by Jane Averey
I remember when I first began my lessons six years ago and, later, embarked on exploring Alexander Technique literature. Of F. M. Alexander’s books, I started with Constructive Conscious Control. Alexander’s words filled me with a new kind of anxiety; not the dreadful variety I’d been used to living with and which had driven me to AT in the first place, but the sort that awakened excitement and possibility. I knew at last, after decades of seeking anchor in superficial pursuits, practices and useless or harmful ‘cures’, that I’d finally found my fit. This was IT for me. It clicked. F. M Alexander and I were kindred spirits, although he was, of course (and remains), so obviously a genius unparalleled.
As difficult as it was, and as wrong as it felt to accept my fate of trusting myself to Alexander Technique (my instinctive, habitual self continually fought to be allowed to proceed down that age-old path of self-destruction which is so characteristically human), I was just conscious enough at the time, thankfully, to be able to experiment with Inhibiting… just a little bit. With the patience of my adept teacher whose adage to her students is, ‘Short of death, get here!’, and a commitment to regular lessons, I was eventually able to acknowledge and access the innate wisdom of my neocortex – indeed, my intelligence – and to cut-the-crap and work toward harnessing that wild, bratty limbic system whose demands had been gratified far too often in my case. I needed to get down to REAL business with this necessary life-work, or my life would prematurely end.
Six years in, and The Alexander Technique has already supported the dominance of the calm, wise me, so that I do not run amok through limbic-chaos and animal instinct nearly as often as I did. Reactivity and resistance are ebbing. I am able to get more of what I want and less of what I don’t want. Ultimately, perhaps, I continue to become a more responsible, compassionate human. Being ‘tuned in’ increasingly via my lessons, I am aware of the interconnectedness of all things and the time and space in which I occupy. The success I now enjoy being alive and increasingly well is due solely to the AT, the 30 years my teacher has dedicated to her students and honing her teaching method, and to my own hard-earned investment in my psycho-physical awakening and permanent empowerment.
The rewards of this challenging work can run deep if one is open to the process. The Alexander Technique is simply an investment in one’s self. Application of the Technique results in tangible, positive core changes that radiate beyond the individual experiencing them. Working with the Technique has resulted in the peeling back and discarding of the toxic, burdensome layers of damaging pedagogy, as well as the self-imposed and culturally indoctrinated rubbish that I’ve accumulated throughout my 40+ years of living. Because this ‘Alexander Technique business’ is a life-long process for those who appreciate its value, I expect to be at it steadily in some capacity for the rest of my life, but I am poised for the demands. For me, there IS no alternate route, as I strongly suspect that at this point in human evolution, there is nothing more true and conducive to positive organic change in one’s psycho-physical health than this work. I believe that meaningful self-actualization cannot exist without this work, at least with the work as a major contributor to the process.
Accordingly, one of my favourite Alexander aphorisms is, “When an investigation comes to be made, it will be found that every single thing we are doing in the work is being done in Nature where the conditions are right; the difference being that we are learning to do it consciously.”
Click here to read a blog post which features Jane’s quotation.