, 2015 by Jennifer Roig-Francoli
Would you be rushing around if…?
Here’s an imagination exercise for you, which you might want to think about in conjunction with the podcast ideas on centering that I wrote about in my last blogpost. (Podcast link: Living with Ease at the Center of Everything – Jennifer interviewed by Robert Rickover.)
If you were the “good king or queen” in a fairy tale, would you be rushing around from here to there to get things done and to fulfill everyone else’s expectations, or would you give yourself the time required to be centered and do things regally, with full consciousness, paying adequate attention to detail, and delegating things that you were not required to do?
What if you were the king or queen about to go onstage in front of your adoring subjects? Would you rush out there, making yourself small with hurry, or would you allow yourself to expand to take up all the space you need, letting yourself be calm and centered – at the center of the universe – letting the world do its rushing around you while you remain unaffected?
I was recently reading two books, and coincidentally they both referenced asthmatic attacks—with differing approaches for relief. The first book was “Explaining the Alexander Technique—The writings of F. Mathias Alexander—In conversation with Walter Carrington and Sean Carey. The second book was “Bird by Bird” by Anne Lamott.
In the Alexander Technique book Walter Carrington states: “Alexander was particularly brilliant at getting someone to stop the reflex spasm by encouraging the neck muscles to release so that the head went forward and up. I saw him do this on a number of occasions when people were in the midst of an attack. It really was rather spectacular.”
Most sports and art forms have an “ideal posture” to practice them. Books and articles on them will describe this ideal posture, and sometimes offer muscular exercises that will help you achieve it.
However, if visually identifying what we need to change and doing muscles exercises to correct deviations from perfect form were enough, we’d all have good posture and no one would have back pain from bad postural habits.
This visual and muscular take on posture presents 3 problems.
On Wednesdays, Kyra teaches the cello to an adorable five year-old, “E.” In her lesson yesterday, E was sitting slumped on her little green stool, hanging backward off her cello. Instead of telling her to “sit up straight,” Kyra asked E to touch her cello bridge with her left hand.
When E reached for her bridge, her back lengthened and she sat up. Funnily enough, she didn’t really notice the change. She just sat poised and alert for the rest of her lesson.
It was a small moment, but a great example of helping a child find poise at their instrument without nagging about posture.
After reading Part 1 you’d be forgiven for thinking that the Alexander Technique is about body mechanics. The way you use yourself certainly includes body mechanics, but you are much more than just your body, there’s a whole mental/emotional component that makes up who you are and how you use yourself. It is common these days to talk of the mind-body connection, but the Alexander Technique likes to take this another step further and even consider that there is no connection, as that would imply a separation of the two requiring a bridge between them. A more holistic view is that the mind and body are one and the same, that you are totally indivisible as a person, what Alexander liked to call psychophysical unity .
So, despite popular conceptions of the Alexander Technique, we teachers really are not the posture police, as what goes on in the mind is equally important, and posture really could be said to be a reflection of the mind. Mindfulness is all the rage these days and it wouldn’t be a stretch to think of this work as being embodied mindfulness.
Michael Rabin, one of the greatest violinists of all time. Died at 35.
I had a rather shocking exchange on Facebook the other day, which was shocking mostly because I hadn’t realized how far I’d come in my thinking, away from what I might call the “old school” of “serious” classically-trained musicians, who are trained to work hard, not to enjoy themselves.
The exchange exemplified for me much of what I think is wrong with the world of classical music these days, and why so few people actually pursue it as a career and succeed, while enjoying happy lives. It is also a key to why such high percentages of musicians suffer from mental illness, as well as physical pain.
It all started with an innocent comment a friend made (who is a fantastic musician who should have an endless supply of excellent students knocking at her door), wondering why people are “scared off” when she suggests that they take lessons in her rather uncommon instrument.