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Seeing with New Eyes

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This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival. A joy, a depression, a meanness, some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor. Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight. The dark thought, the shame, the malice. meet them at the door laughing and invite them in. Be grateful for whatever comes.
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond. Jellaludin Rumi, (translation by Coleman Barks)

For many years this poem has provided insight and inspiration to me. It reminds me daily of the journey of acceptance. It also points clearly to the unseen potential in our responses which can open the way for sensing or seeing something new and sometimes, unexpected.
Some years ago a wise friend opened my eyes to this potential. During a period when I was quietly (and sometimes not so quietly) despairing of my pain sh…

Compassion, the Way to Healing

In order to live fully we may need to look deeply and respectfully at our own suffering and the suffering of others. In the depth of wounds we have survived is the strength we need to live. The wisdom our wounds can offer us is a place of refuge. Finding this is not for the faint of heart. But then, neither is life. [1]
Rachel Naomi Remen
My journey to a greater sense of wellbeing was made possible by compassion.  In my search for a way to understand and find a solution to my physical and emotional pain (read here for more about my journey). I learnt that the first step was to begin to meet myself in a more compassionate way. Through mindfulness meditation and the Alexander Technique I learnt to see my habitual responses to life and over time develop a more compassionate response which allowed me to move towards healing.
I was shown the way by one person in particular, a Feldenkrais practitioner, who met me at the depths of my pain, some years ago. She listened to my suffering and respon…

Finding Rhythm - The Dance Within

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Would you like to move more freely?
Would you like to explore dance or join a dance class but feel self-conscious, shy or unsure of your ability to move with rhythm?
Are you participating in a dance class and would like to move with greater ease?
If so, this workshop is for you. It will gently lead you through an exploration of a number of movement and dance practices to re-connect with your natural capacity to move with ease and joy.
The workshop will use the principles of the Alexander Technique to explore movement and find your unique rhythm.
You will develop your awareness of yourself in movement, the ability to move alone and with others in an easeful and expressive way. 
For more information or to book your place follow this link: Finding Rhythm - The Dance Within

A Unique Approach to releasing Pain and Injury

Anyone who has experienced acute or sudden pain in response to an accident or injury knows that it can be all consuming. The injured area is protected by altering our movements, we lean away from the site of injury. Thomas Hanna called this the “trauma reflex”[i] a built-in response of the nervous system that effectively splints the area through contraction of the surrounding muscles. This gives the injury time to heal.
The ‘trauma reflex’ is an important and necessary process, but what we often see is that once the injury heals, unless the pattern is consciously released, traces of it remain. You can probably call to mind friends or acquaintances that move stiffly or in a manner that suggests the holding of an old injury. This can mean that pain or discomfort is not fully released and can become habituated at the level of the brain, creating instability and a vulnerability to future injury or other health issues.
A large majority of the people who come to see Alexander Technique teach…

Just Listen

A few days ago I was on a tram heading for the city, sitting quietly with my thoughts and observing the different people around me. Some were engaged with their phones, others with their friends and some like me just sat quietly, heading to their destination.
Suddenly the young woman on the other side of the aisle said, “Excuse me” and began talking to me in an animated way about the trials she was facing with two people in her life. She was at pains to let me know that she always treats people well and had not done anything to these people, but they were not treating her with respect.
I experienced her urgency and anger, her need for someone to hear her case. I noticed my own anxiety about where this might be heading. As I listened I continued to pay attention to my own physical and emotional responses - to the thoughts arising and the fluttering of anxiety in my belly. At the same time in my mind I began to send her loving-kindness and compassion. After about five minutes of an intens…

Presence

In the week before Christmas as I was driving home I turned left onto a main road and saw a woman flying out of her motorised scooter and tumble downhill over the concrete footpath. Her shopping broke open as she crashed to the ground. Immediately I pulled over to help her. At the same time a couple of other drivers stopped and we quickly became a small team of people acting to support someone in distress.
By the time I had reached her she was pulling herself up off the ground and with some support was able to sit in her chair. Blood was pouring down her face and front and she was shaking violently. One of us had called an ambulance and the other woman who had stopped calmly took control after identifying herself as someone with a fair amount of first aid experience. Recognising the intensity of her shock I quietly told her my name, moved around behind her (so as not to get in the way of the first aider) and asked if it would be alright for me to put my hands on her back and shoulder …

Learning to Play

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Play is an important part in learning to exist in a complex environment. Babies and children learn to move through a desire for something. Their need or their want leads them, through trial and error, to move in the direction of the object of their desire. Babies move many times in the same direction, slowly building the necessary connections in their brain and muscular system until one day often to their surprise (and delight) they are able to reach, grasp or roll to the object. As we grow older and learn to respond or react to our environment our curiousity and openness can diminish. For many adults repetition of actions or activities can seem without purpose, mundane or boring. This is in contrast to the young child, where each repetition is novel and serves to refine their coordination to achieve their ‘end’ through more and more complex movement. 
My memories of being a child are of being an observer – of watching my siblings play. I also remember being more interested in sitting …