DON'T HOLD BACK !
“Try not to resist the changes that come your way. Instead let life live through you. And do not worry that life is turning upside down. How do you know that the side you are used to is better than the one to come?”
We do like our own way. We humans like to be right. As we sit and observe the world and its actions it is quite clear to us what is right and what is wrong. But to turn the focus internally is a challenge.
To make change is a problem because everything we know feels normal or right, and so to challenge that and do something new that interrupts our logic or feeling, is wrong to the senses.
That is why habit is so successful. To break a habit takes will power, strength, commitment, discipline and consistency. It sounds exhausting, doesn’t it?
What if we embraced our habits? Well we embrace unconsciously the ones we want to keep, because we let them run. The habits we want to kick we punch and fight and cast guilt and shame upon them. What if we embraced the habits we want to change instead of shaming ourselves? It is only ourselves who gives the orders to change, out of guilt or some other useless state.
What if we listened to our whole selves, at the bigger picture, and discovered the why we want to change. The first why will be because the doctor/boss/parent told you it was good for you. The second why will be because they are right and you didn’t really like that way of being anyway, but it took an external force to show you what you wanted. But find a third why. A why that moves you towards something. An incentive. A carrot, rather than a whip.
A common why to change is posture. People often come to me because someone has indicated that they have poor posture.
- So what? Other people think you have poor posture. Why would you want to change for them?
- Well I keep pulling my shoulders back, but that doesn’t seem to be any good.
- So why are you really here?
- What do you mean?
- You are paying me money so that you can please other people’s opinions around your posture. What is posture?
- It’s how you hold yourself.
- Do you want to change how you hold yourself?
- Emmmmmm .... Confused face.
People don’t even know why they want to change. As a good friend and respected colleague of mine says “It’s all bonkers! People are bonkers!!!”
I was bonkers. Some say I still am, but in a new way. I was bonkers trying to fix my posture by pulling my back and shoulders to satisfy my respectable grandaunt. It never lasted and was awful tiring. But what was more bonkers was all the work, unnecessary muscle work, I was doing to trap my body into pain and dampen my natural spirit.
I didn’t know what posture was or who I was trying to please.
Once I learned that if I put my head on top of my spine, life becomes so much easier. It was in this moment sixteen years ago I decided I wanted to train in Alexander’s work, because I was eager to know more. Why didn’t I know this simple stuff as a teenager? Normal, obvious, biologically scientific, logical, self-care. Do less instead of more. I had always been working too hard. This is freedom and choice. Why is it just for performers? This needed to be shared with every normal person in the world. Now there’s a goal. A big, fantastic, altruistic, worldly goal.
But first I had to find MY personal goal. Make MY life easy and simple. Now that's MY kind of goal. Way better than improve my posture, a goal from another era. Of course I changed my posture on the way to the simple life. I changed lots of things. My energy improved, as did my confidence and bravery. I became less reactive and more responsive. I took my time to please myself and not jump to others demands so readily. My thinking is more balanced. I receive more information, read situations better and remember where keys are because I am more observant. And it all started from letting my head live on top of my spine with a free neck, rather than working all my back muscles really hard and out of balance. An understanding and acceptance of how I am made to move and be, took me out of poor skewed up posture and into gentle freedom and my full height.
So posture may well be YOUR goal. Posture is after all every move you make. It is a reflection of how you feel inside. Posture could be replaced with other words. Confidence. Presence. Acceptance. Performance. Love. It’s all the same work that will take you to your goal, whether your goal is to climb a mountain, win an Oscar, or get through the day in a good way, it is the whole of you that you take along the road.
But let’s look back at the problem you want to change, the thing you want to get away from. Can you embrace the problem and listen and learn from it? Can this be a way to learn about yourself, rather than push yourself in to contortions of change? Does it have to be hard? As Rumi said, can you let your life live through you? You may be surprised that the habits you wish to push away can teach you something. The pushing is exhausting and wrong anyway. But you don’t know another way because it feels right to you based on your current programming.
My advice is let yourself feel wrong. Right is so overrated. There is something new in feeling wrong. Wrong does not have to be painful. Wrong might just be odd or different. You won’t know where you are going on the road to wrong, but at least you will have stepped off the road you know to be right. And right just isn’t right anymore, is it?
But that's just a starting point. You may need help if you want to make lasting change. Help is here.
Love Fiona xxx
I am Fiona and I am exploring themes of meeting resistances and allowing ways through. The constant weeding, recognising the stuff that's in the way to live easier.