Alexander principles applied to huge obstacles

Posted by Jeanne Barrett on July 2, 2011 in Uncategorized

The campaign to release the elephants confined in the zoo to happy sanctuary involves tremendous opportunities for applying AT principles.  My own habitual emotional guarding from any upsetting information about animals has yielded to a new painfully open and more wide ranged emotional experience.  Going beyond my habitually closed response has opened my heart, and changed my use of self.  In Alexander terms, I have begun to explore the discomforts beyond habitual response.  This is not easy, but necessary, as my priority is to make the best use of myself and explore new means-whereby on behalf of the elephants.  I could continue to guard and not be effective, or refuse to guard (narrow and shorten) and have a new more effective and satisfying experience.

My more open painfully aware heart requires me to make choices in response that are new to me.  The campaign to free Chai, Bamboo and Watoto (not just “elephants”, but individuals with their own needs and preferences as intelligent beings) involves huge obstacles.  The Zoo has financial and political resources that far outweigh those of us who advocate for elephant release to sanctuary.  The urgency is great, as Chai, Bamboo and Watoto endure miserably limited conditions.  My habitual response would be to push, scream, urge and activate, but this reaction is not useful.  I have to quiet myself, and look for the means-whereby to reveal itself, while also remaining dynamic in myself.  My constant question has become:  how can I use myself best to benefit the elephants?

My broken heart has become a surprisingly expanded heart.  The habit of avoiding distress was based on fear that I could not survive upsetting information about any animal.  Now I have too much information that is deeply disturbing.  The fear of too much pain has been vanquished by the necessity to act despite  pain.  This is a far preferable experience to guarding and not acting.  Better to effect change and suffer the emotional distress (and learn to ride that river with new response) than to wait passively for productive change and suffer from not participating.

How to go up more and pull down less in response to an overwhelming set of obstacles is my current challenge.  This requires a total response of self on all mental/physical/emotional levels.  How to face a wall of resistance without diminishing the instrument of self is my new subject and obsession.

Meanwhile, the elephants suffer, and I can only make my own choices in response to help them.  I am writing, speaking, giving a benefit day of teaching, requesting help from many sources, hoping for the means-whereby to reveal themselves in an active fashion.

Thank you to all who have offered help, checks, support!  You have also risked heartbreak by knowing enough to act and participate with your entire knowing selves.

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