Blog of the Week: Seeing More and Letting Go: Widening My Experience through Alexander Technique

Originally published on July 30, 2015 by Mariel Berger at www.acatnyc.org/main/blog.

[Many thanks to my Alexander Technique teacher, Witold Fitz-Simon, and my Alexander Technique Psychologist, Jane Dorlester]

Mariel at BarbesI used to believe that intense focus and concentration were the best way of being. I would spend hours practicing music, hours focusing on just one little thing. The more the world disappeared around me, the better I was supposed to be. In undergrad music school, I would walk up and down the hallways and see people in their practice spaces, for hours upon hours, directing all of their energy and attention onto one single thing. I learned that individual mastery of one instrument was the way to be. I practiced all of the time.

When I tried to look at the larger world around me, I got easily overwhelmed, scared, sad, anxious, lost, hopeless. So to cope, I would simply zoom in and ignore all the background noise, erase any thought that didn’t pertain to this one single thing. This scale. This piece.

I have realized that my coping mechanism was also what led me into deep bouts of depression, narcissism, self-absorption, and intense crying from feeling a disconnection from the world around me. Then, to alleviate my sadness, I would dive back into music in order to escape, continuing the cycle.

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