A couple of weeks ago in my Alexander Technique for Performing Artists class at Tulsa Community College, I had students set a goal for the semester – the only rule is that it has to be a goal that is under their own control and doesn’t require the help of anyone else to complete. So, “I want to perform in a student recital while being aware of my breathing!” is a perfectly manageable goal, while “I want to get cast in every show I audition for!” is completely out of their hands and therefore…not recommended.
Therefore, I’ve been thinking about goals. So much advice (at least most of what I see online) is focused on dreaming big, giving it all you’ve got, living your passion, ‘shoot for the moon, if you miss, you’ll land among the stars’, and so on. And…I just can’t manage to think on that scale right now. My goals these days are very, very small: finding some space during the full-to-capacity Class Piano class that I teach on Mon/Wed to stop and breathe and drink some water. Sending an email that is short and to the point instead of spending hours drafting and re-drafting a series of explanations, justifications, or apologies. Listening instead of impatiently waiting my turn to talk. Letting the small moments be what they are instead of being in a rush. I don’t claim to be achieving all of these on any kind of a regular basis but sometimes they come through, and I notice, and I’m grateful.
One of the reasons that I was drawn to Alexander Technique in the first place was the absolute (and deceptive) simplicity of what I was learning. I have learned more about myself by getting in and out of chairs than I could ever have believed was possible. It’s one of the reasons it’s so hard to explain to other people: what did you do in class today? we…uh…lay down? and breathed? …okayyyyyyyyyy then. On the other hand, you get to be excited about sitting down and standing up, and what’s not to like about that? As you probably know if you’re reading this, all of those little silly things add up and one day your back suddenly starts to make sense to you and you’re not sure how it happened but it’s pretty darn cool. If you haven’t experienced this yet, well, I would be absolutely delighted to help you start that process.