Renewed Joy in Movement

Posted by Jeanne Barrett on July 26, 2009 in Uncategorized

This past week, I travelled to, and deeply enjoyed, a visit to NYC, a city where I lived for many happy years.  One of the myriad reasons that I love NYC is the experience of easy, independent mobility in a pedestrian-friendly city.  Previous to my trip, I had some minor trepidation about how my reduced mobility would affect my daily functioning and enjoyment.  And, very happily, I can report  an experience of joyous ease!

I did have to keep an alert eye for uneven cobblestone streets and slate sidewalk irregularities, but I walked with surprising ease, and even found a “passing gear”.  There is a rhythm to NYC, and it is a rhythm that I entered happily.  My pace was slower than previously, but I could enter the wave with newly found patience and inner quiet.  I couldn’t run for the train or beat the “don’t walk” light.  I could allow the wave and rhythm to move around me and find the moment that carried me with the heartbeat of the city.  Five months of reduced pace and mobility have indeed changed me. Patience is a new experience for me, especially patience with myself.  There is a difference between hurrying and going quickly.  And, I don’t have to be the fastest, I just need to move well.

Much of the increased ease that I experienced was due not only to my association of being in NYC with joy in mobility, but also to frequent Alexander lessons, while there, with John Nicholls.  I have been teaching the Alexander Technique for 22 years, and studying with John for 19 of those years.  His work is nothing short of sublime.  He is skilled in restoring an overall elastic response, encouraging respiratory support, and finding a coherent organization of the whole self.  I left every lesson with a renewed sense of my entire coordination and support, the ground as support for going up.  My knee hurt  far less, flexion increased, and mobility improved.

In NY, I was able to climb and descend subway stairs, to walk many blocks in my daily routines, and to wander museums extensively without undue pain or exhaustion.  There were some subway stations that I found to be taxing and tiring, so I simply avoided them.  I did everything that I wanted to do with surprising ease.

Although I must continue with Physical Therapy to recover full flexion, knee stability and leg strength, the experience of Alexander lessons enhancing my overall use was wonderful.  The Alexander Technique never promises to heal or to address a specific part of the body.  It is always indirect and involves the entire elastic response of the self. For those recovering from injury, serious or slight, a combination of intelligent PT and Alexander lessons could be key to opening a window to full and lifelong recovery.  As the use of the self improves, the conditions which may have caused or increased injury diminish.

I go to NY to observe components of my personal use, growth and change against the background of my familiar and much loved NYC.  Ease in movement is an important indication of  my  overall use of self.  Newly found patience indicates some personal growth.  My trip demonstrated that I can be happy again, that I can move with more ease, and that there is even more ease in movement to come.

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