It’s not what you do, it’s how you undo

Posted by Jeanne Barrett on June 17, 2020 in Uncategorized

An essential and continuous skill of the Alexander Technique is the willing exploration of undoing to doing (without doing too much).

Undoing is a dynamic request to interfere less, reduce tension and amplify tone. Since we are integrated creatures with inseparable systems of thought/movement/sensation/emotion, we can request overall undoing through all aspects of self. All of me responds to a request to undo. All of me responds to everything.

Tone is necessary for engagement in the activities of living. Tone is also typically invisible. Tension is always obvious, whether tension is noted as mental, physical or emotional. Tension is not balanced by “relaxation”, which connotes deadening and withdrawal. Tension reduces as tonal balance and support increases. Undoing requires active de-positioning, un-placement, unpreparation and a cheerfully open curiosity, even in times of great uncertainty. We embrace not knowing everything in advance so we can allow a new knowing now.

Our globally shared era of uncertainty offers endless opportunities for dynamic undoing on a scale and depth previously unimaginable. All we have is our own instruments of self. If we tighten, collapse, reduce ourselves we are unlikely to respond well to shifting circumstances. Undoing as a basis may give us a chance. We won’t change the tumultuous times, but we may find means of contribution. We can begin with undoing, listening and dynamic non-interference, then proceed into doing, and refuse to interfere by doing too much.