Going from undoing to doing (without doing too much)

Posted by Jeanne Barrett on April 17, 2010 in Uncategorized

In the continuous spiral of recovery from injury, there is a constant balance between not pushing beyond current strength, yet still increasing demands so that strength can be improved.  How do we go from dynamic non-interference (a very active state of quieting, refusing to narrow or shorten, not checking on results, allowing the activity to do itself) to demanding actvities that require specific muscle activation?

The emotional urgency of recovery makes this subtle sequence even more demanding, as the temptation of end-gaining (relinquishing process for results) becomes larger, noisier, and more compelling.

As I experience the necessities for strengthening my atrophied leg via Physical Therapy and Gyrotonic exercises, I face the challenge of allowing a timeless pause between intention for activity and doing the activity.  Waiting with thinking will only go so far for actually strengthening muscle groups that require activation.  With Alexander principles in mind, I go forward with activation, back off to re-direct my entire self, go forward again, in a continuing sequence of activation and waiting, requesting and pausing, refusing to hurry yet allowing the intention for activity to be accomplished.  Beliefs in what I should do have to give way constantly to what I can do with a good condition of self.  Refusing to diminish an overall elastic response, even while I attend to specific strengthening, is both challenging and productive.  If I attend to the whole self, I can accomplish my assigned exercises with a larger picture awareness.  If I focus on a part, my whole self becomes contracted, and the results are less than ideal. Even my emotional dismay must be seen as an entire response; I can pull down and into pain, urgency, impatience, or I can ask for a wider response of the global condition of self.  The second choice requires a larger intention and an active refusal to interfere for the sake of specific results, and always brings less pain.  Attending to the integrated whole self is challenging but more successful.  Focussing on the part is easy and familiar and drearily less productive.

And, even with these skills in mind, I continue to experience pain, mobility limitations, dismay and frustration.  The learning presented by a major injury continues.  It is a spiral of lessons in a continuum of intention.