Even for a moment

Posted by Jeanne Barrett on June 28, 2009 in Uncategorized

I walk to my local coffee shop every morning because they make an excellent Americano, and because the staff and customers there know me well enough to know they don’t know me well enough to offer unsolicited advice or insights about “what I am learning”.  Instead, they give me welcome encouragement, applaud mobility progress, and generously allow me my own experience.  All in all, a good interaction and a gift, in my estimation.

During my walk today, I experienced about a minute of walking normally, as in without thought to pain, no limp, and nearly my former pace!  This came as a joyous surprise.  Then, pain renewed its presence,  and my limp returned, but the minute of walking without concern gave me huge hope.  The increments of recovery add up in moments.

I recall when I was initially taking Alexander lessons 25 years ago a moment of walking on the street in Brooklyn when I realized that I was not narrowing my shoulders in order to move.  It was a moment of revelation, and one that inspired trust in the process of the Technique, as well as hope for continuing to improve my use.

My 13 year old nephew, Gabe, showed me how to moonwalk this morning.  Although I can’t claim to have mastered this skill, his lesson broke the increments down to doable sequences, and gave me a sense of possibility.  For a moment in watching Gabe, all movement became joyously accessible.

Improvement in the overall coordination of the self requires shifts on all levels, especially the aspect of belief.  We don’t believe that we can do something in a new way until we have the new experience.  Alexander students classically learn a new way of moving in life through the experience of chair work, and begin to see what is necessary, and mostly what is unnecessary, in that ordinary experience.  New experience in a mundane activity changes all aspects of possible experience when one learns to actively allow the increments to add up.

In recovery from any major injury, new neural, muscular, emotional connections are made, for good or for ill, through new experience.  No one outside yourself can tell you when and how and why fresh understanding arrives.  But at last, concept and experience, with good use in mind, can unify, resulting in the joy of surprising ease, even for a moment.