This is a very personal post, in homage to the Alexander Technique for STRESS-RELIEF. I’m writing honestly about my current experience in order to share the wonders of this Technique with you all, because I cannot tell you how grateful I am to have these skills in my tool-box as I experience some of the highest stress levels ever in my life!
I won’t list ALL of the stressors I’m experiencing (there are too many to list, haha!), but here are a few of the most prominent ones, each of which offers me an important lesson to learn:
- One of my children has been ill with mystery pain for two months now, so we’re dealing with doctors, missed school issues, possible surgery, etc. What is most stressful is not knowing what is the best course of action – because it’s impossible to know for sure.
MY LESSON: Life is Mystery, and I’m NOT in control of it – it’s much bigger than me. Staying open to All-Possibility means I can become more at ease with not knowing, and trust that the decisions that are made in the moment will be for the best.
(Update 4/24 – surgery was successful – hurray! – much of this stress has now been relieved, thank goodness! 🙂 )
- I have just become a victim of identity theft, which is not only a trigger for worry about all kinds of things, but a HUGE time-and-energy drain, because there are endless phone calls and forms to fill out, including my first (and hopefully last) police report.
MY LESSON: Identity cannot be stolen – what a ridiculous thought! I know who I am, and as long as I remain aware of who I am, identifying with my innermost Being which is inviolable, nothing can touch me. The crazy world then just becomes a circus to watch, while I relax into each thing I need to do, one thing at a time, with patience and trust.
- I’m travelling to Japan in less than two weeks, to teach The Art of Freedom and the Alexander Technique to large groups of Japanese musicians, something I’ve never done before. I’m so excited about this, and yet the many unknown factors, and the sheer newness of this adventure, are potentially daunting.
MY LESSON: Stay open to the adventure, ready for anything, and trust that being and sharing mySelf will be exactly what is needed – and THAT is easy. I don’t have to do anything other than stay in the awareness born of my experience.
- Just a couple days after I return from Japan, I will be rehearsing with a few musicians from the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra in order to perform two concerts on the prestigious Linton chamber music series, here in Cincinnati. I will not be able to have my own violin to practice on while in Japan, because my violin has ivory-like fittings, and I do not want to risk having my instrument taken or harmed by ignorant Customs workers who have been known to confiscate and/or destroy questionable items.
MY LESSON: Practice what you preach, Jennifer. As I work on my primary instrument – my mind-body-self – I am truly always practicing, and I can also do plenty of mental practice while I’m travelling. Trust – in the Technique, and above all, in my Self – is absolutely KEY.
- Next weekend, I am delighted to present our first annual Art of Freedom “Non-Performance”, called “Music in the Raw!” (Come if you’re in Cincinnati!!) This is exciting, and very much a novel experiment. I don’t know what it will be like, and neither do my brave students who will be “non-performing”, sharing their experiences of the Alexander Technique through music-making.
MY LESSON: Stick to principle, as always: practice AT inhibition, direction, and trust that the Primary Control is taking care of everything beautifully. Every happening is simply practice for the next time, information to learn from, and something fresh to ENJOY.
- More music to learn by June: I will be performing with my duo, Adastra, in Boston; and with Apollo’s Fire at Tanglewood in early July. Two pieces will need to be memorized for that.
MY LESSON: Pay attention to the “means-whereby” – which comprise the steps in the process – not the end result. I can only give myself fully and authentically to one thing at a time, so I need to trust that I will be able to carry out my intentions for those performances even though I will only be able to devote minimal time to those concerts before they actually happen.
Notice how each of these stressors includes
a major lesson for me to TRUST?
TRUST is the best antidote to worry, anxiety, and fear. Stress is NOT the problem – it’s what we do with it that either helps us or hurts us. We can either let it squash us, depress us, get us down, or destroy us… OR… we can accept it and rise to the occasion, opposing it with healthy, intelligent application of the principles of our design (as addressed by the Alexander Technique). Focus on fear… or LOVE.
I fully intend to RISE to these occasions, with love and acceptance, as well as possible. And however it works out, that will be “good enough”. As a friend told me recently, “Courage mounteth with the occasion”!
TRUST and COURAGE… and lots of PATIENCE.
Those are the keys, plus the indispensable knowledge afforded by the Alexander Technique.
I’m so grateful to have exactly what I need. And I’m grateful to have the opportunity to share what I have learned with you. May it help you in times of stress! If you want to know how I can help you personally, check out my “services” page.
Peace & Joy,
p.s. Exercise helps, too! I’ve started running again, and boy does it feel good. 🙂
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