Peter, My Subconscious

Peter, my subsc

Who’s in charge?

In life we generally rely on our subconscious to direct our movement.  We  stand, sit, walk,  and bend automatically with no thought to  how we move.  Our subconscious  habitually does it for us, and it dominates us so that we don’t consider the best way to go about our everyday activities.

The practice of Alexander Technique encourages us to become more consciously aware, and to  learn the most efficient and energy saving way to move.  It actually brings us back to the movement patterns that were implicit as a child.

The Alexander Technique is simple and commonsense, but it is not easy because somehow we have to break the  habits of a lifetime that are deep in our subconscious, to allow the childlike movement to re-emerge.  How can we do this?

I will call my subconscious  Peter!

Peter sits on my shoulder and is my friend.  But he is a misguided friend.  MIsguided because I have  unwittingly taught Peter how  to lead me through  my life in ways that have  caused me pain and  ill health.   Unfortunately, on occasions Peter is not very helpful because he overrides what I know is the best way to carry out  any activity,  and takes over before I have time to think.

I need to retrain Peter.. he has been part of me for a long time, and he should be my friend and help me through life.  He knows me better than anyone else… even better than my mother, and he has been with me every single moment of my life,  enjoying my happiness, indulging in my sadness, he knows my every move……and he is not going to go away.

How can I  change him?  We all have the ability to change, even though we think not and Peter can change like the rest of us.   I  just need to be strong and  tell Peter to STOP interfering and give me time to rethink the best way to carry out my life. But this is a very general statement… because I need to stop Peter interfering not only  each  time I  make a move, but also when I react to a stimulus…  Wow… I can remember when I started to learn the technique how impossible that seemed.  It means that I have to consciously aware of my every  thought and my every movement and that requires discipline.

If you learn the Alexander Technique you will learn  a series of primary directions.  FM Alexander’s directions enable us to engage the conscious mind and override Peter’s decisions.  Ask Peter to listen and take note of these directions, so that his decisions become less misguided in future and  he is once again willing and able to help rather than hinder.


Kay Cady lives in Denbury, in Devon, England She is the second person to take up my Parade of “P”s – Take Your Pick challenge.  Thank you Kay – and I hope there will be many more!  You can contact me through this Contact Page if you wish to contribute.

Image credit: sognolucido / 123RF Stock Photo

Potential, Possibilities and Perspectives and Perceptions


We could define health as “The body’s ability to constructively deal with all the stresses to which it is subjected”.  As I discovered, the Alexander Technique can be a powerful tool for tackling depression by giving concrete help on a day to day level.  There is no sensation or emotion that is not translated into a muscular response of some kind; these feeling states are the primary bases of our habitual postures and our individual patterns of behaviour.  In terms of alleviating the ubiquitous stresses and tensions of everyday life it simply does not matter whether we start to allow our minds to calm down and allow that to spread out into our muscles, or whether on the other hand, we can begin to allow the release of tension that we experience with the Technique to allow that same mental quietness.

Problems may appear to be confined or to be operating solely on the mental level but a large part of the problem is that because we give so much precedence to the intellect these mental routes and paths are all exhausted or over familiar.  The patterns are laid down and it can appear that there are no more avenues to explore.  We suffer from ennui and the feeling of being trapped at the same time.  Because words are not the language of the body all the well-known stories and limitations that we tell ourselves can be sidestepped as we can learn to see and experience ourselves in a new way.  In my own case I noticed that when I was able to release my physical holding patterns so my mental and emotional constrictions were correspondingly freer.  I was able to gain a new Perspective on my situation, life became a richer experience when I was feeling and Perceiving on more than one level at once.

We don’t claim that the Alexander Technique is a universal panacea for every kind of ailment, simply that our feelings and emotions are so intimately connected with our behavioural and psychological habits that working in this way through the body can be part of the healing process, it may not be the whole part, but it IS a part.  For me, at any rate it added a new dimension, a new Possibility; I discovered that learning how I could use my body with lightness and efficiency opened up new realms of Potentials that I had not previously known had existed.


Listen to a podcast with Daska, “How the Alexander Technique can help with Depression”:


Daska Hatton is an Alexander Technique teacher in London, England.  She is the first person to take up my Parade of “P”s – Take Your Pick challenge.  Thank you Daska – and I hope there will be many more!  You can contact me through this Contact Page.

“Image courtesy of Stuart Miles /”